Job prospects Computer Programmer in Canada

People working as a computer programmer have different job prospects depending on where they work in Canada. Find out what the future holds for them in your province or territory. These prospects are applicable to all Computer programmers and interactive media developers (NOC 2174).

Note that the current 2019-2021 employment prospects were published in December 2019 based on information available at that time. We are working to update this information as soon as possible. In the meantime, visit the Canadian Online Job Posting Dashboard to find the latest data on the demand and work requirements for this occupation. You can also read our newly updated sectoral profiles to learn about recent developments for key economic sectors in your region.

Job opportunities over the next 3 years

Explore future job prospects by province and territory.

Location Job prospects
Newfoundland and Labrador Good Good
Prince Edward Island Good Good
Nova Scotia Good Good
New Brunswick Good Good
Quebec Good Good
Ontario Good Good
Manitoba Fair Fair
Saskatchewan Fair Fair
Alberta Fair Fair
British Columbia Good Good
Yukon Territory Undetermined Undetermined
Northwest Territories Undetermined Undetermined
Nunavut Undetermined Undetermined
Legend: The job opportunities can be: Undetermined Limited Fair Good

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Labour market conditions over the next 10 years

Take a closer look at the projected labour demand and supply for this occupation over the 2019-2028 period. For more information on future job trends, go to the Canadian Occupational Projections System.

Summary

SHORTAGE: This occupational group is expected to face labour shortage conditions over the period of 2019-2028 at the national level. The section below contains more detailed information regarding the outlook for this occupational group.

Employment in 2018

167,900

Median age of workers in 2018

39

Average retirement age in 2018

61.0

Detailed analysis

In order to determine the expected outlook of an occupation, the magnitude of the difference between the projected total numbers of new job seekers and job openings over the whole projection period (2019-2028) is analyzed in conjunction with an assessment of labour market conditions in recent years. The intention is to determine if recent labour market conditions (surplus, balance or shortage) are expected to persist or change over the period 2019-2028. For instance, if the analysis of key labour market indicators suggests that the number of job seekers was insufficient to fill the job openings (a shortage of workers) in an occupational group in recent years, the projections are used to assess if this situation will continue over the projection period or if the occupation will move towards balanced conditions.

Over the 2016-2018 period, employment in this occupational group increased at a pace that was higher than the average of all occupations. The unemployment rate increased slightly, but remained around its own historical low norms and well below the national average in 2018. Finally, as the number of job vacancies increased significantly and the number of unemployed workers remained somewhat stable, the number of unemployed workers per job vacancy was substantially below the national average over the same period. Hence, the analysis of key labour market indicators suggests that the number of job openings exceeded substantially the number of job seekers in this occupational group over the 2016-2018 period.

For Computer programmers and interactive media developers, over the period 2019-2028, new job openings (arising from expansion demand and replacement demand) are expected to total 64,200 , while 75,800 new job seekers (arising from school leavers, immigration and mobility) are expected to be available to fill them.

As job openings and job seekers are projected to be relatively similar over the 2019-2028 period, the labour shortage conditions seen in recent years are expected to continue over the projection period. Retirements and job growth are expected to account for the majority of job openings. Employment is projected to grow at a rate higher than the national average. As a result, job creation will represent half of all openings, a proportion that is above the average of all occupations (about 27% of openings). Most of these workers are employed in the industries of computer systems design and related services; finance, insurance, real estate and leasing services; and telecommunications, information and culture services industries. Demand for workers in this occupation is expected to be supported by technological changes. Indeed, rapid innovation will continue, inducing Canadian firms to adapt quickly and upgrade their IT infrastructure to remain digitally safe and competitive. In addition, new technologies such as artificial intelligence, 3D printing and Blockchain will continue to emerge, thereby supporting the demand for workers in this occupation. The stronger penetration of newer technologies in the telecommunications, information and culture services industry such as virtual and augmented reality as well as 5G mobile will also provide job opportunities for computer programmers and interactive media developers. Retirements will also account for a significant proportion of job openings (about 39%). Most workers in this occupational group are younger than average, but retire at a similar age than workers in other occupations. Therefore, the share of workers who are retiring and who will need to be replaced is expected to be lower than the average.

With regard to labour supply, the number of school leavers in computer science is projected to continue to be high since this field of study remains attractive to young people. Immigration will continue to be a major contributor to job seekers, as this occupational group is very popular among newcomers. The skills typically required in this occupation are usually standard worldwide and not unique to the Canadian labour market. As a result, there are lower barriers for immigrants to become computer programmers and interactive media developers. In addition, foreigners in this occupational group coming from countries with a free trade agreement with Canada might be eligible to work in Canada, simplifying their entry and permanency in the country. Conversely, a significant number of workers are expected to leave this occupation for other related occupations, in particular to seek jobs in information and technology related occupations such as software engineers and designers (2173) and user support technicians (NOC 2282). As a result, the shortage conditions observed in recent years is not expected to disappear over the projection period.

Source Canadian Occupational Projections System – ESDC

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