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Kelowna  

Tech shortage in Okanagan

The Okanagan is quickly becoming known as a technology hub for both British Columbia and Western Canada, but a recent national report forecasts a shortage of homegrown talent to fill the demand of tech jobs in the future.

In the Labour Market Outlook 2015-2019 report released last week by the Information and Communication Technology Council of Canada, it's estimated there will be a shortage of 182,000 tech jobs in Canada over the next five years.

That's where Okanagan College says they have stepped up with three programs to train students an offer co-op components.

“Youth in our community looking for jobs, need to look no further than the tech sector,” says Phil Ashman, Associate Dean of Science, Technology and Health at Okanagan College. “With the right training, hands-on experience, and industry contacts, thriving careers are within grasp for our students.”

The growth of the tech sector in the Okanagan can be attributed to strong innovation and startups, but information technology permeates all aspects of the business world. There are more than 100,000 British Columbians who work in technology, but less than half actually work for a tech-based company. The majority work in other sectors like finance, health, and energy.

Top in-demand jobs expected in the province are computer programmers and interactive media developers, software engineers, and support technicians.

“This is why our partnership with Okanagan College is so important,” says Pilar Portela with Accelerate Okanagan.

“We provide direct access to the needs of the thriving Okanagan technology sector, which allows the College to create innovative curricula that will develop local, highly skilled, high-tech talent.”

The college offers a four-year Computer Information Systems degree and a two-year Computer Information Systems diploma, which include software design and development, database management, development and administration, and incorporates mathematics, business, and communications courses. The programs are offered at the Kelowna, Penticton and Vernon campuses.

The two-year Network and Telecommunications Engineering Technology diploma teaches students network infrastructure, telecommunication, and client/server administration, and also includes business courses to ensure students are prepared to tackle tech solutions for the broad range of businesses requiring tech infrastructure.

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