2024 job market outlookIf there's a theme park out there looking for a name for their newest roller coaster, may we suggest '2023'? Without mentioning the economy specifically, it seems like this year has been flipping back and forth between doomsday headlines and those hoping to offer a more positive spin on things.

After stomaching the ups and downs of 2023, one might wonder if 2024 has more of a merry-go-round vibe. The question is more complex, but if you're informed about where the market is going and how you can best prepare yourself, you'll be more than ready to handle it. You might even land your dream tech job.

Job market trends

The housing market is nuts, and the hiring market is worse - or is it? Canada's unemployment rate currently sits at 5.4%, and according to TD Bank, the unemployment rate is set to inch closer to 6% by the end of this year. However, certain job sectors are seeing rapid growth despite the downturn, such as:

  • Information Technology
  • Health Care
  • Finance and Accounting
  • Engineering
  • Construction

And it's no surprise that Information Technology takes the top spot. By 2025, ICTC's labour statistics forecasts employment in the Canadian digital economy to reach 2.26 million—triggering demand for an additional 250,000 jobs. Some of the most in-demand careers include developers and programmers, data analysts and scientists, cloud architects, security analysts and architects, and network engineers.

What is the future of the tech industry?

The career prospects for job seekers are bright. The Canadian IT sector grew by 5.3% in 2022, and it shows no signs of stopping. By 2024, the industry is expected to increase by 22.4%. The market is currently candidate-driven, meaning employers are pushing for employee retention by upping salary and starting offers and better long-term incentives to stick around. The main perks in tech are:

  • Remote working

    IT remote job openings rose by 53.7% between July 2021 and July 2022.

  • Higher compensation

    Companies have been increasing wages by 20% or more for key roles. Those in data science and cloud computing have seen the most significant increases. More experienced tech workers should know they have more negotiating power as companies need knowledgeable employees.

In-demand skills employers are looking for

  • Coding

    SQL, Python, and software development top the list when it comes to landing one of many tech jobs in demand. As augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and machine learning grow in popularity, with increased usability and practicality, knowing how to code within these realms is a bonus that is quickly becoming a necessity.

  • Data

    Every organization is tied to big data. As the need for those who can best make sense of the mountains of data and draw actionable insights from them increases, many doors are opening for those with data sorting, manipulation, and visualization capabilities. In marketing, businesses can better stay on top of trends and analyze campaign results. In healthcare, data automation is helping administrators better plan shifts, minimizing shortages. Chances are, the 'flavour' of industry you fancy needs data experts.

  • Security

    Cyber attacks are increasing and more sophisticated; businesses and consumers know this. If businesses can't keep customers' information safe, they'll go elsewhere. Companies need those who can design and upkeep digital safeguards, prevent attacks, and run post-mortems when the worst happens. Those with cyber security know-how are big-ticket employees.

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Major Trends

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

AI is the general ability of computers to mimic human thinking and perform tasks. A part of artificial intelligence, machine learning uses algorithms to memorize patterns and apply each new understanding to make continuously improved decisions. Programmers use machine learning to push the limits of the cognition and responsiveness of a system.

Unsurprisingly, AI and machine learning have been at the top of everyone's radar - and it's not just the top tech companies with access anymore. AI is more democratized than ever, with the primary example being ChatGPT, developed by OpenAI, leading the charge.

Companies from every background are implementing AI tools. Customer service chatbots answer your questions online. Developers can program a device to write code. In healthcare, researchers at MIT are using AI models to assess lung cancer risk in patients. Over the coming years, AI is expected to play an even bigger role globally, having practical applications in every industry. According to a PwC survey, the top goals of businesses adopting AI are automating processes for better productivity, improving decision-making, and boosting the customer experience. All salaries are taken from Glassdoor.

Related jobs

  • AI research scientist

    An AI researcher develops and explores algorithms, models, and systems to advance the field of artificial intelligence. They work on tasks like natural language processing, computer vision, and machine learning, seeking to improve AI's capabilities, efficiency, and ethical considerations for real-world applications.

Average annual salary: $73,639

  • AI data analyst

    An AI data analyst analyzes and interprets vast amounts of data to identify patterns, trends, and insights. They preprocess and clean data, apply statistical techniques and use machine learning tools to derive meaningful information. Their goal is to support decision-making, improve AI models, and optimize AI-driven processes in various domains.

Average annual salary: $70,584/yr

  • Machine Learning Engineer

    A machine learning engineer designs, builds, and deploys machine learning models and systems. They work on data preparation, feature engineering, model training, and optimization, focusing on creating robust and scalable solutions. Their role involves bridging the gap between research and application to develop AI-driven products and services.

Average annual salary: $113,781

Virtual and Augmented Reality

Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and even Mixer Reality (MR) are now so popular that they all fall under the category of Extended Reality (XR). Only a few years ago, people were wowed by VR headsets immersing them in their favourite games and new realities.

Today, XR technologies are helping to train surgeons as they practise new (and old) types of surgeries. A Clinical Orthopedics and Related Research study found that VR training significantly increased the accuracy of surgery and the rate of completion of surgery. The auto and manufacturing industries are also making good use of XR. Extended reality technology can provide a first-person view of highly detailed processes in a safe environment where mistakes aren't detrimental.

Related jobs

  • Virtual Reality (VR) Developer

    Virtual reality developers design and develop immersive experiences using programming languages, platforms, and VR tools like 3D modelling and spatial audio to create interactive and visually captivating virtual environments and simulations.

Average annual salary: $152,275

  • XR Gameplay and Tools Engineer

    This person is responsible for building debugging, authoring, and profiling tools. They empower developers with solutions that lower their software iteration time. They also help improve developer tools and boost their workflow efficiency.

Average annual salary: $91,710

  • AR/VR Maintenance and Support

    An AR/VR Maintenance and Support person is responsible for ensuring the smooth operation, troubleshooting, and maintenance of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) hardware and software systems. They assist users with technical issues, perform regular updates and repairs, and provide training and support to optimize AR/VR experiences.

Average annual salary: $99,000 in the US (CA data unavailable)

Internet of Things

According to Oracle, "The Internet of Things (IoT) describes the network of physical objects—"things"—that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies to connect and exchange data with other devices and systems over the internet." These "things" can be ordinary household technologies like Amazon Alexa or Nest home thermometers to high-end software tools. By 2025, there are estimated to be 22 billion IoT devices worldwide.

Driving the boom is the implementation of IoT technology by businesses known as Industrial IoT (IIoT). With the cloud, analytics, and machine learning developing alongside, industries can achieve more efficient automation for things like smart manufacturing, connected logistics, and smart power grids to create new revenue streams and business models.

Related jobs

  • IoT Security Engineer

    An IoT Security Engineer focuses on securing Internet of Things (IoT) devices and networks. They identify vulnerabilities, implement robust security protocols, and monitor IoT systems to prevent cyber threats and data breaches. Their role involves ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of IoT infrastructure and data, safeguarding connected devices from potential attacks.

Average annual salary: $82,913

  • IoT Platform Developer

    An IoT Platform Developer designs, develops, and maintains the software infrastructure that supports Internet of Things (IoT) applications. They create platforms that enable communication, data management, and device integration for IoT ecosystems. Their role involves building scalable, reliable, and secure solutions to connect and manage many IoT devices and services.

Average annual salary: $79,448

  • IoT Architect

    An IoT Architect is responsible for designing the overall structure and framework of Internet of Things (IoT) systems. They develop high-level plans, select appropriate technologies, and define communication protocols for IoT solutions. Their role involves creating architectures that accommodate device connectivity, data processing, and analytics, ensuring seamless integration and scalability while addressing security and privacy concerns.

Average annual salary: $81,405

Cloud Computing

Delivering computing services like servers, storage, analytics, and intelligence over the internet (or "the cloud") allows for faster innovation and flexible resources. Cloud services are pay-as-you-go; users only pay for the services used, lowering operating costs and leading to more efficient infrastructure.

Having been a generally reliable source for how businesses have managed their large amounts of data, a new trend has emerged that is expected to take off in the coming years: edge computing. Edge computing is even more streamlined and can deliver a faster user experience. It also reduces latency because data doesn't have to travel between the cloud and devices, meaning businesses can analyze their data faster to make quicker decisions.

Related jobs

  • Cloud Administrator

    Companies increasingly store their data in the all-illusive 'cloud' to back up more of their data. Businesses rely on cloud administrators to maintain cloud-based systems and services' reliability, scalability, and efficiency.

Average annual salary: $116,140/year

  • Cloud Architect

    Like cloud administrators, cloud architects create and upkeep cloud environments. Their role is crucial in designing efficient, cost-effective, and reliable cloud environments that support business operations and enable digital transformation.

Average annual salary: $118,746/year

  • Edge Network Engineer

    An Edge Network Engineer specializes in designing, deploying, and maintaining edge computing infrastructures. They work on the network edge, closer to the devices and end-users, to improve performance, reduce latency, and optimize data processing. Their role involves configuring edge nodes, ensuring seamless communication, and implementing edge-based services to support emerging technologies like IoT, AR/VR, and AI applications.

Average annual salary: $149,155 (estimated as this is an emerging position with few working directly in the role)

Cyber Security

Cyber security is the veteran in this list, but it's continually becoming more sophisticated as cyber threats and malicious actors get more cunning. A 2022 global survey from Hiscox showed 43% of companies reported a cyber attack in 2021, and 48% reported at least one in 2022. From old email scams and phishing attempts, cybercriminals are turning to more complex forms of crime. Trends include cloud exploitation, hacktivism, and data theft and exploitation, usually attacking the source where millions of customers' data are stored.

Another troubling trend is Deepfakes. Deepfake technologies use AI and deep learning to create convincing videos masquerading as someone else. With the emergence of 5G networks, videos are easier to manipulate live. Cyber security is heading toward using AI to combat these deepfakes and securing vulnerable assets in IoT networks, cloud and edge storage, and mass data stores.

Related jobs

  • Cyber Security Specialist/Technician

    A Cyber Security Specialist is an expert in the field of information technology security. You'll work to make sure systems networks are secure from external threats like hackers who want to gain access for malicious intentions.

Average annual salary: $97,463

  • Cyber Security Incident Analyst/Responder

    You're the person who investigates once an attack has occurred (although there's more to the job than that). You'll complete post-mortems after an attack to see what went wrong or what vulnerabilities in the system allowed the incident to happen. Once you've documented your findings, it's up to you to implement strategies to prevent further problems.

Average annual salary: $92,769

  • IT Security Architect

    Architects provide cyber security guidance to IT team members. They also lead team members in putting security procedures and protocols in place and responding to security breaches.

Average annual salary: $134,984

How bootcamps bridge the skill gap

With 2.3 million digital workers needed by 2025, Canada needs tech workers who can get started ASAP. Many will enter the workforce via the traditional route: university or college. Others will discover a passion for tech later in life when university is far behind them. For these people, the prospect of spending another four years at school can hinder them from pursuing a career in their newfound interest. They need a program that condenses the need-to-know information into a shorter period.

This is where bootcamps come in.

1. Bootcamps get you into the job market quickly.

Bootcamps train you with the relevant skills through hands-on learning in just a few months. Usually quite intensive, bootcamps are the epitome of "short-term pain for long-term gain," with a lot of education packed into such a short timeframe. However, many bootcamps have mentors and support staff to help students through hiccups and career services to help students land their first jobs.

2. Most bootcamps are online and accessible.

Due to the remote nature of most tech jobs, many bootcamps have shifted to an online education model. This makes the online bootcamp option more accessible as anyone with a computer, an internet connection, and the right software can complete one.

From there, bootcamp graduates are hired to work remotely, as tech companies don't necessarily need them to live in the same city as headquarters, filling the tech gap more quickly.

3. Bootcamps lead to jobs with staying power.

Those who enter tech tend to stick around. Tech jobs aren't stagnant and offer tons of opportunities for career growth. The salary and perks aren't too shabby, either. Starting salaries are between $50,000 and $70,000 annually and rise quickly.

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Get job-ready in 2024 with Lighthouse Labs

We say this all the time, but now is quite literally the best time to launch a tech career. It's a job-seekers market, and employers are upping the incentive for new tech workers with salary and perks. Whether you're looking into Cyber Security, Data Science, Data Analytics, or Web Development, Lighthouse Labs has the tools and team to get you started.

The Lighthouse Labs Advantage

  • Relevant, up-to-date programs

    We keep on top of trends and update our hands-on, industry-led programs accordingly so you enter the job market with the best possible chances of landing that first crucial role.

  • Immersive, remote learning environment

    Just because everything's online doesn't mean you'll miss out on the community. You'll have a network of mentors, lecturers, and fellow students to enrich your learning experience.

  • Academic and personal support We have a team of Student Success Coordinators and those dedicated to making sure the program fits your individual needs so no student is left behind.

  • Career Services for LIFE

    From the moment you start your program at Lighthouse Labs until the end of your career, you have access to the Career Services team. Having achieved an 85% hiring rate for our job-seeking graduates, you can come back for career development advice at any point in your career.

Excited to kickstart your tech journey and enjoy the ups and downs of the roller coaster? Discover our programs and apply now – it's just a 10-minute process.