BC’s tech sector needs thousands of new tech workers, pronto (Province). A feature article notes that 10,000 new jobs need to be filled this year, on top of the 75,000 already employed across all sectors of the industry. These are good jobs with above-average pay, stimulating and creative work environments and exciting opportunities for career progression. And you don’t even necessarily need a background in tech — university graduates and people looking to shift careers just need a willingness to learn, enthusiasm for technology and some transferrable skills.
So it seems odd that tech companies may actually have trouble filling all those new jobs. While the significant need for new workers bodes well for the tech industry overall, a spokesperson for the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of B.C. quoted in the same article seems to suggest that people may still be very wary of entering the tech industry. Are vestigial memories of the dot-com bubble bursting at the turn of the century really still giving so many people the willies in 2008?
The problem is perhaps one of unreal expectations. The early days of the Internet were indeed filled with far too many technology enthusiasts with audaciously big ideas and multi-million dollar budgets to match — but without anything close to the technology needed to back it up. When investors recognized the scale of the disconnect between available technology and their business plans, they stampeded for the exits. It was a bad scene for everyone.
But the tech industry has matured since the bad old days of irrational exuberance — hasn’t it? Sure, tech companies have ambitious plans, but we also have better Internet technology, bandwidth and computing power to actually implement business plans. It’s too bad that memories of the Information Age’s difficult birth may still be turning people away from an industry that is actually doing quite well at the moment.
Will BC’s tech industry be able to find all the workers it needs? If the industry as a whole can’t achieve its ambitious targets this time around, it will have far more to do with a lack of human resources than technology.