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Software QA and Testing Ecosystem in Vancouver

Vik Bogdanov
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The city of Vancouver has a vibrant Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Tech sector that is multifaceted and dynamic. It’s also rapidly evolving to attract top global talent with companies both big and small playing their part in getting noticed. 

Bloomberg called Vancouver the “new tech hub” a few years ago and it has proved to be just that. With fewer immigration headaches (when compared to its neighbor to the south), you can bet that the city’s continuing to thrive in recent years.

For example, the city is home to three of Canada’s top four startups valued at more than a billion dollars. These “tech unicorns” are as follows:

  • Avigilon
  • Hootsuite
  • Slack

Brief Overview of Tech Ecosystem in Vancouver

Out of approximately 101,000 tech professionals in British Columbia (BC), about 75,000 are working in Vancouver. With more than 7,000 companies scattered around the city and the rest of BC, you can expect loads of Quality Assurance (QA) and testing going on.

The industry which generates over $23 billion in revenue with about $15 billion in GDB includes the following segments:

  • Business intelligence
  • E-commerce
  • Security and financial tech (fintech)
  • Social media
  • Software as a Service (SaaS)
  • Web technologies

Wireless technology is also leading the industry with approximately 1,200 wireless companies in the area employing about 10,200 people. The wireless sector itself boasts industry revenues of approximately $3 billion.

There’s also a lot of funding for this sector as the Canada Accelerator and Incubator Program (CAIP) recently awarded over a third of its funding to accelerators located in Vancouver. Further, with the Startup Visa dedicated to attracting the world’s top entrepreneurial talent, the city will continue to grow as one of the best tech hubs on the planet.

So What’s in it for QA Engineers and Testers?

The average salary for a software tester in Canada is $68,273 per year with skills like system testing, Linux, test planning, regression testing, and test automation attracting higher pay. Further, work experience has a moderate impact on income for this position. The national average is about $52,988.

QA jobs in Vancouver usually cover the following positions:

  • Software Quality Assurance (SQA) Lead
  • Quality Assurance Analyst (Computer Software)
  • Sr. Test/Quality Assurance Engineer (Computer Software)
  • Software Quality Assurance (SQA) Analyst

If you want to find out where all this talent hangs out, you don’t have to look very far. There are plenty of groups who discuss industry related topics online and regularly “meetup” offline.

In the QA space, there’s the VANQ which is a Metro Vancouver community group that’s focused on sharing knowledge and experience related to software quality assurance and testing. It also provides a great opportunity to network with a highly skilled and talents group of individuals.

But there're also plenty of groups within the general technology space like TechVancouver Meetup that gets together on a monthly basis. This group is focused on sharing knowledge (with five-minute presentations by five industry experts) and networking.

So regardless of whether you work for an industry giant or a small startup, there are ample opportunities here to learn from each other. It’s also a great venue to promote yourself or your product.

Other groups in the city that cover QA and testing topics include HackerNest Vancouver Tech Socials, Women Who Code (WWCode), and Tech Talent Meetup. These and other groups in the area can give you access to a wealth of skills and talent in one place.

With America’s immigration policies currently going through a period of uncertainty and changes, Vancouver has now become even more important for technology companies. So it will be interesting to see how the city and the technology sector as evolves and adapts in the near future.