By: Jeffrey Low
The McMaster community is playing a key role in the rise of the tech industry in Hamilton.
Carolynn Reid, business development consultant with Hamilton’s economic development office, writes, “Hamilton is home to world-class universities, colleges and research-intensive companies that have created an ideal environment for new product development and innovation.”
At McMaster Innovation Park (MIP), start-ups and young companies seeking growth have raised more than $350 million in less than 10 years.
David Carter, executive director of the Innovation Factory located at MIP, notes, “With more and more cloud-based businesses starting up, why would you pay for an office with high cost per square footage in the GTA? People building companies want a work/live environment that is accessible to the employees. Hamilton offers that.”
“Start-ups and entrepreneurs thrive in our hardworking, high-tech city, where the cost of entry is very competitive with other tech-centric cities in the region,” Reid adds.
Notably, financial tech company Q4 Inc. recently announced that it will be opening a new office in downtown Hamilton, bringing more than 100 jobs to the city.
But what does this mean for McMaster students and alumni?
Tech companies need workers with a wide range of skills. For example, soft skills such as strategic planning and critical thinking are invaluable — especially in an industry that changes daily.
Carter shares, “We hear a lot about the tech jobs, but there are a number of roles that bridge the tech to the user. UX, aka User Experience is finally getting the recognition it deserves. If the technology … is not intuitive, then it will not get used. Technology that is not being used gets replaced.”
As a McMaster student, how can you take advantage of your university experiences and connections to start a career in tech?
“Get out there and network … Too many young job seekers hide behind an electronic profile,” shares Carter.
Attending a job fair is a great way to connect with employers.
Connect to Careers Job Fair is happening March 5 at FirstOntario Centre, where job seekers will have a chance to interact with more than 140 employers. This year’s fair will have a focus on the tech industry, with the Innovation Factory’s Tech Zone to feature several tech companies, including Q4 Inc., MedTel Software Ltd., Viziya Corp., Webility Solutions Inc., Orbis Communications Inc. and Ackroo.
To prepare for Connect to Careers, attendees can download the free app to learn about the organizations and opportunities that will be featured at the fair. Using the app, job seekers can favourite the employers they are interested in and filter the list of employers by opportunity type.
Connect to Careers is a partnership between McMaster University, Mohawk College, Redeemer University, Workforce Planning Hamilton and Hamilton’s Economic Development Office.