As industries change, so do the skills of the employees who work in them.

This change is perhaps most prevalent in the IT industry. Tim Collins, president and founder of Stafflink Solutions, a Toronto-based boutique IT staffing company, says that employers need agile, creative people who can help them build solutions that transform traditional products with new technologies.

“Five years ago mobile development was hot, but it was in its infancy,” he says. “Employers wanted to get content on the web in a mobile-friendly way. Now companies are looking to generate revenue quickly by harvesting data from the web.”

But, according to a recent Robert Half Technology report, 35 per cent of chief information officers in the country say it’s very or somewhat challenging to find skilled IT professionals today.

So what are they looking for? We asked the experts to highlight some of the top tech skills needed this year:


Python, a high-level programming language, can be required for various roles. The tool is important because it can be used in many ways, from big data, to web development, to machine learning.

“Python is not a niche skill,” says Collins. “We’ll still be talking about Python in three years.”

His advice to transitioning developers or new graduates is to take a Python course combined with a course on machine learning – a field of computer science that gives computers the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed.

“Adding these to your repertoire will make you more competitive on the job market.”


JavaScript, another type of programming, is essential in all kinds of web development.

Collins calls it “the secret sauce” that allows users to have a dynamic and interactive experience with an application. Plus, it’s compatible with all browsers.

Collins says the most popular JavaScript frameworks that Stafflink sees a demand for are Angular, React, Node, Vue and Meteor.

“At Stafflink we have more jobs than candidates with strong Angular.js and Node.js skills combined,” he says. “If you have experience with both Node and Angular then your chances to get employment go up dramatically. “

He adds that it’s helpful to get a Stack Overflow profile with examples of your code.

“Many employers will ask for this, or at least be impressed by it.”

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Collins believes AWS is a mainstream skill that’s here to stay for at least the next few years.

“It’s an essential skill for developers and software engineers because cloud computing services are the backbone of most businesses, and AWS is the cloud computing platform of choice for many large organizations,” he explains.

Cloud computing has three main types: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS).

“If you’re a job seeker looking for an AWS job and you have these skills, make sure to include the acronyms IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS on your resume.”


TensorFlow is a machine learning framework that’s been widely adopted for machine learning development. Essentially, TensorFlow is an open-source deep learning library for coding neural networks. It enables developers to optimize basic neural networks.

Due to the AI/machine learning revolution in Toronto and worldwide, the demand for TensorFlow is likely to take off even more in 2018 and 2019, says Collins.

“Sure, there are other machine learning frameworks similar to TensorFlow, but as a product of Google Brain, TensorFlow is backed by some serious marketing muscle.”

Soft skills

Jesper Bendtsen, chief people officer at Toronto-based Top Hat – a cloud educational platform that leverages mobile to turn classrooms into interactive learning experiences – notes the importance of skills that aren’t on the technical front.

He says it’s important for members of Top Hat’s product and engineering team to work well together, “to have a keen sense of understanding of their work on our customers, continuously look to increase their execution velocity, and collaborate well with peers on other teams.”

Bendtsen also searches for candidates with entrepreneurship and coachabiliity. “We hire folks who demonstrate the capability to identify opportunities as well as problems, and actively seek out solutions,” he explains.

“This level of initiative drives our ability to iterate and innovate. We also prioritize a candidate’s perceived coachability. We look for those who are open to and thrive on constructive feedback. We want people on our team who want to improve.”


See also:

Five skills (you probably already have) that can double your value on the job market

Career trends: The essential skills you’ll need for the jobs of the next five years


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