Tuesday, January 27, 2015

It's all Happening in Okanagan

A Prime Place to Start a Technology-Driven Business

Okanagan Valley (source: Wikipedia)
A recent study commissioned by Accelerate Okanagan presented some interesting findings on the business location potential of Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Canada. Conducted by an independent third party, the study found that this peaceful valley is not only a popular retirement and holiday destination known for having many summer and winter outdoor activities on offer. This beautiful area is also an ideal location for business if you are in the tech industry.

How a holiday destination can also be a tech hub

Beautiful lakes, magnificent mountains and a mild climate are perfect ingredients for excellent leisure time, but are not usually the right recipe for business success. What makes Okanagan Valley different is that it is one of those rare gems that provide the perfect balance between beautiful surroundings and viable commerce. There are a few reasons for this.

The money

The financial side of the research report had great news for future tech business startups interested in the Okanagan Valley. The Okanagan technology industry has contributed over $1 billion to the local economy through 2013 alone. With that sort of cash injection, the community certainly welcomes the industry.

High quality workers

The vibrant culture of the valley attracts people from far and wide and has resulted in an influx of highly skilled workers. There is a good mix of employed workers and self-employed contractors. 'Good help is hard to find these days' is more of a fact than it is a cliché all over the world nowadays. A high quality lifestyle is something that attracts quality people - the building blocks of every good tech company.


Although it would be idyllic to work on a remote and beautiful island or in another beautiful area, this is not always practically possible. Okanagan is picturesque and offers fantastic leisure options but also has every resource required by big business companies. It boasts an international airport with regular flights to 64 destinations and a support structure that includes programmes geared for acceleration and growth. Okanagan is also already home to well over 500 tech businesses and has a technologically advanced infrastructure ready to support many more.

My advice for budding tech companies is to jump in while there is still space.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Tech Skills Needed in 2015

become the top IT dog in today's competitive industry
Become the top IT dog in today's competitive industry
What moves faster than a speeding bullet? Superman, right? Wrong. Technology moves even faster than the Man of Steel. Those brave souls scouting for a new career path or the fresh-faced individuals straight out of college have to keep up with the trends or lose out. Imagine spending years, and in some countries a small fortune, on a top education in the latest tech only to find that your skills are outdated. The only thing for job hunters to do is to try keep abreast of the industry expectations and also to make sure that the popular non-certified tech skills form part of their repertoire.

What's hot?

According to an analysis made by LinkedIn recruiters, the IT skills that are making the tech world revolve these days are:

  • Mobile development
  • Web architecture
  • Virtualization
  • Algorithm design
  • Development framework
  • Middleware
  • Integration software
  • Java development 
  • SEO/SEM marketing
  • Channel marketing
  • IC design

Non-certified skills

Candidates not only need to work hard to achieve some of the above hard-earned skills to ensure their place on the high-tech corporate ladder, they have to stock up on non-certified skills to ensure fiscal growth. David Foote of Foote Partners and CIO magazine conducted a study recently with the aim of finding out which non-certified IT skills are lately required for higher compensation in the workplace - with some interesting findings. Foote and CIO.com discovered that there is a completely new set of skills that are vital before recruiters start hammering on doors, including:

  • Cloud skills
  • Big data analytics
  • Business intelligence
  • Apache Cassandra and Apache CouchDB
  • NoSQL
  • MongoDB
  • Security skills - including mobile security
  • Management process and methodology skills
  • Prescriptive analytics

Although this is by no means an all-inclusive instructional list of how to become the top IT dog in today's competitive industry, it would certainly pay candidates to explore further learning options in these areas.