Where we stand

  Before I bring up the tech community in cape breton i’d like to mention a few things;

  • Nova Scotians pay the highest taxes
  • Halifax has the biggest population in all of Atlantic Canada
  • over 60% of Nova Scotia lives in the greater Halifax area
  • In Atlantic Canada, by the year 2020, 1/3 Canadians will be a senior citizen
  • The total number of people in Cape Breton is as of the 2016 census was 132,010(making 15% of NS) people and has a 2.9 % decrease in population since 2011.
  • Cape Breton is also moderately a conservative business market, historically, fishing ,forestry, coal and steel, the two former, being almost non existent since the 80’s.

You may ask why I bring these points up. Does that mean I believe there is no hope for the tech sector in Cape Breton. Absolutely not. It just means we need more programs to grow our base, to stay competitive. Everyone in Nova Scotia has a friend, family member, or know one of our young people that has gone out west. We’ve seen what’s happened when we lose our younger work force. We’ve seen that oil is not a dependable source for our market, nationally or globally.  We need something viable stable and keeps us growing in today’s market, the more green the better.

 

What’s next?

Many communities globally are shifting from industrialization (like Cape Breton) ,replacing coal with code.  We should start introducing code to high school students (more abundantly) if not younger grades.  Movies and media has portrayed the lone coder as some rock super star, but i believe while it is great to have an entrepreneurial spirit. There’s nothing wrong with having a RRSP or savings to fall back on, with a stable 9-5 job making over 60k a year  and can be just as rewarding. Technology is only going forward not backwards in today’s society. The more education we bring to Cape Breton, the better our community, and province will be because of it.

 

Trade coal for code.
We need to invest in the base of our community. Show that we will not be left behind. Gone is the middle class of factory workers. Developers are the way of the future.I know when some think of developers they think the Mark Zuckerberg, the Social network movie but studies show that Silicon valley only employs 8% of the nation’s coders.The rest are freelancing or in steady stable employment. We are in an age where we see a shift, gone is the pillar of car plants  lumber yards and other factory blue collar jobs. Coding is an up and coming employment,that can provide stability with 40 hours a week, good salary, and be intellectually challenging. More people are realizing that instead of a 4 year computer science degree, time and money could be better spent at community college, long months in dev bootcamps, or better yet here at UIT. Maybe we won’t live out the romantic idea of the social network. But working at a local bank, or call centre slinging Javascript 40 hours a week, isn’t a bad gig either. The great thing is thanks to tech education institutions like UIT, if one of us starts a business and succeeds we will be growing the tech sector as well as the community in Cape Breton.  

The global market is becoming more and more competitive. We are feeling the shocks even here in atlantic canada. We need to stay ahead, and current. We need moree pivoting away from industrialization. We need to be less conservative in our approach, and bring tech education into public schools as much if not more as trades are. I’m glad I learned how to make a shelf in shop….. but I think if I learned HTML, and CSS would be just as gratifying and probably  more relevant. Better late than never I guess!

 

I had the privilege to actually mention a lot of these things in our school. We had a conference that discussed tech education in Cape Breton. Check it out!!


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