written by Mitchell Kedrosky
Kanata North is the largest tech hub in Canada, so it’s no surprise that its annual career fair, Discover TechNATA is quickly becoming one of the largest talent hunts in the country.
After the first job fair in Kanata North in 2014, the event quickly grew in popularity and size. In 2016 it was renamed to Discover TechNATA, Tech Expo and Talent Hunt . This year, over 2500 attendants visited Discover TechNATA with resumes in hand and hopes to land their dream job at one of the Ottawa’s prestigious technology firms.
Held at the elegant and spacious Brookstreet Hotel, the event was a major success. With over 80 companies filling the Brookstreet’s ballrooms and corridors, many positive connections were made. Discover TechNATA is just a taste of the many job opportunities in Kanata North.
During the day-long affair a variety of Kanata North companies– new arrivals and others as old as the tech hub itself– try to recruit as much talent as possible.
“This is a big year for us, it’s our 45th year of business. We’re among the oldest companies in Kanata North,” says Amy MacLeod, Mitel’s vice president of communications. “One of the keys to surviving four-and-a-half decades is constant reinvention and innovation. We’re looking for current skills, and like everyone else, we’re looking for smart enthusiastic people You could work here for 30 to 40 years, constantly working at cutting-edge companies. If you’re looking to launch your career, I wouldn’t look any further.”
At a career fair like TechNATA, it’s important to make a strong first impression: “We’re going to talk to at least 500 software developers today; in the first-hour-and-a-half we talked to about 150 people,” says Andrew Armstrong, chief customer officer of DataKinetics, “We’re growing so fast, I like to say that we’re running faster than our feet can carry us.”
“If someone comes out here looking for work, I’ll say, I don’t want to see your resumé, I want you to wow me. I want you to tell me why you’re different or special. If you want to come here and take the football and run with it, you’re just the person I want to talk to, and you’ll go far in this community,” says Armstrong.
Armstrong concluded in saying: “Kanata North is probably one of the very few places on earth with such a diversity of opportunities.” When you look at TechNATA, it’s clear he couldn’t be more right. Businesses are looking for people who excel in the field of AI, coding, game development, technical writing, voice recognition, hardware, telecommunications, the list goes on.
It was Syntronic’s fourth year at TechNATA, their business development manager Jimmy Kelland, says “I’ve seen how TechNATA has evolved and grown, and I can certainly see that it is going to be growing more. I’ve seen the line-ups downstairs firsthand. I believe there’s like 3000 positions available in this tech hub. We’re going to have to outsource outside of Ottawa to fill the jobs here.”
Many local community leaders also came out to TechNATA, including city councilors, and Mayor Jim Watson.
“This is a great success story. We’ve seen some downtimes out here, particularly when Nortel closed, but we’re on an upswing now,” says Mayor Watson. “We just saw a study that came out two days ago that says Ottawa is the best place to live, work, and raise a family. Part of the reason is I think the companies have done a great job at ensuring a good quality of life for people who want to live and work in Ottawa.”
The tech companies have also created a vibrant and unique office culture. With organized weekly events in the area, and distinct startups embracing the new wave of fun office culture.
“We’re an office full of young smart people. We have hammocks, beer taps, we order food on Wednesday, there’s jars of candy, and we ride around on scooters and hoverboards. We had to move into a two floor office building, and we already have our sights on the third floor,” says Ally Hall of You.i TV, one of Kanata’s younger success stories. “We hire a lot of people at events like this.”
Just because TechNATA is over, Kanata North still has many positions that need filling. Exhibitors at TechNATA have posted their job opportunities on the Kanata North Business Associations Job Board.
Check them out here.