The BC Technology Sector: It isn’t just Vancouver

By Mike Anderson

Editor’s Note: Mike Anderson, SpeedLine’s Product & Senior Development Manager recently published an article about the technology industry in Abbotsford, BC, where our headquarters are located. I thought the article would be of interest to our readers in order to share insight into how the technology products your restaurant uses are built and supported.

With the media-focus on Vancouver being the tech-industry capital of Canada, innovations and opportunities in the rest of the province are often overlooked. Vancouver has a bustling tech sector, with high demands for talented people. In the past decade, there have been a number of big tech companies that have moved into the Vancouver market, including Microsoft and Amazon. It’s produced a number of startups-turned-successful-companies as well: Slack, Hootsuite, and Bench to name a few. Startup growth has continued 

into the green energy, sustainability, AI, and IoT market.

At the post-secondary-level, there’s been a lot of activity at local universities and colleges educating the next generation of software developers, IT professionals, and UX/UI designers. 

That flood of qualified, educated, and experienced tech workers has spilled over into the rest of the Lower Mainland. The region has become a hotbed of technology activity, presenting opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship within the surrounding cities.

SpeedLine Solutions Inc., the company I work for, is located in Abbotsford. Abbotsford is a city of 150,000 people located about an hour’s drive from Vancouver in the middle of the Fraser Valley. While it has a good variety of leisure activities, shopping, and services, Abbotsford doesn’t have that overwhelming big-city feel. I live and work in the Fraser Valley, and don’t need to spend hours of my week commuting—and I’m still part of a thriving tech community.  

Living here, I’ve grown to appreciate that there are talented people everywhere. You don’t need to live downtown Vancouver to pursue a career in software development; these opportunities now exist throughout the entire region, and province. 

British Columbia has been, and I expect it to continue to be, a Canadian leader in technology. Right now, 84,000 people work in the sector in BC. Our province is known for our forestry, mining, and oil and gas industries, but the technology sector employs more people than all of them combined. It is a major part of our provincial economy, contributing 7.6% of our GDP. As our economy develops, and we move away from the traditional, resource-based economy, the industry will continue to grow.

With the advent of the cloud, the scope of our sector has expanded significantly. There are opportunities across many disciplines within the software space including dealing with data, infrastructure, and applications. People can choose to specialize in a specific area of software development, or remain generalists. The commoditization of technology via the cloud has allowed people to more easily start their own businesses to solve specific niche problems.

And those niche problems are being solved here, in the Fraser Valley. Many of the established software companies and start-ups are addressing very specific needs. SpeedLine builds point of sale systems for pizza and delivery restaurants; SiteDocs creates software to manage safety compliance documents; Drumeo makes online lessons and videos for teaching percussion. Other companies service the industry, such as Domain7, a user experience company that helps organizations transition to the digital economy. 

I’m excited to see what will happen in the next decade, both within BC and within the Fraser Valley. Our industry will continue to grow, and I feel that there will be many new opportunities for software developers throughout the region that I call home.


Posted on Wed, Aug 14, 2019 @ 08:08 AM.
Updated on March 11, 2020 @ 4:39 PM PST.

Posted by Mike Anderson

Mike is the Product & Senior Development Manager at SpeedLine Solutions Inc. He and his teams deliver the innovative products that make SpeedLine the go-to for pizza and delivery point of sale solutions.

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