BC’s high tech sector employs over 100,00 people and the sector employs nearly 5% of BC’s population, with wages on average of 30% higher than that of the average BC worker. 71% of all jobs in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) are in computer science. Growth of jobs in the tech sector is only expected to grow, and in BC, tech jobs now outnumber resource-based jobs in mining, forestry, and oil and gas combined. Metro Vancouver has some of the largest tech companies operating here, such as Microsoft, Sony Pictures Imageworks, and Electronic Arts.
Electronic Arts Canada is Headquartered in Burnaby
Electronic Arts is one of the largest gaming corporations in the world. Its worldwide headquarters are in Redwood City, California, but its Canadian headquarters are in Burnaby. Electronic Arts Canada in Burnaby employs over 1,700 people, and focuses on the highly-popular, innovative, and competitive area of sports gaming. EA’s top selling franchises are FIFA, NHL, UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship/mixed martial arts), and Need for Speed, a popular driving game. EA Canada got its start as the Burnaby company Distinctive Software in 1983, and it was bought and renamed by EA in 1991.
Getting into the Game
Are you interested in a career in gaming? To satisfy the demand for employment in high tech and gaming, BC schools are supporting a core focus in computer science. In 2016, the Liberal government announced that coding would be introduced in all BC schools, recognising computer science as foundational curriculum, and that all students need to know how the internet works, how to build an app, and, of course, coding and programming.
Kids Can Learn Coding Basics in Kindergarten
Organisations like code.org offer free programs for students as young as five to learn the basics in coding. Another good reason for building coding into the K-12 curriculum is that there is a far greater chance of diversity and inclusiveness when computer science is a required core curriculum subject. Unfortunately, the gender gap in computer science, both in Canada and in the US, is growing, so organisations that empower girls to go into the fields of computer science are critically important. Girls in Burnaby elementary schools have achieved excellence in this area.
Prepare for Gaming Jobs at EA with the Right Skills
For those in high school looking towards a career in gaming, students need to focus on sciences, math, calculus, along with other disciplines, with competitive marks, if they want to obtain a degree prior to a career in gaming and design. (Many gaming design jobs at EA require an undergraduate degree in computer science.) UBC offers degrees in computer science (which combine other disciplines within the degree). Other options include SFU and BCIT. Vancouver is also home to the Centre for Digital Media. UBC and SFU computer science degree programs also offer practical co-op placements, that can make all the difference in finding meaningful employment after graduation.