May 6, 2022
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4 Minutes

Building from the Ground Up: Insights on Working in Emerging Tech from Our Head of Technology

Careers in Tech

We chat with Adile Abbadi-MacIntosh about pushing boundaries in tech, emerging trends to watch for, and career-defining opportunities at early-stage startups. 

With 25 years in the game as a software developer, Adile has stood at the precipice of groundbreaking technology, including the dot com era, the rise of mobile app development, and the birth of digital health records. Now, he plays a vital role leading the charge in developing programs that scale tech talent in Canada.

How do emerging trends create tech jobs in Canada?

When our reliance on technology increases, so does our need for people to implement these solutions. While data is captured and analyzed by machines, we need people to build out the AI in order for us to use them, whether it’s IoT, crypto, or machine learning. There is so much work in tech, with opportunities for people to become machine learning engineers, AI engineers, AI research scientists, architects, and more. 

Not only do you need to have experience in programming languages to break into this space, but you also need to know the fundamentals of web services, flat and relational databases, and security protocols. Fortunately, there are opportunities for people to learn and build up those skills, such as Harvest’s Talent Incubator program.

How can we build skilled talent in this sector?

Tech talent, in general, is lacking in Canada. We have great developers here but we don’t have the quantity of senior-level skills that we’re looking for, especially in the IoT space. 

Lots of electrical engineers have no problem building embedded devices and understand the components required to make microcontrollers. But what’s missing is that secondary understanding of what it takes to transmit data in real-time, communicate over Bluetooth or WiFi, and convert that infrastructure into an environment that can be interpreted in the cloud.

“Bridging the gap between working in a closed system and communications with cloud services is the most powerful skill in IoT.”

IoT devices fundamentally need to be able to communicate with the cloud or some web-based tech. And to address that skills gap, many companies are willing to offer educational resources and mentorship. 

Here at Harvest, we’re building an incubator program to help tech talent upskill their portfolio, so they have what it takes to be an embedded controller and communicate with the outside world.

What’s so exciting about this new generation of tech?

Without a doubt – to be on the frontline of a build. Personally, I like to make those big picture decisions and facilitate the direction of where I take the database design, application, backend and front web services, and how we piece them all together.

When you join a company with an existing tech stack, you’re effectively going into an organization that is inheriting its platforms and infrastructure. You don’t have the ability to make your mark with the technology and determine what the structure looks like. 

“It’s like coming into a house that’s already been built. If you want a new kitchen or to add an extension to the house, you have to work with what you’ve got. You’re limited by what’s already in place. But when you work at a startup, you get to define your starting point.” 

You can look at the goals of the organization and flex your creative muscles. You can be dynamic, agile, experiment – even allow those experiments to fail – and explore opportunities in solutions that have never been done before. When you’re working from the ground up, the sky’s the limit.

With new emerging languages and developing environments, we’re scaling mind-blowing innovation. We can deliver services you never could before, significantly reduce costs, and make dev more creative.

Why work in emerging tech?

Tech careers are so exciting. You get to be agile, work on your feet, and come up with quick solutions, which is exciting in its own right. Startup environments are driven by market needs and creative desire.

“For anyone looking to join a startup – look at it as your opportunity to really be creative and a chance to be at the start of something new.”

Also, never underestimate the value of equity in an organization. When you have a personal stake in the company, that value becomes greater. You invest interest in its success and it will naturally become a big drive for innovation. You’re not just employee number 268, you’re an owner. And when you’re an owner, your brain sees things differently and helps you focus on what you need to do in order to drive value.

To kickstart your career in tech, check out our network of open positions.

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