Best Cities for Software Engineer Jobs & Salaries in Canada

Female software engineer resolving a code issue with a colleague
With a labour shortage, there are many cities for software engineers to consider continuing their careers.

Driving up the demand for software engineers and their salaries is the fact that more and more tech companies are expanding into Canada. As a high-demand occupation, we’ll look at key Canadian cities for software engineers to consider continuing their careers. Over the next decade, 27,500 jobs for software engineers, also known as software developers are expected to open up. To meet that demand, only 24,000 workers are expected to fill those jobs. This creates an employment shortage in the field. And while this isn’t ideal for employers, software engineers will have an easier time finding jobs in the next few years.

How Much Do Software Engineers Earn in Canada?

Software engineers earn well above the national average salary. And because software engineers are in high demand, employers are willing to pay higher salaries. The national median salary is $92,506 a year or $48.08 per hour. Entry-level engineers earn a little lesser, starting at $55,507 a year or $28.85 per hour. Senior software engineers that are well-established in their jobs can earn up to $133,391 a year or $69.33 per hour.

Of course, not every province is even when it comes to job opportunities and salaries for engineers. Some provinces have a higher demand for them than others. For example, British Columbia and Ontario tend to pay much higher wages than other provinces. Let’s take a look at the best Canadian cities for software engineers.

1. Toronto, Ontario

Toronto has consistently had the fastest-growing tech sector of any North American city for the past few years. As a result, Toronto is now the largest tech hub in Canada and the 3rd-largest in North America. Unsurprisingly, Toronto has no shortage of tech jobs, and software engineers, especially, are in high demand. The Greater Toronto Area as a whole has a high demand for skilled tech workers. From sports and entertainment to finance, many businesses in Toronto are looking for engineers. There is a good chance you will find a job in the industry you want to work for.

Some of the biggest employers for software engineers in Toronto are IBM, Amazon, Google, Scotiabank, RBC, BMO, and Ceridian. As well, many private businesses employ software developers. As a result, engineers can be found in almost every type of business in the Greater Toronto Area.

What is the Median Software Engineer Salary in Toronto?

The median salary in Toronto for software engineers is $88,793 or $46.15 per hour. Entry-level employees can hope to make at least $53,872. A senior software engineer’s salary can be up to $124,868.

2. Vancouver, British Columbia

Vancouver has seen massive growth as a tech hub in the past few years. It is hard to deny that Vancouver has earned a place as an emerging global tech hub. The arrival of tech giants such as Amazon and Shopify has only bolstered the growth of Vancouver’s tech sector. As of 2022, Vancouver is still going strong with plenty of software engineering jobs on the market.

The biggest employers for software engineers in Vancouver are Amazon, Microsoft, Electronic Arts, and SAP. And as more and more companies establish firms in Vancouver, the demand is sure to increase.

What is the Median Software Engineer Salary in Vancouver?

Compared to Toronto, software engineers in Vancouver earn quite a bit more. The median salary is $101,741 or $52.88 per hour.  Wages can range from $56,739 a year to $138,759 a year depending on your position, experience, and how long you have been with your employer.

3. Ottawa, Ontario

This next city brings us back to Ontario. The capital city of Canada is unsurprisingly brimming with opportunities for software engineers. In fact, Ottawa has the highest concentration of tech workers in Canada, with almost 10% of Ottawa’s workforce employed in the tech sector. Another benefit of working in Ottawa is that it has a lot of government-related jobs for software engineers. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and the Government of Canada are some of the biggest employers of software engineers in Ottawa. Other big employers include IBM, Cisco, Ciena, Shopify and Blackberry.

What is the Median Software Engineer Salary in Ottawa?

Ottawa boasts some of the highest salaries for software engineers in the country. The median salary in Ottawa for software engineers is $101,741 a year or $52.88 per hour. New engineers start with a pretty high salary of $68,206, which is $35.45 per hour. For a senior software engineer’s salary, you can expect to earn up to $139,144.

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4. Calgary, Alberta

If you don’t mind having snow for seven months a year, moving to Calgary is a good option for software engineers. Calgary has quietly been developing into a tech hub for the past few years, making it a great city for engineers. And, it’s one of the best cities when it comes to quality of life in Canada.

The city has a diverse economy, and software engineers can work in many different fields. Calgary does not have one or two big companies that employ a big portion of Calgary’s software engineers. Instead, the market comprises multiple small companies that each hire a handful of software engineers. This allows Calgarians to choose the fields in which they want to put their skills to use. The top employers for software engineers in Calgary are Morgan Stanley, SMART Technologies, Shaw, University of Calgary, and Cisco.

What is the Median Software Engineer Salary in Calgary?

In Calgary, a software engineer can make an average of $90,659 a year or $47.12 per hour. If you are a new engineer, you can hope to make around $50,871 a year. A senior software engineer’s salary can be up to $134,122 a year.

5. Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario

The success of Toronto’s tech sector is radiating out to nearby municipalities. Kitchener-Waterloo, especially, has benefited from the outflow of tech opportunities from Toronto. And even though its tech sector is not nearly as established as Toronto’s, Kitchener-Waterloo is well on its way to becoming a major center for innovation and technology.

The Kitchener-Waterloo area has recently caught the attention of Google. The tech giant is planning on opening new offices in Waterloo, creating the need for many software developers. Even before the arrival of Google, Kitchener-Waterloo had many opportunities. Some of the top tech employers in Kitchener-Waterloo include Google, BlackBerry, Sandvine and McAfee. And since the region is currently experiencing massive growth in its tech sector, job growth is promising.

What is the Median Salary in Kitchener-Waterloo?

The Kitchener-Waterloo area is doing pretty well when it comes to salaries. The median salary for software engineers is $94,719 a year or $49.23 per hour in Kitchener-Waterloo. Although it is not the highest salary in Canada, it is above the national average. Entry-level engineers are met with a median salary of $64,743, which is $33.65 per hour. For a senior software engineer’s salary, you can make up to $138,759/year with extensive experience.

Compare Software Engineer Salaries in Canada

City Median Salary/year Median Wage/hour
Canada $92,506 $48.08
Toronto $88,793 $46.15
Vancouver $101,741 $52.88
Ottawa $101,741 $52.88
Calgary $90,659 $47.12
Kitchener-Waterloo $94,719 $49.23
Halifax $74,003 $37.95
Fredericton $75,748 $39.37
Source: Government of Canada Job Bank

Other Cities with Opportunities for Software Developers

As you may have noticed, Ontario dominates the list of best cities for software developers. But, even though Ontario has the biggest tech sector in Canada, other parts of Canada aren’t too far behind.

In recent years, Eastern Canada has been developing and growing its tech sector. Cities like Halifax and Fredericton have seen an influx of tech companies wanting to establish firms. Naturally, this has opened up many positions for software developers in those cities.

If you can speak French or just want to explore Quebec’s natural beauty, you can look toward Montreal and Gatineau. Quebec is one of the best places to live in Canada and it is no surprise if you want to live there. If you are worried that Quebec doesn’t have much opportunity for software developers, don’t worry. Montreal is one of the best cities to find technology jobs in Canada. Gatineau, which is located across the river from Ottawa, also has high-paying tech jobs in the government and private sectors.

Female and male software developers working on code at their computers.
Software developers continue to be in demand as Canada sees an influx of technology companies.

Canada as a whole has been experiencing a massive influx of tech companies from around the world. Job openings for engineers are popping up all around the country. Because software engineering is such a versatile field, many companies from different fields are hiring skilled employees. In this new age dominated by technological innovation, there is no doubt that demand will continue to be high.

For information, tools, free webinars, and more visit our Finding a Job in Canada resource page. Get the help you need to achieve your career goals in Canada!