If you can’t emigrate to Canada, but you really want to

A man in full bloom lives with his family in a picturesque city on the water. He works less than in post-Soviet countries, his salary is higher 90 thousand US dollars per yearand the cost of living is less than in Israel or the states. He probably spent a lot of energy and longed for it, but the idyllic sketch from this did not deteriorate in any way.

We found such a person in Vancouver, and this is Denis Astakhov, AWS Ambassador. He talked about his experience of emigrating to Canada and looking for work in DevOps.

By the way, according to research Stack Overflow in 2020, DevOps pays some of the biggest salaries. We will check with Denis if this is so, we will analyze what qualities are needed for relocation and how an engineer in another direction can get better at DevOps.

Photo Adi kavazovic: Pexels

For starters, about Denis: former Automation engineer at Intel, last four years Cloud / DevOps engineer, automating infrastructures on platforms AWS and Gcp, channel author ADV-IT… North America’s Amazon Partner Network Ambassador selected in 2019.

Not the first time

As a child, Denis wanted to leave for an English-speaking country. But his parents took him from Sevastopol to Israel. There he studied as a junior software engineer and received a bachelor’s degree in engineering. After six years and countless resumes sent to Intel, Denis was hired there in 2007 as a clean room engineer. The transition to IT took another five years, the same amount he worked as an automation engineer.
Emigration to Canada was not going smoothly either. The main condition was obtaining a permanent residence – it was too good a life in Israel to exchange for a work visa. Perhaps that’s why I had to make several attempts.

Attempt number times

In 2008, while working at Intel, Denis tried to emigrate to Canada under the federal program for the first time Federal Skilled Workers… I checked what was going on under the terms of the program, filled out a questionnaire, prepared documents according to the list, sent them by mail and waited for a decision. After a year of waiting, I received a notice of a change in the program rules: Canada needed chefs and crane operators, but not Automation-engineers ¯ _ (ツ) _ / ¯.

Attempt number two

Three years later, Denis decided to try Quebec program… It seemed to him that there were excellent chances of getting a visa. But while waiting for an answer, he managed to get married and learn French up to level B1 (Quebec is a French province in Canada). In general, in the next three years, neither an Israeli passport nor a TEFaQ certificate in French helped to get off the ground.

Attempt number three. The final

As it is already clear, Denis’s motto is not to lose your presence of mind and not give up. So he applied again, this time under the Prince Edward Island Provincial Program.
Programs from provinces are similar, but the list of specialties changes depending on the needs of a particular place. Even in different provinces, there are different additions to the basic rules of emigration. Plus the provincial programs – they add 600 points to the points you earned. This greatly improves the odds. A list of all programs can be found here

In May 2017, Denis and his family left for Canada and immediately became a permanent resident upon arrival. Although a permanent resident is not required to have a job, Denis received an offer in DevOps in a completely cinematic manner 11 hours before departure.

DevOps engineers are in high demand. IN IT vacancy market overview Yandex notes that their demand has grown by 70% compared to 2016. Next, let’s talk about how to retrain in DevOps, what requirements are imposed on engineers, and, most importantly, how much they pay for it.

Read about the peculiarities of the relocation of an IT specialist to Canada, or better, subscribe to a chat bot g-mate, select the location and the desired salary using the / settings command. The bot will select a vacancy that you will definitely like.

DevOps yourself

Or “I don’t know this technology today, but the day after tomorrow I will teach you how to use it”

The main hard skills required by DevOps (without them, you won’t even get a test one):
– Windows and Linux administration;
– knowledge of Git commands;
– Ability to build CI / CD pipelines;
– creating and configuring networks and understanding CIDR addressing.

For relocation, it is also important to understand Cloud administration – AWS, Google Cloud or Azure. To upgrade to the next level, you need to write scripts for automation, for example, in Python, know Ansible, Chef or Puppet. It’s good to know Kubernetes, which has become very popular since 2019.

The most important soft skill of a deviser is self-learning skill. One should not only not be afraid to learn new things, but also quickly learn technologies. It is clear that it is impossible to know everything, each client will have something of their own. But even if you have not encountered any technology or task, it needs to be completed in a couple of days.
This skill is important and needs to be broadcast in the interview. Yes, you may not know the answer to the question today. But now you will read articles on the topic, tomorrow you will deal with it completely, and the day after tomorrow you will teach this to everyone around you.

Denis, for example, while still working at Intel, wanted to change his specialty and work in DevOps. Therefore, I took courses of Cloud providers and received certificates. Many companies require them even from experienced candidates: this increases the level of partnerships with providers. And it was the possession of certificates that played a key role in finding employment without experience in DevOps, the links to them at the end of the article.

Denis studied at the courses A cloud guru and official books to prepare for a specific exam. For example, on AWS you can find the following Official Study Guides… The only problem with the books is that they are out of date every two years, and the video courses are updated periodically.

Job search and test assignments

You can search for jobs in Canada using Indeed and LinkedIn, but there is a more interesting way. If you want to work, for example, with AWS, go to the official website and look for the list of partners. These companies are 100% looking for employees. Denis went through the Canadian partners, sent out a resume and all the companies responded.

The DevOps hiring process is standard for IT: an interview with HR, at least one technical interview with a manager and a potential colleague, a test task and its analysis.

Test tasks for Junior: make a Hello World application in any programming language, compile if necessary, build a CI / CD pipeline and deploy to the specified location. There may be a variant of deploying simply to the Docker container, to the Cloud, or to a Tomcat server in a virtual machine.
When finding a job in Canada, Denis did a complicated task – the application had to take data from the database in the Cloud.

The Middle or Senior level gets the same CI / CD pipeline, but the task is to write the infrastructure as code, for example, using Terraform, and deploy it to the Cloud. Here the emphasis is on the level of automation, reproducibility and scalability of the infrastructure.

Don’t try to make the test assignments perfect, because at least you don’t know what the hiring manager is waiting for. But do the tasks as well as possible for yourself. To do this, go to interviews for practice: get your hands on, pump up your interview skills, collect questions and watch how the market is changing.

It is also difficult for a junior to move to Canada on a work visa, so do not exclude the possibility of immigration programs or obtaining a student visa.

And the fun part: salaries

The salaries of DevOps engineers are on average higher than those of programmers. USA comes out on top with average DevOps Engineer income by version StackOverflow – $ 125k per year before taxes.

In Israel in 2017, Denis was offered a salary of 20,000 shekels without work experience. Let’s assume that nothing has changed, and at the rate for December 2020, this is $ 74k per year.
Denis’s acquaintances, Senior DevOps specialists in Israel, receive $ 150k per year.
With such an income, tax and other payments will be 37-40%.

Junior DevOps Engineer salaries in Canada are approximately CA $ 70-85k per year or $ 55-67k.
Middle – CA $ 80k — 100k per year ($ 63k – 79k).
Senior – CA $ 100k — 130k per year (up to $ 100k).
Taxes and other payments – 32-33%.

The highest salaries in IT can be found in Toronto, slightly lower in Vancouver. In Ottawa and Montreal, income is even lower, as is the cost of living
The main thing in this matter is how much money remains after the obligatory spending. According to Denis, Canada at times nicer in this regard. In addition, the balance between work and personal life is improved compared to other countries where he lived. You don’t have to work hard to enjoy a high standard of living.


The good news is that DevOps engineers are needed in every country. According to Tadviser.com in Russia, DevOps engineers are in the TOP-10 in-demand specialties. Therefore, even if you have not been relocated to Canada, there is always a chance to find a removed vacancy or a good position in your country.

DevOps engineers often communicate with executives and managers of client companies, always in sight, so they have much more opportunities for career growth than programmers.
The growth of a DevOps engineer is about leveling up skills and learning new technologies and tools. From the Senior level, you can move to the specialty of a Solution-architect or to a managerial position, since the level of responsibility, social circle and a top-down view of the entire development process allow this.

Denis’s recommendations: what to read and see

For those who like to listen, we have prepared recording webinar. Read about the peculiarities of moving to other countries in our Relocate review, and subscribe to the chatbot g-mate with the best relocation and removal jobs in tech.

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