MAILBAG: A roundup of your recent comments on our stories on the BlackBerry Jam developers’ conference, the experience of immigrant IT professionals finding work in Canada and inside-out security

BlackBerry Jam, a bitter taste and a tighter lid
Some of the articles we published this week exemplified how some issues bring us together, while others drive us apart. A couple of them dealt with difficult questions with a number of possible answers. Views on whether skilled IT workers should have a resume that includes experience in Canada tend to be nuanced. Similarly, when it comes to security, there is an enormous range of opinions on what will work best.
But when it comes to RIM vs. Apple, there’s usually no room for compromise: you take a position and stick to it. When we write negative stories about RIM, some of our readers get upset. When we write positive stories, others do.
Take, for example, the article we wrote about RIM’s BlackBerry Jam developer conference, in which we quoted a couple developers speaking highly of the new BB10 developer tools.
Reader Geddy practically shook his head in disgust: “Yeesh, talk about a fluff piece!”
It’s not clear whether he meant we were shilling for RIM or just hadn’t reported thoroughly enough on the event, but in any case, a couple other commenters interpreted it in the latter sense:
“How’s that different from an iOS WWDC piece?” asked Matt Pancha.
“A BB developer will speak highly of BB development tools (well, at least they will now). iOS developers seem to just ignore the flaws, and just speak highly of iOS. It’s the nature of the beast. We root for our team, despite their shortcomings.”
Meanwhile, Marco seemed to suggest that Geddy was engaging in hypocrisy: “What? The truth bothers you? There is enough fluff on iOS and hate out for BB. Are you complaining about the same?”
Now, on to something less controversial: the lack of opportunity for foreign-trained IT professionals in Canada. Here, our commenters seemed to agree that there is a problem that needs to be addressed. Where they differed, however, was in who should be responsible for solving it.
Commenter Goal scoffed at the idea that newcomers were the ones who needed better tips on how to navigate the Canadian job market — employers should learn a little more about immigrant job seekers:
“It’s mostly companies who need fixing rather than newcomers’ “education.” The biggest stumbling block for newcomers to find a job commensurate with their education and experience does not lie in immigrants’ lack of experience or knowledge of culture or language. It’s more about overcoming [the] nepotism and cronyism (albeit referred to as Canadian experience) we cherish and tolerate so much here in Canada.”
Bob was likewise dismissive of the term “Canadian experience,” suggesting it is used merely as a pretext to shut out immigrant job seekers and charge them more money:
“Having been in this very situation I found the “Canadian experience” excuse a difficult barrier to break through. It did not only apply to employment in the IT world. It even got thrown at me with vehicle insurance. My insurance quote was much higher because I had only been driivng in Canada for a certain number of years.
“… looking at the IT industry, it is all the same: equipment, software, operating systems, switches, routers, firewalls (there are also customers in other countries). Business processes are not much different and are easily learned, anyway.
“Having now been employed for over 10 years in Canada, I still don’t know what “Canadian experience” means. The only item I could ever put my finger on was the voltage that came out of the outlet in the wall. So, does this mean that “Canadian experience” is working with 110v at 60Hz, [whereas] where I hail from, the voltage that comes out the wall is 220v at 50 Hz, the only tangible difference?”
A recruiter chimed in to try to inject a little balance into the debate:
“I empathize with both client and candidate,” wrote one2work. “I have great admiration for immigrants and understand their problem getting that first Canadian job. I like to ask them for Web sites of companies they worked for, size of the IT department, how senior they were among their peers, some significant achievements, why did they leave a job, what did they enjoy doing most. They reveal more than I expect as I am genuinely interested.
“Fluency and ease in English, personality, attitude are so important. Cultural differences sometimes worry employers. Many of our jobs overlap or may have different titles. If they come from a culture where everyone has one specific job to do, the expectation in Canada may be for a more flexible set of skills.”
Finally, we come to security. One of our bloggers made the point that if we want to be truly secure, we need to realize that we are vulnerable everywhere, and act accordingly.
Reader Jessica Lindsay agreed. “I think this a very good point. Why do we focus so much on protecting the perimeter as opposed to protecting the sensitive information within it? A shift to data-centric security solutions is absolutely necessary.”

But Sid responded that in the Internet age, security procedures have to become multifaceted:
“It’s almost impossible to stop hacking because the need for the systems to be available online and on [the] net. The issue, I believe, is with the number of different checks (random or sequenced) that needs to be implemented. If the data is sensitive, then yes, that’s a trade-off which is needed.”
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