With the ever-increasing span of technology and industry, Vancouver (located in the breath-taking British Columbia province of Canada) has not gone unaffected. Over the past decade, the area has seen its fair share of progress and expansion. With the boom in its popularity has come an increased necessity for UX professionals. As the field has grown, so have the opportunities for individuals in it. Vancouver boasts of several groups and associations as well as and a blossoming location.
While the term “Silicon Valley North” has often been used to refer to a broad geographic location (encompassing nearly all of Canada’s major tech hubs), the name’s range has gradually been reduced to refer almost exclusively to downtown Vancouver. With heavyweights like Facebook, Amazon, Sony, and branches of Microsoft as well as a variety of growing startups and rumors of promise, it’s Canada’s hotspot for all things UX.
As a relatively new hub for the world of technology and UX, Vancouver is still waiting for a regular annual line-up of high profile conferences. However, the city does play host to smaller-level conferences, such as the Style & Class Conference (partnering up with several other local organizations, the event caters to British Columbia-based designers and developers) and the Vancouver User Experience Awards (an opportunity to recognize the local talent).
As with many large cities around the globe, the prominent UX association in the Vancouver area is the Interaction Design Association (IxDA). For members of the organization, collaboration and community are the roots that bind the whole thing together. The membership provides the opportunity to develop professional relationships with other UX practitioners in the area as well as to participate in various events related to the field.
Vancouver-based UX professionals have a plethora of options when it comes to selecting a group of like-minded (or, rather, similarly-employed) individuals. Easily found on of the ever-popular Meetup.com, Vancouver’s variety of assemblies range from social hangouts to in-depth learning experiences. Recognizing that all stages of design are crucial to the process and the user experience, Style & Class focuses on front-end developers that mainly work with coding and creating. The group UI/UX and Web Design Mastermind understands that practice makes perfect, and they offer an environment that caters to those looking to build experience. On the other hand, in a strange twist from the typical meet-up, UX Design Therapy offers designers and developers a place to come and unwind, creating things and helping others when they hit flaws in their ideas.
As things continue to progress north, the tech industry in Vancouver will continue to grow and develop, increasing the demand and opportunities for UX professionals. And while the city still lacks an abundance of resources for those pursuing user experience fields, the options currently available are well worth checking out and investing in.
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