Outside the Valley

  • October 3, 2016
  • Scott

A few fascinating articles have been published recently about software developers and software talent.  Quartz weighs in recently with the discovery that 90% of software developers work outside of Silicon Valley.

It isn’t just that the jobs are spread out… there are also more places with high concentrations of software jobs than ever before:

“Software developer” is now the most common job in four states (Washington, Utah, Colorado, Virginia), according to 2014 US Census Bureau data. Startups and tech giants are setting up outposts in lower-cost areas such as Seattle.

Read that paragraph again, it is pretty amazing.

Of course, San Jose still has the highest software developer count per 1000 people (at 69), but often what I hear from people who move to Austin is that they actually prefer the balance of tech vis-a-vis other industries. Big enough to be vibrant, but not dominating every conversation in the city, either.

In another article, “The New Realities of Talent Attraction“, a study analyzed data at the county level, and rated Travis County, TX – home to Austin, TX – the #1 large county for talent attraction.  No one in Austin is surprised. As much as locals here (myself included) complain about traffic and real estate prices, Austin is still a net-bargain for most residents compared to the big cities on either coast (average monthly rent for a 1 bedroom apartment in San Francisco is now $3700…).  Major cultural events in Austin are still accessible to mere mortals as well, making Austin a very livable city – if you have access to a car or car-sharing service (we’re still working on transit, I’d have to say).

I think there’s also just something in the water about culture in Austin-based companies.  It is fitting that Great Places to Work is throwing their small business conference right here in Austin in 3 weeks to discuss just that topic – company culture, and what makes it great. 


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