North Texas Generates Tech Talent

November 14, 2019 by Midlothian Economic Development

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While the West and East Coasts may be legacy tech hubs, there can be no denying that Texas is a rising star on the tech scene — and with good reason.

In general, the Lone Star State frequently ranks well on lists of top states for business. The state has consistently won top spots on various rankings: Chief Executive’s Best and Worst States for Business, CNBC’s America’s Top States for Business, and Forbes’ Best States for Business.

Repeatedly heralded for its economic strength, Texas is renowned for its competitive tax climate, innovative incentives, low cost of living, and high quality of life.

Additionally, the state’s skilled labor pool has proven a lucrative asset to a diverse array of industries over time.

This is all good news for the high-tech industry. Since the early days of Dell, Compaq, and Texas Instruments, iconic tech companies and entrepreneurial start-ups have been setting up shop in the Lone Star State to capitalize on its affordability, business-friendly environment, and growing population of technologically savvy residents to help scale their operations.

In fact, some say Texas is in the middle of an innovation renaissance. Companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple — to name a few — and a growing crop of startups are helping to reinforce that perception.

High-Tech Hotspot

When one thinks of Texas — petroleum, gas, cotton, cowboys, and cattle may come to mind.

However, the state has diligently worked to expand and diversify its economy over the years, as evidenced by flourishing operations in the aerospace, aviation, defense, advanced manufacturing, energy, biotechnology, life sciences industries, and more.

Among Texas industries, advancing by leaps and bounds and driving the state’s growth is the information and technology sector.

Across a landscape punctuated by coworking spaces, incubators and accelerators, makerspaces, and innovation centers, North Texas is emerging as one of the nation’s high-tech hot spots.

Signs of the thriving technology sector are evident throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth metro:

  • Google dominated headlines when it planted roots and started construction on a $600 million data center in the upscale, suburban community of Midlothian, Texas. 
  • In 2019, Facebook reinforced its commitment to Fort Worth when it announced it would expand its North Texas data center.
  • American wholesale colocation provider RagingWire entered the Dallas data center market when it opened the first phase of its data center in Garland, Texas, in 2017.
  • Chip 1 Exchange is just one of a string of companies that have traded in a California address for a North Texas one for its headquarters operations.
  • Recent office leases in the DFW area have been to many tech-related companies including Nokia, Samsung, HD Vest, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Salesforce.

Data centers, semiconductor facilities, and headquarters comprise just a few elements of DFW’s evolving high-tech scene.

The truth is that technology impacts every company across every industry, and its importance is becoming more critical by the day.

By impacting our abilities to maintain accurate data, ensure cybersecurity, optimize production efficiency, and more, technology literally touches every facet of our lives and the working world.

The appetite for high-tech talent is understandably insatiable.

Cultivating Future Innovation

Industry experts contend that North Texas is fertile ground for tech innovation for many reasons.

First and foremost, the region — as well as the state — has a diverse economy. 

This fact, alone, is instrumental in attracting a seemingly never-ending wave of newcomers: new businesses and new residents bringing new ideas. 

These ingredients combine for a robust business environment that offers a wealth of job opportunities, especially when it comes to the tech industry.

The DFW market is a hotbed of potential for IT, computer, and electronics employment: developers, project managers, digital strategists, data scientists, cybersecurity experts, electricians, and more. 

On the flip side, for businesses, Dallas-Fort Worth is ranked as one of the largest and most affordable tech labor markets in the United States.

In fact, the seventh annual Scoring Tech Talent report, by commercial real estate firm CBRE, ranked the DFW area as the fifth largest tech employment hub in North America in 2018 with almost 170,000 tech talent workers in the region, an increase of more than 15 percent since 2013.

The report also highlighted key factors fueling DFW’s tech talent growth:

  • DFW ranked No. 8 in North America for tech degree completions, with 6,503 tech degrees obtained in 2017 at local universities. Further, the Metroplex saw a 98.5 percent increase in the number of tech degree graduates from 2012 to 2017, almost doubling in the span of five years. This is the highest amount of tech degree completion growth during that time frame; the second-highest growth was in Boston with a 61 percent increase in tech degree completions.
  • CBRE researchers found that twenty-somethings are flocking to the DFW metro with the urban 20-29 demographic growing almost 15 percent between 2012 and 2017. This is the largest percentage change in North America and significantly ahead of the U.S. average of 2.5 percent. Millennials are a key characteristic of tech talent markets.

Supported by a solid framework of educational institutions, it’s not surprising that entrepreneurship, collaboration, and knowledge are fueling North Texas’ innovation economy.

In this new digital era where essentially “every company is a technology company,” as the saying goes, the need for high-tech talent is more critical than ever.

Evolution Is Everything

Whether a headquarters operation, data center, construction project, manufacturing operation, or any other business, technological dexterity translates into competitive advantages in a myriad of ways. 

The ability to rapidly evolve and effectively meet customer demands is driving how companies innovate, improve, and ultimately remain viable in today’s global marketplace.

Tech talent is a vital part of that journey – no matter the industry – and North Texas is one region that exemplifies this truth.

“Dallas has solidified its place in the country as a top-five tech labor market,” said Jeff Eiting, first vice president with CBRE‘s Tech & Media Practice in Dallas. “It’s very exciting to see that when you peel back the layers of the onion, the amount of tech degrees in DFW has almost doubled since 2012, so as a region, we’re keeping up with producing the necessary tech talent. We’re also leading the way in recruiting twenty-somethings to the area, so I’m confident we will continue to be a top tech talent destination.”

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