In Austin, an Inexorable Shift from Hardware to Software

What’s New This Quarter

While the future of Dell continues to be the subject of much speculation, the company is moving forward on the services front, providing a dedicated/private and hybrid cloud environment for its government customers. With 14,000 workers, Dell remains the largest private employer in Central Texas. Meanwhile, Austin-based online deal site RetailMeNot has filed for an IPO, saying that it is looking to raise up to $230 million. In less happy news, locals are wondering what IBM’s plans to cut 6,000 to 8,000 jobs globally may portend for Austin. It currently employs more than 6,000 people locally.

Austin SkylineA comprehensive report in May by the Austin American-Statesman summed up the local tech scene as having “fewer workers but a healthier ecosystem.” According to TechAmerica’s 2010 Cybercities report, Austin was home to 65,400 technology workers in 2009 (ranking 23rd in the country). They earned an average wage of $93,200 — 12th in the country, 100 percent more than the city’s average private-sector wage.

Even as computer and semiconductor manufacturing wanes as large local employers like Freescale Semiconductor and National Instruments reevaluate their markets, the region is thriving. Look at the “soft tech” industries, the American-Statesman says. They helped drive 27 percent of Austin’s total economic output in 2012 and currently employ 14,000 people.

Going forward, observers expect new technologies like open-source software, cloud computing, mobile apps and social media to make it easier and cheaper for more people to start high-tech ventures. The upcoming arrival of Google’s ultra-high-speed Internet access will only help.

Skills in Demand

Local recruiters say .NET, Java, JavaScript and Cisco networking talents are consistently in demand. Business Intelligence, User Interface/Experience and Data Warehousing seem to be on the rise.

Leading Industries

  • Technology Manufacturing
  • Government
  • Financial Services
  • Software Development

Local Employment and Research Resources

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