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In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, it was said that more software development will be done outside of the U.S. if the U.S. doesn’t let in more immigrants with high skills. It goes on to say that “many tech companies need to fill open positions, and they think that turning away foreign talent because there aren’t enough visas threatens the country’s position as a leader in technology and innovation.”
Even though the issue of increasing the number of H1-B visas is complicated and controversial, the fact is that there are still untapped pools of tech talent and growth opportunities right here in the U.S.
As the pandemic and the move toward remote work have shown us, there isn’t just one way or one place to work, and tech growth is no longer limited to Silicon Valley or New York. Many companies are opening offices or sending tech projects to places like North Carolina, Kansas City, and Puerto Rico that are a little off the beaten path.
In fact, PitchBook and the investment firm Revolution found that investor interest is “increasingly tipping toward “rising cities.” They found that the amount of early-stage venture capital going to Bay Area startups has been steadily going down and will be below 30% in 2021 for the first time in more than 10 years.
Expanding tech into more remote parts of the U.S. opens up a whole new pool of tech talent, but it also has many other benefits.
• Quality of life Many people have been working from home, but that is starting to change at many companies. As workers return to the office, the frustrations of commuting will return in full force. According to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, the average Los Angeles worker spends an estimated 119 hours a year stuck in traffic.
• Lower costs As established tech companies and successful startups move into new areas with lower real estate costs and tax rates, talented tech staff benefits from higher pay rates and lower costs of living. It’s been found that salary alone isn’t what drives today’s tech professionals, but salary plus a good quality of life can make it an attractive choice and make it hard for them to think about leaving their companies.
• Customized staff Many of the rising tech hubs, like Puerto Rico, Georgia, and other places, have world-class universities that graduate many data scientists, software engineers, and other tech professionals. Companies that set up shop in these areas benefit from newly hired employees who can be trained according to your company’s processes, ways of doing business, and work ethic.
Software development has changed a lot and now requires more collaboration than ever before. In the past, companies that outsourced their software development work would give specifications to the developer, who would then make exactly what was asked for. Today, software development is more of a team effort that requires UX designers, software programmers, developers, and project managers, as well as the input of the customer and its team.
So where are these new, smaller tech hubs rising? A study by the Technology Councils of North America found that Houston, Orlando, New York, and Charlotte had the most growth in the number of tech workers. Tennessee, Idaho, Washington State, and Utah had the most growth in tech jobs.
Many companies are leaving their skyscrapers, and highways with lots of traffic and pollution, and high costs for a different quality of life, where innovation and hard work can be done more peacefully and at lower costs. We may find that tech professional who wants the same thing is more common than we think.
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