Tech Jobs Aplenty Deep in the Heart of Texas

Susan Hall
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Red-Hot Tech Jobs in 2012

Texas cities top the nation in recovery from the recession and job growth, according to reports by The Brookings Institution and the Milken Institute.


This article from The Atlantic points out findings such as these:


  • Texas added one in every five new jobs in 2011.
  • By last September, only six major cities had recovered all of the jobs they had lost in the recession. They include Austin, El Paso, Houston, McAllen and San Antonio.


It goes on to talk about how military base closures could certainly put those numbers into a tailspin. But as more tech companies locate there, they're finding the talent shortage possibly even more daunting. The Austin American-Statesman reports that in September, 25 central Texas tech executives flew to California in hopes of attracting talent. They hosted events offering free beer and pulled-pork tacos as they tried to woo job candidates.


Interestingly enough, a Milken Institute report on California's alleged "brain drain" (it concluded there really isn't much of one) found that of the California natives who do leave the state, Texas is their most likely destination. Meanwhile, the American-Statesman notes, California tech companies are just as eager to poach Texas talent.


It says central Texas has about 1,860 software companies that employ about 20,000 people. Dell's based there and Google, VMware, Facebook and other big names have offices there as well. The fiercest demand is for high-skill positions in user interface, mobile app development and cloud computing software. Tech companies are working with local universities, including the University of Texas, where the computer science department is adding programs in game development and mobile application development. Efforts also include highlighting the area's tech scene for those who attend the annual South by Southwest Interactive Conference.


Meanwhile, the area also is creating "middle-skill" jobs for workers with two years of college or less, according to The Wall Street Journal. (Subscription required.) It quotes a study by Praxis Strategy Group, an economic-development consultancy, estimating that Austin added 50,000 "middle-skill" positions in the past decade. The Houston Chronicle quotes Journal reporter Conor Doughtery's piece:

"Much the same way that assembly lines created millions of new jobs by reducing mass production to a sum of tasks, employers in Austin and elsewhere are constantly breaking down higher-skill jobs" to create new, technology-related middle-skill jobs in fields such as customer service. You don't get rich working a middle-skill job, which can pay around $38,000. But for a single person in her 20s, this represents a solid start, and advancement is possible.

The Praxis study found Austin has 25 percent more middle-skill jobs than 10 years ago and Houston has 23 percent more. Nashville, at No. 3, had 13 percent more. (Dallas had only 1 percent more.)

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