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Tampa Bay tech grows as more workers move to the area

Tampa Bay ranks sixth in the country for migration of tech workers
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Posted at 5:37 AM, Jun 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-29 10:04:13-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Bay is ranked one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States. ABC Action News found along with people is more and more tech jobs moving in as well.

In fact, the tech field is one of the fastest-growing industries in the Tampa Bay area. It's now accounting for nearly 8% of the entire workforce, according to CompTIA.

“We really like downtown Tampa just because of everything that is going on around there, the incredible investments and the buildings there,” Arnie Perez told ABC Action News.

He’s a sales director for International Data Corporation (IDC), launching one of the company’s newest offices in Tampa in June

“When they look at the numbers and the growth, the economy, the access to talent and even for different universities, and also, how many people and companies are moving into the area, so they decided pretty much that Tampa was the right place to come,” Perez explained about his company.

Tech in Tampa has been on an upward trend for at least a decade, adding nearly 11,000 jobs from 2015 to 2020, CBRE finds a growth rate of 26.6%.

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“Several years ago, we as a community, as a region, realized that we wanted to grow the tech industry we had a nucleus, but it really needed to start to sprout and grow,” explained Bob Rohrlack, President and CEO of the Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce. “So there started to be more focused from the training agencies that help train people and universities were getting very involved and members of the business community.”

Professor Vyas Krishnan has been teaching computer science at Saint Leo University for 12 years and says they’ve added tech-related degrees at every level to keep up with demand.

“Initially we started out with just a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems, but over the years, in the last 10 years we've been adding a number of additional programs,” Krishnan said.

While the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on employment across the country, it ultimately fueled the tech industry.

CompTIA ranked Florida the number one state for posting the most tech-related job openings in the last year and LinkedIn placed Tampa Bay sixth in the country for migration of tech workers.

There’s a huge demand for professionals in the area of cybersecurity, software development, computer support specialist, data science and so on,” Krishnan added.

Industry experts we spoke with say the continued migration of companies and workers is fueled not only by the lower cost of living and tax incentives in Florida but also the speed at which we’ve bounced back from the pandemic.

Florida typically is one of the first states into an economic downturn, the recession or the impact of an epidemic, but because our business mix is so diverse, we tend to come out of it first, as well and come out of it faster,” Rohrlack exclaimed.

The tech jobs range in fields from the healthcare industry to cybersecurity for the military.

Krishnan said some of his recent grads have received jobs with Raymond James Reliaquest, Citibank, Tech Data, Disney, Google, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Microsoft, Deloitte, Mosaic, Publix, and Siemens.

International Data Corporation plans to start with about 10 employees and ultimately hire anywhere from 100 to 200 people in the next year and a half. To apply, click here.

In addition, these tech positions aren’t just any jobs, these are high-paying jobs, averaging a median income of $100,000.

There are also several avenues you can land one of these positions.

Krishnan suggests checking out internships or apprenticeships, certifications online through various organizations or at your local community college, company boot camps, or programs through colleges and universities.

“A lot of universities, including ours, we offer adult education centers, where they can take classes in the evenings. We also, most of our computing-related degree programs are also offered entirely online,” Krishnan said.

If you’d like to check out Saint Leo University’s programs, click here.

The University of South Florida also tells ABC Action News that they have more than 200 majors, minors, and concentrations for students, “many of which intersect with the technology sector in some capacity, and curriculum is constantly evolving to meet industry and workforce needs.”

Adding that “the College of Engineering or Muma College of Business has a number of programs that support the region’s technology industry.”

Hillsborough Community College’s newest tech-related degrees include Business Intelligence Specialist and Cyber Security Operations.