Silicon Valley is old news; if you want a tech job these days, according to Forbes, you’d be hard pressed to do better than… well, right here. Fun fact: while California still has four times as many tech jobs as the national average, it turns out that the job growth is happening elsewhere. That’s partly because the gold-rush fever of a “tech-driven jobs boom” conveniently ignores the bust half of the cycle; according to Forbes, Silicon Valley actually employed 170,000 fewer people in 2011 than in 2000.
The broad-based, consistent tech growth is happening elsewhere — namely, in the Baltimore-Washington metro area, along with Seattle, San Diego, and Salt Lake City. Since 2001, the Baltimore-Towson metro area saw tech jobs grow a whopping 38.8 percent, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) jobs grow a respectable 17.2 percent. (In DC, both tech and STEM jobs increased by 20 percent). Part of the credit for this regional success story goes to the government, says Forbes: “as the Valley has become dominated by trends in web fashion, the Washington tech complex boasts substantial employment in such fields as computer systems design, custom programming and private-sector research and development.” The broad base of the local tech economy is shored up by the stability of those government contracts, a win-win situation.
Of course, Baltimoreans don’t need Forbes to tell them they’re doing a good job. Just take a look at the Goucher undergrads developing a wildly popular iPhone app, or the creators of a downtown tech campus, or the founders of the $75 million IPO. Things are looking up, Baltimore.