Some cities seem to more heavily favor certain technologies in terms of hiring for information technology initiatives. As Eleanor Kennedy highlights in her article about tech talent, some business leaders are looking for a certain kind of technology talent. In many cases, they are looking towards the Bay Area California as in San Jose and other areas. They want tech talent of a certain kind. I am going to present the composition of that talent and why it is often lacking in growing tech hubs.
Geography is Irrelevant
The tech talent potential of persons in the Bay Area is no different from anywhere else. Geography has no effect on a person’s ability to learn, gain experience, and execute technical process competently. Instead, what has happened since the rise of the dotcoms is that a certain kind of technology emphasis has been shown more highly successful relative to alternatives. That emphasis often involves the use of Linux and open source technology. Bay Area companies, not to be confused with California companies outside the Bay Area, often look for talent inclined to those technologies.
It Starts with Linux
Microsoft technology is a great platform for running the internal processes of a corporation. The leading Bay Area companies rarely if ever use it for major technology creation. They just don’t. I have dozens of blog articles that go into detail. The summary version is that Linux and related technologies fitted for the Linux environment has proven to be a better vehicle for commercial web development. With the growth of mobile technologies based on a Linux and Unix heritage, the Bay Area formula continues in that direction as well.
Adapting to the Bay Area Formula
Basically, if you are going to attract the right businesses who want Bay Area styled talent, you have to adopt Bay Area styled technology practices. The practices and perspectives suitable to the operation of a corporate enterprise using Microsoft technology is rarely instantly translatable to Linux environments, tools, and thought patterns. Success then means putting aside the wrong technology and putting effort into the right technology major technology players and rising global platform builders seek.
Is It That Easy?
Yes, it is that easy. Why? Once you wholesale adopt Linux and open source technology philosophy the rest is a chain reaction. It breeds a kind of inventiveness and technical systems thinking more appropriate to the large-scale operations at companies such as Google, Amazon, and Apple. Individuals are far more empowered with such technology to iterate, adapt, regroup, recover and do so in a myriad of ways that an otherwise fully prescribed technology platform is ill-equipped to encourage.
Contrast of Technology Styles
A trite example is the heavy, peer enforced, adoption of the MVC framework currently the rage in hiring circles for Microsoft technology. By contrast, in Linux environments, you use the tools you need. A general web environment may be prescribed, but your latitude in that environment is far greater than binding yourself to a technical practice that may or may not be the best suited for a project. The Bay Area formula encourages such technical diversity as it fuels the evolution of technology in an open collaborative context.
You have more control with the Bay Area technology approach. They know it and they are unlikely to cede to a position of less control. A great secret of the Bay Area approach is that the technology community at large self develops the technology they use. Whereas with Microsoft tech, it is single source which may be designed and distributed in a way contrary to the prerogatives of highly adept technologists.
What do the numbers say? I took an unscientific sampling from a major jobs website. You can repeat my process with the following keywords that represent the major technology elements that form a core in either Microsoft or Linux technology development.
The second column list a major tech hub such as San Jose, Nashville, and Austin. Other cities are included to show the distribution of technology demand across select major cities. The data spans a 1 month period 2/23/2015 – 3/23/2015. Each number represents the # of job postings for a given keyword in the first column.
Interpreting the Numbers
My history with these type of numbers go back many years. I once thought they would change. They did not. They are roughly the same today as they were during the years surrounding the original dotcoms. What has changed is some of the cities involved. The conclusions I draw are broad generalizations to develop a general sense. The standouts are as follows.
- California – ASP.Net web everywhere except Silicon Valley.
Microsoft SQL Server and Windows has good uptake.
- Silicon Valley – Java is supreme. Linux is the top operating system.
Oracle and MySQL are strongly adopted in the valley.
- Tennessee – Java is wanted more than C#. Microsoft SQL Server outpaces Oracle.
Microsoft ASP.Net is more popular than PHP.
- Nashville – Microsoft Windows, C#, and SQL Server has a strong following.
- Texas – High demand for many technologies. Opportunity for many technologies.
Microsoft Windows and SQL Server are higher in demand. Java and Oracle are close behind followed by C#.
- Austin – Java sustains a lead over C#. The lead of Windows over Linux is small enough to make them almost equal. Microsoft SQL Server has more demand than Oracle. Outside of Java, I do see a greater tendency towards Microsoft technology.
It would seem that tech talent is all about your goals. The best programming language investment is in Java long-term. Internal business operations, full stack Microsoft. Bay Area style global development, Linux, PHP (or Java or Linux adapted ASP.Net) and one of Oracle, MySQL, and PostgreSQL in that order.