One of the biggest story lines of the past couple of years in the Seattle tech community has been the arrival of titans such as Facebook, Salesforce.com, EMC, Zynga and other Silicon Valley stalwarts who’ve chosen the region for new development centers.
The reason? Top developers and engineers, a fact that was highlighted by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on a recent visit to Seattle when he remarked “there’s so many good engineers up here.” (No wonder Facebook just announced plans to double the size of its office in Seattle).
Now, here’s more evidence of Seattle’s strength as an engineering center. Forbes recently reported that Seattle ranked first out of 51 metro areas when it comes to tech job growth.
“Built on a base of such tech powerhouses as Microsoft, Amazon and Boeing, Seattle has enjoyed the steadiest and most sustained tech growth over the past decade,” the report said. It found that tech job growth increased by 14.4 percent between 2001 and 2011.
Seattle was followed by some regions of the country that aren’t necessarily thought of as tech hubs, including Baltimore, Columbus, Ohio and Raleigh, North Carolina.
Interestingly, Silicon Valley ranked 17th in the list, in part because the region has shed so many technology jobs in the past decade. Meanwhile, Boston — another strong technology hub — ranked 22nd despite its concentration of top-notch research institutions and Austin — another strong center of innovation — came in at 32nd.
Interestingly, Seattle’s strong showing comes even as Microsoft has not hired with as much gusto as in years past.
One could argue that Microsoft’s sluggish stock price and slower employee growth has made it ripe for employee poaching, one of the reasons that rivals are now establishing development centers in Seattle. In fact, Google — which arrived in the Seattle area with an engineering center in 2004 — now employs close to 1,000 people split between offices in Seattle and Kirkland. A new facility in Bothell has capacity for as many as 840 workers.
And the new Seattle tech juggernaut, Amazon.com, certainly is doing its part to help the local tech scene. The company now employs more than 50,000 workers, and added a whopping 8,000 new staffers in the third quarter alone.