Unique tech future in Southern California

Ever since the aerospace industry began its huge demise in the late 1980s as the Cold War ended, Southern California has lagged as a tech centre. Even as the Bay Area leaped toward international dominance, given the growth of semiconductors, personal computers, dot-com marketing and, most recently, social media, Southern California has become just one of many wannabe regions trying to battle the Silicon Valley colossus.

A lot of the hope today being expressed for the Southland tech industry reflects this wannabe mindset. The wildly touted “Silicon Beach” based on the Westside, such as the technology coast thought of the 1990s, hosts many up-and-coming tech businesses, notably Snapchat, in addition to expansion offices of these top Silicon Valley companies as Google. However, overall, “Silicon Beach” is not any more impressive in terms of job creation than a bunch of different regions; a number, such as Raleigh-Durham, N.C., the Denver Tech Center, Austin, Texas, as well as Nashville, Tenn., are growing tech jobs much faster than is Southern California.

A current analysis of growth in technology jobs from the Praxis Strategy Group lays out the basic statistics. By 2004-14, the Los Angeles tech sector expanded by 18 percent compared with nearly 70 percent in the Bay Area, 74 percent in Austin and close to 60 percent or greater in a host of areas including Raleigh, Nashville, Salt Lake City and Jacksonville, Fla.. More about still has been the growth of STEM (science, technology, technology and mathematics-related) projects, which may be found in many industries not frequently identified with tech. Within the past decade, these occupations expanded by over 25 percent at the Bay Area and over 30 percent in Austin, Houston, Seattle and Salt Lake City. In contrast, Southern California STEM employment grew a measly 2.1 percent.

As to if Southern California can catch around Silicon Valley, the short answer is: no. The Bay Area has developed an innovation infrastructure — anchored by almost half the nation’s venture capital — which makes it all but unapproachable as a technology center.

This reflects as well something of technological inertia. The existence of numerous leading tech companies — Facebook, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Oracle, Apple, among many others — at the Bay Area or from its rainy annex, the Seattle region, provides simple access for startups looking to be obtained. This is increasingly how investors and entrepreneurs view themselves cashing out. In contrast, Southern California, particularly with the passing of numerous aerospace headquarters, has few of the kind of high-tech technology giants who could attract young technologists and work with — and acquire — startups.

There is also a gap in demographics. The Bay Area skews heavily toward educated workers and, frankly, the Caucasian and Asian people that dominate technology employment. Even though it has a massive engineering base, Southern California has a very different general population, one that is much more minority, poorer and, to a significant extent, far less educated.

In terms of young, educated workers, two to three times as many workers ages 25-34 in San Jose maintain a graduate degree in comparison with the Los Angeles-Orange County area. Nor are the figures becoming much better; because 2005, the L.A.-O.C. area has seen its numbers of graduates grow 17 percent, half the growth experienced in the Bay Area and much below the 70 percent increase in Houston and over 100 percent in Salt Lake City.

The blend of a highly educated workforce, a great deal of cash and effortless access to the national media has been critical to the Bay Area’s appeal, especially in such high-profile areas as social media. The Bay Area technology boom has been anchored by a gain of over 47,000 jobs in computer publishing, broadcasting and Internet search — over one in three jobs created nationally in this business. In contrast, Southern California created barely 10,000 positions in this discipline.

Cash here is key. The Bay Area dominates venture capital, and also boasts a well-developed media claque to market “hot” companies. The appeal of the Valley to young businesses was painfully evident from the decision this year by Oculus, a promising digital reality company, to move out of Irvine to become near to the company buyer, Facebook, taking its top designers and executives into Menlo Park. It requires stubborn executives, like Snapchat’s co-founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, to say no to the moguls of Menlo Park and stay here in the Southland.

Original Article Can Be Found Here.

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