TECH 'Silicon Mountain' drawing young tech minds to Colorado

TECH

'Silicon Mountain' drawing young tech minds to Colorado

Xinhua

06:56, July 01, 2019

Amazon.jpeg

(Photo: AP)

DENVER, the United States, June 30 (Xinhua) -- Last year, Amazon walked away from putting a headquarters and 50,000 jobs in Denver, capital of the US state of Colorado. Earlier this year, the retail titan said 3,500 jobs are coming soon to Colorado.

Amazon couldn't stay away long from America's emerging tech center, along with more and more IT companies who flock to the Rocky Mountain state each day.

"Denver is one of the fastest growing technology hubs in the country," said Scott Price, CEO of A-LIGN, a Tampa, Florida-based cybersecurity firm, who expanded this week into the Mile-High City.

"Some of the world's largest and most innovative tech brands - including Amazon and T-Mobile - are investing in the Denver area," said Price in a statement, whose 30 employees finished their first week of work Friday in a downtown business location.

GOOD CLIMATE

Last year, Seattle-based Amazon got wet feet and dropped plans to put a campus-sized second headquarters in Denver after local groups questioned the burden on the city's infrastructure.

But earlier this year, the e-commerce giant announced it cannot stay away - grabbing 98,000 square feet of space in a downtown office building for 400 immediate jobs that are opening, with 3,000 more on the horizon.

Local officials point to Denver's consistent ranking with US News and World Report as a "Top 3" city in America to live, based on quality of life, amenities, traffic, job opportunity and even the climate.

Another thing that makes the city business-friendly is the educated workforce. Only 25 percent of the national workforce has a bachelor's degree, compared to 41 percent in Denver, according to city business development statistics.

With droves of millennials coming to Denver to work and a citywide 2.9 percent unemployment rate, competition for talent is fierce.

HOTLY COMPETITIVE

"I've been trying to land a job for three months - it's a full time job," said University of Colorado graduate Ludvig Ragnarsson.

Ragnarsson, who graduated with an IT Master's Degree in May, has sent dozens of resumes to Denver tech companies, with no responses thus far.

"I will keep plugging away until I land a job," the native of Stockholm, Sweden told Xinhua.

"Denver is such a hot, growing market that I'm confident I will get a good position with an up and coming company," he told Xinhua.

America's tech sector is expanding so fast that tech jobs are expected to grow 13.1 percent by 2026, compared to 10.7 percent for US employment overall.

The tech industry had an estimated 1.8-trillion-US-dollar economic impact in 2018, contributing around 10 percent to direct economic value of the US economy. Colorado added more than 7,000 tech jobs in 2018, a 2.5 percent year-over-year increase.

The Colorado Technology Association (CTI) lit up Twitter in June with announcements of more tech interest in Denver and its "Smart City Symposium" in August, another tech event geared toward the rising Silicon Mountain.

Frannie Matthews, president and CEO of CTI, told the media that with Denver's laid-back environment, the tech community is "very productive" and growing exponentially.

CTI and state business leaders point to a 2018 study released by CompTIA that named three Colorado cities - Denver, Boulder and Colorado Springs - "Top 20 tech towns in the US."

The report by the trade association for the IT industry that studied US metro areas with at least 250,000 people said Denver had 50,897 IT job postings between August 2017 and July 2018, with a median IT salary at 90,958 dollars.

CompTIA's study ranked cities based on quality of life for tech workers, salaries, job availability, job growth and cost of living.

ATTRACTIVE WORKPLACE

"There is no question of the attraction of Colorado, due to the mountains and amazing climate, for tech-savvy millennials," said Jacob Ferrier, a software design consultant based in Denver.

Ferrier, 35, who graduated from Colorado State University, is a freelance software designer whose services are in constant demand.

"In the Denver market, I have more work than I can possibly handle," he told Xinhua.

"I have friends who work in Silicon Valley during the week, but live in Denver and fly back here on the weekends because this area is much more affordable and has better amenities," Ferrier added.

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