Skip to main content

Houston Tech Employment Rises, City Moves Up Ranks in New Report

Published Apr 20, 2021 by Josh Pherigo

technology.jpg

Houston’s digital tech workforce grew last year, nudging the metro up to 11th place, ahead of Philadelphia but behind Atlanta in the rankings of the nation’s major tech centers. That’s according to Cyberstates 2021, the Computing Technology Industry Association’s (CompTIA) annual assessment of the U.S. tech sector. 

The region added 8,100 tech workers in ’20, according to CompTIA’s estimates, bringing the total to 243,900. Houston overtook Detroit, which lost tech workers last year. 

Cyberstates 2021 found that Houston had 9,286 tech establishments in ’20, up from 8,798 in ’19. Tech employment accounted for 7.5 percent of Houston’s total jobs in ’20, up from 7.2 percent in ’19. Tech occupation job postings totaled 63,324 in ’20, down 19.4 percent from ’19.

According to Cyberstates, Houston’s tech sector contributed $29.2 billion to the region’s gross domestic product (GDP) in ’19, 5.6 percent of the total. That’s up from $28.4 billion in ’18. By comparison, tech contributed $37.9 billion to Austin’s economy, 25.3 percent of its GDP, while Dallas’s tech sector contributed $66.7 billion, 13.1 percent of GDP. 

Cyberstates, which provides data for the U.S., all 50 states, and 46 major metro areas, is a respected and widely cited annual guide to the U.S. tech sector. The guide looks at all sectors involved in making, creating, enabling, integrating, and supporting technology in a region, whether as a product or service. One of the guide’s greatest strengths is that it examines a region’s tech workforce by occupation as well as industry, even when the occupation is in an industry most don’t consider “tech.” This helps level the playing field. For example, a web developer at Chevron would make the tech workforce tally for Cyberstates even though Chevron is not typically recognized as a tech company. 

Fewer than a quarter of Houston’s net tech workers are in technical occupations at “tech” companies. That’s the lowest share of any Top 20 metro and it helps to explain why Houston isn’t a more visible tech hub. But it doesn’t mean the region lacks talent. 

The report underscores just how much tech talent is embedded in non-tech industries in Houston. Most of Houston’s 155,400 tech occupations (engineers, coders, analysts) work outside the tech sector. Among large metros, Houston has the highest share of technical occupations embedded in non-tech sector companies. 
 

Data in the Cyberstates report makes obvious the differences in the tech sectors of Texas top three metros. Dallas’s tech industry is weighted toward IT services, telecommunications and internet services, no surprise considering Dallas is home to AT&T. Austin’s tech industry has a strong presence in Tech Manufacturing, a nod to its chip manufacturing sector and computer makers like Dell and Apple. Houston’s tech sector is weighted toward research and development, testing and engineering services. Houston has more tech workers in R&D and engineering (68,782) than Austin and Dallas combined. 

This report is excerpted from the April 2021 edition of Houston: Economy at a Glance. Learn more about Houston's tech sector and read the latest report examining the local ecosystem. 

Related News

Digital Technology

Robust Cloud Talent a Built-In Competitive Advantage

5/20/21
One of the most powerful tools a business can have at its disposal is the ability to make quick decisions when presented with new information. As work environments and the jobs that drive the region’s economy continue to change, the ability to make these decisions faster will become even more imperative to stay competitive. Managing an effective cloud solution and having the internal talent to maintain and run a cloud system will become table stakes to run the business of the future. Cloud architects, cloud engineers, data and analytics administrators, and security specialists are in great demand, and the potential for remote work in these spaces will make the market an even more competitive one, further enhancing the need for businesses to emphasize this need not later, but today. Every company with IT needs is impacted by cloud. According to the Computing Technology Industry Association’s (CompTIA) Cyberstates 2021 sector assessment, more than 60 percent of Houston’s tech workers are employed by non-tech sector companies. New demands for cloud systems and capabilities are driving demand for talent with specialized skills and, in many cases, opportunities for businesses to upskill current employees who already understand the culture and business. Cloud services, and why businesses need them At its most basic level, the core benefit of a cloud service is that it enables a company's IT resources to be available on demand, configurable, and shareable using remote servers as compared to traditional on-premises systems. This allows businesses to strategically reimagine how to operate and remain profitable and reallocate resources to other areas that otherwise would have been swallowed up by the time, labor, and equipment. In turn, this allows employees to accomplish day-to-day tasks without the burden that comes along with the costs of maintaining these systems. This isn't something that will happen in the future: This is the current way of doing things by many leading businesses. Many common teleconferences platforms, shared data sources, document control models, and customer resource management tools are often currently cloud based. Use of these platforms and tools was only accelerated by the pandemic, particularly in healthcare where urgent needs for additional capacity was met by cloud solutions already being implemented. These trends will continue, as is always the case when technological change begets adaptation and normalization with secondary users who are slower to adapt to these business practices. The future of cloud is real time, analyzable, understandable, and decision-oriented data and business resources. Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, and robotics capabilities will only enhance and accelerate the need for businesses of all sizes and stature to understand and harness the power of cloud-based systems. Providing talent solutions for increasing cloud demand Cloud solutions providers recognize a current lag in readily available talent and know-how to maintain viable cloud systems and have taken active steps address the shortfall. Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, and other cloud providers offer short term, low-cost training certifications on cloud essential skills and competencies that can keep a company’s incumbent workforce competitive and up-to-date on what it will take to keep cloud services working but also, proactively, make cloud a tool for improving the bottom line. Certification courses run the gamut from self-paced modules to instructor led classes, but providers are increasingly partnering with local colleges and universities, broadening opportunities for individuals to upskill and develop these high-value skills. Locally, Houston Community College, Lone Star College and the University of Houston are AWS Academy training partners that offer AWS curriculum. To increase the pool of skilled cloud talent and its diversity, educational institutions are partnering with community organizations to extend their reach and develop the skills needed by employers. For example, Houston Area Urban League’s Urban Tech Jobs Program 2.0 partners with the University of Houston who provides the AWS cloud practitioner and solutions architect courses for the Urban League’s clients. In making certification courses widely available to individuals, community organizations are helping build a more robust and diverse tech talent pool. CompTIA’s recent Workforce and Learning Trends report indicates that companies are renewing focus on worker resilience, with 42 percent of human resources professionals surveyed anticipating new efforts on upskilling and reskilling current employees. Forty-one percent said their companies will have a new emphasis on communication and on emerging tech skills for remote work. The accelerated nature of technological change by its very nature would indicate companies need to be as proactive as possible in staying ahead of what is to come in mitigating for the disruptions that follow. This is particularly imperative when it comes to maintaining a workforce capable of supporting the systems at the heart of any business model. As the line between labor and AI continues to blur moving forward, a business with a trained, experienced workforce will have built in competitive advantages when going to market. Building and maintaining a well-versed cloud organization will be good for business tomorrow, and the resources are currently available to make that happen today.   The Partnership’s UpSkill Houston initiative works to strengthen the talent pipeline employers need to grow their businesses and to help all Houstonians build relevant skills and connect to good careers that increase their economic opportunity and mobility. Learn how.
Read More

Related Events

Executive Partners