Tech Community Continues to Blossom in Northeast Ohio
While places like Silicon Valley, Austin, Seattle and Boston typically come to mind when thinking of technology hotspots, Northeast Ohio has grown a significant tech community of its own. In fact, according to OHTec’s 2015 NEO Tech Industry Research Report, from 2011 to 2015, Northeast Ohio experienced an increase of over 130% of tech companies employing more than 50 employees. As these companies grow, Northeast Ohio continues to see the economic benefits. While Northeast Ohio may not be on the same scale as Austin or Seattle, the region is developing an important tech community, which is fueling economic growth.
As an industry, Northeast Ohio’s information technology space boasts more than 20,000 employees, with average annual earnings at more than $80,000. When factoring in all computer-related occupations, which span across a variety of industries, Northeast Ohio supports more than 41,000 employees. Home to companies such as Hyland Software, TMW Systems, MCPc, MRI Software, BlueBridge Networks and many, many more, the region has an impressive portfolio of tech-related companies. In addition, large companies like Progressive Insurance, Rockwell Automation and other global brands employ hundreds of IT-related professionals and are constantly looking to add more. This push for IT talent has spurred the creation of several unique programs, designed specifically to address the region’s IT talent needs.
Addressing Region’s IT Talent Needs
For example, the Learning House based in Akron, which acquired the Software Guild in 2015, offers an intensive, fast-paced apprenticeship program where students learn how to be software developers. Its curriculum is made up of a full-time, 12-week course that teaches either .NET/C# or Java to help students acquire the skills needed for entry-level developer positions. The Guild’s program not only teaches people to become proficient in coding, but it also teaches how to learn the industry languages in order to help keep skills fresh long after graduation.
Tech Elevator is another organization looking to create a pool of IT talent for Northeast Ohio. Based in Cleveland, Tech Elevator’s mission is to empower its students to fulfill their career potential, positioning itself as an intersection of career changers and employers seeking to hire tech workers. It offers a new way to learn through the coding bootcamp revolution.
Tech Elevator’s coding bootcamp is an immersive 14-week course that transforms software development novices into junior developers. Just like The Guild, Tech Elevator offers training in Java or .NET tracks. And, if a student does not get a job offer within 120 days of graduating, Tech Elevator provides a full refund.
We Can Code IT is another local organization that has embraced the bootcamp revolution. With a focus on diversity in technology and engineering, We Can Code IT offers a five month, part-time bootcamp as well as a three month, full-time bootcamp. Both programs enable students to become certified software engineers upon their completion.
As programs like Software Guild, Tech Elevator and We Can Code IT continue to graduate new classes of IT talent, their skills will be in high demand. In looking at computer-related occupations, Northeast Ohio is expected to add more than 500 jobs a year from 2015 through 2020. Compared to all occupations, computer-related jobs represent the eighth strongest area of growth for our region, furthering illustrating the importance of bootcamp programs like those mentioned above.
While Northeast Ohio may never compete with the likes of Silicon Valley or Boston, the region does boast a significant tech community that should not be overlooked. As OHTec’s 2015 NEO Tech Industry Research Report illustrated, tech companies throughout Northeast Ohio are continuing to grow, further positioning the region as a place for tech talent and innovation.