December 20 2016
Software/IT

How Albany Landed Behind Silicon Valley on the List of Best Places to Find a Job in Technology

U.S. News and World Reports last fall raised eyebrows when it named Albany the nation’s third best place to find a job in technology, right behind San Francisco and San Jose (i.e., Silicon Valley). Even the ranking organization was surprised by this, saying, “Albany isn’t likely to come to mind as a leading technology center, but the New York state capital region contains a number of educational and research facilities that focus on biotechnology, nanotechnology and life sciences, such as Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute.”

A Close Look at the List

Wondering how Albany hopped over tech hubs in Boston (ranked No. 8), Austin (No. 7) and Seattle (No. 6)? In developing its list of the 10 Best Places to Find a Job in Technology, U.S. News and World Reports said it “evaluated the strength of the overall job market in each of the 100 most populous metro areas (an important factor in the 2016 U.S. News Best Places to Live ranking), and the year-over-year growth of opportunities in the technology sector in those areas.”

U.S. News and World Reports’ job market index equally weighs a place’s 12-month unemployment rate and median salary, which were 4.5 percent and $40,120 for the Albany-Troy-Schenectady metro area, respectively. Out of the 10 places on the list (see the end of this article for the complete rankings), the Albany metro area had the sixth lowest unemployment rate and sixth highest median salary for all industries, according to a CEG analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) cross-industry estimates.

Job Growth

For year-over job growth, U.S. News and World Reports focused on a dozen technology occupations, according to the study’s author.[1] Out of those 12, the Albany metro area experienced growth in seven of them – the average number for the 10 metros.[2] Over the year, these occupations increased by an estimated 760 workers in the Albany metro area. Given that the OES estimates are cross-industry, not all of those positions were confined to a single industry, such as information. However, the Albany metro area’s software publishers, who are part of the information sector, experienced strong annual growth in 2015. In Albany County alone, employment in the county’s software publishers industry group grew by 124.3 percent to 655.  

While the Albany metro area’s computer user support specialist and computer network support specialist occupations led U.S. News and World Reports’ 10 places in terms of growth rate (%), they did not add the greatest number of jobs to the local workforce. That distinction went to the computer system analyst and software developer (applications) occupations, which grew by an estimated 420 and 290 jobs, respectively.

Here is the list of U.S. News and World Reports’ Best Place to Find a Job in Technology and each place’s corresponding metro area or division for which BLS OES estimates are available.

 

[1] Occupation Codes 15-1111, 15-1121, 15-1122, 15-1131, 15-1132, 15-1133, 15-1134, 15-1141, 15-1142, 15-1143, 15-1151, 15-1152, according to .S. News and World Reports.

[2] 2014 data for one of those occupations (computer and information research scientists) was not available for the Albany metro area, so the year-over growth is not known.

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For more information, contact CEG Director of Research and Communications James Schlett at jamess@ceg.org. Don’t miss these insights into the trends that are shaping the Capital Region’s economy. Sign up for CEG’s e-news.

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