The future of Tampa’s tech talent

November 10, 2015

Earlier this year, the Tampa Hillsborough EDC commissioned custom research that would offer a better understanding of the information technology and computer-related talent in Tampa Bay. The research, conducted by veteran economic development and technology analyst Guy Hagen of Tucker/Hall, offered several important findings about Tampa and Hillsborough County’s IT talent pipeline.
There are five major factors creating an ideal talent pool for a growing IT industry in Tampa and Hillsborough County:

  • Millennial population growth
  • IT-centric university programs
  • Alumni retention
  • Tampa MSA’s booming IT & Big Data professions
  • Innovation

The Millennial population is growing and doing so fast, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Hillsborough County’s population in this segment will grow 11 to 13 percent faster than the United States as a whole. NerdWallet has listed Tampa and St. Petersburg, two major cities in the Tampa MSA, among the top three destinations in Florida for millennial job seekers. Tampa’s budding waterfront downtown district will play a major role in attracting and retaining millennial talent.
Local IT-centric university programs are turning out talented individuals every year. The 13 schools in the Florida State University System (SUS) have produced nearly 59,000 professionals working in the IT industry, with nearly 5,000 alone coming from University of South Florida (USF).
And these graduates want to stay in Florida, especially Tampa and Hillsborough County. USF retention rates are higher than most, with 66 percent of alumni staying in Florida, 47 percent remaining in the Tampa metro are, and 46 percent of USF graduates who work in IT are employed here.
The Tampa MSA’s IT talent pool offers some of the most desirable specializations for companies involved in e-commerce, big data management, and information security. In the state of Florida, the Tampa MSA is #1 for .Net developers, data warehousing specialists, and Hadoop developers and users. We also rank #2 for NoSQL developers and users and #3 for PHP developers. And of the top five Florida public universities producing Big Data talent, three are within 130 miles of Tampa, creating a steady pipeline of talent.
Our community is heavily invested in innovation, as well. USF is ranked among the top 15 U.S. universities for patents, and their Center for Entrepreneurship was ranked #13 among 2,000 colleges and universities with entrepreneurship programs in 2014. The Florida High Tech Corridor, anchored by the Tampa Bay region, has been named one of the top tech job hot spots in the United States.
With all of these forces in motion, the future of IT in the Tampa metro area looks bright as ever.