Monday, June 12, 2006

TownScores™ Tech Job Market Survey

TownScores™ Tech Job Market Survey

How do Austin, San Diego, Seattle, Atlanta and San Francisco compare when it comes to high-tech jobs? I conducted an informal survey to find out. I performed searches for jobs with the following criteria:
  • Keyword chosen from list. Each search used one of these keywords:
    • java
    • ajax
    • xml
    • javascript
  • Job posting was no greater than seven days old.
  • City and State were specified:
    • San Diego, CA
    • Austin, TX
    • Atlanta, GA
    • Seattle, WA
    • San Francisco, CA
I originally included the keyword "feed", hoping to find jobs involving XML or RSS feeds. Too many matches on feeding of babies, elderly and zoo animals prompted me to exclude this term. I wanted to scale the number of results returned according to city size, so I expressed the numbers as x jobs /1Million People. So, 45 java postings in San Diego, a city of 2.9 million people, would be expressed as follows: (45 jobs*1,000,000)/2,900,000 = 15 jobs / 1M people City population numbers vary widely, because some counts include entire metropolitan areas, and some only the city proper. I standardized on MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Areas), as defined by the US Census Bureau in 1999. Data are as of April 1, 2005. Jobster Search: Tech Jobs Per Million

I noticed that Seattle had way more jobs overall, and that it had spikes in jobs bearing the words "java" and "xml". I knew that Jobster was located in Seattle, and suspected some skewing. I therefore re-performed the study, using CareerBuilder instead of jobster. The trends, keyword versus keyword, were similar, and the Seattle spikes smoothed out as expected.

CareerBuilder Search: Tech Jobs Per Million

Conclusion

Tech economies in these cities are comparable, with best markets in Silicon Valley (San Francisco) and the Silicon Forest (Seattle). The presence of Microsoft near Seattle seems not to have produced a chill in non-microsoft technologies, such as Sun's Java programming language.

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