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Making Tampa Bay a better tech zone, part 1: We’re in the top 20, which is a good start!

Looking downtown at the Tampa skyline at night

Creative Commons photo by “Dennis Ludlow – Sharkshock”. Tap to see the source.

Tampa Bay’s in CompTIA’s list of the 20 best metropolitan areas in the U.S. for information technology jobs by landing in 19th place. They refer to us as one of the “up-and-comers” along with Columbus (12th on their list) and San Diego (17th), and ranked us just behind fellow Florida city Jacksonville (which they called one of the “surprises”) and just ahead of Baltimore. It’s yet another data point in a steady stream of good news for techies in the Tampa/St. Pete/Clearwater metro area.

A little background: CompTIA is the short form for The Computing Technology Industry Association. They’re a non-profit that issues professional certifications for IT pros, such as computer technician, cloud, Linux, networking, pen testing, project management, security, servers, and so on. They also produce over 50 industry studies that track industry trends, and one of these is the CompTIA Tech Town Index.

To compile their Tech Town Index, CompTIA took the U.S. metro areas with populations over 250,000 and selected the 20 with the most tech job postings during the period from August 2018 and July 2019. They then ranked these cities based on the following criteria:

  • The number of IT job ads
  • A “location quotient”, which is the number of IT job ads divided by number of people employed
  • Cost of living
  • Wages, adjusted for local cost of living
  • Projected job growth over the next year
  • Projected job growth over the next 5 years

Here’s a map showing the cities that made this year’s Index…

…and here’s the list of those cities:

Click the list to see it at full size.

Here’s what CompTIA has to say about Tampa Bay in their writeup. I added some emphasis to the key take-away:

The Tampa Bay region, which includes Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater, has long been considered a top vacation destination. But city leaders want more for this area and their efforts to transition the economy from one based on traditional construction, agriculture and tourism businesses to an economy built on technology are paying off. The investment opportunities in Tampa Bay are plentiful and the area is now home to more than 150 tech startups—just one factor leading to its debut at no. 19 on our list of tech towns.

In addition to the obvious perks of 75-degree days year-round and a daily dose of vitamin D, attractive tax structures and innovative research centers are just a few reasons why Tampa Bay has become so appealing.

But perhaps the most important attraction is a clean slate—uncharted territory. With nearly 43,200 IT jobs posted last year and IT jobs estimated to grow by 6% in the next 5 years, Tampa Bay has the numbers to bolster this growth. In fact, Forbes recently named the area no. 2 on its list of “Top 10 Best Cities for Young Entrepreneurs.”

Companies like Citi, Verizon and WellCare are hiring in Tampa and local IT talent can expect to make a median salary of $79,553 a year. The cost of living is slightly higher than the national average—just 2.3% higher to be exact. When adjusted for cost of living, Tampa edges out Jacksonville in terms of getting more bang for your buck, and it is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the state.

Next in this series: More good numbers for Tampa Bay!

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