Bolstered by a strong jobs report last month from the Department of Labor, the nation’s economy continues its upward swing. In San Jose and the Silicon Valley, much of the new job creation can be credited to the tech sector.
One clear indication that San Jose’s economy is booming is the staggering addition of 9,000 new businesses with 4,000 new jobs from just a year ago. While the tech industry may not be leading in overall job growth in San Jose and Silicon Valley, there is no question that it is a contributing factor. Backed with the highest median income level in the country in part due to the tech industry, San Jose was named this year’s Best Big City for Jobs by Forbes. More recently, San Jose was among the top cities for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) jobs and was also named the No. 1 City for Job Satisfaction by Glassdoor. That level of job satisfaction, an average salary of $90,000 and strong purchasing power in the tech sector has led to job increases in other facets of the economy, including government jobs, construction, healthcare, dining and retail.
Although many tech executives and industry analysts say a college degree isn’t necessary to succeed in this highly competitive industry, college graduates made 98 percent more than people without a college degree for all American jobs in 2013. It’s also true that many prominent tech executives left college before completing their studies such as Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, but having a college degree in a related field will generally help a job seeker emerge out of a sea of competition, particularly in supervisor and management positions.
Current demand for new hires in the tech sector isn’t just restricted to software developers and systems analysts. Indeed, according to Forbes, among the top paying STEM jobs for new college graduates are network security analyst, computer hardware engineer, clinical information specialists, clinical data analyst and quantitative analyst, in addition to software developers and tech analyst.
With the prospect of competing among other qualified candidates for a rewarding career in the tech industry, it should make much more sense for most people interested in the field to complete at least a four-year education.
Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he was awarded a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on Examiner.com.