San Diego is emerging as a mecca for software developers, whose coding powers both new startups and established companies and creates an annual economic impact of over $12.2 billion.
That was a key finding of a report released Tuesday by the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. which detailed a long list of reasons why software is so important in the region’s innovation economy:
- San Diego has 21,600 software developers
- More than 100,000 jobs in the region depend on the area’s software industry
- Employment in software will grow by 18 percent this year
- San Diego ranks 7th among U.S. metropolitan areas, ahead of Austin and New York City, though behind San Francisco/Silicon Valley and Seattle
- More than $500 million in venture capital flowed into software-related startups in 2015
- San Diego universities are churning out talent, with UC San Diego graduating the third most undergraduate computer scientists of any U.S. institution
- Many industries that aren’t known for software actually depend upon it
“From mapping the genome to piloting unmanned systems, software is the foundation behind most of San Diego’s breakthroughs and innovation,” said Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of the EDC. “With this study, we now have the ability to quantify the depth of the software ecosystem for the first time. We know San Diego is a good place to build and locate a business — and companies are following suit.”
The study was released at a press conference at the soon-to-be-opened downtown offices of Underground Elephant, a digital marketing software company that will soon employ 200 people, according to founder and CEO Jason Kulpa. The company has created a playful office that includes a one-room schoolhouse to underscore the importance of continual learning in software development.
“The key driver of Underground Elephant’s continued growth has been its ability to tap into San Diego’s experienced workforce,” said Stacy Mendes, the company’s vice president for culture. “San Diego is a magnet that attracts and retains talent.”
“We chose San Diego because we thought the talent was here and the quality of life was second to none,” he explained. ” You don’t have to be in silicon Valley.”
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