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IT jobs market booming in the Southwest

Lamont Wood | Feb. 10, 2015
We look at the prospects for both hiring managers and job seekers in the first in a series of reports examining IT labor markets across the country.

"But our recruiting teams do a very good job of reviewing a cost-benefit analysis with prospects. And we sell them on what we are and what we do." Additionally, USAA brings prospects to town and houses them in a hotel on the famous San Antonio River Walk, where they can dine outdoors and enjoy a nonstop fiesta atmosphere.

"If they are coming from California or New York or some other place where it's much more expensive to live, they can take a salary not paying exactly what they were paid in that region -- but that won't take much of an adjustment," says Cody Horton, director of recruiting at Rackspace, a provider of managed services headquartered in San Antonio, and another regular on Computerworld's Best Places to Work in IT list.

As for people recruited from outside the area, "about 60% will relocate," while some of the others may work remotely, says Andrea Farmer, head of human resources at Globalscape, a past Computerworld Best Places to Work in IT honoree. "Some don't like the heat and the climate, or have kids in school. But it is always cheaper here."

Skills sought

Companies in Austin's tech sector specialize in areas such as semiconductor design, mobile apps and devices and biotech equipment, says Scheberle.

Gomez notes that San Antonio's main IT niches are security (thanks to local military operations and institutions of higher education) and cloud technology (thanks to the presence of Rackspace).

"The competition has heated up for key resources and skills," says Jake Dominguez, CIO at Austin-based chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices. "There is a lot of demand for developers [and people with expertise in] semiconductors, SAP or ERP solutions, and the competition is heating up around security." There are a lot of people with security expertise in San Antonio "due to the Air Force and the University of Texas at San Antonio," he adds.

"Local recruiters are looking more and more for people in the world of mobile applications, and people with good skills in data integration, big data, Drupal and . . . visualization and data analytics," Dominguez adds. "There is fierce competition for design engineers, for manufacturing and new technology, and we are seeing a lot of design centers being built."

For general business development, AMD has been able to find the people it needs in the Dallas/San Antonio-Austin/Houston triangle. But it has had to go outside the state for people with specialized skills, such as Sarbanes-Oxley app development, Dominguez says.

He says he has also seen a rethinking of outsourcing and offshoring, as managers decide it's better to keep key skills at home. "Changes are happening so quickly they can't afford losses of time in handoffs with [people in other] time zones," he says.


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