Local tech sector seen maintaining strong job growth

Middle Tennessee’s technology job base grew by more than a third in the past five years, picking up the pace from the middle of the decade. And while expansion will slow in the near future, the sector is still expected to handily outpace overall job growth.

A new report from the Department of Information Systems & Analytics at Middle Tennessee State University, produced in partnership with the Greater Nashville Technology Council, puts the number of tech workers in the 15-county greater Nashville area at 62,876, an increase of 36 percent from the number of 2014. Two years ago, report author and MTSU professor Amy Harris calculated that growth over the previous five years had been 30 percent. (A change in methodology that now includes project management and business operations specialists means the actual number is also substantially larger than those from past reports.)

While numbering only about 140, data scientists were the fastest-growing job group last year. Overall management jobs and software developers/quality assurance workers also grew strongly in 2019 and the aforementioned business and financial operations analysts provided the biggest number of new jobs.

Looking ahead, Harris expects the number of local tech workers to grow by 16 percent by 2024, the same pace she foresaw two years ago and six points more than the overall Middle Tennessee economy’s expected growth rate.

“Thanks to very strong growth in this sector in recent years, much of the infrastructure is now in place that will fuel our future success,” Tech Council CEO Brian Moyer said. “We’re ready to make the most of the steady flow of new tech jobs that this report foresees.”

The median tech job in Middle Tennessee paid $69,557 in 2019, which was 16 percent below the national median but more than $30,000 higher than the median job in the Nashville area. The 16 percent gap is slightly bigger than the mark of two years ago, but Moyer said Middle Tennessee tech workers have much relative higher spending power than in traditional coastal tech talent hubs.

To download the 2020 State of Middle Tennessee Tech Report, click here.

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