While listening to my local NPR affiliate this morning (KUT.org) I caught an interesting story during the local news segment that’s presented at six minutes past the hour during the broadcast. A local KUT reporter interviewed Christopher Calnan at the Austin Business Journal who reported in a December 10 story entitled “Many Austin mobile/social networking startups scramble to fill jobs” that there are currently nearly 1,000 unfilled tech jobs open in the Austin metro area, most of them for software developers, and many of them at the social and mobile networking startups that have been springing up with terrific abandon in the Austin area in the last year or so.
According to the story, Dice.com listed 938 open technology jobs in Central Texas as of Friday, with over 600 of them in software development. By contrast, the DFW metro area with a combined population over 4 times that of Austin’s, has listings for 2,300 tech positions at Dice, indicating a higher number of jobs open per capita in Austin than Dallas. Similar numbers hold for Houston and San Antonio as well.
Does this mean tech employment is finally picking up? Maybe yes, maybe no. But it’s highly encouraging that one of the primary “digital employment towns” (at middling number 15 US city, Austin usually ranks with Silicon Valley, the Seattle area, Washington, DC, the NYC metro area, and the Boston area among the top major metro areas with significant high tech employment opportunities) is starting to experience a shortfall in IT employment, even if it is in a fairly narrow segment of the software development arena.
Hopefully this points to a trend where other jobs in IT will start to pick up, and a real jobs recovery for the sector can get underway in 2011. Let’s make a New Year’s resolution to see such a phenomenon occur next year, shall we, and see if that does any good!