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“If you build it, they will come…” This mantra was true of the Field of Dreams, and now of San Diego’s burgeoning tech ecosystem.
Together with 35 of San Diego's best and biggest tech companies, Innovate78 representatives joined the San Diego Venture Group's Tacos + Tech in Silicon Valley last week. The event – appropriately held at the Computer History Museum – played host to more than 700 curious Bay Area engineers and programmers, and served to showcase the high-tech jobs and opportunities available across San Diego.
With a special focus on attracting Bay Area engineers, North County companies like ViaSat, Thermo Fisher Scientific and Verve, as well as other San Diego companies like Illumina, Dexcom, ResMed, Qualcomm, Human Longevity, Cubic, Hired and LoanHero set up shop at the job fair-like event. Company recruiters spoke to San Diego as the alternative to Northern California’s congested traffic, high cost of living, hyper-competitive workforce culture and other issues plaguing the region.
As a proud sponsor, the EDC-led economic development initiative Innovate78 represented North County at a booth, with leaders from the five cities along the 78 Corridor – Carlsbad, Escondido, Oceanside, San Marcos and Vista – at the helm. Conversations with attendees ranged from North County housing costs to the growing tech sector, to the many breweries that make up the ‘Hops Highway’ – one of the primary booths highlighting the region's lifestyle.
While many attendees admitted connection to San Diego through family, school or dream vacations, it seemed as though the region’s tech ecosystem – which employs nearly 69,000 people – has flown under the radar. Tacos + Tech provided a platform for some of San Diego County’s top employers and innovators to attract Bay Area talent through simply sharing San Diego's reality: a broad diversity of career opportunity mixed with a top-tier quality of life (and, of course, tacos and beer). For decades, San Diego has built this ecosystem, and now…the talent will most certainly come.
Tacos + Tech comes on the heels of SDVG's Beachhead launch, a coworking space for San Diego entrepreneurs working out of Silicon Valley.
For 36 hours in late September/Early October, RIMAC Arena was transformed from a sports facility, to a coliseum of creative computing. One thousand students from around California came to compete in the largest collegiate hackathon the region has to offer: SD Hacks. Teams worked to create new code, applications and programs that responded to sponsored challenges. In addition to student competition, companies like ViaSat, Qualcomm, SAIC, SPAWAR, Perkins Coie, iboss Cybersecurity, Classy, VaultRMS, Booz Allen Hamilton and the City of San Diego joined in to talk local tech opportunity and mentor student teams. When all is said and done, 1,000 prospective tech employees left the competition with a new perspective on opportunities in tech, here in San Diego.
In an age of rapidly evolving technology, it’s becoming increasingly pertinent for companies to defend themselves against cyber attacks. The cybersecurity sector seeks out the brightest minds to stay one step ahead of hackers who threaten security of some of the biggest U.S. companies like Netflix, Twitter, Spotify and Amazon. Experts predicted one million cyber job openings worldwide in 2016. This burgeoning market for cyber professionals saw 74 percent growth in the last 5 years with expected growth of 13 percent in San Diego alone between 2016 and 2017. Big players in cybersecurity call San Diego home including SPAWAR, ViaSat, ESET, Northrop Grumman, Sentek Global and General Atomics, to name a few.
EDC's Link2 San Diego program seeks to retain the region's new grads by introducing them to industry leaders and lucrative job opportunities within some of the region's fastest growing sectors. By partnering with local universities, students have a chance to interact one-on-one with top executives they may not otherwise meet. Our fall 2016 Link2 series kicked off with Link2Tech at CSU San Marcos and Cuyamaca College this September. Now, in recognition of National Cyber Security Awareness month, we brought Link2Cyber to USD and SDSU.
Link2Cyber at USD was hosted in partnership with the university's new Center for Cyber Security Engineering and Technology (CCSET). The panel was moderated by Winnie Callahan, director of CCSET and featured representatives from the Cyber Center of Excellence, Sharp Healthcare, ESET, City of San Diego and SPAWAR. There were more than 60 college and high school students in attendance.
For Link2Cyber at SDSU, EDC partnered with the university's Department of Computer Science and its Computer Sciences Advisory Board in hosting 60 students and 20 industry representatives for a networking reception and panel discussion. During the panel, representatives from Sony, General Atomics, ViaSat, LP3 Security and Sentek Global spoke to current trends in cybersecurity and provided insight on how students can best prepare for jobs in cyber.
By showcasing the breadth and diversity of San Diego's top industries, EDC is working to retain and attract top tier talent in San Diego.
With the kickoff to the fall semester, EDC is hosting symposiums on university and community college campuses around the region to better connect talent with opportunities within our leading industries.
On September 15, EDC partnered with CSU San Marcos to host the first event of the fall. Link2Tech @ CSUSM hosted 100 students interested in careers in technology. The event included two different high school classes from the 78 Corridor that are on computer science pathways. The program brought together executives from Thermo Fisher Scientific, Welk Resorts, ViaSat and Northrop Grumman, and gave students an opportunity to hear discussion about the diversity of the tech ecosystem in San Diego, hear where the industry is going and interact with speakers to better understand how they can work to have an internship or job with them.
On September 27, EDC hosted the second event of the semester: Link2Tech @ Cuyamaca College. The event featured a panel of representatives from VaultRMS, Dev Bootcamp and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. Attended by 100 high school and college students, the conversation focused primarily on personal career selection, entrepreneurship and refining soft skills as an essential part of professional development.
Proceeding both events, students submitted resumes and engaged in one-on-one dialogue with the speakers. Exposing students to career opportunities help retain the region’s top-tier talent.
On July 14, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer hosted more than 100 business and community leaders at the One San Diego 100 reception. The reception, hosted at DeskHub in Little Italy, recognized early adopters of the Mayor’s One San Diego 100 Initiative, while learning more about the creative ways companies throughout the region are investing in our future workforce and encouraging others to get involved.
The initiative, a recommendation of the Mayor’s OpportunityWORKS Taskforce, challenges 100 businesses throughout the region to engage in providing meaningful work-based learning experiences for young adults. Experiences range from summer jobs and internships to company tours, job shadows and the creation of learning labs inspired by Qualcomm’s Thinkabit Lab.
To date, more than 68 companies have signed on to the Initiative. Any company, large or small, is encouraged to participate and share the exciting ways they are connecting the next generation of workers to San Diego’s thriving economy. For more information or to share your company’s story, visit onesandiego100.org or contact Ashley Swartout at email@example.com.
In an effort to attract talent from outside of the region to North County San Diego, Innovate78 led an ad campaign targeting the L.A. area and focusing on the region’s diverse career and lifestyle opportunities. Utilizing various social media channels, as well as university communications at UCLA and UCI, the ad campaign garnered more than 740,000 impressions and drove more than 3,500 clicks to the Innovate78 website, where recent graduates can find jobs, housing and additional resources available in North County.
This is a new effort focused on exposing talent from outside of San Diego to the unique opportunities in North County – which includes more than surfing and craft beer (although we love those, too).
In collaboration with San Diego County College and Career Readiness Consortium and Mayor Faulconer’s One San Diego 100 initiative, EDC is working to create and provide work-based learning opportunities across the region to help develop and retain San Diego’s talent. With opportunities including job shadows, company tours, industry panels and access to internships, students gain exposure to our region’s diverse career opportunities.
This quarter, EDC coordinated day-long job shadows at various organizations throughout San Diego including The Control Group, San Diego Union Tribune, Cox Communications, SAIC, Ethertronics Inc. and the FBI.
Check out the students’ experience at video production company Scratch Media and broadcast news station CW6:
Together, in collaboration with East County EDC, Junior Achievement and Cleantech San Diego, more than 1,600 young people have been provided industry exposure experience through job shadowing.
Adding to the region’s influx of startups relocating and expanding from the Bay Area, EDC and San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer welcomed mobile app publishing platform Bizness Apps to San Diego. The newest addition to the region’s growing entrepreneurial ecosystem, Bizness Apps opened its downtown La Jolla headquarters, and will be adding more than 100 jobs in San Diego over the next year.
Growing pressures in the Bay Area, as referenced by the Bay Area Council, have led businesses to consider expansion elsewhere. Companies like Bizness Apps found that San Diego to be a reasonable alternative to the Bay Area, with the necessary talent to fuel growth, lowest average commute time among peer metros, lowest employee turnover rate in tech and scientific R&D and an 18.1 percent employer-projected growth in software jobs.
Consistently ranked as an Inc. 500 fastest-growing company, Bizness Apps has quickly grown out of a college-dorm room, and is now becoming one of the leading mobile app publishing platform in the world. Serving more than 40 countries, its “do-it-yourself” app maker platform reaches 26 million users each month.
Today, we welcomed Wrike, a Silicon Valley-based SaaS startup to San Diego. While Wrike is certainly a unique company, its situation is one we know well.
Recognizing the talent footprint in the region, Wrike chose to expand to San Diego, bringing with it 150 jobs over the next three years. Located a stone’s throw away from UC San Diego, Wrike is looking to attract talent from the region’s top universities, including SDSU and CSUSM. The company considered Raleigh, Phoenix and Chicago as alternative locations, but in the end, chose San Diego as the place to expand its California footprint.
"We're thrilled to expand to San Diego and open this location as a launch pad for our growth here,” said Seth Shaw, Wrike’s Chief Revenue Officer and San Diego expansion lead. “We've been really impressed with the high caliber of talent in the region and the enthusiasm for growing professionally in a startup environment."
EDC’s recent data can attest to the depth of San Diego’s talent pool. In 2014, San Diego gained 72,000 degree holders – more than any other major metro area. However, it’s not just the talent pool that attracted Wrike here, but the quality of life the region offers to employees. Not only are the region's beaches ranked among the best in the country, but San Diego ranks fourth in number of sunshine hours (yes, that’s a metric), and has the lowest average commute time among our peer metros. Life most certainly works here, and we’re proud that Wrike agrees.