RealTime IT News

Software's Rocky Mountain High

For the third consecutive year, Boulder, Colo., has been ranked by the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) as the top metropolitan area for software-related employment. The second leading area was San Jose, Calif., followed by San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and Seattle.

Rounding out the top ten are Seattle, Boston, Austin, Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, Denver and Middlesex-Somerset-Hunterdon (N.J.).

New arrivals in this year's top 25 are Middlesex-Somerset-Hunterdon, N.J.; Sioux Falls, S.D.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Trenton, N.J.; Wilmington-Newark, Del.-Md.; and Tallahassee, Fla.

Dropping out of the top 25 were Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, N.C.-S.C.; Provo-Orem, Utah; Kansas City, Mo.-Kan.; Columbus, Ohio; and Bloomington-Normal, Il.

Occupations included in calculating software employment are programmers, software engineers, systems analysts, database administrators, network administrators and analysts and support specialists. The rankings are based on the number of software-related employees divided by area population, relative to the ratio for the U.S. as a whole. Metropolitan areas are the county-based OMB areas.

In 1998, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and OMB released a comprehensive renovation of the Standard Occupational Classifications. In 1999 information- gathering procedures were also changed. The 2000 Occupational Employment Survey, on which these data are based, includes both the new definitions and survey procedures. While these changes are an improvement as far as accuracy is concerned, they do make comparison of 1998, 1999 and 2000 occupational data problematic.

"The software industry has created a tremendous number of high-skilled jobs throughout the country," said Ken Wasch, president of the Washington, D.C.-based SIIA. "The array of cities in this list exemplifies the importance of software and technology to the US economy."

A closer examination of the top 25 metro areas reveals how some of the "surprise" cities have greatly benefited from specific companies' location there: Boulder (IBM and SUN Microsystems); Huntsville, Ala. (NASA); and Sioux Falls, S.D. (Gateway Computers).

The SIIA is the principal trade association for the software and digital content industry.