Although Delaware is seldom recognized for its size or prestige, the big-fish-small-pond effect could certainly apply to this state. Delaware has emerged as one of the fastest growing states in the U.S. with tech companies fueling the local economy. Already, this tech-hub state boasts huge fish like JP Morgan Chase and Purdue.
In today’s economy, being a big fish in a small pond greatly depends on good paying tech jobs. If you are wondering just how big Delaware’s tech community is, consider that the state is only one spot below Washington in the 2018 State Technology and Science Index, ranked by The Milken Institute. This places Delaware above and among states with high tech reputations, such as Virginia, New York, and North Carolina.
Taking a glimpse at the state’s job data is useful when looking for talent. It can also prove of benefit if you are hoping to land a tech job in the near future. To show you just where Delaware stands on the playing field and to get a real idea of the local tech community’s size, here is data for the state of Delaware and a few of its sibling markets, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and Baltimore.
A Look at Delaware's Tech Industry
As of May 2017, there were 17,560 people working in mathematical and computer occupations in Delaware, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overall, the majority of people were in IT related fields, including 4,640 software developers, 2,950 computer systems analysts, and 1,130 computer programmers. By a wide margin, the top job postings in Delaware were for Java developers and software development engineers, according to job market analytics firm Burning Glass and IT industry association, CompTIA.
Despite the fact that we are focusing on IT, it is worth noting the contribution the sciences are making to Delaware industries. The biotech and ag tech sciences employ 5,360 people in the state, including 330 medical scientists, 100 soil and plant scientists, and 150 biochemists/biophysicists.
Due to its small size, Wilmington, Delaware’s IT job postings, which is about 12,000, are dwarfed by D.C.’s 188,500 openings in 2018, and Philly’s 70,000 openings per a recent CompTIA and Burning Glass report. This should come as no surprise considering these are both major hubs.
As previously mentioned, Delaware is a significantly smaller pond than its neighboring markets. The half-million-plus population of New Castle County, Baltimore, is where many of the state’s tech jobs live. The state is eight times bigger than Wilmington and a third of the size of Philadelphia.
So clearly, when you consider its size and the 2,100 emerging tech jobs in the fiscal year 2018, Delaware is competing with its sibling markets and attracting more tech-minded people. This is demonstrated in the great number of tech and creative design firms that have sprung up in the last several years.
Is Delaware Short on Tech Talent?
Although IT listings are holding fairly steady, the abundance of jobs for tech talent in Delaware certainly doesn’t reflect the 4% drop seen in 2018. If Delaware is short on anything, it is tech talent.
Data compiled by AgileCraft reflects the average tech job salary in Delaware, which is $100, 838. This sits tech jobs among the highest paying jobs in the state. While San Jose, California, has the highest average overall, at $132,371, Delaware’s cost of living is substantially lower than Silicon Valley.
Big Players in the Delaware Tech Industry
With its cutting edge Health & Technology Innovation Center, Christiana Care is Delaware state’s biggest employer and one of the largest health care providers in the mid-Atlantic. Additionally, the agtech sector continues to see steady growth. Ready to take its place as a major employer is DowDuPont’s new Corteva Agriscience. Although not commonly seen as tech companies, Delaware’s biggest tech companies are big banks, such as JP Morgan Chase and CapitalOne
Another example of another traditional company turned tech is CSC. The company provides corporate and financial services to businesses. Programs such as Zip Code Wilmington are helping to fill the gaps as the company continues to grow at a pace faster than the state’s talent pool growth.
Hindrances to Tech Careers in Delaware
Their abrupt growth has made it difficult to find trained, technical people. When looking for talent, CSC looks for those who have matriculated through traditional college, university programs, and other sources. There seems to be an emergence of graduates from certification courses and technical boot camps. Employers often need to make changes quickly, and this demands that those behind the scene, such as technology workers, must keep the pace of innovation. For this reason, those working in technology should stay current on trends.
How to Secure a Tech Job in Delaware
Learning skills like rapid application development, test engineering, application monitoring, and site reliability engineering is important if you are going into computer science.
With the Wilmington area being so popular among millennials, there has been a great deal of new multifamily housing construction. The city welcomes and supports the attraction of tech-minded people, and this is demonstrated as the city seeks to supplement their employment goals with transportation options and additional housing. Even more, the city wants Wilmington to be a place where citizens can relax, dine, and unwind while enjoying art, music, and various entertainment venues.
Ultimately, if you're looking to secure a tech job, Delaware is the place to be. With an abundance of educational and career opportunities flourishing all across the state, you'll find it simple to pursue a wide range of tech jobs if you make a move to Delaware.