In June, the New York Times affirmed what the Puget Sound tech community already knew: Cloud technology is turning out to be Seattle’s hottest commodity. “It’s like Detroit used to be for car companies,” Bill Hilf, Hewlett-Packard’s vice president of cloud product management, told the newspaper. “The galactic players are here, and they are creating lots of little companies.”
Hilf, a Microsoft alum, is helping to launch HP’s new HP Helion cloud computing initiative in Seattle, with $1 billion of investment expected over two years. The company currently employs 70 people on-site and will hire as many as 200 more in the next 18 months in order to compete with Microsoft, Google and Amazon, the other three big cloud innovators in town. (It’s not well-known that Google has 1,000 people working on cloud projects in Seattle.)
New and growing cloud companies such as Tableau Software, Concur, Chef, Appio and Socrata are also in the mix, and all of them are hiring out of the University of Washington’s computer science department, a leader in distributed computing. It awards about 250 degrees each year.
Meanwhile, Amazon continues to grow across the board, adding 7,300 people in the second quarter and now employing 124,600 people, up a striking 36 percent from just a year ago. And it’s not going anywhere. In his annual letter to shareholders, CEO Jeff Bezos said it was important to stay downtown. “It is a fact that we could have saved money by building in the suburbs, but for us, it was important to stay in the city. Urban campuses are much greener,” he said. It was also reported that out in the field, Amazon hopes to deploy 10,000 more warehouse robots by the end of this year.
If you’d like to get a job at Amazon’s funky Zappos subsidiary, you won’t find any online job listing. Instead you’ll have to join Zappos’ own Zappos Insiders social network and essentially demonstrate what a fun and good person you are. It’s unlikely that Amazon will follow the lead of its corporate cousin.
Skills in Demand
“Cloud-based projects and mobile initiatives continue to fuel the demand for IT hiring in Seattle,” says Megan Slabinski, Seattle district president of Robert Half Technology. “We’re seeing increased demand for network and systems positions that require cloud engineering experience, as well as DevOps roles in Linux environments.”
T. J. Doton, Seattle-based managing director for recruiting firm Randstad, also sees a hot market. “Organizations are continuing to aggressively hire strong technologists in an extremely competitive environment where there are far more opportunities than there are talented resources,” he says. The strongest demand he sees is for software engineers, development operations experts and automation specialists with cloud expertise, as well as user interface and user experience developers.
Fifty-five percent of Seattle technology executives surveyed by Robert Half Technology said that network administration is among the skill sets in greatest demand within their IT departments. Database management and desktop support followed. Local recruiters are seeing continued high demand for software developers (Java or .NET), user interface developers and software development engineers in test (SDETs). Desktop support staff is also a perennial need.
According to the 2014-2013 Dice Salary Survey, the average salary for a Seattle-based IT professional is $95,048, up 0.8 percent from the previous year and 8.2 percent above the national average of $87,811.
- Software Development
- Cloud Technology
Local Employment and Research Resources
- Puget Sound Business Journal
- Seattle Post-Intelligencer/Technology
- Seattle Times/Technology
- Washington Technology Industry Association
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