In New York City, West Coast Tech Firms Move In

What’s New This Quarter

New York City’s technology community is as strong as ever in 2015, claims Mike Fitzgerald, a partner at WinterWyman Search’s New York tech practice: “The local startup community continues to expand, and employment opportunities are flourishing for technologists, particularly in the software-engineering verticals.”

Over the past three years, Fitzgerald added, many notable West Coast technology leaders (including Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Amazon) have shown up in New York City, offering ample engineering opportunities and some of the most aggressive compensation packages around.

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Google’s New York City operation, for example, has more than doubled in size since 2009; the search-engine giant now boasts more than 4,000 employees, roughly half of which are software engineers. This kind of growth is helping offset the loss of similar tech jobs in the financial sector. According to the Wall Street Journal, jobs in computer systems design and related services were up 47 percent to 65,100 in September 2014 from 44,200 in September 2009.

Where will the next round of new hires be working? The list keeps growing:

  • Amazon has taken over 470,000 square feet at 7 West 34th Street, with tax credits that compel it to hire at least 500 people locally. Whether or not the company will actually open a retail store (as has been rumored) remains unknown, but during the holidays it did experiment with one-hour delivery of small items from the location.
  • YouTube’s new New York facility is part production facility, part laboratory, and part teaching center. The idea is to provide the tools and the consulting that New York’s media and advertising communities need to maximize the platform. At the “BrandLab,” marketers will have the chance to meet and work with video creators, creating innovative ad hoc campaigns quickly.
  • MasterCard has opened a New York Technology Hub for its product and technology teams to enable rapid prototyping and to bring digital payments products to market. Located just off Union Square, it features an open floor plan with space for over 200 employees.
  •, the San Francisco-based cloud computing company, is moving in at Hudson Square, expanding its New York presence significantly.
  • BuzzFeed has signed a lease at 225 Park Avenue South and will create 475 jobs in the neighborhood in exchange for state tax incentives.
  • Samsung is also angling toward establishing a huge beachhead in Manhattan, looking for up to 1 million square feet of office space that could hold between 5,000 and 7,000 employees.

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As all that techie activity continues, Wall Street is trying to up its recruiting game. “The financial-services companies used to dominate New York,” said Adam Bilinski, regional managing director of New York and New Jersey for recruiting firm Randstad Technologies. “They had their choice of the best and brightest talent, but it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to recruit. More candidates prefer to work at tech companies these days, so the successful banks have adapted to act more like tech companies while still maintaining the strict compliance standards needed in financial services.”

One example is Goldman Sachs, which has been trying to convince potential recruits that Wall Street, not Silicon Valley, is the place to be for computer scientists. While not as buzzy as a Silicon Valley startup, a successful Wall Street bank can be an exciting place for a technologist to work. In fact, the number of high-level programmers at Goldman has risen 43 percent, to 1,223 employees, since 2009. The overall technology division is now the largest division at the company, with 8,000 of the firm’s 32,000 employees. Out of 78 people named new Goldman partners last fall, six were software engineers.

No matter where you work in New York’s tech scene, be sure to bookmark the city’s new Digital.NYC site, which hopes to become the online hub for everything tech in New York, including venture capital, technology jobs, and incubators. Powered by IBM, it provides links to more than 6,000 startups.

Skills in Demand

According to Fitzgerald, software engineers and DevOps professionals are in demand, as are Python, Ruby, Node.js, and Java developers. “Mobile engineers in either the iOS or Android market are perhaps the most sought after candidates, but they are hard to recruit for full-time roles given the abundance of lucrative contracting opportunities they can find,” he said. “Additionally, the ‘data engineer’ title has cemented itself. Engineers building high-performance systems capable of analyzing massive amounts of real-time data command top salaries.” 

Added Bilinski: “Technology companies aggressively compete for Java resources and the largest gap between supply and demand continues to be in the niche skill sets of Java, EXTJS, Python, Ruby, JavaScript, Groovy, and Django.”

“The results from our survey of New York CIOs offer encouragement for technology professionals,” said Tom Borghesi, New York district president of IT recruiting firm Robert Half Technology. “We have seen increasing demand for developers, network administration professionals, and engineers, as well as desktop support technicians, particularly in healthcare and the software space.”

Sixty-eight percent of New York technology executives surveyed by Robert Half Technology said both network administration and desktop support are among the skill sets in greatest demand within their IT departments. Windows administration and database management followed, with 65 percent and 58 percent of the response, respectively.

According to IT recruiting firm Mondo’s 2014-2015 Salary Guide, the top three skills currently in demand in New York are application and software development, e-commerce, and database administration.

Salary Trends

According to the 2014-2013 Dice Salary Survey, the average salary for a New York-based IT professional is $93,915, up 4.7 percent from the previous year and 6.9 percent above the national average of $87,811.

According to Mondo, Data Scientists; Oracle, Hadoop, and Neteeza developers; AWS consultants; and MySQL developers are currently seeing the largest salary jumps.

Leading Industries

  • Financial Services
  • Advertising
  • Media
  • Insurance
  • Retail
  • Telecom (specifically in New Jersey)

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Image: S.Borisov/