The Big Apple is a growing hub for digital advertising and media, as well as e-commerce, cementing its position as “Silicon Alley.” But there’s another, often-overlooked category that’s ramping up hiring for UX designers, data architects, and application developers: Educational technology, also known as EdTech.
According to Sehreen NoorAli, vice president of business development for Noodle and founder of EdTechWomen, there’s more money flowing into EdTech, increasing the demand for professionals. “EdTech companies are on the lookout for a broad suite of tech professionals, especially engineers and product people who can make the front end more intuitive,” she said.
“EdTech is a boom within the tech boom in the city,” added Gary Sacks, regional vice president at Robert Half Technology in New York.
Companies on the Lookout
Beyond EdTech, hiring for tech professionals is brisk, noted Kristen Titus, founding director of the NYC Tech Talent Pipeline. Some of Silicon Valley’s tech giants, including Facebook and Twitter, continue to hire for their outposts in the city. Financial services and media companies also want tech pros.
What sort of talent do companies want? Take the example of Etsy, which went public in April; it’s on the lookout for full-stack software engineers, product designers, data analysts, and mobile app developers, noted Sara Cohen, a company spokesperson: “The creative energy here makes New York far more interesting and vibrant for building a global company than in a one-industry town.” Etsy’s headcount grew from 251 employees on December 2011 to 717 as of March 2015.
Venture-capital funding is also on the rise. New York State took the third spot in the nation for venture capital funding at $4.3 billion in 2014, up from $2.8 billion in 2013—all heavily associated with Web-related investments.
Skills in Demand
Given the demand for tech workers, many companies in the city are finding it harder and harder to hire the experienced people they need. Erik Grimmelmann, president and CEO for the New York Technology Council, said: “It’s especially difficult to find mobile and software architects and engineers, as well as senior data scientists.”
According to the 2015-2014 Dice Tech Salary Survey, the average salary for a New York metro-area tech professional is $95,586, up 2 percent from the previous year and 7 percent above the national average of $89,250.
Sacks noted that experienced application developers in the EdTech space, for instance, can earn upwards of $100,000 or more.
For the right people, multiple offers are on the table—sparking some fierce bidding wars. Shay David, cofounder and chief revenue officer for Kaltura, an open-source video platform company, noted that pay is up, while admitting that newer companies are likely to lose out to the “Googles and Amazons of the world” when it comes to shelling out cash for the best.
Recruiting has to be about more than simply money, David argued: “We sell them on our vision and the chance to work with some of the top companies in the world who happen to be our clients.” Recruiters are using quality of life as a lure, too, especially for software developers tired of dealing with long hours.
Even while NYC makes a name for itself in all things digital, the diversity of companies in the city—from advertising to finance and media—makes the tech scene particularly robust. According to the 2014 NY Tech Survey from the New York Technology Council, the industry breaks down as follows:
Social Consumer: 7%
Health Tech: 6%
E-Commerce: 6% (tie)
Adtech: 2% (tie)