In Charlotte, Industry Knowledge is as Important as Tech Skills

Although Charlotte is most commonly seen as a fintech center, the range of industries that have a technical presence here is surprisingly wide. Of the 45,000 people who work in “core technology” roles (according to the area’s chamber of commerce), only 10.7 percent work for financial firms. More tech pros—11.5 percent—are engaged in corporate headquarters roles, while 13.7 percent work for consulting firms; an additional 28.9 percent work for companies involved in software publishing, data processing, computer system design or similar services.

According to Chuck McShane, director of business analytics & data for the Charlotte Chamber, the most in-demand tech jobs are business analyst, Java developer and software developer. Computer user support specialists are also high on this list.

It’s also interesting to note which roles have the lowest unemployment rates. McShane said these include network architects (with an unemployment rate of 1 percent); software/application developers (with an unemployment rate of less than 2 percent); and system developers and information security analysts (also with an unemployment rate of less than 2 percent).

Skills in Context

As McShane observed, technical skills alone aren’t enough for many local employers. Specialized companies in healthcare, manufacturing and data seek candidates who understand their respective businesses. Insurance companies are looking for business analysts with insurance experience, and healthcare companies want cybersecurity experts who understand the ins and outs of healthcare systems.

Lara Gardner, technical group employment manager for the Raleigh-based regional bank BB&T, agreed with McShane’s sentiment about tech candidates needing business-centric knowledge. “The understanding of financial services companies combined with the knowledge of how to build and apply technology is a tremendous asset to companies such as BB&T,” she said.

Gardner also noted that “the growth of fintech talent will be a focus in the future” for her company’s local recruiting efforts. Considering BB&T’s business, that makes perfect sense.

McShane, while acknowledging the area’s focus on banking, observes that much tech activity goes on within headquarters facilities, consulting firms and healthcare businesses. That’s something to consider if you’re looking for work in what’s been traditionally thought of as a one-industry town.