Will Washington DC Become the Next Big Tech Hub?

Thanks to the federal government, Washington DC has always enjoyed a healthy market for technologists. However, the city and its environs are drawing more attention from some of the biggest names in tech—which could turn it into a significant tech hub in the years ahead.

While critics of the federal government’s IT stack often joke about how some agencies still rely on Windows XP and tape storage, the fact remains that the feds invest a mind-boggling amount of money in hardware infrastructure, data analytics, cybersecurity, and other technologies. Even though technologists working for the federal government won’t earn Google-caliber compensation, they can serve their country and work on projects that potentially impact the lives of millions.

Although many federal agencies rely heavily on contractors for their technologist needs, the government does a substantial amount of in-house hiring via 18F (the poral for the GSA’s Technology Transformation Services), USDS, and hundreds of agencies. Those who decide to apply directly need to prepare for a really extensive application process—seriously, you’ll end up listing pretty much everything about every job you ever had. There’s also a background check.

For the 12 months ending in March 2021, the federal government grew by 34,577 employees, and the Biden administration’s budget for fiscal year 2022 predicts another 50,000 hires. A portion of those are technologist hires—and that’s before you consider the aforementioned contractors working on agency projects. 

But it’s not just the Feds. Local companies not affiliated with the federal government also need technologists, including a little mom-and-pop operation named Amazon, which is building a massive “HQ2” headquartersacross the Potomac River in Arlington, VA. Amazon is hiring hundreds of workers for HQ2, and its presence could attract other tech companies.

All of that activity has led to a notable hiring spike in Washington DC, according to CompTIA’s latest Tech Jobs Report, which analyzes tech-hiring data from Burning Glass, which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country:

Will Washington DC become a tech hub on par with New York City, Seattle, and Silicon Valley? A few years ago, many might have scoffed at that idea. Yet it’s clear that DC has significant momentum behind it.