Charleston tech sector offering more high-paying jobs, CDC reports

We Stand For Progress Reports Dec. 4, 2019, 10:57pm

Ernest Andrade, executive director of CDC
Ernest Andrade, executive director of CDC

Charleston’s tech sector continues to grow, with more than half of local tech companies creating new jobs in 2019 and 91 percent of them saying they expect to do so in the future.

Additionally, on average, tech sector jobs pay workers around $93,000 annually, twice the state and regional averages. To top it off, the number of tech companies – a term that for these purposes refers largely to software development and related companies, not advanced manufacturing that uses tech – has increased to 473 so far in 2019. The figure was 444 at the end of 2018.

These are some of the conclusions of a 2019 study by the industry trade association Charleston Digital Corridor (CDC).

Ernest Andrade, executive director of the CDC, told Palmetto Business Daily in a telephone interview that a major aim of CDC is to see growth not only in migration of tech-proficient professionals to the area, but also to expand opportunities in the sector for the existing population.

“I will tell you this,” Andrade said. "You’re not going to create a successful tech economy if you don't have an alignment of the educational institutions and economic strategy.”

And that, he said, is happening.

“We’re always going to be attractive to folks from outside the region,” Andrade said. “But now you’re seeing that enrollments in [state and local] computer sciences have dramatically increased over the last decade. For those graduates that are here, there are more opportunities in technical fields than there were in the past.”

Fortunately, education officials are on board.

"We are keenly aware of the growth of the tech sector in Charleston and are committed to meeting the needs of this high-wage industry by developing and expanding our curriculum to align with the success of the tech companies in our region," Sebastian van Delden, interim dean at the College of Charleston School of Sciences and Mathematics, is quoted in a CDC press release.

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