Fla. tech job market booming

State ranks second in growth

Chloe Herring | 8/14/2014, 9 a.m.

Florida has created nearly as many technology-related jobs in the past six months as it did for all of last year. The creation of these 4,100 tech jobs and the 90 percent growth they represent ranks the state as number two on a list of states with positive job inclines in the technology industry. Florida is second only to Texas, which according to a report from tech recruitment website Dice.com, produced 8,100 new jobs.

As of August 1, there are over 80,000 jobs in technology available on Dice.com. For Bonserm Wongsarj, Florida Memorial University’s computer science, math and technology department chair, tech job openings come as no surprise.

“There are tech jobs everywhere,” he said. “You have a cellphone right? Who do you think makes those? We’re the people behind the scenes.”

Wongsarj said even with the availability of jobs it is hard for his students to land entry-level positions, an idea supported by statistics released by the Census Bureau last month. According to the Census report, 74 percent of college graduates with degrees in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are not employed in their field.

“The problem is there is a disconnect between the jobs available, the employers, and the students looking for jobs,” Wongsarj said.

Another factor job seekers may find difficult is navigating a field structured on various tiers of skill. Wongsarj said basic technology jobs are more difficult to obtain, whereas there are “always jobs” in more complex fields.

But Wongsarj noticed that once his former students gain employment in STEM jobs it becomes easier to get the next job, which may point to the need for additional training to prepare people for the specifics of open positions. In an email, Jessica Sims of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (FLDOE) wrote that the state uses federal funds to promote training for certain high wage STEM jobs.

“In order for Florida to have the nation’s top economy, we must ensure our state’s workforce is the best,” Sims wrote. “And that means focusing on education and training, especially in the STEM fields.”

Sims continued to write that STEM are “key elements” to the growth of the economy. By 2021, FLDOE expects that 50 percent of the top ten jobs to have the most openings will be tech-related. All 10 of the jobs are in STEM fields, which the department projects will grow by 15.3 percent in the next decade.