While there is no surprise that California has the highest concentration of tech workers in the country, Virginia now has the second highest concentration in the country, according to newly released data from the Cyberstates 2019 report.

This study, which has become the definitive guide to tech sector and tech workforce analytics, was published by CompTIA, a leading technology industry association. It found that technology-related employment in Virginia grew by more than 6,400 jobs and that the median tech occupation wage was almost $94,500 – 103 percent higher than the median wage of all other occupations in the state.

Net tech employment in Virginia has grown by 27,700 jobs since 2010 and the technology industry accounts for 436,500 jobs or 10.7% of the state’s total workforce. The tech sector, according CompTIA’s report, hashad an estimated direct economic impact of some $62.7 billion – roughly 13.5% of the state’s total economy.

“Clearly the broad-based impact of the tech industry touches virtually every community, industry and market across Virginia, especially when you consider the hundreds of thousands of knowledge workers who rely on technology to do their jobs,” said Todd Thibodeaux, president and CEO, CompTIA, in a statement.

Virginia’s Tech Domination

The outlook for future employment growth in the tech sector remains positive, the report added. Virginia has seen a 32% increase in the number of job postings related to various emerging technologies – this included the Internet of Things (IoT), smart cities, drones, artificial intelligence (AI), virtual and augmented reality and blockchain.

The Cyberstates 2019 study projected that the base of tech occupation employment – a subset of net tech employment will continue to see growth, up 8.8% in the state by 2026.

“Virginia’s high-tech job growth is being fueled by several factors that are all related,” said Paul Wilkinson, EVP of corporate strategy and business development, at the 1901 Group, which has its headquarters in Reston and an office in Blacksburg in the heart of the Virginia Tech Campus.

“First, you have large high-tech companies, such as Amazon that are locating their offices near the nation’s capital which is increasing the need for technical talent that have expertise with machine learning, artificial intelligence and cloud computing,” Wilkinson told ClearanceJobs.

“Second, Virginia has great schools at the primary and secondary level; a strong science, technology engineering and math (STEM) focus; and a high quality of living that is attracting individuals around the country to the state,” added Wilkinson. “Lastly, the federal government’s increased use of cloud computing is creating a renaissance in the system integrator community which is paving the way for advancements in managed services and cyber security. Collectively, these trends will fuel Virginia as a major player in the high-tech arena for the next 10 years and will also require people that are able to obtain security clearances to support the government.”

Where the Old Dominion State could face some pressure in this segment is in the graying within the old guard. Retirements will only increase the need to for new blood in the tech sector.

“The findings attest to a tech labor market that will remain tight as employers balance short-term needs with an eye towards the future,” said Tim Herbert, senior vice president for research and market intelligence at CompTIA, via a statement. “As digital-human models begin to unfold, employers and employees alike will face new challenges – and opportunities, in shaping the workforce of tomorrow.”

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Peter Suciu is a freelance writer who covers business technology and cyber security. He currently lives in Michigan and can be reached at petersuciu@gmail.com.