There’s been a lot of talk about a mass exodus from well-known tech cities, with talented workers and entrepreneurs ditching San Francisco’s sky-high rents and fleeing New York City’s shoebox apartments. Regardless of whether the COVID-19 pandemic will actually bring the demise of these cities, there is one tech hub that has only continued its upward streak over the past several months: Northern Virginia (also known as NOVA), the region just outside of Washington, D.C.
Home to tenacious tech
While millions of jobs nationwide were wiped during the pandemic, NOVA’s tech ecosystem has continued to grow. According to Dice’s Q2 Tech Job Report, tech job postings in Virginia rose 11% compared to the second quarter of 2019, while the other top states — California, Texas and New York — saw downward turns. Plus, out of the top 10 tech employers by number of job postings, three were headquartered in Northern Virginia (Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics and Leidos), and all 10 have locations in the region. With thousands of current job postings for tech positions across NOVA, the area’s hiring trajectory doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon.
The demand for talent in NOVA is real. Most famously, Amazon needs to fill over 25,000 high-tech jobs in the region with the arrival of HQ2, but other big names have followed. Microsoft, for instance, will need to recruit some 1,500 NOVA-based workers for its new $64 million software development hub in Reston, a deal sealed mid-pandemic. If a small company is more your speed, local tech firms have been actively hiring during COVID, too, such as low-code automation company Appian with its roster of innovative solutions for a safe return to the workplace; and leading IT Operations Management company ScienceLogic, transforming how IT teams tackle service-disrupting events at a time when we depend more than ever on our technology functioning seamlessly.
Why tech companies are choosing NOVA…
If you’re wondering how Northern Virginia became a magnet for tech companies (15,600 of them) in the first place, the answer is because the region is a magnet for their employees. Earlier this year, CBRE ranked the Washington, D.C. area the #2 best market for tech talent in North America. Companies come to NOVA for the people — highly-skilled workers, but also human beings that care about making a real difference in the world: neighboring D.C. is ranked the most socially-conscious and the fourth-greenest city in America, and Virginia is the fourth most politically-engaged state in the country.
For these reasons and more, tech companies are looking to staff up in NOVA by the thousands, in fields ranging from cybersecurity and software to data analytics and cloud computing. But besides the jobs, what about this region is attracting talented people?
…And why tech workers are finding home here, too
As far as tech hubs go, Northern Virginia is livable. Your neighbors and colleagues make up a diverse community: in NOVA, as compared to Silicon Valley, women are twice as likely and Black residents are five times as likely to work in tech. In Fairfax County — NOVA’s largest county, home to more people than D.C. itself — nearly one in three residents was born outside of the US, making it one of the nation’s most ethnically diverse places.
When it comes to feeling at home somewhere, the company you keep is important, but so is the place you call your own. In Northern Virginia, there are endless combinations of neighborhoods and housing options to find a home that matches your lifestyle. From the high rises of Arlington within eyeshot of the National Mall, to the planned communities of Fairfax County just off the Silver Line, to the wide open spaces of Fauquier County at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, NOVA is home to regions within the region – each with a distinct personality, but all within an hour of the nation’s capital.
If family is a factor, you won’t have to look further than your local public school district to benefit from some of the best education in the nation. Notably, Fairfax County Public Schools — the country’s 10th largest school system — consistently ranks among the top districts in the US. It’s home to Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, the number one public high school according to US News & World Report.
Perhaps the best thing about Northern Virginia right now is that it’s ready to welcome you with open arms. So much so that it has set up a comprehensive website for finding jobs around the region, and a series of virtual career fairs to help job seekers connect with companies that are hiring. All that’s left is for you to make the leap – NOVA is ready when you are.