3 Ways to Grow Tech Talent Outside of Silicon Valley

by Puneet Bhasin

In the first quarter of 2022, there were 1.1 million tech jobs available in the U.S. alone. With most companies dependent upon technology, it’s no surprise that more than 40 percent of these software engineer and developer hires were in non-tech companies.

Given this highly competitive market, employers that seek tech talent must be more creative and desirable than ever. These three tips can help to attract, retain and grow tech resources, particularly in the non-tech space.

Think Outside the Box

Hiring managers typically screen for candidates that hold a degree in computer science or related field. While this may be preferred, there are other skills that can equal – or even best – a degree.

One is a candidate with demonstrated experience in the field. A track record of consistent, relevant success in a scrum environment may be even more preferred in some circumstances than a traditional four-year degree.

Similarly, a person with an Associate’s degree paired with several certifications in key courses would be a strong applicant. Some notable certifications include:

  • Coding boot camps
  • Google’s IT support professional certificate (online course hosted on Coursera)
  • CompTIA A+, Network+, and Security+
  • Linux certification
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) certifications

Also, a candidate with a deep tech toolkit would be a great addition to any tech-reliant team. Critical experience includes:

  • Front-end development tools such as React, JS, Angular JS
  • Monitoring solutions such as Cloud Watch, Splunk, and Cloud Trail
  • Cyber Engineering Solutions
  • Knowledge of PCI, PII or PHI compliant applications

More Than Money

Yes, you’ll have to pay for top tech talent, particularly when it comes to software developers, systems architects and cloud architects. But, according to research from Bain & Company, there are several factors that are equal to – if not more important than – pay when it comes to deciding where to work.

At the top of the list is the company itself. The mission of an organization, sustainable benefits and its commitment to diversity and inclusion have all been cited as factors that affect a candidate’s decision. Another key point to a candidate’s decision is transparency and accountability of senior management.  

Forbes has indicated that flexibility is another key driver for in-demand tech talent. Candidates are actively seeking remote work opportunities, as well as hybrid work, which gives employees latitude in scheduling their days.

Employers can also bolster salaries by other, more traditional financial perks such as stock options, 401ks and Roth IRA’s. On the non-traditional front, prospective employers may want to consider financial wellness programs such as short-term pay flexibility, credit counseling, childcare support and even school loan or housing cost assistance.

Invest in the Future

Retaining the tech talent you already have is more important than ever. For many, this means employers need to demonstrate a culture of coaching and career training. To this end, consider paying for employees to obtain continuing education credits and certifications relevant to their role.

Career development and growth are other motivators to retain top tech talent. Be sure there is room for advancement, mentorships and more responsibility within your technology roles. The spotlight is on the tech industry. With the competition to fill these roles, companies need to think beyond the traditional hiring process. Now is the time to implement these tips to recruit, retain and grow your tech team.


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