It is not news that economic growth is being driven by technology.

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are key fields in economic growth and in being globally competitive. The Bureau of Labor Statistics refers to STEM careers as “tomorrow’s jobs” and growth in those jobs is projected to be over 10% between 2020 and 2030, compared to 7.5% growth for non-STEM jobs.

Demand for tech workers is high everywhere, but the jobs tend to be concentrated in major metro areas. The Austin-Round Rock metro area in Texas boasts 13.2% of overall employment in high-tech industries. Semiconductor and electronic component manufacturing accounts for a large portion of the jobs. Austin has seen an impressive growth in jobs since 2020, and the Wall Street Journal named Austin the No. 1 big city for its job market due to job growth and lower unemployment rate, among other criteria.

High tech workers are also better compensated than other sector workers by more than double non-STEM salaries. In the Austin-Round Rock metro area, the average annual pay for STEM field jobs is $156,335, which is more than twice the average pay across all occupations in that area.

The well-paying jobs are not only for college graduates. Some graduating high school students at Del Valle Independent School District in Austin have signed contracts to work for Tesla in the fall. They will complete a seven week course at Austin Community College (ACC) before they start work, and they will learn skills that will make them valuable employees at Tesla and beyond. The high school is planning to add more programs in the fall in partnership with the community college to further equip students for the jobs of the future.

Austin Community College is adding more bachelor degree options to its curriculum to prepare students for the manufacturing industry that is booming in Texas. According to Dr. Richard Rhodes, the chancellor at ACC, companies in the community are sometimes forced to hire outside the local area to get the skills they need. The new degree in Applied Technology in Manufacturing Engineering Technology will help fill the skills gap in the Austin workforce.

Austin is often compared to Silicon Valley in California. While there are similarities, the differences are what make Austin the tech hub of the future. Texas is seen as more business friendly and is offering tax incentives to companies that choose to have a presence in the Lone Star State. In addition, venture capitalists see Texas as a booming innovation hub and are funding startups as well as more mature businesses seeking capital.

Businesses like Google, Amazon, Apple, Meta, Dell, and SpaceX all add to the Austin tech scene where established tech and innovation are making STEM the wave of their future.