Friday, April 26, 2013

Oregon's App for That: Articles on the State's High-Tech Industry

Each month, the Oregon Employment Department's Workforce and Economic Research Division publishes several original articles in the Oregon Labor Trends newsletter that cover current employment-related topics across the state. The most recent edition includes a pair of articles about the state's software publishing industry and one of its key occupations.

The first article, written by Regional Economist Amy Vander Vliet, tells how the software publishing industry has been steadily carving out a niche in Oregon over the last few decades. By 2011, only two other states had a greater concentration of employment in this industry: Washington and Massachusetts.

Firms in this sector design, develop, and publish software that addresses a variety of consumer needs including financial management, social networking, mobile services, business intelligence, internet security, and open source development. You may not recognize the names of these Oregon firms, but chances are you've used one of their products, such as Norton Antivirus, or software that allows websites to accept logins from Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Oregon's software publishing industry saw explosive growth in the 1990s as the Internet became a way of life. After a lull following the dot-com bust, job growth resumed and held its ground during the Great Recession, unlike most other industries.

With a few exceptions, Oregon software publishing firms are small. Three-quarters employ fewer than 10 workers, and the median firm size is two employees. The industry also requires a well-educated and highly skilled workforce. More than half of the nearly 100 occupations in the industry require a degree. High earnings go hand in hand with the emphasis on high-level technical skills and education. The average wage in the industry topped $92,900 in 2012, with almost half of all workers in the sector earning $40 per hour or more.

The second new article, from Workforce Analyst Jill Cuyler-Crook, takes an in-depth look at computer software engineers, a key occupation in software publishing. Here are a few quick stats:
  • In 2010, there were nearly 7,900 computer software applications engineers in Oregon.
  • That number is expected to grow by 25 percent between 2010 and 2020.
  • The average annual wage for this occupation was about $85,700 in 2012.

You can find more on these and all of our latest labor trends articles at! They're listed down the right side of the home page.

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