The rise of ‘mid-tech’ jobs | Tech News

Cities across the U.S. are eager to attract tech companies because in the industry are currently some of the highest-paying in the country. But there’s a big difference between developers and customer service specialists — the latter often pays less and requires less education, but the case still could be made that it’s a “tech” job.

According a report from the Brookings Institution last week, there are other valuable tech  that cities may be overlooking — what the Brookings Institution calls “mid-tech” jobs — ” classic tech jobs that are actually quite accessible to workers without a bachelor’s degree.”

The Brookings Institution tried to get a sense of the share of mid-tech jobs available in a number of metro areas by looking at how many workers in these areas were employed in one of the 13 occupations that fall under the “computer and math” occupational group, according to U.S. Occupational Employment Statistics, and didn’t have a bachelor’s degree.

The report found that many of the metro areas that have a high share of mid-tech jobs aren’t your traditional tech hubs. The metro-area with the highest-percentage of mid-tech employment in the U.S. at nearly 60 percent was Olympia-Tumwater Washington, located more than an hour outside of Seattle. Midwestern college towns like Bloomington, Indiana, and Ames, Iowa also had a high percentage of mid-tech jobs, at 39.6 and 37.5 percent respectively.

Meanwhile, San Francisco, Seattle, and Boston all had a share of mid-tech jobs below 20 percent.

The report’s author, Mark Muro, told VentureBeat in an email that many of the occupations with a high-percentage of mid-tech workers are in IT, thus “it’s not surprising that the list of heavily concentrated metros contains a ton of state capitols and university towns…they are centers of mid-tech: these are places that are using tech networks as opposed to creating them.” I also wonder if non-traditional techhubs are more likely to employ large shares of mid-tech workers because organizations there don’t have as long of a practice of recruiting computer science graduates from top universities all over the country.

Nonetheless, the report serves as another reminder that there’s more ways to get people into tech jobs than encouraging them to study computer science at a four-year college.

Thanks for reading, and as always, please send me your thoughts via email. You can also sign up here for VentureBeat’s Heartland Tech newsletter to get this column in your inbox weekly.

Anna Hensel
Heartland Tech Reporter

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