At the Greater Nashville Technology Council’s 12th Annual Meeting Thursday, President and CEO Brian Moyer shared a progress report for the Middle Tennessee tech sector.
The region is on track to pass with flying colors.
Last December, Greater Nashville’s tech sector topped 62,000 jobs, marking an increase of 16,000 from two years prior. The statistic is significant in many regards, but especially in reference to NTC’s “big hairy audacious goal” of doubling Nashville’s tech workforce by 2025. Based on current progress, the region is on track to reach that goal by 2024.
Another encouraging indicator: NTC’s membership has ballooned. Moyer said the group’s membership grew 14 percent last year, bringing membership to its highest level in history with more than 600 companies.
And while the pandemic could have hacked NTC’s ability to network with members new and old, the group, like any good engineer, found new ways to connect. NTC developed new programming, consolidated resources, launched a new tech CEO Roundtable and added a job seeker program that held a series of virtual hiring events. It also managed to still host its fourth annual Hack for the Community event.
By year’s end, the NTC had logged only two fewer events than 2019 but drew 13 percent more participants to those.
The organization also prevented the passage of legislation that opponents said would have breached Nashville’s reputation as a business-friendly city for tech companies. Representatives from Google, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft joined forces with the council to block the passage of state-based online censorship legislation that would have created high fines and legal liability for private businesses looking to police their own digital platforms or storefronts.
Moyer said NTC’s work within the legislature continues in 2021, as its team and members have monitored data legislation and halted bills that would have created compliance burdens to both big and small businesses across the state.
In addition to helping protect the existing tech ecosystem, the organization is also trying to secure funding to develop it. Last year, the group collaborated with a state coalition to introduce legislation that would make computer science courses available in every public high school. The proposed legislation includes funding for the courses and training for teachers. And the NTC has made strides in education outside the legislature by hosting virtual tech camps for at-risk youth, providing professional development for teachers and engaging with area colleges and universities.
Oracle exec on city's attraction
Talent, just so happens to be the No. 1 reason why software giant Oracle chose Nashville, one of the company’s top executives said Thursday.
During a fireside chat at the annual meeting. Moyer asked Steve Miranda, executive vice president of Oracle, the multimillion-dollar question in regards to the tech giant’s decision to expand to Music City: “Why Nashville?” Miranda said the three main reasons Oracle opted to expand here were the talent in the area, the university ecosystem that will help the company foster and grow young talent and the city’s attractiveness as a business center.
“For years, Silicon Valley and New York City have been the towns for technology. But now, engineers and programmers aren’t jumping at the idea of living in either of those cities. They are seen as too expensive and volatile,” Miranda said.
However, professionals are attracted to Nashville thanks to the city’s comparatively lower cost of living and its culture. In fact, when asked how Oracle and the out-of-town talent the company is primed to attract could alter the area’s culture, Miranda said Oracle has a vested interest in keeping Nashville as is.
“We chose Nashville because of the existing talent and the talent pool pining to move here. Diluting or changing the city’s culture doesn’t do us any good,” Miranda said.
In short, the IT community is capitalizing on Nashville’s reputation as an “it” city quite literally and figuratively.