2017 IT jobs report: Pacific region

The Pacific region of the U.S. offers high salaries and a plethora of job opportunities for skilled IT pros who are passionate about technology.

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This IT jobs report covers Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii and Guam. Also see our IT jobs report for the Mountain region, and stay tuned for upcoming reports featuring other regions of the United States.

Job market snapshot

As the home of Silicon Valley and other technology hot spots, the Pacific region is in the biggest, most competitive tech job market in the U.S. As such, it has a unique mix of benefits and drawbacks. Everyone is looking for the best, most innovative talent. On the other hand, there’s a lot of talent to compete with, as techies flock to a region that’s home to the biggest names in computing, including Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft and Amazon.

Analyzing 10 years’ worth of employment data for Forbes magazine, Praxis Strategy Group ranked Pacific metro areas in three of the top 10 spots for tech job creation in 2017. The San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif., area topped the list with more than 220,000 tech jobs in 2016 and 90% tech industry job growth from 2006-2016. The San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., metro area (a.k.a. Silicon Valley), placed 4th with more than 176,000 tech jobs in 2016 and 79.6% tech industry growth from 2006-2016. And the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash., area came in 8th with nearly 146,000 tech jobs in 2016 and 47.7% industry job growth over 10 years.

Patrick Circelli, a San Francisco-based regional recruiting manager for staffing agency Mondo, says the unique dynamics of the Pacific Coast tech scene make hiring different than in other regions. He says many West Coast companies look for technologists who are passionate, innovative and visionary more so than those who are good cultural or even technical fits for specific job posts. He says innovative tech pros with top skills “get to choose where they go.”

As a result, Circelli says companies often have to go after passive candidates — employed workers who aren’t actively looking for new positions but are willing to consider them. Given the competition for talent, Circelli says many employers are willing to take less-than-ideal candidates because they’re available, although some companies can and do still wait months to find the right fit. Software engineers and web developers remain in high demand, as do data scientists and security experts.

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