The Story Behind the Story: Why the Qualcomm Study is Important

1/15/13Follow @bvbigelow

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pulpit to boost local innovation and encourage a new generation of entrepreneurs to the city that never sleeps. Extolling the virtues of San Diego as an innovation hub is something our political and business leaders need to learn how to do every day, Cafferty says.

Where San Diego is sometimes characterized as “the biggest small town in America,” Cafferty says, “My hometown of Boston is a small place that projects itself as large.”

Another key issue highlighted in the Qualcomm study, Cafferty said, is that high-tech companies like Qualcomm have a hard time finding qualified workers in the San Diego region. Bob Slapin of Software San Diego (previously known as the San Diego Software Industry Council) has been lamenting the shortage of software developers for years.

At a time when unemployment in San Diego County is 9.2 percent, the study says almost three out of five telecommunications and IT employers say they nevertheless have at least some difficulty finding qualified applicants for non-entry level positions. Just over a quarter say they’re experiencing great difficulty. Even for entry-level positions, 44 percent of San Diego County’s employers indicated at least some difficulty finding qualified applicants.

The demand for software development has followed the rise of smart devices, and represents a fundamental shift in technology innovation, especially in consumer technology. Software is ascendant, in other words, and producing software developers should be a priority if San Diego wants to maintain its place as a hotbed of technology innovation.

“Looking forward, employers in telecommunications and information technology are considerably more optimistic about hiring in the near future,” the report says. “Approximately half (48 percent) of employers expect to have more employees at their current location 12 months from now and 42 percent expect to maintain their current level of employment. Over the next 12 months, San Diego County’s telecommunications and information technology employers expect to add approximately 5,000 new jobs in the county.”

What’s left unsaid is that thousands of out-of-work job applicants apparently lack the requisite skills, education, or talent sought by … Next Page »

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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  • http://www.facebook.com/brant.cooper Brant Cooper

    Haven’t read the report and will do so, but “lamenting the shortage of software developers” is hardly a problem unique to San Diego. Silicon Valley has a shortage, too. Not sure of the point being made. Also, would be interesting to know what the impact of the defense industry is on availability of developers to tech industry.

  • Kian Saneii

    Bruce,

    * Outstanding writing, as always!

    * Mark Cafferty is truly a rock star, big time. I’m so excited for EDC and for all of us that he’s in this position of leadership and influence. I know he’ll make a TREMENDOUS, positive impact!
    * The point about SOFTWARE that you raise is absolutely critical. Very important.
    * The point about home grown versus plucked out elsewhere and dropped into San Diego is a great one that he, and you, raise.
    * Observation: Home grown requires support for amazing incubators like Evo (of which there are exactly NO others), and support from VENTURE capital. When the going was still good up North and in Boston, we ended up having not our fare share of VC funding. As the entire VC market / industry has recently essentially transformed (to put it politely), we are getting our disproportionately negative impact from that. For our size, and more importantly for the level of INNOVATION which actually goes on, there’s very, VERY little funding that’s going on locally. We’re producing and nurturing innovators, and we’re kicking off decent-chance ventures … only to have them stifled at worst and significantly hampered at best in pursuit of funding. If EDC can crack the code in this front, there will be tremendous uplift in economic activity, and just maybe a few Q’s built too — although I have to say that’s unlikely — but we don’t need a few Q’s, we need MANY MANY smaller companies, which WILL happen. We don’t need 12K employee successes, we need 12K medium sized successes! Sadly, I think Austin is coming on strong in this area, and they have NOTHING over us … other than an effective conference now and I’m sure a concerted, coordinated effort amongst city leaders, academia and industry.

    Thanks Bruce. My $.02!

    Best,

    Kian.