In the past year, Idaho has witnessed a significant surge in its tech job market, driven by a combination of factors that have contributed to the growth and stability of the industry.
The state has experienced a notable increase in tech job opportunities as the local labor force aligns itself with the demand that emerged during the pandemic, experts say. .
Idaho attracted a considerable number of professionals who relocated to the state while working remotely for companies based outside Boise. As the pandemic subsided, many of these firms downsized or altered their operations, urging employees to return to the office.
This presented a unique advantage to local companies, as they were able to tap into a pool of talented individuals who had already made Idaho their home. As a result, local tech companies benefited from this influx of skilled workers, acquiring talent that had migrated to the state.
“We had this infusion of people who were looking at local tech jobs and a lot of the companies here were able to pick up talent that had transplanted here,” said Nick Crabbs, founding member of the software development company VYNYL.
A second factor contributing to Idaho’s thriving tech industry is the ongoing production of graduates from the region’s universities. Boise State University (BSU), in particular, has witnessed a remarkable increase in the number of computer science graduates in recent years. While a decade ago, the university produced around 20 to 25 computer science graduates each spring, it now boasts well over 100 graduates annually.
According to Crabbs, about 85% of graduates from the BSU’s College of Engineering computer science department remain employed by Idaho-based companies five years after completing their degrees.
“It’s a big increase in CS graduates, and overall, many of those particular graduates from Boise State tend to work for Idaho companies,” Crabbs added. “So, that’s a great retention rate.”
According to Cody Allred, public information specialist at Idaho Department of Commerce, Idaho’s pro-business culture and high quality of life creates an environment where business can thrive. “As businesses are considering their location decisions, many – including technology companies – are choosing Idaho,” she said.
Allred said these factors have led to recent expansions and location announcements for companies Micron Technology and Meta. Micron recently announced its $15 billion expansion in Boise, while Meta decided to locate a new data center in Kuna, investing over $800 million.
As Idaho’s tech industry matures, it has become an attractive destination for tech professionals seeking job opportunities. A shift in salary dynamics has helped Idaho attract workers from other areas and retain local tech talent, providing a more favorable environment for professionals to thrive within the state.
“Tech workers’ salaries kind of across the US have started to normalize. You didn’t see a geography based salaries quite as much as you did prior to the pandemic, and I think Boise had been on a march to make that change anyway,” Crabbs added. “But the pandemic really pushed it over the edge.”