The Importance of Preserving Denver's Technological Ecosystem
The benefits and downsides of Colorado's lush job-seeker market
A Silicon Valley market with Colorado vibes, Denver’s tech space has been attracting leading-edge startups and entrepreneurs for years, and, unencumbered by oppressive living and operating costs like those seen in its coastal peer cities, continues to boom.
Buoyed by Denver’s nurturing commercial ecosystem, the city’s myriad startups raked in $780 million in funding and over $35b billion in exits in 2016. That success in the tech sector is having an unmistakable knock-on effect on tech roles in the city; according to a recent report, tech employment in Denver has climbed a staggering 74 percent since 2010 and now boasts the third-highest concentration of tech workers in the U.S.
A metropolitan hub encircled by mind-blowing vistas and all the recreational opportunity one could wish for, Denver consistently places on lists of the best cities to live and recently ranked No. 3 in U.S. News’ rankings for 2018. Stacked against other tech-driven cities like San Francisco and Washington, D.C., Denver is an alluring option; though its median salary is a shade lower, so are housing costs, unemployment rates, commute times and average rainfall.
Between the ample startup population and plentiful networking on offer, the city is a goldmine of opportunity for tech professionals. Despite an influx of tech talent in the past few years, low unemployment rates in both the IT industry and the city of Denver are making new jobs in the space tricky to fill, making for a particularly lush job-seeker market. Marry all those choice lifestyle perks with Denver’s juicy IT sector, and it’s easy to see why the city is becoming an increasingly big draw for tech professionals.
It’s not just tech professionals who are flocking to the Denver metro area. Thanks to the lower-than-average cost of operating a business, its colossal growth and its central location, the Mile High City has been heralded as a top place to run – and start – a business.
Home to one of the fastest-growing metro populations in the country, more professionals are rolling into the city in search of careers every year, affording those already working in the tech scene a great opportunity to grow their networks. Having a healthy collection of peers and colleagues, especially in a developing space, is a crucial tool for any professional or entrepreneur. A good network can help you find the best vacancies, secure funding and root out the best talent. It also helps you get a better understanding of the market you operate in – and when it comes to business, knowledge is power.
The flipside to that opportunity, however, is the bigger your network becomes, the more difficult it is to preserve it. And as any professional well knows, an uncultivated network will give about as much yield as a neglected garden. So how can you ensure you maintain resilient, valuable connections in a ballooning professional sphere?
Robert Morgenroth, of niche technology staffing firm Frank Recruitment Group, has some tips:
- Be Welcoming: In a growing scene, new people are forever migrating into that space, and making them feel at home will make you not only a memorable figure within that network, but a favorable one.”
- “Denver has countless meetups and networking events for techies but turning up with a business card in hand is not enough. You need to ensure you remain top of mind and not just another face showing up for free coffee. Make an effort to stay in touch with the people in your network, especially those who are new to the scene.
- The central tenant of maintaining a network, Morgenroth says, is to be active – and constructive – within the group: “Make suggestions, give recommendations, keep in touch on social media, but above all, be genuine. If you’re passionate about your industry, this shouldn’t be too tall an order. You should always try and show your value wherever you can; there’s nothing more off-putting to your network than only rearing your head when you need something from them.
The agency, which opens its doors in Denver September 17, knows all about the importance of keeping an ear to the ground when it comes to new opportunities in the tech arena; an endeavor which Morgenroth says can be useful for both businesses and pros.
“Keep your finger on the pulse. It’s natural for people to cycle in and out of your active network based on where they are professionally, and how that relates to the niches you’re working in,” Morgenroth says. “Always aim to keep on top of developments in your area, so you can work out where best to focus your networking efforts.”