Known for its vibrant and rich history in music, Nashville has been singing a new tune lately as a booming tech hub that’s churning out tech jobs and rapidly growing a talented tech force, making it the perfect city to start a career in tech.
The tech labor force in Nashville has increased dramatically in recent years, making it one of the “fastest-growing labor markets in North America.” The city is also creating tech jobs to attract that tech talent—according to Indeed data, job postings have increased by 14% since June 2016. But what’s driving all this growth?
“If you want to grow your company or career in a city that’s affordable, with a great quality of life, and a creative ecosystem that’s second to none in the country, then Nashville is where you want to be,” Brian Moyer, president and CEO of the Greater Nashville Technology Council said.
Along with digging into how the city’s responding to demand for tech talent, below we look at some of the top companies driving that demand, along with the most in-demand tech jobs and skills in Music City, U.S.A.
Nashville has all the components that make a city a tech hub. The state and local governments have established programs that encourage technical training in schools, universities and schools in the city provide a pipeline of tech talent, and there’s an active venture capital community and a strong culture of entrepreneurship.
Build it and they will learn
In the last few years, Nashville, like many cities across the US, has suffered from a shortage of tech talent. John Wark, a tech entrepreneur from California who moved to Nashville, saw the challenge companies were facing trying to find talented software developers, and it sparked an idea—grow talent locally.
“This shortage exists everywhere. We’ve got to home-grow,” Wark said. “We had a big pool of bright people with the aptitude to do this work, who just needed a pathway.”
Wark founded the Nashville Software School, with the purpose of empowering its students with the coding skills they needed, without the tremendous price tag or demands of a college degree. Since it first opened its doors in 2012, over 800 students have graduated from the school, and several companies in Nashville, from enterprise to startups, have hired these graduates to fill their development needs.
Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Ralph Schulz said, “It’s been an important part of the story that Nashville’s tech talent is rising. It is tangible evidence that Nashville and its people are investing in tech education.”
Industries leading the demand for tech
Nashville’s investment in creating its own pipeline of tech talent has paid off. One of the companies hiring talent from Nashville’s Software School is HCA, which according to Indeed data is second on the list of top 10 companies hiring the most for tech in Nashville. HCA is the largest hospital chain in the US and the largest company in Nashville, spawning more than 160 healthcare-related companies in the city.
An analysis of Indeed data shows that the top three companies hiring most for tech in Nashville are in the healthcare industry. Healthtrust, a subsidiary of HCA, ranks at number one on the list of companies hiring most for tech. Third on the list is Vanderbilt University, whose medical center recently received a huge grant to set up a new data research center to tailor treatment for diseases.
With over 400 healthcare companies contributing $38.8 billion to the local economy, the healthcare industry is a clear driving force in the city. In fact, Nashville has “the most high-growth company density among healthcare companies, with private companies that have achieved at least 20 percent annualized growth over a three-year period with at least $2 million in revenue.” With a solid foundation in the healthcare industry, a start-up accelerator with a focus on health care, and a strong pool of professionals, in both healthcare and tech, Nashville has all the components required for a prosperous healthcare hub.
Finance is another industry driving the demand for tech hires in Nashville. As more financial companies are leaving Wall Street and heading south, Nashville is a big draw due to its lower costs, less regulation and surge in population growth. Indeed data shows that AllianceBernstein, a global finance firm that relocated from NYC to the Nashville, is sixth on the list of companies hiring for tech, followed by UBS (#9) a leader in wealth management, and Ramsey Solutions (#10), the company started by the financial guru David Ramsey that helps individuals go debt-free.
Top skills and roles in demand in Nashville
Indeed data shows employers are looking for more software engineers and architects than any other roles. Also on the list are software developers (#5), technical support specialists (#3) and systems administrators (#6) (see below).
According to Indeed data, the most in-demand tech skill in the Nashville metro is SQL (like much of the US). However, what potentially boosts SQL’s overall popularity in Nashville is the healthcare industry. Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) released a report, “Healthcare Tech Middle Tennessee” that shows SQL to be the most in-demand skill for healthcare tech workers with 23% of job postings making a reference to the skill. This skill shows the importance of data manipulation and storage in healthcare, as with many other industries.
Nashville’s lower cost of living is a big draw for newcomers, meaning your dollars will stretch even further here. When it comes to salaries in the tech field, on average tech workers make 66% more than non-tech workers in Nashville. Our Indeed data shows the two highest-earning tech roles in Nashville are the software architect ($126,119) and senior software engineer ($106,352).
A city in tune with the future of emerging tech
You can’t mention Nashville without talking about the city’s rich history in country music and all the music genres it’s influenced. In fact, it’s this lively culture that makes Nashville a “fertile creative ground” with a vibrant music scene that further encourages creativity and innovation in the tech world. Evidence of this collaboration with music and tech can be seen in Project Music Portfolio, a music tech accelerator that aims to advise and educate music-centric entrepreneurs.
Nashville’s market has also experienced an increase in job postings related to emerging tech, and has a strong startup culture with initiatives related to cutting edge technology such as blockchain-based innovation throughout the healthcare sector, such as Hashed Health.
“I think there’s a real hybrid vigor in Nashville,” says Stryker Warren, healthcare exec and mentor in the startup scene. “It’s a little bit country, it’s a little bit rock-and-roll, it’s very hip, and it’s very cooperative.”
If you’re ready for a tech career in the city with a rich culture of creativity and entrepreneurship that embraces and fosters people with the tech skills to help the local economy grow, Nashville might just be the place for you.
*Methodology: To measure the companies hiring the most tech roles in the Nashville metro, Seen by Indeed (formerly Indeed Prime) calculated and analyzed the most commonly listed companies for Indeed.com tech job postings in the area over a six-month period from December 10, 2018 to June 10, 2019.
For the most in-demand tech skills in the Nashville metro, Seen calculated and analyzed the percentage of Indeed.com job postings in this metro that contain tech skills over a six-month period through June 10, 2019.
For the most in-demand tech roles in the Nashville metro, Seen calculated and analyzed the most commonly listed job titles in Indeed.com job postings for the area over a six-month period through June 10, 2019.
Our analysis for the highest-paying tech jobs in Nashville was calculated based on the top-paying job titles on Indeed.com.