Move over Silicon Valley — Stanislaus County becoming development hub
November 28, 2017
Bay Area companies recruiting for tech talent should keep an eye on Modesto and Stanislaus County. Long-time residents of the Central Valley are aware that many of our new friends and neighbors are known as BATs (Bay Area transplants). Perhaps a little less well-known is the fact that some of these new residents have brought a wealth of tech know-how and experience to the county.
Now these techies are beginning to positively impact local companies and draw high-paying tech employers into the county.
Central Valley companies like E&J Gallo, Foster Farms and Hilmar Cheese that already employ hundreds of software programmers, now have a larger, more experienced tech talent pool to recruit from.
And that tech talent pool isn’t just growing in size, it has also been rapidly broadening its experience and capabilities with cutting edge tools. Gallo leverages a variety of technologies including Java, PHP and SQL. Save Mart uses Ruby on Rails, Java, and SQL for their software solutions. And many other local software teams are building projects with those as well as Angular.io, Angular.js, React.js, Node.js, PHP, .Net, Python and C++.
County employers pulling in more tech workers
In addition to these multi-generational businesses, many newer employers are also pulling software developers into the area.
Geostrategies, a leading market analysis and investment-grade mapping technology company based in Turlock, creates software to help private equity clients and brands uncover significant opportunities to grow revenue.
Robert Half, a Fortune 500 staffing firm, has been steadily growing its technology practice in the Sacramento, Stockton and Modesto areas for decades as well.
American Medical Response, which manages ambulance and emergency services throughout much of the country, has been growing their software development capabilities in the Salida/Modesto area for a decade now. Novo Technologies, a custom software company, already employs many developers in their Stanislaus County office, and is continuing to expand rapidly.
Recently, Novo joined Robert Half and Geostrategies to sponsor the Valley Hackathon (valleyhackathon.com), a local programming contest that has drawn hundreds of programmers to its Central Valley events.
MedicAlert helps millions of Americans through its medical IDs and services employs scores of software developers in its Salida office.
Save Mart, whose markets serves millions of Central Valley residents, also employs many developers to facilitate its expansion and acquisitions.
Other organizations such as the Turlock and Modesto Irrigation Districts and even Stanislaus County itself are significant employers of software programmers, drawing additional tech talent into the region.
Oportun, a relative newcomer to Stanislaus County, whose growth has been fueled by over $200 million in venture funding and tremendous market acceptance, has opened a new and fast-growing software development office in Downtown Modesto.
Local web and software development agencies have also been growing. Agencies such as Stickman Ventures, Inventaweb.net, Gerbo Design, MHD and Never Boring add significant software as well as digital design capabilities to Stanislaus County.
And neighboring San Joaquin County companies such as Petz Enterprises, The Wine Group and Delicato Family Vineyards are also contributing to the growth of local software community as they continue to expand their software development initiatives.
Local companies are even beginning to collaborate with Bay Area firms such as Trinity Brand Group (creative branding and packaging design), Conversant (digital media) and Traackr (influencer marketing platform) to expand opportunities on both sides of the Altamont Pass.
More growth on its way—training even more local tech workers
In addition to employer-driven tech growth, the local software community has begun to organize itself to improve collaboration and help industry veterans and newcomers alike accelerate their learning curves. Valley Hackathon continues to grow their events in Modesto drawing in hundreds and has now expanded to Stockton and Sonora as well.
FreeCodeCamp and Valley Software Developers Meetup combined forces in October at Modesto’s newly-opened tech co-working space, ValleyWorx (valleyworx.com) to help experienced and new programmers grow their skills. The meeting drew 3 times more attendees than expected and was larger than many software meetups in the Bay Area.
According to John Bull, lead organizer for the Modesto FreeCodeCamp, Stanislaus County already has 1,000 software developers working here.
Next month, Bay Valley Tech (bayvalleytech.com) will be launching coding classes as well as video game coding camps to rapidly expand the local talent pool. Software development classes and one-day camps will be held in Modesto, Stockton and Livermore. Tech community leaders are excited about Bay Valley Tech’s potential impact for the region, since Fresno’s Geekwise code academy has already trained over 7,000 programmers over the last few years.
Modesto and Stanislaus County officials are very excited about the prospect of developing a local self-sustaining tech ecosystem and are evaluating ways to support the community and accelerate the ongoing momentum.
Stanislaus County tech talent growth is the key to attracting more Bay Area tech firms to the region, which will create a WIN-WIN-WIN for Central Valley residents looking for higher paying jobs, Bay Area companies looking for a growing tech workforce and tech workers looking for affordable housing.