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Here's how Houston and Texas rank for tech job growth in the U.S.

Houston's tech growth has been consistent over the past decade, as has the entire state of Texas. Christina Morillo/Pexels

Since 2010, Houston has seen an influx of over 16,800 tech-related jobs added to the workforce, which now includes an estimated 227,788 workers. Both Houston and Texas' tech workers are now estimated to represent over 7 percent of the total workforce.

Texas comes in second nationwide — behind California — for its net tech employment, according to CompTIA's Cyberstates 2019 report, and third for net tech jobs added in 2018 in the study's Cyberstates Innovation Score. Meanwhile, Houston ranks No. 12 out of 46 metros for net tech employment.

"Houston has long been on the leading edge of innovation since our earliest days, thanks to the oil and gas industry, medicine, and NASA," says Mayor Sylvester Turner in a release. "Now, as hub for STEM talent and one of the top cities for attracting millennials, Houston is charting a course to become a leading digital tech hub. We have the legacy know-how, digital smarts and diversity of people and ideas. Houstonians work every day to solve the problems that matter across industries like energy and life sciences. I think that leaves us well-positioned for the future."

While the past decade shows job growth, Houston actually lost its footing a little between 2017 and 2018, the report finds. The Bayou City had a net loss of almost 2,000 jobs in that timeframe. Meanwhile, Houston's emerging tech job postings increased by 140 percent.

While the number of jobs shrunk, the report finds that Houston's tech job median wages are significantly higher — 93 percent higher, to be exact — than the country's median wages. When it comes to tech gross regional product, Houston had a reported $28.1 billion in 2018, which is less than half of what Dallas is estimated to have ($64 billion) and around what Austin had ($31.3 billion).

"Home to several innovative cities, Texas is a real leader in not only attracting tech talent, but also in capturing venture capital funding – $1.5 billion last year – to help startups flourish throughout the state," says Sarah Matz, director of state government affairs for CompTIA in Texas, in a release. "The state's dynamic tech industry plays a vital role in our economy and provides a growing number of high-wage jobs for Texans."

The report, which estimated tech job growth projections for 2026, shows the future looks bright both in Houston and the state as a whole. For Houston, the research predicts a growth of almost 9,000 (5.9 percent) tech jobs by 2026, and Texas is expected to grow by almost 85,000 jobs, a 13.3 percent increase.

Technology wasn't one of Houston's top four growing industries, the report found. The industries that saw the most growth in Houston were construction, manufacturing, health care, and hospitality, respectively. However, when you zoom in on tech specifically, the jobs that had the most growth were software and web developers, computer system and cybersecurity analysts, and computer support specialists.

"As the pace of change in Houston's core industries such as energy, life sciences and manufacturing quickens, Houston has embarked on a broad, community-wide effort to ensure the digital disruptors across these and other sectors bring their talents to bear in Houston," says Bob Harvey, president and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership, in the release. "We're a city where startups and tech innovators have access to the top customers and leading minds across these fields, reducing friction and speeding time-to-market on game-changing products and technologies."

The study's methodology analyzed data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI), Burning Glass Technologies, Hoovers, PwC/CBInsights MoneyTree, and more.

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Building Houston

 
 

As of this week, Lara Cottingham is the chief of staff at Greentown Labs. Photo via LinkedIn

The country's largest climatetech startup incubator has made a strategic new hire.

Lara Cottingham is the new chief of staff for Greentown Labs, a Boston-area company that opened in Houston earlier this year. Cottingham previously served as the city of Houston's chief sustainability officer and the chief of staff for the city's Administration and Regulatory Affairs Department for the past seven years. In her new role, Cottingham will oversee the day-to-day operations and communications for Greentown's CEO Emily Reichert, along with key stakeholder engagements and strategic initiatives for the incubator.

"Lara brings a tremendous wealth of knowledge and experience to our team from her dynamic leadership role at the City of Houston," says Reichert in a news release. "Her breadth of knowledge in sustainability, climate, and the energy transition, and her expertise in regulatory and stakeholder aspects of the energy industry, will be incredibly valuable to our team and community."

Under her leadership at the city of Houston, Cottingham was the chief author of Houston's Climate Action Plan, an initiative aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Houston, and getting the city to a point where it meets the Paris Agreement goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. Cottingham helped the city move to 100 percent renewable electricity, according to the release, and helped turn a 240-acre landfill into the nation's largest urban solar farm.

"In leading the Climate Action Plan, Lara helped spark Houston's leadership in what has become a global energy transition and was a passionate advocate for climate action in Houston," says Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner in the release. "While she will be missed, this new role will only strengthen our partnership with Greentown. I look forward to working with Emily, Lara, and the Greentown team to meet our climate goals and make Houston the energy capital of the future."

Before her work at the city, Cottingham worked at Hill+Knowlton Strategies' Houston office range of clients across the energy sector. Earlier in her career, she served as communications director for two congressmen in the U.S. House of Representatives. She began her work with the city in 2014.

"In working with Mayor Turner and Climate Mayors across the U.S., I saw how important partnerships are to helping cities decarbonize," says Cottingham in the release. "There is no better partner or place for climate action at work than Greentown Labs. Greentown is 100 percent committed to attracting and nurturing the energy companies of the future and making Houston the energy transition capital of the world. I'm excited to join the team and see how climatetech can help cities reach their climate goals."

Greentown Labs first announced its entrance into the Houston market last summer. The new 40,000-square-foot facility in Midtown across the street from The Ion opened its prototyping and wet lab space, offices, and community gathering areas for about 50 startup companies opened in April. Greentown was founded in 2011 in Somerville, Massachusetts, and has supported more than 400 startups, which have raised more than $1.5 billion in funding.

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