Petroleum engineers do well in Houston. Photo courtesy of Society for Petroleum Engineers

Are you a newly minted college grad searching for an in-demand job in Houston? If you're a petroleum engineer, you're in luck.

A study published May 27 by RentCafé, a platform for apartment rentals, shows the hottest job in Houston for college grads is petroleum engineer. RentCafé based its list of hot jobs on two factors: median pay and jobs per 1,000. The median pay for petroleum engineers in Houston is $178,240 and the rage of jobs per 1,000 is a mere 2.77

Austin? If you're a software developer, you're in luck.

As identified by RentCafé, here are the five hottest jobs in Houston for college grads:

  1. Petroleum engineer
  2. Sales manager
  3. Computer systems analyst
  4. Geoscientist
  5. Medical and health services manager

What follows are the hottest jobs for college grads in Texas' other major metro areas.

Austin
  1. Software developer / software quality assurance analyst and tester
  2. College education administrator
  3. Database administrator and architect
  4. Information security analyst
  5. Administrative services and facilities manager

Dallas-Fort Worth

  1. Sales manager
  2. Software developer / software quality assurance analyst and tester
  3. Information security analyst
  4. Medical and health services manager
  5. Computer systems analyst

San Antonio

  1. Medical and health services manager
  2. Software developer / software quality assurance analyst and tester
  3. Sales manager
  4. Computer systems analyst
  5. Nurse practitioner
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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

The median income in Houston grew more than 20 percent from 2010 to 2019. Photo by DenisTangneyJr/Getty Images

Here's how much Houston's household income grew over past decade

Money matters

Houston's household income jumped in the 2010s, but not as significantly as many other major U.S. metros, a new report shows.

Data compiled by apartment website RentCafé and published December 16 shows median household income inside the city of Houston (not the metro area) jumped 23.9 percent during the decade.

Houston ranks No. 40 for the rise in household income among the country's 50 largest cities. Houston's median household income grew from $42,355 in 2010 to $52,483 in 2019, according to RentCafé. For 2010 income, the website pulled data from the U.S. Census Bureau; it estimated 2019 household income based on a predicted 2.5 percent increase in the U.S. Consumer Price Index.

By comparison, the U.S. median household income stood at $63,179 in 2018, according to the Census Bureau, and Texas median household income checked in at $60,629.

"We're better off by almost all measures than we were 10 years ago," Carl Tannenbaum, chief economist for Northern Trust, told the Wall Street Journal in September. "But there are still some … flags that show that economic security remains more elusive for some families."

Only one Texas city ranked among the country's top 10. Austin, No. 8, saw a 54.6 percent hike during the decade, from $47,434 in 2010 to $73,332 in 2019.

As ranked by RentCafé, the top 10 cities for growth in median household income from 2010 to 2019 are:

  1. Atlanta, 60.9 percent
  2. San Francisco, 60.5 percent
  3. Oakland, California, 59.3 percent
  4. Seattle, 59.1 percent
  5. Portland, Oregon, 58.8 percent
  6. Miami, 57.1 percent
  7. Denver, 55.5 percent
  8. Austin, 54.6 percent
  9. San Jose, California, 50.9 percent
  10. Brooklyn, New York, 48.9 percent

Well down the ladder is Dallas, at No. 27. From 2010 to 2019, the city's median household income surged 31.6 percent — from $40,650 to $53,515.

At No. 38 is Fort Worth, where median household income increased 24.2 percent during the 10-year span — from $48,224 to $59,909.

San Antonio hovers close to the bottom of the 50-city list. Alamo City ranked 46th, with a 14.8 percent gain over the 10-year period. Median household income went from $43,758 to $50,250.

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

Houston will end this decade with 114,100 new apartments having been built in the last 10 years. Photo courtesy of Dolce Midtown Apartments

Houston area sees more new apartments than almost any other city

built up

You might call this the Decade of the Renter in Houston. New data shows H-Town ranks third in the U.S. for most new apartments from 2010 through 2019.

In a housing review of the 2010s published December 16, apartment website RentCafé estimates Houston will end this decade with 114,100 new apartments having been built during the 10-year span.

Houston is eclipsed by only two markets: DFW, with an estimated 149,000 new apartments, and New York City, with an estimated 125,100 new apartments added during this decade. In the rankings, Houston is followed by Washington, D.C. (113,300) and Los Angeles (98,000).

Two other Texas metros made the top 20:

  • Austin, claiming the No. 8 spot with 75,400 new apartments.
  • San Antonio, grabbing the No. 13 spot with 47,700 new apartments.

All told, the four major metro areas in Texas have added 386,200 new apartments from 2010 through 2019, RentCafé data shows. At the same time, their populations have exploded.

From April 2010 to July 2018, the DFW metro area's population soared by more than 1.1 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Houston nipped on DFW's heels from 2010 to 2018, adding almost 1.08 million residents, the Census Bureau says.

During the same period, comparatively rapid growth occurred in the Austin metro area (nearly 452,000 new residents) and San Antonio metro area (more than 375,000 new residents).

As Texas' major metro areas keep experiencing a population surge, the rise of the apartment renter promises to continue.

Data from Richardson-based property management software RealPage shows construction of 22,879 new apartments had been approved from October 2018 to October 2019 in the Houston area. That's a year-over-year jump of 77.8 percent.

The numbers for DFW (19,562 permits, up 7.3 percent) and Austin (13,981, up 15 percent) were lower, but they still ranked among RealPage's top 10 metro markets for the number of apartment construction permits issued.

Within U.S. metro areas, the cities of Houston, Austin, and San Antonio ranked among the top 10 places for apartment construction permits issued from October 2018 to October 2019, according to RealPage.

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

Dolce Midtown Apartments is one of the many new apartment options in the Houston area. Photo courtesy of Dolce Midtown Apartments

Houston booms among nation's top 10 markets for new apartments

They come, we build

It's not all in your head. Those new apartments you spotted on your way to work probably did just pop up — and it's happening in big numbers in Houston and around the state, according to a new study.

RentCafe estimates 7,143 new apartments will be built in the Houston metro by the end of 2019 — the 10th highest projection nationally. Nearly half of those new units will rise within the city of Houston proper.

And these aren't vanity projects. With more than 90,000 new residents calling the Houston area home, we need all the apartments we can get.

Houston leads the region in terms of projected new apartment units at 3,163, followed by Conroe's 724 expected units and The Woodlands' 678.

Most of Texas is booming, too. No. 1 on RentCafe's list is Dallas-Fort Worth, with 22,196 new units expected by the end of the year. No. 5 Austin is expected to bring 10,783 new units to the region. Meanwhile, 3,510 new units will be built in San Antonio, a steep decline of 41 percent from the 5,993 units built there in 2018.

Nationally, Seattle makes for a distant second behind DFW with 13,682 new units expected, followed by New York City, which was No. 1 in 2018, with 13,418 units planned for this year.

Unlike the Lone Star State, the nation as a whole is seeing a slump in apartment construction. The 299,442 new apartments expected in 2019 represent an 8.2 percent drop from 2018's 326,240 new units, which also were weaker numbers than in 2017, when 331,765 new apartments were built.

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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Houston unicorn fintech company launches new B2B education platform

biz support

Houston-based HighRadius — which recently hit $1 billion valuation, reaching unicorn status — has launched a new learning platform.

Highako Academy by HighRadius, launched the platform to help credit and collections teams build certain skills faster. Highako features over 650 expert-led videos, community forums, and resources. The new on-the-job training platform, which announced its launch this week, is used by more than 2,800 companies, according to a press release.

"Our customers have asked us for an online self-service learning platform, and that led us to launch highako.com as a beta platform last year," says HighRadius COO Urvish Vashi in the release. "With 10,000+ users on the platform and a vibrant partner ecosystem consisting of credit groups, collection agencies, attorneys and industry associations, we see this echoing a larger trend of millennials and Gen Z gravitating towards microlearning platforms."

In honor of the launch of Highako Academy, the organization has announced plans for Credit SkillCon '21, a lunch-and-learn event from June 16 to July 20. The 53 live workshops, panel discussions, and on-demand sessions will focus on topics including negotiations, credit risk assessment, bankruptcy litigation, collections strategy and more. .

"We continually hear from members about wanting more and different educational options," says Jon Flora, president and CEO of NACM Business Credit Service. "The last year has changed much about how we answer this call, and now we have a solution. We are the first NACM affiliate to partner with Highako Academy."

HighRadius and its AI-powered SaaS technology, which streamlines accounts-receivable and cash-management processes, are growing fast. The company, which processes over $2.23 trillion in receivables transactions annually, per the release, raised $300 million in March. At the time of that raise, HighRadius, founded in 2006, employed more than 1,000 people around the world — and was hiring.

"Our goal has always been to build a long-lasting business that outlasts all of us," Sashi Narahari, founder and CEO of HighRadius, said in the news release. "I look forward to working with [our] high-quality, long-term investors, who share a common vision of transforming the office of the CFO using a combination of artificial intelligence built on top of connected-finance workspaces and embedded analytics."

Autonomous delivery company joins forces with FedEx for new pilot in Houston

self-driving mail

A tech company with self-driving robots deployed across Houston delivering pizza, groceries, and more has yet again launched a new pilot program — this time focused on parcel delivery.

Nuro and FedEx announced a new partnership to deploy Nuro's technology for last-mile delivery at a large scale with FedEx.

"FedEx was built on innovation, and it continues to be an integral part of our culture and business strategy," says Rebecca Yeung, vice president of advanced technology and innovation at FedEx, in a news release. "We are excited to collaborate with an industry leader like Nuro as we continue to explore the use of autonomous technologies within our operations."

The new pilot, which began in April, according to the release, is the latest in the FedEx portfolio of autonomous same-day and specialty delivery devices. The partnership allows for FedEx to be able to explore various use cases for autonomous vehicle logistics, like multi-stop and appointment-based deliveries. Meanwhile for Nuro, it's the company's first expansion into parcel logistics.

"Working with FedEx—the global leader in logistics—is an incredible opportunity to rethink every aspect of local delivery. This multi-year commitment will allow us to truly collaborate and bring Nuro's powerful technology to more people in new ways, and eventually reach large-scale deployment," says Cosimo Leipold, Nuro's head of partnerships, in the release. "Our collaboration will enable innovative, industry-first product offerings that will better everyday life and help make communities safer and greener."

California-based Nuro has launched a few delivery pilots in Houston over the past few years, including the first Nuro pilot program with Kroger in March 2019, grocery delivery from Walmart that was revealed in December 2019, and pharmacy delivery that launched last summer. The most recent pilot program — pizza delivery with Domino's — officially went live in Woodland Heights earlier this year.

Nuro's expansion in Houston has a lot to do with the legislation that's happening at the state level. Last year, Nuro was granted its exemption petition from the United States Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This move is a first for DOT, and it allowed Nuro to roll out its vehicles on public roads without the features of traditional, passenger-carrying vehicles — like side mirrors or windshields, for instance.

The city also just offers a lot of opportunities to try out various neighborhoods and environments.

"As a company, we tried to find a city that would allow us to test a number of different things to figure out what really works and who it works for," Nuro Product Operations Manager Sola Lawal says an episode of the Houston Innovators Podcast. "It's hard to find cities that are better than Houston at enabling that level of testing."

Lessons in prototyping: Figuring out the best type of prototype

guest article

As you continue your journey of developing and bringing a new product to the market, you have a series of decisions to make when it comes to prototyping — whether you're going to launch a hardware or a software product, or the combination of both — you need to have a prototype made.

Before you begin, there are a number of things to consider. In an article for InnovationMap last week, I looked at major choice points and their implications that will help you navigate the process in the most efficient way.

After you successfully laid the foundation for the development process and got you CAD models ready, you arrive at the next choice. Prior to making a prototype of your invention you need to decide what type of prototype you're going to build. Whether you're making it yourself or hiring a rapid prototyping company, you need to know the purpose your prototype will fulfil because it will help to select proper methods, techniques, and materials for building. With that in mind, let's go through the types of prototypes and purposes behind building them.

Types of Prototypes

Mockup

This type is usually used as a simple representation of your product idea, to gauge physical dimensions and see its rough look. It's especially useful for making physical models of complex and large products without investing a significant amount from the start. Mockup is perfect for initial market research and various types of early testing.

Proof of concept

This type of prototype is built when you need to validate your idea and prove that it can be realized. It comes in handy when approaching potential partners and investors.

Functional prototype

This kind of prototype is also called a "looks- and works-like" model because it has both technical and visual features of the product presented. It is used for testing product's functionality, conducting consumer surveys, and fundraising campaigns.

Pre-production prototype

This is the most complex type that is made at the latest stage of product development. It's used for ergonomics, manufacturability, and material testing, as well as to minimize risks of defects during manufacturing. This is a model that manufacturers use to produce the final product.

Choosing to Partner with Prototyping Company

It's important to note that prototyping is an iterative process. It is a fusion of art and science that helps you to uncover the full potential of your product, which in turn increases its chances for market success. Therefore, you will likely go through several types of prototypes, with each kind usually requiring a few versions to achieve the parameters you set for the model.

And this process also requires help of a company that builds prototypes or of a professional product development team. You can start looking for the one after you made your first mockup or proof of concept. It is recommended because creating more complex prototypes implies the use of sophisticated equipment, sourcing of materials and components that could be too expensive or complicated to do without an established network of suppliers. Plus, skills and experience play a huge role in creating quality prototypes. Taking all three factors – equipment, experience and skills - into account, it's smart to outsource your prototyping needs to a professional company.

This article is a follow up article to my post from last week. I have also previously contributed to guest columns on the following:

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Onega Ulanova is the founder of OKGlobal.