You hear a lot about Georgia’s growing film industry, but the tech industry in our great state is thriving and adding major benefits to Georgia’s economy as well. In the midst of the final few days of the first session of the Georgia General Assembly, the Technology Association of Georgia issued its 2015 State of the Industry report:
One cool aspect is the “Innovation Index” that further breaks down, by county, what the innovation capacity and activity is for that area. Cherokee, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett and Oconee Counties exceeded the national Innovation Index average. As a state, Georgia ranks a little bit below the US average index of 100 at 92.3. We edge out Florida, who ranks with an index of 91.8, and well exceed South Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama. The only neighboring state that exceeds us is North Carolina with an index of 95.0. Of course, both California and Massachusetts exceed the national average with 112.4 and 114.3, respectively.
Numbers! Great! So what? The numbers give us an idea of where we rank compared to other states in terms of technology innovation, but the devil is in the details. The tech industry here in Georgia has grown by 10% since 2010 and has added about 25,000 jobs to our state’s economy. However, a key finding in the report is that the top need for employers is talent with requisite knowledge. Which would mean a better emphasis on skills, like programming, in education. Of course, that also means finding teachers that could spark interest in technology. It might even be an opportunity for people in our industry to take an approach like Junior Achievement does with financial literacy and entrepreneurship. With mobile devices and an ever-increasing amount of data being generated, we will need skilled people to find innovative ways to sift through the data and present that data in a meaningful sense for decision-makers.
We’re making good progress, but there’s still room for improvement. Feel free to browse the report yourself over at the Technology Association of Georgia’s site.