Mastering the digital world.
Washington State’s reputation as a global hub for information and communication technology (ICT) is well deserved. It is the birthplace of such legendary businesses as Microsoft, Amazon, F5 Networks, Zillow and Expedia and home to countless engineering offices for industry movers and shakers, including Facebook, Google, Twitter, Apple, Salesforce, BestBuy, Alibaba and eBay.
All told, there are more than 13,000 ICT companies in Washington State, from the industry’s biggest names to small startups working on the next big thing. More than 280,000 people are employed in technology-related jobs statewide, including game developers, programmers and software engineers. Talent from around the world is drawn here by our entrepreneurial spirit, culture of collaboration and the chance to be on the ground floor of bleeding-edge innovation and experimentation in mobile, gaming, quantum computing, blockchain, augmented/virtual reality, artificial intelligence and cloud computing.
New ideas are shared rapidly within the ICT sector and across other sectors such as aerospace, life science, advanced manufacturing, clean tech, and maritime, which rely on software and hardware to drive innovation and profits. Radical approaches to age-old problems are spurring advances across the board that redefine entire markets and, on occasion, become cultural icons.
- Over the last 10 years, Washington’s tech sector employment has grown by nearly 34%.
- Tech workers make up 10.7% of the state’s total workforce.
- The state leads the nation in the net percentage of new tech positions, with a gain of 7.6% last year.
- At $103.5 billion, the sector accounts for just over 20% of the state’s economy, the highest percentage in the U.S.
- More than 280,000 workers are employed in tech-related jobs statewide.
- 8% of total wages in Washington are tied to the technology sector.
- 57% of all services exported by the state are technology-related, nearly double second-place Massachusetts.
An in-depth look.
Compared to other technology centers in the U.S., Washington State offers tremendous value. The state is rich in top-tier talent and is consistently ranked at the top of best places to make a living based on taxes, cost of living, employment and workplace environment. As workers shift to a “work from anywhere” model, they are searching for quaint communities that are affordable and safe, yet close to urban centers and connectivity. Washington offers them countless choices, from rural enclaves surrounded by natural wonders to waterfront communities a stone’s throw from Seattle’s bustling metropolis.
Washington’s ecosystem of innovation and invention in the ICT space is fed by venture capitalists, angels, incubators and workspaces to support rapid prototyping and growth. The sector is also supported by several world-class research universities and a national laboratory – one of only 10 in the United States. It’s not uncommon in major innovation hubs to find bold new startups opening right across the street from the founder’s former employer. This unique blend of culture, collaboration, creativity and innovation keeps the industry fresh and ever-changing.
An excellent example of this is the state’s new 5G Open Innovation Lab, which brings together developers, business visionaries, academia and government agencies to advance this relatively new Innovation Partnership Zone (IPZ). The 5G Lab is working with leaders in the agriculture sector to create a field lab with dedicated 5G access to improve the industry’s resiliency and minimize future supply chain disruptions for consumers and regional agribusinesses.
Workforce Training Resources
- Directory of Community and Technical College Information and Computing Technology Programs
- University of Washington, Department of Computer Science and Engineering
- DigiPen Institute of Technology
- Seattle University, College of Computer Science and Engineering
- Washington State University, The School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
- Bellevue Community College, Digital Media Arts Program
Thanks to its long history of international trade, Washington is the #1 exporter of technology products and services in the U.S. Nearly 60% of all services exported are technology-related, twice as much as Massachusetts and Oregon, which rank second and third in a recent Information Technology Industry Council report.
One of the state’s major tech exports is gaming. More than 23,000 people work in the game industry in Washington, working for such stalwarts as Valve, PopCap, Big Fish, Microsoft and Nintendo. Together, these companies command almost a fifth of the world’s direct gaming revenue. Add in our historical passion for traditional games that have taken the world by storm such as Magic, Pictionary and Cranium, and you can see why Washington is such a dominant force in gaming.
To ensure a steady supply of top-tier talent, the business community works closely with educators to align curriculum with emerging industry needs. An excellent example of this level of partnership is the new Bill & Melinda Gates Center for Computer Science & Engineering, which is adjacent to the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering. The Gates Center doubles the annual degree production for the University of Washington and houses a sophisticated maker space, robotics lab, computer animation capstone workrooms and a wet lab for leading-edge research in molecular information systems.
As an ICT company doing business in Washington, you’ll be in outstanding company. The state is the leading economy in cloud computing, big data, blockchain and AI. There’s plenty of room for newcomers, whether you’re a one-person startup bent on reinventing online entertainment or a large firm overseas that wants to tap into our world-renowned talent pool and culture of collaboration.
Connect with one of our ICT experts.
Businesses in the state have been instrumental in putting a cellphone in one hand and latte in the other, ushered in the age of personal computing, and redefined what it means to go to the “store.”
If you’re looking for a dynamic, can-do culture of creativity where top talent can step right in and turn out amazing products and services that redefine the world, Washington is waiting for you. Whether you’re a one-person startup bent on reinventing online entertainment or a multinational firm that wants to expand or invest in the U.S., our business experts in Washington State’s Department of Commerce are here to help. We’ll be happy to help you take the next steps, answer all your questions and lend you our expertise so you can gain the competitive edge.
Call us at (206) 256-6100 or email one of our business experts below to learn more about our thriving information and communication technology sector and how Washington is leading the way in finding innovative solutions to tomorrow’s challenges.
ICT Sector Team
Steven Maheshwary, Director of Economic Development, Information & Communication Technology – Phone: (206) 256-6118
Evan Wendlandt, ICT Business Development Manager, Business Development Team – Phone: (206) 256-6142
Julie Monahan, ICT Development Manager, Export Assistance Team – Phone: (206) 256-6147