Being at Geekdom affords us a unique vantage point into the world of San Antonio’s growing technology scene. Consequently, for your own edification and reading pleasure, we’ve compiled a list of the five most exciting tech trends in San Antonio:
Within Geekdom, there has always been a strong cybersecurity presence–thanks to companies like Infocyte and Global Infotek. San Antonio itself is consistently ranked in the top 2 for cybersecurity due to its education, talent and businesses. With the advent of new programs like the Cyber Incubator running out of Geekdom, San Antonio’s cyber program has begun to mature. San Antonio stays relevant in cybersecurity because of the educational focus that universities place on it, as well as the steady stream of talent coming from existing cybersecurity companies and the 24th Air Force Cyber Command. It’s safe to say that this is one San Antonio industry that is perpetually trending upward.
We’ve all heard the proverb, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” In our digital age — where technology is a normal part of our daily experience — tech trade skills have become the new “fishing,” and for good reason! With programs like General Assembly, Tech Talent South, Open Cloud Academy, Iron Yard, and our very own Codeup, people of all backgrounds can now learn desirable and tangible skills that many employers seek.
The growing startup culture has made it possible for all of these boot camps and programs to thrive. Startups drive demand for graduates from these programs while the graduates themselves often start their own ventures. Beyond serving startups, many of these boot camps, such as San Antonio’s Codeup, function like startups, too — fast, nimble, and embodying the endearing “geek” culture.
The Downtown Movement
‘Entrepreneurial density’ is a phrase that gets thrown around from time to time — particularly when the conversation revolves around cities and startups. With San Antonio, this phrase is becoming more and more relevant. In fact, there’s a growing trend of companies moving downtown or starting in downtown. The idea of density is crucial simply because when you are a small company, you cannot be on an island. You need the support of other people — a community. Density isn’t the be-all and end-all, but it is certainly a catalyst for growth. This is why the downtown community is so important to Geekdom.
This wave of new business inherently comes with some major economic and cultural implications, too. There’s job development, restaurants, real estate development, entertainment, along with hints of the dreaded ‘G word’ (Gentrification), purely as a result of more businesses being downtown. This is to say, we should be both excited and cognizant of the impact startups have with populating downtown and its surrounding neighborhoods.
Simply put, businesses are realizing they need to move downtown.
San Antonio is quickly becoming a place that companies, of all sizes, trust to build out their existing business. The most common example we see in San Antonio are high growth startups creating sales and/or support offices here — although large companies are also beginning to take notice. Tidemark, Oscar, WP Engine and Google are just some of the exciting companies putting roots down in San Antonio — largely due to the burgeoning tech scene that is developing here. Now to be fair, this isn’t necessarily where we want to end up — a destination solely for existing business to branch out. However, these companies definitely help validate our tech ecosystem and entice talent to come to this city. This is an important first step.
An interesting sidenote: this trend is partially due to San Antonio’s loyalty. People enjoy living in the city and finding solid careers rather than job-hopping to the ‘the next big thing.’ This ‘brand loyalty’ is certainly one of our cities largest competitive advantages.
However trite and cliche this tech trend may seem, we would be doing San Antonio’s startup culture a disservice if this was not mentioned. Why? Simply because hosting is one of the largest reasons why San Antonio’s technology scene was able to take off. Some of San Antonio’s most foundational companies were all in the business of hosting: Rackspace, Hostway, Peer 1, etc. Being a part of that environment inspired many nascent entrepreneurs to pursue their own ideas in the tech space. In fact, many of the founders and employees from these hosting companies have already started their own successful businesses (e.g. Help Social, DialPad, Jungle Disk) all over San Antonio — ultimately bringing in more jobs, more opportunity, and more young people. To put it succinctly, in the absence of schools and boot camps, hosting can be seen as San Antonio’s next-gen talent engine.
It’s not necessarily the ‘sexiest’ industry, but it was, and still is, crucial to the continued growth of our city.
Here’s the most important takeaway that we can gather from these tech trends: San Antonio cannot, and must not, be complacent — as there’s an entrepreneurial fire that needs to be stoked and nurtured. The city must continue to grow organically and push itself to be open to opportunities it may not be used to. In the meantime, San Antonio is poised for greatness — especially as these trends continue to push us in the right direction.