Application software developer was the sixth fastest growing occupation in metro Orlando in 2018, indicating a growing demand for tech workers in the region.

Software Developer
Software developer working at downtown Orlando’s StarterStudio.

For those moving to the Orlando region, considering a career move or just now deciding what to study, it’s important to understand what jobs are on the rise. An analysis of the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data reveals that the occupations with the highest growing demand and growth rates in the region are mainly centered in health services and professional services, which reflects similar findings in the 2030 report by Foundation for Orlando’s Future.

Figure 1: Occupations Most In-Demand, Orlando Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)

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Source: JobsEQ Occupation Snapshot, 2019

*Demand is defined by “Occupational demand” which can be examined in total by summing its three components: labor force exits, occupational transfers, and growth.

Figure 2: Fastest Growing Occupations in Orlando MSA

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Source: JobsEQ Occupation Snapshot, 2019

*Growth of employment for occupations with wages 125 percent above median wage.

One occupation that is both fastest growing and most in-demand is Application Software Developer. The unemployment rate of only 1.5 percent for this occupation in Orlando is evidence of its strong demand from industry. With the widespread adoption of technologies in businesses, software developers have become a core component to advancing a business; this global trend is reflected at the local level as well.

Figure 3: Software Developer Total Employment in Orlando MSA (2013-2018)

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Total employment of software developers in the metro Orlando region grew from 5,201 in Q4 of 2013 to 6,711 in Q4 of 2018.

Source: JobsEQ Occupation Snapshot, 2019

Throughout the Orlando region, software developers are employed in a range of industries, including professional and business services, manufacturing and finance; the technology industry hires the largest share of Orlando’s software developers. According to EMSI, a job posting analytics tool, the top hiring firms of software developers in Orlando is Lockheed Martin Corp., the region’s largest technology company. Lockheed Martin employs an estimated 640 software developers in its Orlando facilities alone. Another corporation driving the software developer occupation growth in Orlando is the Walt Disney Company, which employs an estimated 160 software developers in the region. 

Figure 4: Employers Software Developers Unique Job Postings (Jan 2018-19)

Major Employer Job Postings

Source: EMSI Job Posting Analytics, 2019

*Unique Job Postings is the number of de-duplicated job advertisements listed by different companies on career sites and job boards.

“While many assume that Orlando’s major theme park employers hire only hospitality workers, these companies are actually also hiring a significant amount of technology-related positions.”

Dale Brill, Ph.D., senior vice president of the Orlando Economic Partnership’s Foundation for Orlando’s Future

While software developer is a broad occupation category, the number of postings for this type of position is a major indicator of the growing need for technology workers in the metro Orlando region. Developers help create, advance and modify a wide range of computer applications and software. Many corporations demand specific skill-sets that differentiate software developers by specialty.

Figure 5: Important Skills for Software Developers

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Source: EMSI Job Postings Analytics, 2019

Despite this notable increase in demand for software developers, corporations are competing in a tight pool of talent. According to the 2018 Stripe report, senior executives affirm that the lack of developer talent is one of the biggest potential threats to their businesses. C-level executives state that a lack of talent can be worse than a lack of capital.

Orlando educational institutions offer a variety of programs that enhance and boost the growth of the software developer talent pool. Leading programs in Florida include the University of Central Florida’s department of Computer Science, which boasts Florida’s oldest Computer Science Ph.D. program.

Other leading programs include:

Orlando’s educational institutions also have a long history of collaborating with industry leaders to meet talent demands, including Electronic Arts and Lockheed Martin. In addition, this tight-knit network of higher education also works together to fuel the region’s talent pipeline, as evidenced by the DirectConnect to UCF program, which guarantees admission for students with an associate degree (A.A.) or articulated (A.S.) degree from six local partner colleges.

As technology integrates into our daily mix of activities, it is changing the occupational mix and skills demanded of a modern workforce. The coming upsurge of technological dependency will affect countless occupational categories in the regional economy, including high-tech occupations like software developers. Workers will need to be prepare for a future that involves acquiring new, in-demand skills that will be critical for their own well-being.