Main image of article No Bachelor's Degree? No Problem, in NYC’s Tech Scene

Graph of NYC Tech Employment

When it comes to working in New York City’s tech scene, the lack of a bachelor's degree isn’t an impediment: a recent report (PDF) by the Association for a Better New York (ABNY), NY Tech Meetup (NYTM), Citi, and Google found that 44 percent of jobs in the city’s “tech ecosystem” don’t require a four-year diploma. New York City has spent several years encouraging the growth of “Silicon Alley.” In addition to major tech companies such as Google and Facebook opening offices in Manhattan, several startups have sprouted up. Those companies, which generate a combined $5.6 billion in annual tax revenues, have created roughly 58,000 tech jobs and 83,000 non-tech jobs; non-tech industries in the city produce another 150,000 tech-related jobs on top of that, for a grand total of 291,000 positions, or roughly 7 percent of the municipality’s total workforce. Click here to find tech jobs in New York City. “Drilling down to the occupational level, four of the five most common non-tech occupations in tech industries do not require a college education,” the report added. “Furthermore, many tech ecosystem jobs only require short-term or long-term on-the-job training.” Technology-related jobs in tech industries pay an average of $46.50 per hour (75 percent more than the NYC workforce average), the report found, while non-tech jobs in tech industries paid an average hourly rate of $33.00 (25 percent more than the workforce average). The most common tech occupation was application developer (12,000 employed at various firms, making an average of $52.75 per hour), while sales representative (at 5,600 jobs) topped the list of non-tech jobs within the tech field. The report’s executive summary recommends that the city continue to foster Silicon Alley through the creation of education and workforce-development programs “that provide training for the required skills of growing tech occupations,” as well as the incorporation of “computer literacy and other technical curricula into the New York City primary education system.” In addition, the creation of low-cost spaces for startups, increased investment in IT infrastructure, and an expansion of tech hubs that provide services to tech firms could all help maintain the local industry’s momentum. And that momentum shows few signs of slowing: between 2003 and 2013, the city added 45,000 jobs. That makes the metropolitan area a prime target for those who want to work in tech, regardless of their degree. With those job and salary prospects, they might even be able to afford the rent.

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Image: New York City Tech Ecosystem Report