ImageOhio may not equal tech in some quarters, but the state offers the Technology Investment Tax Credit which allows Ohio investors to reduce their state taxes by at least 25 percent on the amount they invest in qualified, technology-based Ohio companies. On Dice, Ohio has been a stand-out state, with more than 2,200 job postings on any given day, up six percent year/year.  We caught up with Brad Nellis, Director, Northeast Ohio Software Association for his insights In your opinion what is driving demand for technical talent/consulting talent?  "The local tech performance has been very strong, while the broader economy appears to be a bit stagnant.  It’s likely a combination of factors:  pent up demand left over from the recession when many IT projects were put on hold by corporate clients; a desire to implement cost-saving technologies in light of current economic conditions; deployment of new technologies, such as mobile devices, mobile apps, and cloud-based services. "The cost of living in Northeast Ohio has remained steady, which enables tech professionals to significantly enhance their standard of living here, whether they’re native to the region or moving in from other parts of the country." Are you seeing more companies using flexible talent to get projects done today than in the past couple of years? "We’re not seeing that as much of a trend here.  Companies located here continue to be fairly traditional and look to hire and maintain their own staffs.  Anecdotally, we’ve seen a few companies open or consider opening branch offices in higher talent density areas, such as Seattle." How has the environment in your state changed for technology professionals in the last couple of years? "Virtually every tech company or tech department is hiring in Northeast Ohio, leading to a plethora of opportunities for qualified tech professionals." Any tech specialties driving the demand in your state? "Ohio embodies the typical Midwest practice of practicality.  Our software companies, web firms and IT service firms are generally not sexy or bleeding edge; but what they’re great at is developing a technology that works well, is efficient and gets the job done." In your opinion, who are the start-ups to watch in your state? "Speaking for Northeast Ohio, these are some awesome, early-stage software firms to keep track of:  OnShift, Within3, Realeflow, LeanDog, Sparkbase, Mobile Defense, and LineStream Technologies."