By staff writer
Orlando has been evolving into a high-tech hub. With more than 2,000 technology-based companies in fields from simulation and training technology to digital media and medical technology, the City Beautiful is increasingly attracting tech startups and investors. Orlando ranked number six among 20 of the fastest-growing technology markets in the U.S. in 2017, according to Time magazine.
The growth in Orlando’s tech jobs was 149 percent from 2016 to 2017, according to data from the job search site ZipRecruiter. Among the top tech jobs in Orlando are project manager, software engineer, project engineer, network engineer and developer, with an average $59,500 early career median pay and $105,000 mid-career median pay.
The modeling simulation industry plays a big role in Orlando’s technology sector, earning the city the reputation for being the modeling, simulation and training capital of the world. With simulation programs supporting military training and partnerships between the local government, defense department and private entities, the industry continues to grow and fuel the local economy.
“We have the most robust modeling simulation and training cluster in the entire world, and that’s something not many people know,” Buddy Dyer, mayor of the City of Orlando, told Invest: Orlando when he sat down with our team in late 2018. “That is successful because of the great research park that we have associated with the University of Central Florida (UCF) and military applications. It continues to be a developing area, along with the biomedical and life sciences industry cluster.”
Another cluster that is seeing growth is digital media. For example, Creative Village is a mixed-use neighborhood in downtown Orlando built on the success of Orlando’s digital media industry. “We broke ground on the UCF/Valencia College downtown campus and started constructing the Creative Village,” said Dyer. “We are noted for industry clusters in our community, so this is an industry cluster in digital media that will have the academic, residential and, certainly, retail and business parts all clustered together.”
At the beginning of 2019 the Orlando Business Journal reported that more than 1,200 jobs were available for tech workers in Orlando. Companies recruiting included Lockheed Martin Corp., with 839 job openings; Leidos Inc., with 84 job openings; Luminar Technologies Inc., with 47; Accenture Federal Services, with 41; and EA Tiburon, with 40.
Claudia Muriel, president of UCRYA, a leading global software application development company, noted that the growth of the technology sector in Central Florida stands out. “Each industry has a lot of growth and demand, but technology is the one experiencing the most growth,” she told Invest:. “No matter which industry an IT solutions company is in — healthcare, life sciences or financial services — we see opportunities everywhere. We just have to determine what technology is right for them.”
To support the development of the tech sector, Orlando universities offer specialized programs and certifications. Programs include the UCF Institute for Simulation and Training, Full Sail University’s bachelor’s degree in simulation and visualization and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University’s simulation science, games and animation program. With all the advances in global technology, there’s no doubt that Orlando will continue to excel in the industry, and Invest: Orlando will be keeping a close eye on the evolution!
For more information on our interviewees, visit their websites:
City of Orlando: http://www.cityoforlando.net/