group logo

Douglas County’s Tech Opportunity

4:25 AM · Feb 5, 2021

I believe Douglas County will be home to a thriving tech community in the decades to come. This has already started, but for things to accelerate, we need to do a few more things to equip and enable more of our youth to stay and work in the tech industry in Douglas County. Fortunately, things have been changing rapidly, and those changes are likely to benefit places like Douglas County significantly. Twenty years ago or so, the tech industry exploded in the United States. The demand for software developers and other jobs in the tech industry far outpaced supply and tech jobs quickly became one of the highest-earning professions in the country. People could learn to code and become software developers anywhere, but they still needed to migrate to regional tech hubs across the US where a majority of tech companies were headquartered. A brain drain ensued with smaller communities losing some of their brightest minds. For these communities to keep up, they had to lure tech companies to their area and so bring the jobs with them. Things are now changing rapidly and tech companies and workers are able to set up shop anywhere in the US. A few significant things have changed over the past 20 years which are providing Roseburg and Douglas County with a significant opportunity. First, remote working has greatly accelerated, and many of the jobs in the tech industry can now be done from anywhere in the country. This is significant. As this becomes more normalized, people will become freer to live in desirable locations even if they work for companies based out of big cities far away. Douglas County could be a big winner in the long run because this area is incredibly beautiful and there is lots of land and room to expand. Tech workers are now free to move from dense, urban centers, to beautiful rural areas like Douglas County. Second, education is rapidly moving online and this is significant for areas like Douglas County. One of the biggest reasons students leave Douglas County right after high school is for education and opportunity. Once they move away, they rarely come back. One only has to glance at the lack of population growth for the area over the past several decades. This is a tremendous loss. The community pours into students for 18 years and then those students move away in search of education and opportunity. This cycle needs to stop in order for the area to flourish in the long run. Fortunately, things are rapidly changing in favor of areas like Douglas County! So what components do we need to build up our tech sector in Douglas County? Vision - The biggest limiting factor in building up a tech sector in Douglas County is the belief that it can be done. If we continue to be convinced that it can’t be done, people won’t even try. It 100% can be done and the work has already been started by people like Trevor Mauch, who’s building his software company Carrot here. My son and I are also building a software company here. I don’t want to be forced to move to a bigger city once it reaches a certain size. But to pull that off, we need to raise up and train more software developers and other tech talent in this area. Education - Any student in Douglas County has access to a world-class tech education online, almost entirely for free. There has never before been such an abundance of freely available educational resources. Some resources have a minimal cost, but the vast majority of training resources are available for free. Students don’t need their parents, local teachers or mentors to even know how to code. My 15-year-old son is an amazing software developer and learned entirely online. I’ve been a coach, encourager, and helped come up with real-world projects, but I wasn’t his programming teacher. I’m confident other parents and teachers in the community can have similar impacts on their children. Support & Encouragement - This is one of the most significant components of success. When a parent or loved one puts confidence in a child and encourages them, it’s a very powerful thing. Kids can learn amazingly fast and can accomplish far more than is usually expected of them. Once they get really good at something, it becomes more enjoyable and it unlocks a level of confidence in the child that will help them the rest of their life. If a student is encouraged to consistently put time towards a craft or skill, after several years they will get very good at it. Once they have confidence in one area or skill, they will have the confidence needed to tackle other projects, even very ambitious projects! Jobs & Opportunity - As more tech company’s sprout up in Douglas County, more opportunities are created for local tech workers to be employed here. Local tech company Carrot and its CEO Trevor Mauch has been an excellent example of this. He operates out of a building in Downtown Roseburg and has hired about a dozen employees in the community. Not everyone is geared towards starting and running their own company, so it’s key to have an environment where the tech talent grown here can find jobs with local companies. Also, big tech companies all across the United States are embracing remote hiring. It’s now possible to work for most of these companies right from Douglas County once a person reaches a certain level of skills and experience. In fact, we already have residents here working for these big tech companies! Infrastructure - Having high-speed internet access is a significant thing. Local companies like Douglas Fast Net have done an incredible job expanding access to high-speed internet all over Douglas County. You can now live out on a ranch or farm in the country and have fiber internet right to your house. That’s one of the first questions someone working in the tech industry is going to ask when deciding upon a place to live. We’ve got this area nailed. What can we do to help the movement? Parents - Children need encouragement and vision more than anything. Do you believe it’s possible for your child to learn tech skills and flourish in Douglas County? If you don’t, your child will likely pick up on that and they will continue down the path of preparing to leave the area after high school. We need to break the cycle and it really starts with parents having a vision that staying and flourishing in Douglas County is a possibility. Educators - Outside of parents, teachers have a significant amount of influence over students. All it takes is one teacher to notice gifting in a child, and encourage that kid to keep at it, keep working, and to keep trying. It can make all the difference in the world. We all know that not all kids have ideal home environments or adults in their life that encourage them very often. Teachers have the unique opportunity to really impact these kids' lives. Citizens - Look for opportunities to help. We will continue to share stories and events and opportunities to get involved in the months and years ahead. Local politicians - Follow the Mayor of Miami on Twitter. Francis Suarez is putting on a clinic for Mayors and local politicians on how to help a city or community become a more vibrant tech hub. His motto is “How can I help”. https://twitter.com/FrancisSuarez This is an incredibly exciting time to be alive. One of the greatest implications of the internet has been that it’s allowed individuals to take on institutions on a much more level playing field. It has allowed kids who could code to create some of the biggest companies and most used software products in the world. 20 years ago these didn’t exist. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Android, Gmail, Netflix streaming, Wikipedia, Google Maps, App Store, Reddit, Snapchat, Skype, Spotify, Airbnb, Uber, and iTunes. The skills used to create and build these can be learned by anyone anywhere, no matter how small the town is. What software and tech companies will be built here in Douglas County? It will be exciting to see! Share the excitement? Have a local tech project you are working on or are you a part of? We would love to share more stories! Shoot me an email at ryan@jointracker.com

© 2024 Tracker LLCGive feedback
logo