What Does Amazon HQ2 Mean for Washington, D.C’s Tech Scene?

Posted by Flatiron School  /  December 7, 2018

Amazon is coming to National Landing in Northern Virginia. Easily accessible via the Metro and car, Amazon HQ2 will transform the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area with 25,000 direct jobs over 12 years and countless other jobs indirectly. Amazon’s announcement is also great news for the city’s tech sector. We already know a lot about Amazon’s plans based on its request for proposal (RFP) to cities and announced plans by the selected cities. Here’s what Amazon HQ2 means for the Washington, D.C. tech scene.

A sharp spike in software developer and engineer jobs 

Tech talent was a key factor for Amazon when it was selecting the city for its new headquarters. “We were looking for a location with strong local and regional talent — particularly in software development and related fields — to continue hiring and innovating on behalf of our customers,” wrote Amazon in a press release.Software engineer jobs are among the four kinds of employment opportunities that HQ2 will create, according to Amazon. New software development jobs will be created, but Amazon also needs a city that can supply a steady stream of tech talent. That’s great news for the Washington, D.C. tech community and we recommend thinking about improving digital literacy before HQ2 opens for business.

“Virginia’s biggest employment growth opportunity in the years ahead will be in tech–from artificial intelligence to cloud computing to cybersecurity, and everything in between,” said Virginia Economic Development Partnership President and CEO Stephen Moret in a statement.

Key takeaway for Washington, D.C. → Amazon’s new headquarters will directly create thousands of new software developer and tech jobs. Based on this demand, and employment trends, it may be worth researching ways to learn code or gain new tech skills.

Increased innovation in the areas surrounding HQ2

Developing tech talent requires training opportunities and ways to teach code. Arlington County announced plans to develop an Innovation Center near HQ2 in partnership with Virginia Tech for new computer science graduate programs. There are also plans to support computer science education in grades K-12.

Washington, D.C. proposed an Amazon University in its own bid for HQ2. Each city that submitted a bid identified a need to develop and foster its tech community for Amazon and for its economic future.

Based on current tech employment trends, all cities should invest in tech even without an Amazon as an incentive. Between 2016 and 2026, software developer jobs are projected to grow 24%, web developer jobs are projected to grow 15%, and Computer and Information Research Scientist jobs are expected to grow 19%, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Innovation hubs, coding bootcamps, and computer science education programs are a few ways to develop tech talent that meets this demand.

Key takeaway for Washington, D.C. →We expect cities to continue investing in innovation in order to meet the incredible demand for tech talent in 2018 and for the foreseeable future. Cities can foster a tech community that may attract an Amazon, but it also leads to a rich tech ecosystem where startups can prosper.

An Amazon ecosystem that supports the area's entire tech environment 

A rising tide lifts all boats. So hop on board.

Entire industries will grow in order to support Amazon HQ2 in National Landing and the surrounding area. There’s construction to build the headquarters, various office buildings, and new housing to support the influx of new employees for Amazon and elsewhere. New hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, and retail stores are also going to come with Amazon’s new headquarters.

Startups can benefit from the rich pool of tech talent developing in response to Amazon’s arrival. Students entering computer science programs and bootcamp grads alike can hone their craft at a Washington, D.C. startup. New startups will start emerging with this influx of tech talent.

We can also expect growing pains associated with Amazon. Startups can help solve business-to-business problems—maybe it’s connecting vendors to suppliers or an easier way to book corporate travel—or help Amazon better connect with local businesses.

Key takeaway for Washington, D.C. → Amazon HQ2 will directly, and indirectly, lead to new jobs. New companies will be formed, local businesses will scale up to meet demand, and startups will flourish with all the tech talent around.

We’re excited to see Amazon’s impact on the tech community in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. If you’re interested in joining this incredible scene, Flatiron School has a free Bootcamp Prep course that can help boost your job prospects. Flatiron School’s Washington, D.C. campus has several bootcamp options where you can learn new skills or change careers with confidence. If you’re ready to change careers, Washington, D.C. is home to our Immersive Software Engineering Bootcamp and Immersive Data Science Bootcamp.