Seattle skyline


Seattle is a bustling hub of activity that is growing at lightning speed. From startups to Fortune 500 companies, everyone is lining up to get a slice of the lucrative tech market in Seattle. Hailed as the tech capital of the Pacific NorthWest, Seattle is a force to be reckoned with. 


However, with so much innovation, it can be a hassle to keep up with everything. What is new today will be obsolete tomorrow as the tech world moves faster than most can comprehend. 


With the tech economy in Seattle constantly shifting and changing, which industries safe? Which tech industries are looking to grow and expand with the changing times? Stick around for the breakdown on the fastest growing industries in Seattle. 


Tech + Seattle = Innovation


Sticky note with a lightbulb drawn on it.
Seattle is a major hub of technical innovation! 


Before we get into the specifics on Seattle’s most prominent tech industries, let’s take a step back and admire just how far tech in Seattle has come. While Seattle is currently a bustling hub of innovation and activity, this hasn’t always been the case. Many major tech players have worked to make the city what it is today. In combination with thousands of startups and influential people, the tech world of Seattle truly is a city like no other. 


Seattle by Numbers 


What do you think of when you think about Seattle? Do you think about the city’s 38 inches of rain a year? Maybe you envision the iconic skyline with the Space Needle observation tower. Whatever your memory conjures when you think of Seattle, many people don’t automatically think of Seattle’s booming tech scene. 


In fact, Seattle’s tech scene has been growing and evolving for some time. When you think of the Seattle tech scene, it’s inevitable that you’ll think of Microsoft. Of course, you’d have a good reason to. 4 years after its founding, Microsoft moved its headquarters to Bellevue, WA just across the bay from Seattle. 


Many former Microsoft employees have since branched out and created their own successful startups in the Seattle area. With Microsoft being the first tech giant in Seattle, others soon followed, including Amazon, Zillow, Boeing, and more.


Seattle saw an influx of 33,000 additional tech jobs between 2016 and 2017. Additionally, tech accounted for 93% of all office jobs in Seattle during 2017. 


Fastest Growing Industries in Seattle 


Person holding a briefcase.
Tech remains one of the most lucrative career markets in the world.


Now that we’ve gotten a bit of background in regards to how big Seattle’s tech scene actually is, let’s get to the part you came here to see. Which industries in Seattle are growing the fastest? Which are worth getting into now? Let’s get to the breakdown! 


1. Startup Central 


Seattle really is startup central. There are over 1,000 startups across the Seattle Bay area. Additionally, are currently over 165,000 technical jobs available across the Seattle tech scene. Startups have taken the Seattle area by storm over the last decade and now vastly outnumber the major corporations in the area. 


Seattle is a great place for startups to work and grow. Seattle offers many different coworking spaces, major grants and tax benefits from local government, and continued community encouragement and involvement from locals across the Seattle area. 


From the popular dog walking startup, Rover, to the latest in fundraising apps, Snap! Raise, the Seattle startup industry is only going to continue to grow. With the growth of the startup industry also comes the growth of the number of available jobs in the area. 


2. Business and Corporate Growth


Seattle ranked number one in the Forbes list of best places for business and careers. When taking a look at this city’s economy, it’s easy to see why Seattle is such a hub for business and corporate growth.


Seattle is home to some of the world’s largest companies including Microsoft, Starbucks, Costco, and many more. A variety of major companies also have offices in the Seattle area including Amazon, Boeing, Nordstrom, T Mobile, and others. 


Big corporates dominate the labor market in the area with the top employers in the area coming in at the following: 


Boeing – 80,000 Seattle employees

Microsoft – 42,000 Seattle employees

Amazon – 25,000 Seattle employees

Walmart – 20,000 Seattle employees


These companies are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to major corporate employment in the area. Studies show that 90% of Seattle’s overall workforce does some kind of office work, usually with a tech related company. With corporate life being ingrained into Seattle’s culture, the city is looking to continue its growth as it innovates and changes the way we see corporate businesses in America. 


3. Aerospace and Defense 


As mentioned previously, Boeing is the top employer of the Seattle area employing over 80,000 people. For those not familiar with the company, Boeing is the world’s leading supplier of major aircraft carriers. The company manufactures over 800 airplanes a year, that’s a ton of work considering how big airplanes are!


From the defense side of things, it’s important to remember that Seattle has a very strategic military position along the Northern Pacific coast. Not only is the city a major shipping hub, it’s also home to Joint Base Lewis-McChord. This US Military installation is home to members of both the US Military and US Airforce. The base currently employs over 50,000 people from the Seattle area, making it one of the largest employers in the city. 


With the two biggest aerospace and defense employers in Seattle racking in over 130,000 employees from the city, this industry is not one to be taken lightly. While those interested in the tech field may first overlook these employers in favor of more “traditionally tech” companies. It’s important to remember that innovation happens everywhere and that a company doesn’t have to necessarily be a “tech” company to bring change and innovation to the industry.  


What’s the takeaway?


hiker viewing the Seattle skyline.
How does all this info affect your career goals? 


Yes, we covered a lot of information in this article.  And if you’re new to coding or are just considering switching careers to the tech industry, it’s natural to wonder what all this should mean for you. 


Seattle has one of the fastest growing startup communities in the world. With a variety of companies raking in billions of dollars in funding, the startup community in Seattle is changing the way people across the nation think about new companies. With the number of startups in Seattle continues to grow, these companies collectively could employ a major percentage of the city’s workforce. 


While startups are continuing to sweep across the city, let’s not forget about the big guys. Corporate companies are booming in Seattle. With major corporations employing the majority of Seattle’s workforce, corporate life is truly ingrained in the city’s culture. With more companies continuing to see the potential of the Seattle area, who knows which major company may open up shop in the Seattle area next. 


The aerospace and defense industries in Seattle often get overlooked and that could be potentially be a big mistake for those on a job search. The aerospace and defense industries house some of Seattle’s largest employing companies. With numbers and demand continuing to rise in these industries, the aerospace and defense companies across the Seattle area are definitely a force to be reckoned with. 


As you continue your tech journey through the rainy streets of Seattle, it’s important to keep an open mind. The fastest growing industries in Seattle are constantly changing. From big tech to tiny startups and even the US military, everyone wants a piece of Seattle’s booming economy. Ready to carve your own slice of Seattle success? Be sure to stay tuned for the latest in Seattle tech and economic news. 

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