In recent years, the Southeast has seen significant tech growth. Just consult Forbes’ top 15 list of the best cities for jobs in 2018. Orlando, a pinnacle of the Central Florida area, was listed at no. 6, and touted as the leader in STEM job growth – even surpassing Silicon Valley. This has been the trend over the past several years, as STEM opportunities become an integral part of the city’s identity. Companies like Nebbia Technology are a driving force of behind the rapid tech expansion in the City Beautiful, where more than 11,000 STEM-facing jobs have been added since 2010.
To dive deeper into the blossoming tech communities across the Southeast, we recently had the opportunity to connect with Esteban Garcia, founder and chief technologist of Nebbia Technology. With an 18-year career in Orlando, Esteban has been at the forefront of Orlando’s tech growth, his professional career track steeped in the DevOps industry. Below we share his perspective as we move into 2019.
I’ve been in Florida since 1990 and the majority of those years have been spent in Orlando. I graduated from UCF in ’99 and have built my career and my business here. Over the years I planted my roots here along with my wife and two kids. Orlando is home on so many levels and I’ve gone through many phases of my tech career here – from working in the credit industry to being part of a startup, to tech consulting, to starting Nebbia Technology in 2014.
During all of this time I also got involved with the people in Orlando’s tech community – running the .NET user group here for nine years and organizing the Orlando DevOps and Orlando Azure groups. I’ve also been involved with Orlando Code Camp since 2008, which is a free all-day event that brings together over 600 technologists from all throughout Central Florida. The opportunity to learn and share knowledge across the tech community here is something I feel very connected to.
I wanted to create a place where I could bring together a great team and provide them with the right environment and tools to learn and produce amazing results. Plus, build a company culture that is reflected in everything we do. I’ve been part of the DevOps space for many years and I wanted to start a company that didn’t just see DevOps as an additional offering, but as a core function, driving innovation and enabling teams to deliver value early and often. The cloud was also something I was very passionate about leveraging. It helps companies look past typical infrastructure constraints and really pushes transformation.
Looking around, I didn’t see any companies embracing these core objectives and goals, but felt a hunger for it in the tech and DevOps community here in Orlando. In the years since Nebbia Technology first opened, we’ve been able to achieve these goals – building and fostering a creative space for employees, while also helping companies have a cloud-first mentality and deliver value to their customers. We are constantly looking ahead at how we can make an impact with our community of customers and employees.
I tend to look beyond startups, to companies that have proven their business model and have shown sustainable growth and disruption in their industries. Companies like UniKey, FattMerchant, and PowerDMS – all Orlando based – are a few great examples. In general, the IoT space is very interesting and I’m starting to see more companies leveraging sensors and more importantly, understanding and managing all the data that they generate.
People assume that they have to leave Central Florida to have a successful career in technology. As a community, the last several years have seen an increase in incubators and co-working spaces, which has increased our ability to start and grow technology companies. Orlando is not just about entertainment, which is another common misconception about the types of jobs available here. There’s serious technology talent here, a fast-growing start-up scene and an increasing need for tech talent even within the entertainment companies – like Disney, Universal and the many hotel and restaurant groups we have.
Look for Space, AI, and IoT to get even more headlines around their innovations. As more businesses move to the cloud and more cloud-capabilities become available, new companies will emerge out of these three verticals to maximize on the new products and solutions being created there.