Get Ahead: Growing tech industry in Portland

Get Ahead: IT jobs

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The tech industry is exploding in Portland and that means there are a lot of opportunities to get in on the growth.

Stephen Ajayi was studying pre-med at Portland State University, but he saw opportunity in the growing tech industry and took it.

“I did a boot camp in town called Epicodus, that is a four-month program where you learn how to program essentially,” said Ajayi.

Now he's launched his own startup, developing an employee happiness app for companies. It’s a complete switch from his original life plans.

“I think my ambition was maybe be into heart surgery,” he said.

After Ajayi completed his boot camp program, he went to Metal Toad as an intern. It’s a company that builds software for businesses.

“For Daimler trucks, we're building some fleet management software for their new smart trucks. We also did the homepage for Sony.com,” said Joaquin Lippincott, President and Founder of Metal Toad.

Lippincott said he believes anyone can break into tech so long as they're curious and like to learn.

Check out job resources at KGW.com/GetAhead

“When I said anyone can program, I really mean that,” said Lippincott. “I don't mean that there are certain types of people that are cut out for this industry,” he continued.

It's an industry that's growing. Portland is already a destination for tech companies and experts say they're working on providing even more opportunities.

“This is an industry that's 86% white, predominately male. How can we open opportunity for women and underrepresented populations? Reese Lord, with Worksystems, asked.

If you're looking to get into the industry, there are a lot of perks.

“This is a kegerator with five taps,” said Lippincott as he gave KGW a tour of the break room.

It’s not just the break room that’s a draw.

“Great benefits, great compensation, lots of flexibility, unlimited PTO,” added Lippincott.

The first step is gaining knowledge. You can do it through a vocational code school like Ajayi did.

After that, even two years of experience can mean about $55,000 in pay. Those numbers can keep climbing into the six-digit mark.

If you're interested in learning more, Metal Toad holds a free class every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Just bring your own laptop.

Check out the replay of our Wednesday live chat!

Live Blog Get Ahead: High-tech and Manufacturing Careers

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