“Some 40% of software engineers in the country are born outside the US,…”

Chicago Seeks Laid Off Tech Workers With H-1B Visas for Jobs – Bloomberg

Bloomberg appears to have misquoted a 2018 Seattle Times newspaper report, which found 40% of all tech workers IN SEATTLE AREA were foreign born, and that over half of all software engineers (a subset of all tech) in the Seattle area were born outside the United States: More than half of Seattle’s software developers were born outside U.S. | The Seattle Times

In Silicon Valley, 71% of all tech workers were born abroad.

Almost 1 in 4 of all Seattle area workers were born outside the United States.

In total, about 143,000 people in the Seattle-area civilian labor force are in IT occupations — software developers, computer programmers, systems analysts and so on. And nearly 57,000 of them, or 40 percent, were born in another country, according to my analysis of the 2016 data.

For software developers, in particular, the numbers are even more striking: Slightly more than half of the folks in this occupation were born abroad. Software developer is the No. 1 IT job in the Seattle area, nearly half of the total employment.

I have written about this a lot during the past year – if you do not have international skills, then your career is already over with. By definition, U.S. citizens are among the least international of professionals in the world today.

Europeans all speak multiple languages and have experience across multiple cultures in Europe. Go to any grad school computer science program in the U.S. and you will find international students from abroad, especially from India and China.

With the low U.S. fertility rate, immigration already accounts for the majority of the U.S. population growth. With our labor shortage – caused by our low fertility rates – economists say we must import even more workers from abroad.


Make a plan to develop global skills as soon as possible. If working for a multinational firm, see if you can get an assignment abroad. If considering a graduate degree, consider doing so abroad – in some European countries, they will even pay your tuition (yes, for non-residents and non-citizens). Consider taking a job abroad.

Unfortunately, these strategies work for those under about age 35-40. If over age 35-40, you will have much greater difficulty obtaining such skills as foreign graduate study options may be reduced or closed. Employers may invest in staff out to age 40 or so, after which they’d rather put their resources towards younger workers or those who are already on a management track. The older you are, the harder it will be to get global skills – of course this depends on your job function and role.

By EdwardM