Everything’s Bigger in Texas — Including the Tech Job Market
The Lone Star State is seeing a tech boom, especially in the capital of Austin. CompTIA’s Tech Town Index recently ranked the city as the best place for tech jobs in the U.S. for the third year in a row.
Major companies like Google, Amazon and Oracle are beefing up their Austin offices. Tech professionals are finding relatively affordable real estate, a fun culture and plenty of opportunities — there are more than 6,000 open tech roles listed on Built In Austin’s jobs page.
And it seems these opportunities won’t dry up in the Texas heat; Austin also topped CompTIA’s list for five-year projected job growth in the tech field. By that prediction, Austin will see another new 22,000 tech jobs by the year 2027.
That’s why Built In Austin sat down with five tech companies fixin’ to hire. Team members from City National Bank, Unit 410, OJO Labs, Fathom5 and Iodine Software shared their favorite tech tools and what sets their companies apart.
What they do: City National Bank is a full-service bank that provides banking, investment and trust services for small to mid-sized businesses, entrepreneurs, professionals and affluent individuals.
Tech solutions: The majority of the bank’s lending ecosystem uses the Microsoft technology stack. The tech team uses various tools, including Apigee, Azure DevOps, Visual Studio, SSMS GitHub, Fiddler, Postman and Beyond Compare for development; Dynatrace for monitoring; and ReadyAPI, UTAP, Serenity BDD and Postman for quality engineering.
Most exciting project: Ryali is most energized by his work on the nCino implementation, which he described as “a major transformation to streamline and scale our commercial lending credit systems by providing greater transparency and efficiencies.” The new system will allow data to be housed all in one place so end users such as the company’s relationship managers, loan administrators and credit officers will all have access to do their work in one place. “I love solving problems and am enjoying the collaboration and overall transformation opportunity of the program,” Ryali said.
Bottom-up innovation: Despite its long history as a financial institution, Ryali appreciates the team’s focus on tech. “The company is growing, and a big part of that growth is around technology in every direction: to create efficiencies, reduce risk, increase security, provide more valuable solutions, and just have a better colleague and client experience,” he said. “We have a very strong culture of bottom-up innovation, and great things happen faster when you pair this with senior leadership that is highly technical, adaptive, forward thinking and supportive.”
What they do: Unit 410 provides infrastructure, software, consulting and administrative services for the storage of digital assets and participation in blockchains.
Favorite tech tools: The team uses Terraform for managing and provisioning services to Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services. They use containerization to deploy and run apps and Ansible for configuration management and app deployment. Go, Rust and Typescript are on hand for nearly all projects, and Prometheus and Grafana help with monitoring.
Bridging the gap: Premkumar is currently working on building validators for Tendermint-based blockchains. “Working on fast-moving projects is always exhilarating, and I specifically enjoy bridging the production readiness gap for validator infrastructure on large chains,” she said. “Our engineering and development process is optimized for doing day-zero validator launches. It is always exciting to see all of this in action.”
Technical leadership: For Premkumar, it’s the highly technical nature of leaders that sets Unit 410 apart from other employers. “Our leadership has a mission of building a haven for senior engineers where we can focus on building, iterating and setting standards on participating in crypto safely,” she said. “My favorite thing about working at U410 is the amount of autonomy you get to define your projects and the permission to deprioritize a project when it no longer makes sense. This adaptability is our competitive edge, and I feel fortunate working at a place where all the decisions are transparently shared and decision-makers constantly ask for feedback on how to make something better.”
What they do: OJO Labs is a real estate tech company that offers personal, digital advising and creates an end-to-end platform for buying and selling homes.
Favorite tech tools: According to Pratt, OJO’s team tackled the choice of technology, tools, and processes first, even before they shipped their first prototype. “We’ve built something that’s a pleasure to work with. On a basic level, we have made the choice to use Kubernetes to manage our deployments, which gives individual project teams the flexibility to make the right choices for their specific problems instead of worrying about trying to fit a mandated square peg into a round hole. As for languages, we use Kotlin, Python and Node.js for projects, and we’ve found quite a bit of success using gRPC to maintain and manage the interconnections between them all,” he said. “Additionally, the choice of Kotlin over Java has really paid dividends multiple times. The language itself is a joy to work with, and I think that it’s one of the choices that we’d universally make again if we were starting over.”
Diverse challenges: One of the elements Pratt loves about OJO is the diversity of technical problems they’ve solved as a team: “We’ve had to tackle elements of everything from high-volume data ingestion and processing, all the way up to call center coordination and routing systems. Underlying all of these elements is a business-wide event pipeline that is used by nearly every OJO system as a single, eventually consistent source of truth for our persistent business data. It’s one of the very first things we built, and has been the foundation of our entire architecture ever since. Maintaining it is a fascinating challenge of balancing performance between multiple, disparate, unrelated use cases, while at the same time preserving the requirement to be absolutely available and reliable.”
Prioritizing developers: Pratt noted that the company takes pride in maintaining a positive developer experience. “We knew we wanted something powerful, expressive and robust, but most importantly, it needed to be the kind of system that our engineers would be excited about working with and improving on every level,” he said. “It was an extremely satisfying feeling to see that we could grow from a team of five who all sat next to each other into a globally distributed team of hundreds of engineers without losing any of the efficiency or simplicity in our system.”
What they do: FATHOM5 is an industrial technology company focused on enabling a secure digital backplane for maritime trade.
Favorite tech tools: The team uses Docker to run microservices and web applications from anywhere in the world and Kubernetes to manage, automate and scale its industrial applications. Gitlab houses the team’s code repository while also offering a single application to manage an entire DevOps project life cycle. “Our company works at the intersection of AI and grease, bringing modern software development practices to the industrial edge,” Burke said.
Coolest project: Burke is currently focused on developing the tight integration of a microservices architecture with operational technology components and protocols. “Typically, microservices architectures are found in our favorite apps, like Amazon and Netflix, but have yet to be fully implemented in an operational technology space. FATHOM5 brings modern software development practices to these OT systems, thereby allowing the rapid scaling and automation available through a cloud infrastructure,” he explained. “The applications for this technology can be used in waterways that were previously inaccessible and help to decrease maritime criminal activity such as illegal fishing, drug running and human trafficking.
Hacking the Navy: As FATHOM5 is owned by a service-disabled veteran, the company does a fair amount of work in support of the U.S. Navy. “HACKtheMACHINE is a multitrack digital innovation event we execute for the Navy that brings together academia, industry and civilians to solve some of the toughest challenges facing our Navy. In one iteration, the Navy wanted to better understand the security of shipboard 3D printers,” Burke said. “We encouraged participants to hack these 3D printers to identify risks and vulnerabilities. We were able to identify numerous security risks, and one competitor even managed to remotely start a small fire in the printer! All of the identified vulnerabilities were patched and amended, improving the overall security of the system.”
What they do: Iodine Software is a healthtech company using AI to help healthcare providers capture patient documentation.
Their tech stack: On the back end, Iodine products use a combination of Java and Apache Tomcat, PostgreSQL, Kafka, Redis, and GraphQL technologies, bundled with Vue.js or React-based front ends. As the director of quality assurance, Baibus noted that his team uses Cypress, Mocha, Chai and Jest frameworks to drive the user interface test automation of their front ends. “For performance, load and stress testing, we use k6.io and JMeter backed up by insights from Grafana,” he added.
Cultural shift: In order to ensure “all product teams embody the philosophy of quality ownership,” Baibus said the culture is currently shifting from a traditional quality assurance and control model to a quality engineering model. “Responsibility for quality is not viewed as something that only quality assurance does. Instead, quality is being built in from the start by introducing shift-left testing, developer-lead acceptance test automation and lean startup build-measure-learn feedback loop cycles,” he said. “We’re also focusing on measuring and improving our product team performance against key performance indicators such as change failure rate, release cadence, lead time for change and mean time to recover.”
Scope of responsibility: Baibus appreciates that Iodine’s main focus is to deliver high quality at speed. “A large part of our time is spent on coaching the team and assisting quality efforts to make sure that the team values quality and customer feedback above all else and contributes with both ideas and implementation of functional and non-functional tests,” he said.