Is Battered Silicon Valley Making a Comeback?: Page 2

Posted February 17, 2004

Sharon Gaudin

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Finding Life in the Ashes

But what that downturn left behind -- technically savvy workers with real job experience -- is what will build the area back up again.

''It's one of the areas of the country that's a real brain trust,'' says Foote. ''California, going way back, had a pioneering mentality and it still does today. People go there simply because it's a great place to take an idea and get some traction on it. They might not now be doing what they did five years ago, but they're still around. They'll continue to be entrepreneurs and pioneers.''

A new study by Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network shows that the area is on the mend but the revitalized Silicon Valley won't exactly mirror the old region. The network is a community group that works on problems that face the Silicon Valley area.

The group's 2004 Index of Silicon Valley study shows that biomedical and health services are two industries growing at a faster rate in that area than in the rest of the country. The study, which analyzes the 'changing occupational structure of the Valley', shows that the area is picking up with research and development work, professional services, and technical production, as well as a site for corporate headquarters.

''There are many more positions available today than there were six months ago or 12 months ago,'' says Dice's Melland. ''It's not the craziness of 2000 but we can't expect that. But there are really good, solid positions out there today and it's getting better.''

Foote notes that other regions, such as Boston, outside of Washington, D.C. and New York, are seeing an increase in technical jobs, as well. But Silicon Valley is still the heart of the country's technology world. And because of that, it may show a stronger comeback than the other areas.

''Silicon Valley is not even close to where it was several years ago, but it is coming back,'' says Melland. ''The major technology centers are still where most of the jobs, and most of the highest-paying jobs, are... About 12 months ago, we started to see a lot of small companies being funded again. This time it's more biotechnology and nanotechnology. What you won't see today are so many Web services and seven different online pet stores. You're going to see hard-core technology companies and a broader array of them.''

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