Back in the 80s, all the cool kids were looking to work on Wall Street or in D.C., where the corridors of power did not admit the pocket-protector set.
But with the Internet, mobile technology and the rise of tablets, apps and all manner of things technological, the nerdly are back. The revenge, one might say, of the nerds.
And a recent Forbes blog post highlights Durham as being among the most geeky of all geeky cities, noting a National Science Foundation's ranking of our MSA as fifth-highest in the US for the percentage of workers in science and engineering-oriented occupations.
Don't be put off, by the way, at Forbes' mention of Durham, NC as the #5 "geekiest city" with a mention of the "Raleigh-Durham-Cary" CMSA following in the text.
The NSF report upon which the Forbes post is based ranks "Durham, NC" as the MSA in question. That includes Durham and Chapel Hill, a four-county area that doesn't include Wake County.
(Of course, plenty of the jobs in question in RTP and elsewhere have commuter residents from Wake and elsewhere driving in, though I'll continue to argue that the commuting patterns of those who choose not to make Durham their home are a source of much of the "benign neglect" that makes Durham a great place to live for those of us who choose to live here.)
In fact, the Raleigh-Cary MSA doesn't rank in the top twenty nationally for percentage of science/engineering and STEM jobs, according to the underlying data from the NSF report:
Among the top five, Durham trails only the tech corridors in Silicon Valley, Boulder, the Route 9 corridor in Boston, and Space City for jobs as a percentage of the economy, and ranks ahead of DC, Seattle, Austin, Ann Arbor, and San Francisco, among other areas.
The NSF report is worth a glance-through for other, state-wide data that can be groaners at times. For instance, though North Carolina does better than many states in venture capital deals in nominal and percent-of-GDP numbers, our primary education spending as a percentage of state GDP is anemic -- making one wonder, for all we're good at importing smart people from other states with our universities and research parks, whether we might want to do a little more work growing them at home, too.
(Image credit Flickr user MacQ)