The Roanoke Region is home to a rich and extensive technology and innovation community. There are extensive information technology operations operating in support of the region’s large business and headquarters operations and there are several technology companies operating in the region.
Roanoke is a center for innovation. In the last five years, growth in per capita patents filed has exceeded growth at the national level by more than 3.5 times the national average. Patents are being filed by startups, established advanced manufacturers (like GE, Optical Cable Corporation, Novozymes Biologicals, and Elbit Systems), and as a result of research at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Instiute.
The region is served by a robust fiber network linking major commercial and institutional centers with regional and national providers. In addition, the Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority operates a 50-mile regional network with fiber-based, business-class service. The bandwidth offered through the Authority’s services is exclusive to the end user and is ideal for institutions and businesses that must move large volumes of data. The authority allows customers to lease dark fiber. Dark fiber is unlit fiber strands which allow clients that wish to install their own electronics to light their own dedicated fiber strands leased from the authority. Approximately 25 percent of the regional network is devoted to dark fiber.
IT and Computer Science: Median Annual Wage
|Computer Systems Analysts||$83,870||$99,020|
|Network/Computer Systems Administrators||$71,890||$89,460|
|Computer User Support Specialists||$54,040||$57,000|
Roanoke Region Strategic Advantages
- There are more than 4,000 information technology professionals working within an hour of Roanoke.
- The region is served by multiple providers of fiber telecommunications including Verizon, Cox Communications, Lumos, Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority, Level 3, and others. Major long distance carriers include AT&T, ZAYO, Level 3, Allied Fiber, among others. Phone and data services are available through all of these providers.
- Wireless data and voice services are available throughout the region. The region has extensive 4G LTE mobile data service coverage. Providers include Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint.
- There are 14 institutions within an hour providing some form of computer science credential including industry certificates. Eight of those institutions provide at least a four-year computer science or information technology related program (American National University, Ferrum College, VMI, Roanoke College, Lynchburg College, Virginia Tech, and Washington & Lee).
- The Virginia Tech Dept of Computer Science is ranked in the top 40 of computer science programs nationally. Graduates are produced that are versed in all conceptual aspects of computer science including programming in C++. Business Information Technologies graduates are versed in C++, Visual basic, and other .NET framework languages as well as JAVA. The programs have combined enrollments of more than 1,100 undergraduates, 200+ master’s and 150+ doctoral students.
- The greater Roanoke Region is home to several institutions offering world-class business education with more than 4,000 business graduates annually in the region. This includes 1,000 master’s level business graduates, 2,600 bachelor’s level business graduates, and 600 associate’s level business graduates.