Why work in TN?

I found this in a job posting for a position at Digital Reasoning

I really like this part:

Life in Franklin/Nashville, TN

OK, so it’s not Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, or San Francisco. No, really, that’s a good thing! Nashville has its own identity; its own sense of style. It’s friendly and warm; traditional and flamboyant at the same time. What else would you expect from The Music City!?

Moving here, you can choose to live in downtown Nashville alongside the honky-tonks, in West End surrounded by some of the nation’s best colleges, in the revitalized East Nashville district with its massive Victorian homes, green living, and unique sense of quirky culture. Of course you could also live on 30 acres of farmland just minutes from the office.

  • No state income tax!
  • Conde Nast Top 5 places in the world to visit in 2013.
  • Booming entrepreneurial community and startup infrastructure.
  • Thriving, active technology community with a group for almost any interest.
  • Countless active health groups for cycling, running, hiking, etc.
  • Significantly lower cost of living than other major technology hubs.
  • Google fiber

Really hits on a lot of the good stuff we have here. I want to post more on this in the future.

Nashville – Don’t Call Us IT

Originally Published in http://www.southernalpha.com

My wife and I recently moved to the Nashville (just south of Nashville actually) from Silicon Valley. We were drawn to this city over others because of nearby family, great schools for our kids and the fact that it had a growing tech community that would allow us to continue doing what we love for work.

Nashville’s investment in technology and programs like Hack Nashville, Healthbox, Entrepreneur Center, Jumpstart Foundry, and Nashville Software School are just a few examples of the strength of the tech and entrepreneurship community here.  But, there is something about the Nashville tech community I don’t quite understand – no matter what your role in the industry might be, I keep hearing people lump their teams together under the title of IT.

Now, I am not knocking IT people here, they play a really important role in the tech ecosystem, especially for larger companies.  But, for all of my years in this industry I’ve never worked in IT, called myself an IT person, or looked for a job in IT.  I am a software engineer.

So, what’s the big deal?

Simply put –  IT and engineering are two completely different things.  To put it in more traditional Nashville terms, confusing IT and software engineering is like calling an audio engineer a songwriter, although to be fair there are probably several people in Nashville who can do both.

IT is the deployment, integration, and maintenance of hardware and software products to an organization.  Software developers/engineers are creators of software.  We build apps, launch new products (and companies) and use code to create much of the technology that consumers enjoy every day.

IT and developers work together – in the case of enterprise software, the software that developers create is deployed by IT or, in many cases, is sold to consumers.  But, grouping all technology functions together as IT undermines the expertise of each contributing team member. By distinguishing a class of technology workers who are creators, you recognize the way each role works together to bring entrepreneurs’ visions to life. Not to mention, companies must be able to identify and hire for each role with intention.

As Nashville becomes a focal point of technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship, identifying the people who help create from the ground-up, those who execute and deploy technology, and everything in between, is crucial. We need to be synchronized with our peers in the industry and across the nation.  The top companies outside of Tennessee aren’t hiring IT when they are referring to software engineers, and we shouldn’t be either. Finally, let’s retain the top talent coming out of our Nashville schools and let them know we understand their technology expertise and need their skills here in Nashville.