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Tech Industry

From coast to coast, software jobs are helping drive the economy

A new study says the software industry is responsible for about 10 million jobs nationwide.

Getty Images/EyeEm

From hailing a cab on our phones to filing for time off from the office desktop, software touches a staggering range of day-to-day activities.

Someone's got to build all those programs. That's good news for people with those skills because there are plenty of jobs to be had and the software industry is driving economic gains across the country, according to a report out Wednesday from software trade organization BSA The Software Alliance.

In 2014, the software industry had a $1.07 trillion impact on US gross domestic product, a broad measure of the economy, according to the report. That's being driven by 2.5 million jobs directly related to the software industry and an additional 7.3 million positions for people in real estate, professional services and other fields the industry supports.

These jobs weren't evenly spread out across the country though. The study found that California surpassed all others -- shocker! -- with its whopping 408,143 software jobs (not including supported jobs in other fields) that contributed about $90.53 billion to the GDP. You can thank tech behemoths, such as Google and Apple, for that.

New York and Texas came in second and third, respectively, in regard to GDP, with New York's 147,361 software jobs contributing $37.16 billion and Texas' 200,000 jobs adding about $30 billion.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Alaska's 1,325 software jobs contributed $248 million to the GDP. Also toward the bottom were Montana, North Dakota and Maine.

The disparity from state to state depended on a variety of factors, like local economies. California is home to Silicon Valley; Alaska is not. (California's population also dwarfs Alaska's.)

In Texas, a friendly tax environment has helped attract companies to major cities like Austin, Houston and Dallas.

It can also depend on how businesses choose to innovate. Perhaps a state isn't a tech hub, but other industries located in it are increasingly using data, automation, the cloud or other software-driven processes. As an example from the study, Chicago monitored air quality by deploying 500 lamppost-mounted sensors that send data back to software, which then identifies factors possibly connected to incidences of asthma.

Even lampposts have apps these days. And programmers to build them.

Correction, 3:56 p.m. PT: The original version of this article misstated several figures. They've been corrected throughout.