Tech & Startups

DFW Expects to Become a Thriving Tech Hub in 10 Years

Residents have an overall positive outlook on the industry, surpassing the expectations of the nation, a new study finds.

Sanjiv Yajnik
Sanjiv Yajnik

Dallas-Fort Worth residents have a bright 10-year outlook on jobs, innovation, salaries, and skill sets in the technology industry. Their expectations for the region’s tech prowess surpass those of the country, and they’re feeling positive about the region’s potential for becoming a “thriving technology and innovation hub.”

The findings come from a public survey, “Expectations for the Future of DFW Tech,” released by Capital One and Wakefield Research. It’s one part of a multi-phased process that includes a new partnership with the Institution of the Future, a Palo Alto-based research group that will produce an in-depth report in the first quarter of next year. The efforts fall under Capital One’s Future Edge DFW initiative, which aims to prepare the community for the future digital economy. The local initiative is part of the corporation’s $150 million, five-year national initiative to prepare for the future.

“This region is going to fundamentally change,” said Rachel Maguire, research director for IFTF. “The primary objective: Can we provide a clearer understanding of directional change to inform the DFW public at large of what 2026 will look like?”

“You don’t have to know the future you just need to know the direction it’s headed,” said Sanjiv Yajnik, president of Capital One’s Plano-based Financial Services, which employs nearly 6,000 people. “We can build the capabilities so that no matter what happens we will be able to compete.”

Conducted by Wakefield Research, the survey revealed that 79 percent of DFW residents believe the region is a great place for technology jobs and innovation, and 40 percent view technology companies’ presence as a local strength­–compared to a national average of 20 percent. It also showed that nine out of 10 residents believed the area’s workforce will have the skills necessary for tech-related jobs in 10 years. Residents are also confident that earnings potential will rise in the region’s tech industry—with 87 percent of respondents expecting to see improvement five years from now.  The responses came from an online survey that reached about 500 adults in DFW, and 1,000 nationally between Sept. 22 and 30.

The new partnership with IFTF is expected to help Capital One address two focuses: the community at-risk and the community at-large. The research is expected to serve as a directional guide, helping Capital One understand where it can provide resources to prepare the community for the future. Already Capital One Financial Services has worked with organizations including the Samaritan Inn in McKinney, area Boys & Girls clubs, and Girls Inc. Later this month, it will host a Women in Tech hackathon supporting Girls Inc.

“One of the reasons Silicon Valley took off is because it’s an ecosystem of a lot of things happening in the same place,” Yajnik said, adding that he hopes to play a role in helping lift all boats. “You need that for things to get turbocharged.”

And Dallas could get there. It just first has to build the digital infrastructure, he said. This means universities, educators, companies, and organizations joining together to continue building on the ecosystem that has begun to sprout in DFW in recent years. But the growth and/or success won’t come overnight, Yajnik said.

“It takes a lot of time to put in those foundations,” he said. “If you don’t build that foundation you’re not going to take off.”

So what does the future in technology look like? Although that’s hard to clearly nail down, Yajnik offered a few suggestions: a focus on STEAM, or educational efforts around science, technology, engineering, arts, and math; and the proliferation of artificial intelligence. The latter is likely easy for Yajnik to imagine, as he leads the first financial services company to serve customers on Amazon Echo, the speaker that uses Alexa voice service.