From Together, We Are Building a Bigger, Better Texas

AI Companies Augment Tech-Sector Employment

by Mark Arend

lready a technology industry powerhouse, Texas is emerging as a leading center for artificial intelligence (AI), with hundreds of companies active in this booming tech sector. Largely clustered in the Austin, Dallas and Houston metros, they also can be found in League City, between Galveston and Houston (Businessware Technologies), San Antonio (FunnelAI) and other Lone Star State communities.

Las Vegas-based GoodFirms, a B2B review and rating platform, and Washington, D.C.-based Clutch, a global marketplace of B2B service providers, each provide rankings of the Top AI Companies in Texas, with the latter ranking 199 of them.

Startups or established, small or large, these AI players are in good company. Texas is home to close to 18,000 tech companies that employ nearly 204,000 workers, according to the Texas Economic Development Corporation. CompTIA’s State of the Tech Workforce 2024 reports Texas’ net tech employment at 936,296, or 6.4% of the state’s overall workforce. That figure is a combination of tech occupation jobs (537,935) and tech industry jobs (647,317). 

The tech occupations employing the most Texans in 2023, according to the CompTIA report, were Software, Programmers, Web and QA (176,000); IT Support Specialist and Repair Technicians (84,000); and Cybersecurity and Systems Engineers (69,000). 

How does Texas stack up nationally in tech employment? The State of the Tech Workforce analysis ranks it first in tech employment job gains, second in net tech employment and third in projected percent change in tech occupation growth from 2024 to 2034, at 28%. It’s second among the top states for employer job postings for tech openings and third in the number of new tech business establishments in 2023. Dallas ranks first in the top metros nationally by net tech employment job gains; Austin is third and Houston is fifth. Austin ranks fourth in metros by tech economic impact as a percent of the local economy, and Dallas is sixth by net tech employment. 

Austin is home to the flagship campus of the University of Texas. In January 2024, UT Austin launched the Center for Generative AI, which is also housed in the Machine Learning Laboratory.Austin is home to the flagship campus of the University of Texas. In January 2024, UT Austin launched the Center for Generative AI, which is also housed in the Machine Learning Laboratory.
Photo: Getty Images

Austin’s AI Clout Is on the Ascent

The state’s burgeoning AI industry won’t need to look far for talent., an independent metric-based ranking of more than 14,000 universities from around the world, lists 63 colleges and universities on its February 2024 Best Colleges for Artificial Intelligence in Texas. The top five are the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University — College Station, Rice University, the University of Houston and the University of Texas at Dallas. Fifty-eight other schools across Texas, from El Paso (University of Texas) to Lubbock (Texas Tech University) to Corpus Christi (Texas A&M) also have growing AI degree programs.

In August 2020, the University of Texas at Austin was picked as the site for the National Science Foundation’s AI Institute for Foundations of Machine Learning, the technology behind AI applications. “This is another important step in our university’s ascension as a world leader in machine learning and tech innovation as a whole, and I am grateful to the National Science Foundation for their profound support,” said UT Austin interim President Jay Hartzell in a statement at the time. “Many of the world’s greatest problems and challenges can be solved with the assistance of artificial intelligence, and it’s only fitting, given UT’s history of accomplishment in this area along with the booming tech sector in Austin, that this new NSF institute be housed right here on the Forty Acres.”  The Institute is housed in the university’s Machine Learning Laboratory in the Gates-Dell Complex. 

In January 2024, UT Austin launched the Center for Generative AI, which is also housed in the Machine Learning Laboratory. A UT News report says the Center is “powered by a new GPU computing cluster, among the largest in academia. The cluster will comprise 600 NVIDIA H100s GPUs — short for graphics processing units, specialized devices to enable rapid mathematical computations, making them ideal for training AI models. The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) will host and support the cluster, called Vista,” an AI-focused supercomputer. 

Mark Arend
Editor Emeritus of Site Selection magazine

Mark Arend

Mark Arend is editor emeritus of Site Selection, and previously served as editor in chief from 2001 to 2023. Prior to joining the editorial staff in 1997, he worked for 10 years in New York City at Wall Street Computer Review, ABA Banking Journal and Global Investment Technology. Mark graduated from the University of Hartford (Conn.) in 1985 and lives near Atlanta, Georgia.


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