RALEIGH, N.C. – We may have significant work to do, but North Carolina is on its way.

At least, that’s the intimation of the North Carolina Technology Association’s (NCTA) first North Carolina State of Technology Industry Report (NCSTIR) released online on Friday.

This overview of the state’s tech sector will be unveiled in Charlotte, and will be presented to the Triangle community on Tuesday, Feb. 4.

“Our goal is to identify the strengths and opportunities that can lead to economic growth for North Carolina,” said Brooks Raiford, CEO of NCTA. “We needed a solid resource for policy makers, economic developers, media, and of course the tech community itself. This report, the first of what will be an annual event, can act as the baseline.”

The report provides an overview of the tech sector’s impact on North Carolina’s economy, including workforce composition and salary information, along with a comparison to other states in various categories. It is being published alongside a 2015 NC Tech Directory, and a website that features highlights of the report.

The report breaks the tech sector down into four sub-categories: Energy Technology, Environmental Technology, Life Sciences, and the Tech Core – IT/Telecom/ Hardware and Software. Ted Abernathy, Managing Partner of Economic Leadership, LLC, was the lead researcher for the report.

During the SWOT analysis, Abernathy pointed to a long list of key strengths of our State’s technology sector:

•    Strong employment and establishment growth

•    An emerging software super-subsector

•    Comparative advantage in high-tech manufacturing, nuclear energy, and hardware manufacturing

•    Well-funded public research universities

•    Increasing rate of technology transfer from universities

•    High percentage of women in the industry workforce

The areas that require significant work include:

•    R&D funding, which Abernathy refers to as “simply average”

•    Lower levels of engineering academic R&D than other Southern states

•    Venture capital funding that lags behind comparable technology states

•    Lower number of science & engineering degrees earned

In respect to the presentation that will occur for the Triangle area next week, we will not reveal the entire report’s perspective on opportunities here. Suffice it to say, however, that Abernathy identified several areas surrounding education that he feels will present great opportunities for the NC tech sector’s growth, but he also pointed to areas where technology can influence the growth of other industries.

To learn more about the report and its findings, you can attend a briefing being held by NCTA on Feb. 4 at Research Triangle Foundation.