Glorious view of the Boston skyline over the harbour. It shows full trees and tall buildings against a bright blue sky.
Boston skyline. Image: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Everything you need to know about Boston’s sci-tech scene

3 Sep 2018

From its world-renowned educational institutions to its vibrant cybersecurity hub, Boston is filled with sci-tech talent.

When you think of tech in the US, your first thoughts might go to the infamous Silicon Valley or even the metropolitan mecca of New York.

But Boston has been nurturing its own sci-tech ecosystem for many years now and is attracting a wealth of talent away from the unaffordable clutches of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Throughout the month of September, will be taking a closer look at the city of Boston and its surrounding area. We will be closely examining it as a powerhouse for innovation, education, infosec and vibrant start-ups.

So, what makes Boston such a strong melting pot for sci-tech talent? Let’s start with the sheer volume of talent it’s producing in the first place.

With almost 60 colleges and universities, including Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the area is already firing out thousands of science and technology graduates every year. These educational institutions also come with world-class resources, top-notch accelerators and innovative events that all add fuel to an already impressive fire.

All of this talent has to go somewhere, and it’s no surprise that some of the biggest companies in the world have caught on to what a vivacious talent pool it is.

Earlier this year, e-commerce giant Amazon announced that it is hiring 2,000 new employees with a new office opening in Boston in 2021.

In January, Accenture opened its new innovation hub, adding 400 highly skilled technology jobs to the area.

Biotech company Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) is expected to open a new 300-person drug-discovery R&D centre in Cambridge at the end of this year.

And, just a month ago, Verizon’s latest office became Boston’s largest lease deal of 2018 so far, according to Boston Business Journal.

These are just some of the industry moves that proves Boston is one of the best sci-tech hubs to be in, but the area can claim even more than global corporates and pharma giants.

The city’s start-up scene is nothing short of phenomenal. This year, start-up investments are already climbing towards a record high and Boston is set to beat New York for the first time in five years.

Hub for health

Boston’s biotech-heavy ventures can take a lot of the credit for the city’s impressive funding statistics, and it’s no surprise as its biotech and life sciences community could easily be seen as an ecosystem within an ecosystem.

It has some of the biggest biotech and pharma companies in the world, such as BMS, Amgen and Shire, which are holding down the fort. In fact, last year Shire redeployed its more than 3,000 workers, who were scattered across several sites in Massachusetts, to two main campuses in Cambridge and Lexington.

Late last year, Siemens invested $300m to expand Siemens Healthineers, its healthcare branch, further showing the power of Boston’s life sciences stronghold.

However, once again, the global giants of this sector are not the only thing driving Boston’s impressive health hub.

Earlier this year, Dublin tech company HealthBeacon opened a new office in Boston to accelerate its plans to revolutionise how people take medication in a safe way.

Add that to a huge number of health start-ups and local companies already in place and you’ve got endless possibilities.

Securing tech talent

Anyone working in tech will know that cybersecurity is experiencing one of the biggest talent gaps that must be plugged.

Luckily for Boston, infosec is another major arm in its sci-tech ecosystem, with top companies such as Armored Things, Iboss and Carbon Black setting up shop in the area.

Those looking for a job in the security sector are undoubtedly being drawn to the Boston area, especially when faced with alternatives such as Silicon Valley and New York, both of which appear to have limitless accommodation prices.

Another major element to the city’s security tech hub is blockchain development and cryptocurrencies.

Castle Island Ventures is a Boston venture fund that focuses on blockchain systems and cryptocurrencies, while Circle, Learning Machine and Cambridge Blockchain are just some of the companies you should know when it comes to Boston and blockchain.

In fact, blockchain has become so big that the city’s historic Beacon Street was recently renamed Blockchain Street as a stunt to kick off Boston Blockchain Week, a city-wide celebration of the emerging technology.

With all of this in mind, it’s safe to say that those looking for a sci-tech job in Boston, or thinking about relocating to where opportunities are plentiful and innovation is constantly growing, will be spoiled for choice.

Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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