Sunny Betz is a Built In staff reporter covering HR trends and best practices within the tech industry. He previously covered pop culture, music and gender identity at Rookie Mag.
Sunny Betz is a Built In staff reporter covering HR trends and best practices within the tech industry. He previously covered pop culture, music and gender identity at Rookie Mag.
The west coast lures many software engineers looking to strike it big, but if you’re looking for a great career opportunity without breaking the bank, Dallas is an underrated gem worth considering. Renowned for its ambitious atmosphere and energetic tech scene, the DFW region is well-positioned to become an explosive business hub for years to come. From the “Telecom Corridor” to the campus at UT Dallas, a trip through the city limits reveals the abundance of innovation embraced by this southern city.
Dallas’ reputation as a magnet for software companies earned it the nickname, “the Silicon prairie,” and with leaders like Texas Instruments and AT&T claiming Dallas as their home base, it’s no surprise that over 25,000 software developers have decided to put down roots in the city. From its vibrant arts scene to its low cost of living, Dallas is not only a prime location to set up shop, but a great place to build a life. Take a look into how these 18 software companies are transforming Dallas into a software hotspot in a class of its own.
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What they do: Customers remain the backbone of any successful business, so Qualtrics has developed a platform to reflect this priority. Qualtrics’ Experience Management platform covers all aspects of customer service to craft more satisfying interactions. By recording every conversation and leveraging predictive intelligence, Qualtrics enables teams to anticipate future customer needs and develop efficient workflows to meet these needs.
What they do: Because the energy sector powers daily life, Enverus takes steps to ensure this industry operates seamlessly. The SaaS company has developed technologies that accumulate data-rich analytics and insights. Businesses can then make smarter decisions, optimize their operations, and develop precautions for protecting their data from cyber threats and weather events.
Industry: Data management
What they do: Companies with loads of data on their hands will appreciate the cutting-edge solutions of Matillion, which supports companies with cloud-based technology. Matillion’s platform works seamlessly with Amazon Redshift, Delta Lake on Databricks, and other platforms to help companies store and move their data around. This way, businesses can arrange and analyze information faster and more efficiently.
Industry: Real estate
What they do: For renters across the United States, AptAmigo provides a way to secure their dream apartment while making the process simpler and even more fun. The company’s website combines proprietary technology with concierge-level customer service to ensure renters are set up with everything they need to settle comfortably into their new home.
Industry: Network Security
What they do: StackPath offers a software platform where enterprises can streamline their security and edge operations, built with powerful computing capable of detecting and neutralizing risks as soon as they appear. The company’s low latency, scalable cloud edge service gives their clients full visibility into their performance and infrastructures. StackPath’s platform can be adopted by companies of all sizes and stages, and is trusted by top names like CloudLinux, Viralize and TechSpot.
What they do: Omnitracs gives transportation companies more control over their fleet management operations with software services capable of tracking productivity, scheduling, fuel efficiency, safety, and other facets. Working with private, service, and parcel fleets, Omnitracs offers a range of solutions designed to help shipping companies maintain regulatory compliance and safety standards all while optimizing their operations to be as fast and efficient as possible.
What they do: Solera Holdings leverages software technology to simplify and speed up insurance claims processing for the automotive industry and other related sectors. Their data and software services make it easier to manage vehicles along every step of the life cycle, providing a digital visibility platform that enables companies to make informed decisions about product development.
What they do: Kibo Commerce guides retailers in building e-commerce platforms that are as impactful as their in-person locations. Kibo provides the tools to build omnichannel marketing and transaction solutions to help clients reach their expanding customer bases. Kibo’s main focus is on the digital realm, building web-based payment processing engines and mobile applications for companies of all sizes, but they also provide a range of in-store products to streamline payment processing flows. The company additionally delivers software to track product shipments, with real-time analytics reporting and warehouse management tools.
What they do: DerbySoft is one of the world’s leading hospitality software companies, providing distribution and search technology for hotels and travel companies across the globe. Their digital marketing suite integrates machine learning technology with data science to help hotels get more bookings. With additional locations in China, Japan and Europe, DerbySoft serves a large global network of over 200,000 hotel clients.
What they do: Mercado Labs partners with shipping and transit companies to help them integrate cloud technology into their supply chain management operations. Their software platform provides companies full visibility into the networks and communities that power their supply infrastructures, helping them reduce unnecessary tasks and bolster regulatory compliance so that their customers can receive their products faster.
Industry: Enterprise Tech
What they do: Ascendix Technologies is a software development company that builds a range of products and solutions for companies across the globe. Their design and development teams can work with companies on projects like mobile app builds, systems optimization, cloud integration and data cleaning. With additional offices in Ukraine, Ascendix Technologies gives clients the option to choose onshore or offshore development models based on their budget and time constraints.
What they do: Appsian provides software-powered threat detection products that companies across the globe can use to maintain the security of their assets. With quick implementation times, Appsian helps enterprises hit the ground running with data security and loss prevention tools optimized to their specific needs. The company partners with some of the leading companies in retail, insurance, finance and other industries, teaming up with top names such as Wells Fargo, Geico, and Gap.
What they do: Outmatch makes it easier for their client companies to attract and retain top talent with the help of software, providing digital solutions for recruiting, background checking and interviewing. Their talent analytics platform spans a number of human resources tech needs, from video interviewing options to leadership assessments and culture analytics. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, OutMatch has made a point to help companies continue to onboard new job candidates and build their employer brand while transitioning to remote.
Industry: Enterprise Tech
What they do: As everyday workplace experiences continue to transform, Appspace connects with businesses looking to upgrade their workflows with the help of technology. The company’s centrally located software platform gives businesses options for conference scheduling, digital signage and collaborative displays, offering a leg up in optimizing workflows and removing any hitches in completing work. Appspace’s scalable platform can be deployed across an entire enterprise, connecting every team member and transforming individual meetings and breakout rooms into company wide strategies.
What they do: Effective communication is at the root of success for any enterprise. Companies looking to connect their teams with customers and partners can enlist the help of Telligent Systems’ communications software suite. From improving customer experiences to ensuring the satisfaction of client prospects, Telligent Systems makes it easy for employees to utilize feedback directly from customers in traffic, pipeline and sales strategies.
Industry: Real Estate
What they do: Modern Message offers software solutions for the real estate industry that give agencies the power to run rewards programs and build their residence brand. Combining social media marketing with analytics, Modern Message provides the option to communicate with residents across multiple housing complexes. Their suite of real estate solutions help agencies and property owners increase resident retention and respond to feedback all through one unified software platform.
What they do: Enertia Software teams up with companies in the energy, oil and gas industries to build technology infrastructures that streamline their operations and help them compete with peer companies. Their enterprise-grade systems can be tailored to meet the needs of individual clients, as well as respond to data stemming from field sites, financial accounts, supply lines and beyond.
What they do: ExamSoft helps exam administrators build digital testing programs that facilitate quicker retrieval, scoring and analysis processes. With testing options designed to be accessed on any computer, ExamSoft leverages software technology to expand testing capacity and automate many of the grading and organizational processes that eat up valuable time. Their technology can be seen in a broad range of use cases, and have been adopted by everyone from tech professionals to college professors and librarians.
Biden begs for money for 2024 Campaign from local SF Bay Area tech leaders and talks AI
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — President Joe Biden convened a group of technology leaders on Tuesday to debate what he called the “risks and enormous promises” of artificial intelligence.
The Biden administration is seeking to figure out how to regulate the emergent field of AI, looking for ways to nurture its potential for economic growth and national security and protect against its potential dangers.
“We’ll see more technological change in the next 10 years that we saw in the last 50 years,” Biden said as the meeting with eight technology experts from academia and advocacy groups kicked off.
“AI is already driving that change,” Biden said.
The sudden emergence of AI chatbot ChatGPT and other tools has jumpstarted investment in the sector. AI tools are able to craft human-like text, music, images and computer code. This form of automation could increase the productivity of workers, but experts warn of numerous risks.
The technology could be used to replace workers, causing layoffs. It’s already being deployed in false images and videos, becoming a vehicle of disinformation that could undermine democratic elections. Governments, as well as the European Union, have said they are determined to regulate and put brakes on AI before it is too late.
Biden said social media has already shown the harm technology can do “without the right safeguards in place.”
In May, Biden’s administration brought together tech CEOs at the White House to discuss these issues, with the Democratic president telling them, “What you’re doing has enormous potential and enormous danger.”
White House chief of staff Jeff Zients’ office is developing a set of actions the federal government can take over the coming weeks regarding AI, according to the White House. Top officials are meeting two to three times each week on this issue, in addition to the daily work of federal agencies. The administration wants commitments from private companies to address the possible risks from AI.
Biden met Tuesday at the Fairmont hotel in San Francisco with Tristan Harris, executive director of the Center for Human Technology; Jim Steyer, the CEO of Common Sense Media; and Joy Buolamwin, founder of the Algorithmic Justice League, among others. California Gov. Gavin Newsom was also in attendance.
Biden is also in the San Francisco area to raise money for this 2024 reelection campaign. At his first fundraiser of the night, Biden spoke about what he saw as freedoms under siege, particularly for the LGBTQ community and with the overturning of abortion protections by the U.S. Supreme Court. And as president, it’s his job to help safeguard the right to choose.
“I think the American people need to have the confidence that we’re going to do what we say we’re going to do,” he said.
Climate change has also been a priority in Biden’s speeches at the fundraisers. On Tuesday, he told a group that he expects that John Kerry, the special envoy for climate, will soon return to China for talks on reducing carbon emissions.
Associated Press writer Barbara Ortutay in San Francisco contributed to this report.
Microsoft makes case for Activision merger amid EU scrutiny
BRUSSELS (AP) — Microsoft’s Xbox video game division on Tuesday announced new partnerships with Nintendo and chipmaker Nvidia as it tries to persuade European regulators to approve its planned $68.7 billion takeover of game publishing giant Activision Blizzard.
A key audience for the announcements were the European Union antitrust regulators who held a closed-door meeting Tuesday with executives from Microsoft and some of its competitors, including Sony and Google.
Microsoft announced a 10-year agreement with chipmaker Nvidia to bring Xbox games to Nvidia’s cloud gaming service. Microsoft also said it has now signed a similar deal with Nintendo, formalizing a commitment it revealed late last year.
What it does not have is an agreement with Xbox’s chief rival, PlayStation-maker Sony, which has sought to convince antitrust regulators around the world to stop the Activision Blizzard merger.
The all-cash deal, which is set to be the largest in the history of the tech industry, faces pushback from regulators in the U.S. and Europe because it would give Microsoft control of popular game franchises such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush.
The European Commission, the 27-nation bloc’s executive arm, has been investigating whether the merger would distort fair competition to popular Activision Blizzard game titles. It’s scheduled to make a decision by March 23.
Microsoft first announced the agreement to buy the California-based game publisher early last year, but the takeover has also been stalled in the U.S., where the Federal Trade Commission has sued to block the deal, and in Britain, where an antitrust watchdog’s provisional report said it will stifle competition and hurt gamers.
Microsoft, which is based in Redmond, Washington, has been counting on getting approval in either the EU or Britain to help advance its case in the U.S.
Microsoft’s president, Brad Smith, said at a Brussels news conference after meeting with regulators Tuesday that he was “not in a position to say exactly what was said in the hearing room” but emphasized that Xbox has a much smaller share of the market than PlayStation does in Europe, and asserted that the deal would be good for the industry by bringing more games to more people.
“For us at Microsoft, this has never been about spending $69 billion so that we could acquire titles like Call of Duty and make them less available to people,” Smith said. “That’s actually not a great way to turn a $69 billion asset into something that will become more valuable over time.”
Amid ChatGPT outcry, some teachers are inviting AI to class
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Under the fluorescent lights of a fifth grade classroom in Lexington, Kentucky, Donnie Piercey instructed his 23 students to try and outwit the “robot” that was churning out writing assignments.
The robot was the new artificial intelligence tool ChatGPT, which can generate everything from essays and haikus to term papers within seconds. The technology has panicked teachers and prompted school districts to block access to the site. But Piercey has taken another approach by embracing it as a teaching tool, saying his job is to prepare students for a world where knowledge of AI will be required.
“This is the future,” said Piercey, who describes ChatGPT as just the latest technology in his 17 years of teaching that prompted concerns about the potential for cheating. The calculator, spellcheck, Google, Wikipedia, YouTube. Now all his students have Chromebooks on their desks. “As educators, we haven’t figured out the best way to use artificial intelligence yet. But it’s coming, whether we want it to or not.”
One exercise in his class pitted students against the machine in a lively, interactive writing game. Piercey asked students to “Find the Bot:” Each student summarized a text about boxing champion and Kentucky icon Muhammad Ali, then tried to figure out which was written by the chatbot.
At the elementary school level, Piercey is less worried about cheating and plagiarism than high school teachers. His district has blocked students from ChatGPT while allowing teacher access. Many educators around the country say districts need time to evaluate and figure out the chatbot but also acknowledge the futility of a ban that today’s tech-savvy students can work around.
“To be perfectly honest, do I wish it could be uninvented? Yes. But it happened,” said Steve Darlow, the technology trainer at Florida’s Santa Rosa County District Schools, which has blocked the application on school-issued devices and networks.
He sees the advent of AI platforms as both “revolutionary and disruptive” to education. He envisions teachers asking ChatGPT to make “amazing lesson plans for a substitute” or even for help grading papers. “I know it’s lofty talk, but this is a real game changer. You are going to have an advantage in life and business and education from using it.”
ChatGPT quickly became a global phenomenon after its November launch, and rival companies including Google are racing to release their own versions of AI-powered chatbots.
The topic of AI platforms and how schools should respond drew hundreds of educators to conference rooms at the Future of Education Technology Conference in New Orleans last month, where Texas math teacher Heather Brantley gave an enthusiastic talk on the “Magic of Writing with AI for all Subjects.”
Brantley said she was amazed at ChatGPT’s ability to make her sixth grade math lessons more creative and applicable to everyday life.
“I’m using ChatGPT to enhance all my lessons,” she said in an interview. The platform is blocked for students but open to teachers at her school, White Oak Intermediate. “Take any lesson you’re doing and say, ‘Give me a real-world example,’ and you’ll get examples from today — not 20 years ago when the textbooks we’re using were written.”
For a lesson about slope, the chatbot suggested students build ramps out of cardboard and other items found in a classroom, then measure the slope. For teaching about surface area, the chatbot noted that sixth graders would see how the concept applies to real life when wrapping gifts or building a cardboard box, said Brantley.
She is urging districts to train staff to use the AI platform to stimulate student creativity and problem solving skills. “We have an opportunity to guide our students with the next big thing that will be part of their entire lives. Let’s not block it and shut them out.”
Students in Piercey’s class said the novelty of working with a chatbot makes learning fun.
After a few rounds of “Find the Bot,” Piercey asked his class what skills it helped them hone. Hands shot up. “How to properly summarize and correctly capitalize words and use commas,” said one student. A lively discussion ensued on the importance of developing a writing voice and how some of the chatbot’s sentences lacked flair or sounded stilted.
Trevor James Medley, 11, felt that sentences written by students “have a little more feeling. More backbone. More flavor.”
Next, the class turned to playwriting, or as the worksheet handed out by Piercey called it: “Pl-ai Writing.” The students broke into groups and wrote down (using pencils and paper) the characters of a short play with three scenes to unfold in a plot that included a problem that needs to get solved.
Piercey fed details from worksheets into the ChatGPT site, along with instructions to set the scenes inside a fifth grade classroom and to add a surprise ending. Line by line, it generated fully formed scripts, which the students edited, briefly rehearsed and then performed.
One was about a class computer that escapes, with students going on a hunt to find it. The play’s creators giggled over unexpected plot twists that the chatbot introduced, including sending the students on a time travel adventure.
“First of all, I was impressed,” said Olivia Laksi, 10, one of the protagonists. She liked how the chatbot came up with creative ideas. But she also liked how Piercey urged them to revise any phrases or stage directions they didn’t like. “It’s helpful in the sense that it gives you a starting point. It’s a good idea generator.”
She and classmate Katherine McCormick, 10, said they can see the pros and cons of working with chatbots. They can help students navigate writer’s block and help those who have trouble articulating their thoughts on paper. And there is no limit to the creativity it can add to classwork.
The fifth graders seemed unaware of the hype or controversy surrounding ChatGPT. For these children, who will grow up as the world’s first native AI users, their approach is simple: Use it for suggestions, but do your own work.
“You shouldn’t take advantage of it,” McCormick says. “You’re not learning anything if you type in what you want, and then it gives you the answer.”
Associated Press writer Sharon Lurye contributed to this report from New Orleans.
The Associated Press education team receives support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The AP is solely responsible for all content.