Business Tech Career

Amazon Chooses 2 Cities for HQ2

And just like that, your favorite online retailer has become a dream company for job seekers and a nightmare for competitors. The 34 year old internet company has recently selected New York city (NYC) and Northern Virginia (NoVa) as its home for HQ2.

Impact to region

Originally based out of Seattle Washington, this 2-city selection is great for the east coast. Downtown Seattle has enjoyed an economic boom due to being the home of the company’s main headquarters. From supporting a large staff (in the thousands) to hosting interview candidates, partners, etc (think hotel, car rental, restaurants), one can expect a similar impact on NYC and NoVa. Both cities have become east coast Silicon Valley over the past two decades, so it’s a wise decision by Amazon to establish its annex roots where the talent is. While NYC has quietly become a major startup force to be recognized (think of how many sites have “Made with <heart shape> in NY”), NoVa also has built itself up as the technical mecca closest to the nation’s capital. While creative talent is evident in NYC, NoVa is recognized for engineering and operational talent. 

Details on NoVa

Everyone knows what a behemoth NYC is, but not many people know about NoVa. It’s the 15th largest business district in the US, boasting cities like Reston, Crystal City, Pentagon City, and Tyson’s Corner. Tyson’s is home to the first ever Apple store. Almost every major tech company has a footprint in NoVa (even Amazon). From Microsoft to Redhat to Oracle to a myriad of professional services and government contract companies, it’s safe to say NoVa is no small potato. It’s clear Amazon was looking for cities where technical talent already exists.

Consequence to job market

For someone who lives close to NoVa, I’m very excited about what this means to the job market in the region. While it’s expected that Amazon will suck up major talent and be on the hunt for even more, the companies that lose key talent will also need to refill their now-vacant positions. It’s really a win win for job seekers.

Advice to job seekers

As a job seeker, it’s best to try to get in early on Amazon. I imagine they’ll bring temporary staff from the HQ1 to establish culture and structure, but eventually some of those people will go back and there will be opportunity for advancement. As the new HQs ages, they will firm up on opportunities and more, but they will probably recognize and reward those that started with them. As discussed earlier, Amazon’s presence will also open up opportunities within companies that will be sure to lose talent. It will make sense for job seekers to seek upward mobility as a result. Many companies will be open to trying out new talent in higher roles as the market becomes competitive.  If you’re not in the tech field, don’t let that discourage you from seeking out a new opportunity if you want to work with Amazon or see what else is out there. These sites are headquarters, they will need all types of talent. I’ll also be happy to inform you that tech giants like Amazon employ some of the more outlier roles (as in roles that have nothing to do with technology) to help them improve and sustain their dominance. Roles that round out the components of a real organization like HR, Legal, Sales, Facilities Management and much, much more.


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