The Silicon Valley is considered the high tech ‘‘capitol” of California, but it looks like Los Angeles is holding its own as a serious contender.

For years the Silicon Valley has been attracting some of the smartest whiz kids on the planet, who work for large, innovative companies chaired by whiz adults, or form their own start-ups inventing and producing products and systems which have brought about transformational change and revolutionized our lives as consumers.

But so, too, has Los Angeles, the Southland’s center of innovation. From the digital media revolution with roots in L.A’s gaming and entertainment industries, to space commercialization, transportation advances, the internet, biotech and technology startups, hundreds of companies are growing via an influx of venture capital and brilliant ideas from local research universities.

In fact, a recent study, undertaken by LAEDC’s Institute for Applied Economics, reports that high tech in Los Angeles County employs 368,600 people, more than any other metro region in the nation. Santa Clara County, the heart of the Silicon Valley, weighs in with 313,300 high tech sector jobs. These jobs carry with them high value, paying wages that, on average, are almost 70% higher than wages in other industries.

The report singles out technology as the single most important ingredient for building and nurturing a thriving, prosperous and growing economy.  So there is cause for celebration. California – both North and South and in between – is leading the way in this era of technological explosion. It’s in our DNA – boundless creativity, imagination, innovative spark, entrepreneurial spirit, and out of the box thinking.  That’s why venture capitalists see California as THE place to invest in start-ups that are pushing the envelope to realize the next level of technological break-through.

Very recently, Los Angeles celebrated a successful Innovation Week with a series of events, shining the light on companies and institutions that are the driving force behind the innovation economy.  When commenting on Los Angeles’ tech sector outperforming other metro areas, Mayor Eric Garcetti said, “If we want to keep it that way, we must ensure our workforce and our students are prepared.”  And, that is the challenge.  Ideas on how we do that is the subject of commentary to come.  Meanwhile, bring on the next Hackathon!