Tech in Alaska
The Gateway to the Arctic, Alaska is part of a global North that is pivotal to today's world. Alaska's people, land, animals, technology, and shifting climate comprise the core of the North's many possible futures.
Alaska is a place of complex landscapes, myth, human imprint, adaption, and survival. It is a place for true entrepreneurs and creative professionals to test their skills. It is a place where the hardiest people have thrived for millennia, and where they continue to make their home. Vast in both scale and diversity, Alaska is a place of great connectedness, where people and technology shape the land, and the land shapes the people and technology.
Working Remotely and Connected
Here in the Great White North there is a vibrant community of remote workers and telecommuters. Alaska has had high availability of gigabit internet n its three largest cities for a while with rural communities catching up quickly. Increased internet speeds (both upload and download) enable remote workers to collaborate with teams outside of Alaska by providing seamless experiences with integral tools like video conferencing. Working remotely can provide increased focus while minimizing (and in some cases eliminating) lengthy commutes to and from an office. Our neighbor to the south, Washington State, maintained its prominent ninth-place position this year with an average commute time of 27.9 minutes. Evergreen State's metro areas on the Puget Sound account for the high average. Read how Commute times rose in Seattle and across the US.
In the lower 48 states, workers are traveling ever longer to attain the job or home life they want, but the daily stress may outweigh the gains. Scientific American describes how Commuting Takes Its Toll. Many workers who commit to a longer commute probably underestimate the human costs. For many reasons, Commuting Sucks the Life Out of You. Slate’s Annie Lowrey so aptly described the daily trudge to work: "If you are commuting, you are not spending quality time with your loved ones. You are not exercising, doing challenging work, having sex, petting your dog, or playing with your kids (or your Wii). You are not doing any of the things that make human beings happy."
In Alaska, there are greater opportunities to live and work with little or no commutes. This is believed to directly correlate with an increased quality of life.
We understand that the biggest hesitation for software engineers and other creative workers to relocate to Alaska is the lack of a tech community here. The goal of Geeks in the Woods, its founders and their Accelerator is to create positive change in the tech ecosystem in Alaska, and eventually eradicate that hesitation by focusing on these three pillars:
- Community. Build awareness, engage with our communities, and support the efforts of local individual software engineers and creative professionals who are striving to share their passions.
- Industry. Evolve the tech industry in Alaska with particular emphasis on diversity, women in technology, and sustainability.
- Leadership. Empower all tech workers and creative professionals to consistently promote innovation and diversity to create a forward-thinking community.
We are pioneering the next frontier of Alaska - the Tech Frontier. If you love building and experimenting with technology in a supportive environment, are seeking a stronger sense of community, and want to be immersed in nature, join us in Alaska.
Partners helping build the tech community in Alaska
In addition to the two communities above taking a larger lead to share their stories in an effort to build local tech communities, Alaska has several important companies also taking lead to build the larger tech community.
The Boardroom is a coworking space for independents and small companies.
Providing Local, Wireless, Internet and Long Distance to the Copper Basin, Valdez and Tatitlek communities with a wireless service offering in Cordova.
If you are a software engineer, get connected into the Alaska Dev Alliance to grow the tech community in Alaska. They are a group of passionate programmers dedicated to building a sustainable developer community in Alaska. They believe building a rich and engaging community starts with local school districts and tracks through University and into professional careers by offering mentorship, learning, and networking opportunities.
Geeks in the Woods is committed to growing the tech community in Alaska
- Participate in and Sponsor Startup Weekends
- Mentor software engineers in Alaska
- Support Alaska Dev Alliance
- Support UW Women in Tech
- Sponsor geeks to code in Valdez
- Sponsor Innovation Summit by Juneau Economic Development Council
- Sponsor Alaska World Affairs Council
- Speak at local events
Software Engineering Life in Tents
When Lee Brown, cofounder of Geeks in the Woods, first moved to the Valdez property in early 2016, he spent the next two years coding software from an Arctic Oven tent. He found the setting to offer space and solitude to focus, and increased motivation knowing that adventure awaited just outside the door. Since those initial years, Lee has systematically improved the methods of living and working from tents. The Brown brothers welcome software engineering teams to camp and work at Geeks in the Woods Valdez any time of the year - snow or shine!
While working remotely and connected remains a relatively new for most Alaskan communities, several have recognized their potential and have started to share their stories. The town of Ketchikan has eagerly developed opportunities to encourage the influx of tech workers. The state capital of Juneau has also taken initiative to attract more diversified community members. Read and explore their stories below.
We hope to help more cities, towns, and communities develop and present their own unique stories about why they might be the best place for you to live remotely and be connected to work in tech. Nonetheless, we believe many of you will fall in love with Alaska and everything it has to offer, and help to build and diversify the amazing communities here.
Ketchikan: Live Connected
The city of Ketchikan represents a unique opportunity to live a connected lifestyle for remote workers and other tech-based entrepreneurs. Living in Ketchikan means living connected: to stunning natural beauty; to lightning-speed internet; to low-cost renewable energy; to unique arts and cultural experiences; and to excellent medical and educational facilities.
Residents of Ketchikan enjoy an affordable and unparalleled quality of life with diverse economic opportunities and amazing cultural diversity in one of the world’s most beautiful settings for outdoor recreation.
The Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce has been prepared this enlightening comparison of Living Connected Ketchikan vs. Seattle.
Juneau: A Great Place to Live and Work
You can work remotely, so why not do it from America’s most wildly beautiful community? Relocate to Juneau, Alaska and experience total connectivity.
Whether you are looking for employment or interested in trying out remotely working elsewhere while living in Juneau, this Southeast Alaska city has something for you. Juneau is the central transportation hub in the region giving you easy access to the great wilderness and the small town lifestyle.