Best cities for tech jobs

If you’re considering a career in technology or looking for a career move, it’s a good idea to research the best cities for tech careers. The tech sector reported a median salary of $91,250 in May 2020, more than double the national average of $41,950. But technician salaries — and job openings — vary widely by location.

To build our list of best cities for tech jobs, we looked at salaries, number of tech jobs, percentage of local workforce in tech, and gender equity.

The best cities for tech jobs

Computer and information technology jobs pay high salaries and high projected growth. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the tech sector will create 667,600 new jobs between 2020 and 2030. But which cities are the most tech-friendly? And what kinds of tech careers can you pursue in different cities?

Our list ranks the best cities for tech jobs based on current data. We draw on 2019 census data, 2020 economic data, and 2021 cost of living data to paint a comprehensive picture of the tech job market in these ten cities.

  1. Austin, TX

The capital of the Lone Star State ranks among the best cities for tech jobs. Austin has nearly 173,000 technology employees, with strengths in custom software services, technology manufacturing and telecommunications. Austin reports a median tech salary of $89,000, which is 86% higher than the median metro salary, making tech a lucrative career path in this city.

  • Population: 961 855
  • Middle age: 33.9
  • Median IT salary: $89,000
  • Cost of living compared to San Francisco: -46%
  • Percentage of local workforce in technology: 15.3%
  • Percentage of women in the local tech workforce: 24%

2. Charlotte, North Carolina

Known as a hub for business and finance, Charlotte also has a growing technology sector. The city reports nearly 100,000 tech jobs and nearly 76,000 tech job postings. Charlotte’s major industries include computer services, telecommunications, and testing. The median tech salary of $87,600 is 94% higher than the city’s median salary.

  • Population: 874,600
  • Middle age: 34.2
  • Median IT salary: $87,600
  • Cost of living compared to San Francisco: -47.4%
  • Percentage of local workforce in technology: 7.8%
  • Percentage of women in the local tech workforce: 27%

3.Seattle, Washington

Home to tech giants like Amazon and Microsoft, technology accounts for 29% of the city’s economic output. And with over 326,000 tech jobs, including a high percentage of emerging tech employers, Seattle is a great place to work in tech. The main sectors of the city include software, computer services and telecommunications. The average tech salary, which hit $117,000 in 2021, is 92% higher than the city’s median salary.

  • Population: 737,000
  • Middle age: 34.7
  • Median IT salary: $117,000
  • Cost of living compared to San Francisco: -17.5%
  • Percentage of local workforce in technology: 15.2%
  • Percentage of women in the local tech workforce: 23%

4.Denver, CO

With sun, mountains and snow, Denver is one of the fastest growing cities. It is also one of the best cities for tech jobs. The Mile High City has more than 191,000 technology jobs, including strengths in software development, telecommunications, and research and development. Technology professionals report a median salary of more than $96,000 in Denver, which is 79% higher than the overall median salary in the city.

  • Population: 715,500
  • Middle age: 34.7
  • Median IT salary: $96,100
  • Cost of living compared to San Francisco: -38%
  • Percentage of local workforce in technology: 12%
  • Percentage of women in the local tech workforce: 24%

5. Dallas, TX

Once known for its oil industry, Dallas is now a growing hub for the tech industry. The city’s 373,000 technology employees work in high-tech industries such as computer services, software services and telecommunications. Dallas reports a median tech salary of $88,800, 89% higher than the city’s overall median salary.

  • Population: 1,304,400
  • Middle age: 33.7
  • Median IT salary: $88,800
  • Cost of living compared to San Francisco: -43.5%
  • Percentage of local workforce in technology: 9.8%
  • Percentage of women in the local tech workforce: 24%

6. San Jose, California

As the largest city in Silicon Valley, San Jose is consistently one of the best cities for tech jobs. With a lower cost of living than San Francisco and nearly 400,000 tech jobs, San Jose is also home to many tech start-ups. Jobs in technology manufacturing, computer services, and custom software services are among the most common. And tech professionals report a median salary of $128,500 — the highest of any city on our list.

  • Population: 1,013,250
  • Middle age: 37.4
  • Median IT salary: $128,500
  • Cost of living compared to San Francisco: -17.6%
  • Percentage of local workforce in technology: 33.7%
  • Percentage of women in the local tech workforce: 21%

7. Phoenix, AZ

The Sun Belt offers a number of opportunities for technology professionals. With over 195,000 tech jobs and an additional 93,000 job openings, Phoenix is ​​an up-and-coming tech hub with a low cost of living. Tech professionals working in software services, tech manufacturing, and internet services enjoy salaries that are 85% higher than the median subway salary.

  • Population: 1,608,150
  • Middle age: 34.4
  • Median IT salary: $83,200
  • Cost of living compared to San Francisco: -47.4%
  • Percentage of local workforce in technology: 8.6%
  • Percentage of women in the local tech workforce: 25%

8.Washington, D.C.

The seat of the federal government, Washington DC also has a thriving technology sector. The nation’s capital employs a large number of technology professionals – over 450,000 in 2021. Major industries include IT services, research and development, and telecommunications. And with median tech salaries reaching nearly $110,000, DC offers high salaries with a lower cost of living than San Francisco.

  • Population: 689,550
  • Middle age: 34.3
  • Median IT salary: $109,400
  • Cost of living compared to San Francisco: -22.7%
  • Percentage of local workforce in technology: 13.7%
  • Percentage of women in the local tech workforce: 27%

9. Chicago, IL

The Windy City is perhaps best known for its deep flat and architecture, but it’s also a technology hub. Chicago has nearly 340,000 technical employees and a staggering 130,000 job openings. The main sectors of the city include custom software services, testing and telecommunications. Chicago tech professionals report a median salary that’s 76% higher than the city’s median salary.

  • Population: 2,746,400
  • Middle age: 35.2
  • Median IT salary: $87,100
  • Cost of living compared to San Francisco: -31.6%
  • Percentage of local workforce in technology: 7.3%
  • Percentage of women in the local tech workforce: 25%

10. Huntsville, AL

Alabama might not be the first state that comes to mind for tech jobs, but Huntsville is a great place for tech professionals. With over 55,000 tech employees, or more than 23% of the workforce, the tech sector has a strong presence in Huntsville. The city reports a high number of jobs in research and development, computer services, and technology manufacturing. And the median tech salary of over $96,000 is 91% higher than the city’s median salary.

  • Population: 215,000
  • Middle age: 35.8
  • Median IT salary: $96,250
  • Cost of living compared to San Francisco: -47.3%
  • Percentage of local workforce in technology: 23.2%
  • Percentage of women in the local tech workforce: 25%

Build a tech career in a new city

What’s the best way to advance your tech career in a new city? In addition to focusing on your technical skills, the following steps can help you get started and build a career in your new city.

  • Research the tech community: Learn about the local tech community by researching companies, tracking job applications, and joining tech groups.
  • Local network: Use your current network to connect in your new city. Consider networking through LinkedIn or your alumni network. Meetup groups for new tech professionals are another great option.
  • Consider working freelance: You can add to your portfolio while building local relationships by accepting freelance and contract work. Some roles can even turn into a full-time job offer.

Remote work

What about remote work? Technology professionals no longer need to live in Silicon Valley or another tech hub to pursue a career in information technology. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the number of remote work opportunities in the technology sector. This trend is likely to continue, with many large tech companies allowing more remote positions.

The ability to work remotely opens up many new possibilities for technology professionals. Cities like Houston and Columbus offer remote work opportunities, as do smaller or more rural areas.

Conclusion

The technology field offers high salaries and high demand. And the number of cities ranking first for tech jobs continues to grow. Whether you’re considering relocating or looking for remote opportunities, knowing the tech landscape helps you in your job search.

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