When you think of the best cities for tech jobs, Silicon Valley (admittedly not a city) probably comes to mind. And it’s true, the San Francisco Bay Area offers plenty of opportunities, along with sky-high salaries for the tech-savvy among us. But there are many other areas in the United States that should be on a tech professional’s radar, too — some of which may be even better suited to your needs.
We’ve rounded up some of the best cities for tech jobs in the U.S. to help you plan your next career move.
Also in the Bay Area, San Jose is a bit less expensive than San Francisco, although it still has steep prices with a cost of living that’s 49% higher than the national average. Tech professionals can find opportunities at companies like Adobe and eBay, as well as the many smaller organizations and startups in the city.
If you don’t mind a little rain and do love coffee, Seattle is a great choice for techies. It’s most notable for being the founding headquarters of Amazon, where many residents find jobs, including people who don't work in tech. It’s also home to Nintendo, and Microsoft is right nearby in Redmond. PC Mag reports an average tech salary of $105,059. Keep in mind that the cost of living is on par with San Jose at 49% higher than the national average.
The East Coast is home to numerous jobs for tech professionals, too. While few tech giants are headquartered in New York City, plenty, including Amazon, Apple, Twitter and Salesforce, have large offices there. Google, which already has a location in Chelsea, is investing $1 billion to expand its presence with a brand-new campus in the city. Plenty of startups are headquartered there as well. Tech Republic reports an average tech salary of $105,925, although you’ll have to contend with a cost of living that’s a whopping 129% higher than the national average.
SmartAsset has consistently ranked Columbus as the best city for tech workers three years running, according to a study based on average salary, average cost of living, tech employment concentration, unemployment rate and ratio of average pay to tech pay. The 2019 study found that the ratio of the average tech salary ($92,440) to the overall average salary in the city is 1.80. While the salary itself is a bit lower compared to some larger cities, your money will go a long way — the cost of living is 10% lower than the national average. Moreover, there are 20 Fortune 500 companies in Ohio, with several in or near Columbus, so you won’t be lacking in opportunities.
SmartAsset also ranks Dallas high on its list of best cities for tech jobs. Tech workers earn an average salary of $93,820, 1.78 times the average salary among all workers in the city. Moreover, 4.23% of all workers in the city are employed by tech companies. Student Loan Hero identifies computer network architect as one of the best tech jobs in the city, earning an average salary of $117,800. The cost of living is only 2% higher than the national average.
Indeed Prime ranks DC as the best city for women in tech based on the gender pay gap. There are plenty of opportunities, particularly at startups and in cybersecurity and government. Hired reports an average tech salary of $116,000, while the cost of living is 39% higher than the national average.
If you don’t want to live directly in the nation’s capital, consider a suburb like Alexandria. Just a short distance away, many tech workers commute into the city daily. But they won’t have to for long: Amazon is setting up its HQ2 right in National Landing, where Alexandria is located, and is claiming that workers will have an average salary of $150,000, according to Forbes. A drawback is that this means housing prices are about to increase substantially; currently, the cost of living is 44% higher than the national average.
Heading back over to the West Coast, Portland, known as “Silicon Forest,” is a more affordable alternative to Silicon Valley, with a cost of living 29% higher than the national average. Plenty of companies are setting up shop in the city, including branches of eBay and Salesforce. Google is also expanding its offices in Portland. One notable organization is PDX Women in Tech, which offers a mentorship program to female tech professionals. PCMag reports an average tech salary of $101,019.
The Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking put Boston as #5 on its list of the top-ranked tech cities around the world, evaluating factors such as availability of venture capital funding, talent available and others. There’s plenty of job availability at places ranging from TripAdvisor, Raytheon and HubSpot to colleges that not only employ tech professionals but also educate them such as MIT and Harvard to startups and biotech companies. As a large city, the cost of living is a bit steep — 48% higher than the national average.
We had to end with the most obvious pick, but it’s obvious for a reason. The average tech salary in San Francisco continues to lead that pack at $145,000, according to the San Francisco Business Times. Home to tech giants like Salesforce, Twitter and Uber, it’s no surprise that people flock to the Bay Area for jobs. It’s important to consider the cost of living, though; according to PayScale, it’s 80% higher than the national average.
While Silicon Valley still leads the pack in terms of salaries and job availability for tech professionals, there are plenty of alternatives across the country that offer opportunities and, in some cases, more bang for your buck than San Francisco and its Bay Area neighbors. Given the pace at which tech fields are growing, you’re likely to find a great position in a plethora of great areas within the U.S. and beyond.
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