IT Employment

Best U.S. cities to find tech jobs

According to the September 15 edition of U.S. News and World Report, there are actually other U.S. cities out there besides San Francisco and San Jose that are good for tech jobs. Who knew?

According to the September 15 edition of U.S. News and World Report, there are actually other American cities out there besides San Francisco and San Jose that are good for tech jobs. Who knew?

U.S. News and World Report used a database of 2,000 cities -- with data provided by Onboard Informatics -- and sorted the cities on the basis of:

  • Population
  • High rates of graduate degrees
  • Geography of job openings within the industry on a broad job search engine and a tech-specific site
  • Local supply-demand ratios in several tech occupations
  • Salary
  • Cost of living

Here are the 10 cities they found to have better opportunities for tech workers right now:

  1. Atlanta -- Industry salaries are surprisingly competitive. The city was up there in volume of tech job openings in early September and had an above-average ratio of tech openings to employees for many IT occupations, including computer programmer, software engineer, and systems analyst.
  2. Boston -- Because it is the home of many universities including MIT and Harvard, Boston is a draw for employers and fertile ground for start-ups. In fact, Microsoft opened its first East Coast research lab in nearby Cambridge last year. As for salary, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that programmers and software applications engineers in nearby Lowell, MA, rank among the highest paid in all U.S. metro areas.
  3. Houston -- Houston is full of service firms (many of which are IT) that serve the energy industry.
  4. Huntsville, Alabama -- According to the U.S. News and World Report, more than 300 companies in the area are focused on designing and producing electronics and computer-related technology. Huntsville is also the home of the second-largest tech and research park, Cummings Research Park, which houses 225 companies and 23,000 employees.
  5. New York -- No surprise here. The Big Apple also ranks well above the national average in terms of the percentage of its job postings that cross multiple tech occupations.
  6. Phoenix -- Microsoft, Oracle, and Intel all have tech presences in Phoenix. In addition, Phoenix is the home of Arizona State University and its esteemed College of Technology and Innovation and Advanced Technology Innovation Center.
  7. San Diego -- It has one of the highest concentrations of high-tech companies in the nation and ranks fourth for tech salary pay.
  8. San Francisco -- Although this seems like a logical inclusion, it's not all because of the tech-savvy population there. San Francisco also boasts an unemployment rate of 9.3 percent, which is below the national average.
  9. Seattle -- Well, duh. Seattle has more than 700 tech industry organizations and companies and is among the most active for start-ups this year.
  10. Washington -- Washington has among the highest number of openings in the nation and ranks in the top five for volume of job openings on Dice.com.

For details on the study, see the article in U.S. News and World Report.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

29 comments
santiagomiris
santiagomiris

Help! New, fresh out of college looking for an entry level opportunity. santiagomiris@aol.com for resume. See everyone at Interop, NY in November. PEACE Iris Santiago

william.shade1
william.shade1

Having lived in Huntsville, AL for 13 years, I can attest to its high-tech focus. The cost of living is one of the best in the country and the weather is typically mild. The only draw back would be it is in the second most active Tornado Alley in the US. It is also home to a large government/defense industry that supports the Aviation & Missile Command and NASA at Redstone Arsenal.

Noogenesis
Noogenesis

I'm surprised to see Dallas didn't make the list; fastest-growing city (according to several surveys) of 2008 (and likely 2009), also with a high concentration of tech companies, AND the real estate market is stable. Coupled with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation, it should've made the list.

Kam Guerra
Kam Guerra

And being in Washington DC I can vouch that you can find a job, but the pay is rarely over $65K for a Sr software engineer. IT Architects get $90K if they're lucky. And good luck finding anything paying over $110K for managers.

jck
jck

Well, Toni. I see 7 cities I wouldn't live in without a 7-figure contract :^0 Really, I'd only think of going to Phoenix, San Diego, and San Francisco to live. I'm glad to see the metro I might possibly move to isn't on there. :)

Juanita Marquez
Juanita Marquez

I wonder how these cities stack up when you weight the results against coffee availability, quantity, etc. Seattle would certainly climb up the list... :)

andrewpitt
andrewpitt

Last month they announced more than 140,000 tech jobs will be in Canada in the next year. All higher level, good jobs. There aren't enough Canadians to fill them, so they are opening the doors to immigrants with tech qualifications, making it easy to work there. The two main cities that have them will be Calgary and Toronto.

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

Cisco, Microsoft and many others have beautiful campuses there. Excellent cost of living. Mild climate and you are a couple of hours from the beach or 4 hours from the mountains. What's not to love?

tazking
tazking

Austin should be on that list. I moved from Philadelphia to South Texas and Austin was jumping with jobs and the cost of living was not bad at all. In the 22 years that I have been in this industry I have worked in New York, Washington, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia. I have had my fill of the big city environment.

christopher.ramey
christopher.ramey

Sorry, but I moved down to Dallas a few years ago and couldn't find a job to save my life! I have over 10 years in I.T. and got nothing down there. Hell, I even tried to get a job at the local grocery store and video rental place just to get to work and nothing. Had to move back to Michigan and got my old job back.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I don't see anywhere that the cost of living won't eat up your check.

tom
tom

LA type sprawl and about 7 months of over 100 daytime and high 80's + nightime! Oh, but it's dry heat. So is an oven!

Der Spiegel
Der Spiegel

The Caffeine index would move Huntsville WAAAAY down the list. I work in Cummings Research Park & I have to bring my coffee from home. The only coffee shop is a Starbucks in the Super Target about 1/2 mile away.

Toni Bowers
Toni Bowers

I was thinking the same thing! but I wonder what came first -- the concentration of techs or the proliferation of coffees shops?

jck
jck

Con: Traffic is horrible in Dallas. Anyone who has ever been at Stemmons and the LBJ between 4 and 6pm would know that. Con: Drinking in the metro is a mixed bag. Being there are multiple counties in and around the Dallas-Fort Worth metro, what you can drink and what time you can get it are up for grabs. Texas has a county-by-county drinking law setup. One county serves full booze. The next, you might only be able to buy beer. Makes life more difficult if you live out around Plano, McKinney, etc. Pro: Dallas has a plethora of nightlife, tourism, outdoor activities, etc. The West End was a big thing when I was always down there, Deep Ellum had all sorts of cool blues bars, etc. Plus, Dallas (The Texas State Fairgrounds/Cotton Bowl) hosts the Texas State Fair every year. Pro: Tech sector there is fairly big. Not HUGE like Silicon Valley, where it sweats stored procedures and microchips. But, there's a lot of tech companies in the metro. Not sure how the jobs are there now. If I were to move to Texas, I'd be getting out of IT.

jck
jck

Some cost far more than others with less in-pocket income. Place i'm looking at: small IT dept manager (staff of less than 15), salary within a few years can move into 6 figures, cost of living 11% less than where I live, housing far cheaper, car insurance cheaper. So, I'm gonna look into doing that. I might as well.

jck
jck

sounds like where i grew up, except where i grew up had humidity too. 108 during the day and 88 at night? Yep. Been there, done that. And never been in Arizona, unless you consider flying over it. lol

dAVErSF
dAVErSF

Smog fills the valley as bad or worse than Los Angeles had back in the 60's and 70's. Don't go there if you want to keep healthy lungs as you might as well be smoking two or three packs of unfiltered ciggys per day! Also don't forget a big chunk of your high hi-tech salary will be dedicated to utility bills to run the air conditioners nearly year-round, and to the two or more cars necessary due to lack of public transportation.

robert.johnson2
robert.johnson2

LOL...This sounds like a techie version of the old "Chicken vs. Egg" scenario.

jck
jck

Thanks for thinking of that... And even with income tax for the state figured in, I'd still starting out making at least $15,000 a year more than I do now...and if by some unimaginable circumstance they started me at the top of the scale, I'd make about $40k a year more. As well with doing a short-sell on the house and getting most (if not all) of the debt forgiven, my rent would be about the same as my mortgage is here and I'd get 150 sq feet more living space. It's a total win for me, so long as this job is a good position, the people are fair and reasonable, we come to some professional agreements before I start there, and the most important part: they extend me an offer of employment. BTW, I have a buddy I worked with at an old job who works now up in SC. I am gonna email him if I get the job and see if he and I can get a beer sometime. (No, the job isn't in SC...close though lol)

jck
jck

well, the place i grew up was not desert. i grew up in a green, forested area of the south central US. of course, you could go 150-200 mi W in the summers in west Texas and get the same thing you're talking about. 115-121 during the day and 90(if it rained/had a tornado)-102 at night. And well, I've thought about moving back home. But, that all depends on what the future holds for me in the female "better half" department lol

puppybreath
puppybreath

The year I moved from Phoenix the high hit 122. They actually shut down the airport for a while until it cooled off. And during the hottest part of summer it NEVER goes under 100 even in the middle of the night. It's a great place to be from. :-)

gypkap
gypkap

But Java Joe's and Satellite/Flying Star serve better coffee and food. In general, if you avoid the coffee chains, the quality of coffee and food is much better.

tazking
tazking

It is funny that if you have a concentration of IT people you will have a Coffee joint like StarBucks. With how much time we put in and the hours we keep you need that jolt of caffeine to keep going. Atleast that is what our excuses are here.

gypkap
gypkap

has spread to most of the US, though drive up espresso stands on every corner or in filing stations seems to be a Pacific Northwest kind of thing. Not quite that many coffee stands in Albuquerque (where I live), for instance, though there are many places that sell coffee/espresso in coffee shops like Java Joe's or Satellite.

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