Tech jobs may pay well, but the metro areas where these jobs are often found are notoriously pricey. So is it worth it to take the high salary along with the high cost of living?
The short answer is yes, according to recent research from job site Indeed. "Even after adjusting for the local cost of living, tech salaries in Silicon Valley and San Francisco are some of the highest in the country among large metros, alongside Austin and Seattle," Jed Kolko, chief economist at the Indeed Hiring Lab, wrote in a blog post explaining the research.
However, these tech hubs do not offer the best deal overall for tech professionals. In fact, it's two southern metros—Charlotte and Atlanta—that offer the highest tech salaries when adjusted for living costs, Indeed found.
Indeed calculated the average salary for all tech jobs using annual salary information posted on the site between August 2016 and July 2017 in 25 metro areas, including the largest markets and major tech hubs. Those figures were then adjusted for each metro's cost of living.
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While the actual posted tech salaries aren't particularly high, the living costs in those areas fall below the national average and are far lower than typical tech hubs. "That pushes what might seem like ho-hum paychecks to the top in adjusted tech salaries," Kolko wrote.
Following Charlotte and Atlanta, four leading tech hubs—Austin, San Francisco, Seattle, and San Jose—follow in a close race for adjusted tech salaries. "That means that the premiums in those eye-popping San Francisco and Silicon Valley paychecks get entirely wiped out relative to Austin and Seattle when the Bay Area's high living costs are factored in," Kolko wrote.
Here are the 10 metro areas where your tech salary will go the furthest.
1. Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC
Average salary, adjusted for cost of living: $108,178
Average salary, unadjusted: $101,147
2. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA
Average salary, adjusted for cost of living: $104,454
Average salary, unadjusted: $100,380
3. Austin-Round Rock, TX
Average salary, adjusted for cost of living: $103,914
Average salary, unadjusted: $103,394
4. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA
Average salary, adjusted for cost of living: $102,734
Average salary, unadjusted: $125,233
5. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
Average salary, adjusted for cost of living: $102,730
Average salary, unadjusted: $112,387
6. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
Average salary, adjusted for cost of living: $102,286
Average salary, unadjusted: $126,937
7. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
Average salary, adjusted for cost of living: $101,649
Average salary, unadjusted: $101,649
8. Raleigh, NC
Average salary, adjusted for cost of living: $100,748
Average salary, unadjusted: $96,516
9. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
Average salary, adjusted for cost of living: $100,713
Average salary, unadjusted: $97,289
10. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ
Average salary, adjusted for cost of living: $99,910
Average salary, unadjusted: $97,113
These findings echo a recent CompTIA report that found that the fastest-growing states for tech employment in 2016 were Utah, North Carolina, Michigan, Washington, and Montana. The bottom line? No matter where a skilled tech professional works, they are likely to find high salaries and many open jobs across a variety of industries.
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Alison DeNisco Rayome has nothing to disclose. She does not hold investments in the technology companies she covers.
Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.