The 8 best cities for tech jobs
They may not be what you think
People want to work in tech, and it’s clear why. Tech salaries tend to be about $60,000 more per year than the national average wage, according to a 2018 report from CompTIA, a leading tech trade organization. Tech companies have also built a reputation for offering Cadillac-level benefits, outrageous perks, work-from-home flexibility and the promise of stock options with 10x returns.
While geography once posed a major barrier to entry for even highly skilled tech-job seekers, these types of jobs are now offered in nearly every state and in cities you might not expect.
To calculate the best tech-job cities, we started with the ratio of available jobs to job seekers in the tech industry by metropolitan area. Then we factored in other big data and government stats to account for cost of living, transit, walkability, commute time and even a health grade.
We linked up with Payscale.com to get a real-time report on the median tech salary in each of the metros we found, as the final factor in building our list.
As of July, here are the top tech-job cities in the United States:
1. Minneapolis-St. Paul
Median tech salary: $72,800
Median home price: $257,700
The Twin Cities ranks 12th in the nation for tech workforce participation, according to the latest CompTIA data, with nearly 10 percent of the all workers in the area employed in the tech industry. Minneapolis-St. Paul is also an incredibly livable metro, ranking at or above the 80th percentile in our index for health, affordability and transit.
2. Washington, D.C.
Median salary: $85,400
Median home price: $566,000
While big cities typically rank low on opportunity due to greater competition and overall affordability, D.C. bucks both of those trends. The median household income of over $96,000 helps soften the blow of the high cost of living, and with nearly one tech job available for every job seeker, D.C. also boasts the highest degree of opportunity of all the towns on our list.
3. Albany, New York
Median salary: $65,700
Median home price: $181,300
The epicenter of Upstate New York’s “Tech Valley,” Albany is a burgeoning tech hub fed by incubators at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the State University of New York’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering. According to a ZipRecruiter study last year, Albany was ranked the fourth fastest-growing tech town in the U.S., with 161 percent year-over-year growth in tech jobs.
4. Omaha, Nebraska
Median salary: $67,700
Median home price: $164,000
Dubbed the “Silicon Prairie,” Omaha’s well-established banking and finance industry is leading the charge in fintech innovation. It’s no wonder, considering that Omaha is home to both Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and the First National Bank of Omaha — the largest privately-held bank in the U.S. with over $17 billion in assets.
5. Des Moines, Iowa
Median salary: $67,500
Median home price: $132,200
Iowa’s tech ecosystem began to form several years ago, when Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Apple established massive data centers in and around Des Moines. At the time, the local government was criticized for incentivizing these developments, since they create short-term construction jobs but few long-term, well-paying tech jobs. But based on our analysis, there’s still no shortage of tech jobs to be had in Des Moines’ thriving startup scene.
Median salary: $67,900
Median home price: $139,400
With nearly $700 million flowing in from investors, 2017 was a record year for the Pittsburgh tech scene. AlphaLab is its leading accelerator, having helped nearly 150 startups off the ground since its founding in 2008. According to our analysis, there’s one tech job for every two applicants on the market.
7. Huntsville, Alabama
Median salary: $68,400
Median home price: $147,600
With over 300 percent year-over-year growth in tech jobs in 2017, we ranked Huntsville the fastest-growing tech town in the U.S. last year. Nicknamed the “Rocket City,” in part because it is home to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville mostly has tech jobs in aerospace and defense.
8. St. Louis
Median salary: $69,600
Median home price: $117,900
Recognizing the need to bring more tech jobs to St. Louis, entrepreneurs and city leadership have created several successful tech incubators and founded Arch Grants, which has given more than $6 million to nearly 120 startups, creating over 1,000 jobs as a result.