Jobs

Best cities for tech jobs

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

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

Best cities for tech jobs

Computer and information technology jobs report high wages and strong projected growth. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the tech sector will add 667,600 new jobs from 2020-2030. 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 census data from 2019, economic data from 2020, and cost of living data from 2021 to give a complete picture of the tech job market in these ten cities. 

  1. Austin, TX

The Lone Star State’s capital ranks as one of the best cities for tech jobs. Austin boasts nearly 173,000 tech employees, with strengths in custom software services, tech manufacturing, and telecommunications. Austin reports a median tech wage of $89,000, or 86% higher than the median metro wage, making tech a lucrative career path in this city.

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

2. Charlotte, NC

Known as a hub for business and finance, Charlotte also boasts a growing tech sector. The city reports nearly 100,000 tech jobs — and almost 76,000 tech job listings. Charlotte’s top industries include IT services, telecommunications, and testing. The median tech wage of $87,600 is 94% higher than the city’s median wage.

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

3. Seattle, WA

Home to tech giants like Amazon and Microsoft, tech makes up 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 city’s top sectors include software, IT services, and telecommunications. The average tech wage, which hit $117,000 in 2021, is 92% higher than the city’s median wage. 

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

4. Denver, CO

With sun, mountains, and snow, Denver ranks as one of the fastest-growing cities. It’s also one of the best cities for tech jobs. The Mile High City boasts over 191,000 tech jobs, including strengths in software development, telecommunications, and research and development. Tech professionals report a median wage of over $96,000 in Denver, or 79% higher than the city’s overall median wage.

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

5. Dallas, TX

Once known for its oil industry, today Dallas is a growing hub for the tech industry. The city’s 373,000 tech employees work in top sectors like IT services, software services, and telecommunications. Dallas reports a median tech wage of $88,800, 89% higher than the city’s overall median wage. 

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

6. San Jose, CA

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 tech manufacturing, IT services, and custom software services rank among the most common. And tech professionals report a median wage of $128,500 — the highest of any city on our list.

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

7. Phoenix, AZ

The Sun Belt offers a number of opportunities for tech professionals. With over 195,000 tech jobs — and another 93,000 job postings — 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 benefit from salaries that exceed the median metro wage by 85%. 

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

8. Washington, DC

Home to the federal government, Washington DC also has a thriving tech sector. The nation’s capital employs a high number of tech professionals — over 450,000 as of 2021. The top industries include IT services, research and development, and telecommunications. And with median tech wages reaching nearly $110,000, DC offers high wages with a lower cost of living than San Francisco. 

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

9. Chicago, IL

The Windy City might be best known for its deep dish and architecture, but it’s also a tech hub. Chicago has nearly 340,000 tech employees and a stunning 130,000 tech job postings. The city’s major sectors include custom software services, testing, and telecommunications. Chicago’s tech professionals report a median wage that’s 76% higher than the city’s median salary.

  • Population: 2,746,400
  • Median age: 35.2
  • Median IT salary: $87,100
  • Cost of living vs. San Francisco: -31.6%
  • Percentage of local workforce in tech: 7.3%
  • Percentage of women in 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 — making up over 23% of the workforce — the tech sector boasts a major presence in Huntsville. The city reports a high number of jobs in research and development, IT services, and tech manufacturing. And the median tech salary of over $96,000 is 91% higher than the city’s median wage.

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

Building a tech career in a new city

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

  • Research the tech community: Learn more about the local tech community by researching companies, tracking job applications, and joining tech groups. 
  • Network locally: 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 freelancing: You can add to your portfolio while making local connections by taking freelance and contract work. Some roles may even turn into a full-time job offer.

Remote work

What about remote work? Tech professionals no longer have to live in Silicon Valley or another tech hub to pursue information technology careers. The COVID-19 pandemic increased the number of remote work opportunities in tech. That trend will likely continue, with many of the major tech companies allowing more remote positions

The possibility of remote work opens many new possibilities for tech professionals. Cities like Houston and Columbus offer remote working opportunities, as can smaller or more rural areas.

Conclusion

The tech field offers high salaries and strong demand. And the number of cities that rank high for tech jobs continues to grow. Whether you’re considering relocating or searching for remote opportunities, knowing the tech landscape helps your job search.