Careers in Tech

Top 10 Best Cities for Tech Jobs

people walking in city

Think of tech jobs and you probably immediately think of Silicon Valley. There's a good reason—Silicon Valley is home to the biggest tech companies in the world, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only city that should be on the radar of developers and programmers looking to land a sweet career in tech. 

With the increasing popularity and need for tech jobs, dozens of cities across the United States have blossomed into tech meccas attracting talent from around the world. And while tech workers in 2021 can make almost any place a home office, those looking to settle down in a city that jives well with their lifestyle and career goals have lots of options to choose from.

Here are ten of the best cities for tech jobs in the U.S. and what you can expect to be paid as a developer. 

Atlanta, Georgia

Average Software Developer Salary: $108,453

Over the past five years, Atlanta has gone from a best kept secret in the tech world to what some have called the “Silicon Valley of the South.” Atlanta is a bustling tech hub dominating in the fintech and software space. It’s a hot spot for startups and home to some of the most recognizable tech companies in the world, including Amazon, Microsoft, MailChimp, and Airbnb. 

Even though Atlanta is the ninth largest metro area in the U.S., it has a lower cost of living than many smaller cities, which makes it an especially attractive option for entry level programmers and developers. Combined with competitive wages, a diverse tech scene, and a rich culture, Atlanta is a city to watch.

Austin, Texas

Average Software Developer Salary: $93,875

Anyone who’s anyone in tech has their eyes set on Austin, and the area has seen enormous growth in the tech sector as a result. Tesla is currently building a massive automotive factory there, Oracle is moving its headquarters from Silicon Valley to Austin, and Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google already have a presence in the city. It isn’t just the established tech giants relocating to the Lone Star State capital, either. Small tech companies are also blossoming there.

Texas is dominating the tech sector currently. Last year, the state was dubbed the top state for tech professionals and businesses to do business, and Austin was ranked the number one city for tech professionals.

With a vibrant music and nightlife scene, considerably lower cost of living, and as one of the most LGBTQ inclusive cities in the U.S., Austin has become a magnet for young professionals. It’s one of the country’s fastest-growing major metros and it’s anticipated that it will continue to offer great opportunities for workers in tech. 

Boston, Massachusetts

Average Salary for Software Developers: $84,242

Age is just a number when it comes to the oldest city on our list, because Boston’s tech scene is keeping up with the best. Home to over 100 colleges and universities as well as dozens of internationally renowned science and tech businesses, Boston is a global city with plenty to offer, particularly for startups. In March 2020 alone, 60 startups in Boston saw investments of more than $1.5 billion. 

One of Boston’s biggest boons is that it’s home to exceptional talent, with one of the most educated and diverse workforces in the country. Its small town feel and rich history makes it a great alternative to big, crowded tech cities elsewhere. 

Chicago, Illinois

Average Salary for Software Developers: $83,123

Chicago hasn’t seen the same explosive growth as places like Austin, but it is one of the largest IT employers in the United States (8th behind New York City and San Francisco), and it continues to see steady growth in the tech sector.

Known for its architecture, pizza, and baseball, Chicago is an eclectic city that offers a more affordable cost of living than its East and West Coast counterparts, as well as job stability. While tech isn’t the primary industry in Chicago, the city is diversified and has adapted to tech growth in such a way that there are plenty of tech positions and opportunities across all sectors.

Dallas, Texas

Average Salary for Software Developers: $97,158

Tech workers across the country are migrating to the Dallas-Fort Worth tech area. So many are going there, in fact, that it’s the third fastest growing tech scene in the country.

Between 2019 and 2020, Dallas added just under 4,500 tech jobs, according to tech trade group CompTIA, and it’s anticipated to double that number in 2021. In 2015, Forbes dubbed Dallas one of five cities poised to become the next Silicon Valley (Chicago, Austin, and Seattle were also on that list). Dallas was also ranked the second best city for tech professionals in 2020, landing right under Austin.

Denver, Colorado

Average Salary for Software Developers: $78,642

Denver consistently ranks high on the list of best places to live, and it’s also a great place to be when it comes to a balanced work-life tech career with a heavy dash of Mother Nature.

While Denver is still more in the up-and-coming stages of its rise to tech hubdom, it has plenty to offer programmers and developers. Denver ranks high on sustainable growth, and similar to other cities on this list, it has a more affordable cost of living than East or West Coast Tech cities.

Denver not only boasts colorful city life, but it’s also a great spot for outdoors enthusiasts. Its picturesque landscape, world famous craft beer scene, and amazing selection of restaurants make it an especially great spot for young tech workers looking for a blend of tech and trail.

Portland, Oregon

Average Salary for Software Developers: $87,929

Portland, home of the “Silicon Forest,” is a non-traditional tech hub with a flourishing startup scene. That’s not to say this quirky Oregon city is a stranger to Big Tech—Portland is home to Intel, XP, and Xerox and has also seen a bigger Amazon and Apple presence in recent years. 

Portland is a very popular city for young professionals in tech as well as telecommuters, and its tech scene continues to grow at an accelerated pace. Like Denver, Portland’s access to outdoor adventures and sustainability attract a steady stream of newcomers. 

Raleigh, North Carolina

Average Salary for Software Developers: $107,071

Raleigh, like Austin, has seen exciting growth in the tech sector in recent years. With a diverse and highly educated population, a thriving culture for entrepreneurship, business resources, and tax incentives, Raleigh is considered a jackpot for both talent and growth.

Currently, Raleigh has less competition than other cities, which makes it an ideal place for job seekers looking for a career in tech. That may change in the near future. Raleigh is home to the largest research park in the United States, showing it’s a city committed to innovation. Both Apple and Google have announced new hubs in Raleigh, and some predict Raleigh will be the East Coast’s second biggest tech hub by 2025. 

San Francisco, California

Average Salary for Software Developers: $105,524

Even though San Francisco has seen its tech domination shaken in the past few years as young tech professionals migrate to areas with a lower cost of living, it’s still an influential player in the sector. San Francisco has the largest concentration of tech companies in the United States and Silicon Valley remains a top innovation hub.  

Seattle, Washington

Average Salary for Software Developers: $118,406

Seattle, much like San Francisco, is old money when it comes to tech. Seattle is the biggest tech city in the Pacific Northwest, and though it has fewer companies than hubs like San Francisco, it continues to be a growing tech scene, albeit a nuanced one.

Seattle is home to some of the big players in the tech world, including Microsoft, Amazon, and Boeing. Its startup scene is also on the rise.

Salary stats taken from