Finding your dream tech job isn’t just about luck—it’s also about factors totally within your control. There are so many things you can do to set yourself up for success.
Learning the skills, creating a resume and portfolio that wows, and honing your interview skills are all crucial pieces of the puzzle.
But when you’re on the job hunt, one of the other success-defining factors is as simple (yet difficult) as looking in the right place.
The prospect of picking up and taking your life to a new city might be intimidating. But if you find that right job, moving to one of the best tech cities can also be life-changing—the choice you look back on in the future as a defining decision of your career.
In this guest post, Artur Meyster from Career Karma shows us the numbers on 12 of the best cities for tech jobs and what makes them the top cities for tech workers seeking good salaries, high job growth, and educational opportunities. (Could one of them be your future home!?)
Take it away, Artur!
Disclosure: I’m a proud affiliate for some of the resources mentioned in this article. If you buy a product through my links on this page, I may get a small commission for referring you. Thanks!
The tech industry is alluring—there’s no doubt about it. A career in technology promises high wages, opportunities to innovate, and a chance to make a real impact on the world. When starting a tech career, your success in the industry largely depends on your work ethic and skills. But there’s another factor that greatly influences your ability to launch a new career: location.
Choosing the right city can make a huge difference in your career prospects. Today, the tech industry spans across the United States, and each region has its own technology hub.
What Are the Best Cities for Tech Jobs?
Whether you’re new to the industry or a seasoned professional, here are the 12 best cities for tech jobs in 2020 in the United States, along with advice on where to learn the in-demand skills you need to break into the best jobs in tech.
Table of Contents
- Best Tech City #1: Atlanta
- Best Tech City #2: Austin
- Best Tech City #3: San Francisco
- Best Tech City #4: New York City
- Best Tech City #5: San Diego
- Best Tech City #6: Boston
- Best Tech City #7: Portland
- Best Tech City #8: Seattle
- Best Tech City #9: Los Angeles
- Best Tech City #10: Chicago
- Best Tech City #11: Denver
- Best Tech City #12: Dallas
- Honorable Mentions: 6 Emerging Tech Cities
- Options for Learning Tech Skills Online (from Anywhere!)
Best Tech City #1: Atlanta
Atlanta is a bustling tech hub and perhaps the most promising city for programmers in the region. This Georgia city is home to dozens of high-tech startups, along with many large employers. Even better? Atlanta’s competitive wages and lower cost of living make it an excellent place to start a tech career.
The Atlanta Tech Scene
Technology is already a vital part of Atlanta’s economy. More than 100,000 tech jobs were posted in 2018 alone, and the industry continues to enjoy a steady 3.2% annual growth rate. Atlanta is home to major companies such as Airbus, Microsoft, and Waystar, along with numerous startups. Many are centered in the Atlanta Tech Village, where burgeoning small companies share space and collaborate.
Tech workers in Atlanta make a median salary of $91,209 per year, which is 28.5% higher than the median wage in the city.
Start coding now
Stop waiting and start learning! Get my 10 tips on teaching yourself how to code.
Where to Learn to Code in Atlanta
Several popular national bootcamps such as Flatiron School and General Assembly have campuses in Atlanta. Local Atlanta bootcamps, such as Big Nerd Ranch and Tech Talent South, are also popular.
Atlanta is also home to many of the region’s best colleges, including Georgia State, Georgia Tech, and Emory. Georgia Tech hosts its own coding bootcamp that offers full stack development, data science, cybersecurity, and UX/UI design courses.
Best Tech City #2: Austin
Austin is a major destination for tech companies and one of the region’s fastest-growing startup economies. Austin is the technological hub of Texas, boasting high wages and low unemployment. Austin’s growing tech sector and diverse economy make it an ideal place to start new information technology jobs.
The Austin Tech Scene
Austin’s tech scene is booming. Experts predict that the city’s tech economy will grow 16% in the next five years. Currently, 161,000 tech workers hold 15.8% of all jobs in Austin. Also, the tech industry created 27% of all new jobs in Austin in 2018. Over 6,500 tech companies operate in Austin, including Amazon, Apple, Adobe, Oracle, and eBay. Austin earned the nickname of ‘Silicon Hills’ thanks to the high concentration of high-tech industry in the area.
Tech workers in Austin earn an average of $125,000 per year. According to Hired.com, tech salaries in Austin have grown more than 15% since 2016, outranking many other cities.
Where to Learn to Code in Austin
Millennials make up more than 20% of Austin’s population. As a result, Austin has education opportunities, including colleges and coding bootcamps. The most popular bootcamps in Austin are NuCamp, General Assembly, Hack Reactor, Flatiron School, Galvanize, and Data Science Dojo.
Non-coding bootcamps, such as the Product School, teach students how to become product managers, digital marketing professionals, and tech salespeople.
Austin also hosts several colleges including UT Austin, St. Edwards, and Concordia. UT Austin also offers a coding bootcamp with courses in full stack development, UX/UI design, data science, cybersecurity, and digital marketing.
Best Tech City #3: San Francisco
San Francisco is the heart of the global tech industry. Tech workers in this Bay Area metropolis earn the highest salaries in the country at the biggest tech companies in the world. San Francisco has a history of innovation and prosperity which continues to this day. Openings abound at both established giants and startups in Silicon Valley, making it one of the best cities for technology jobs.
The San Francisco Tech Scene
San Francisco offers high salaries and plentiful opportunities. Many major tech companies, including Google, Pinterest, and Adobe, operate in the city. Tech workers there earn an average of $145,000 per year. Over the last two years, San Francisco’s tech job market grew an impressive 24.7%.
Where to Learn to Code in San Francisco
San Francisco is the tech capital of the world, so it makes sense that numerous career development opportunities are available. Coding bootcamps such as General Assembly, Hack Reactor, and Flatiron School are popular. There are also over a dozen coding bootcamps in San Francisco that are unique to the area.
Accredited bootcamps, such as Metis, allow students to earn college credit while learning to code. Non-coding bootcamps, such as Tradecraft, help students train for a career in sales, business, product design, marketing, and more.
Colleges and universities in the San Francisco area also offer career training programs. UC Berkeley offers bootcamp courses in full stack development, data analytics, UX/UI design, cybersecurity, and digital marketing.
Best Tech City #4: New York City
New York City has a booming tech industry. This city of 8.6 million people offers high salaries and a diverse economy. Tech companies in New York generate billions of dollars annually and continue to create opportunities in all five boroughs. NYC’s rich culture and economic opportunity make it another of the best cities for tech jobs.
New York Tech Scene
New York’s diverse economy creates unique opportunities for tech workers. Nearly 300,000 NYC residents work in tech across many industries. Technology professionals earn 49% more than the average NYC resident. Plus, 44% of tech jobs in New York City don’t require a college degree.
Learn to Code in New York
There are many excellent colleges and coding bootcamps in New York. The city hosts the primary location of Flatiron School, which now has campuses across the country. Additionally, major bootcamps such as Hack Reactor, General Assembly, and App Academy have developed a strong presence in the city.
New York also hosts non-coding bootcamps and colleges, including Columbia University. In fact, Columbia University’s coding bootcamp has courses in full stack development, FinTech (financial technology), digital marketing, data analytics, and cybersecurity.
Best Tech City #5: San Diego
San Diego isn’t Silicon Valley, but this Southern California city has enormous potential for tech workers. The city offers great job opportunities, as well as gorgeous views. Tech salaries in San Diego are high, and plenty of education options are available. A thriving tech industry and good quality of life make San Diego a top contender for tech job seekers.
San Diego Tech Scene
Tech industry growth in San Diego is explosive. San Diego tech industry growth has outpaced nearly all other locations, expanding almost 20% since 2017. Currently, the tech industry employs close to 35,000 residents, 6,000 of which hold jobs created in the last two years. The average salary for San Diego tech workers is about $166,000 per year.
Learn to Code in San Diego
Southern California is an educational hub and home to dozens of universities, career training programs, and coding bootcamps. San Diego’s most popular bootcamps include General Assembly and NuCamp, along with local programs such as LearningFuze, San Diego Code School, Learn Academy, and SoftStack Factory.
UC San Diego offers a coding bootcamp through its extension school. UCSD Extension bootcamp courses include software engineering, data science, and cybersecurity. Courses are available on full-time and part-time schedules.
Best Tech City #6: Boston
Boston is one of America’s oldest cities, yet its economy is far from dated. Boston’s tech industry is growing, and local tech job opportunities are plentiful. The city is a regional startup magnet, attracting new businesses and entrepreneurs from all over the country. Boston is the tech center of New England, making it an ideal location to start a tech career.
Boston Tech Scene
Boston’s tech ecosystem is thriving. State analysts predict the local tech industry will grow over 26% by 2024, exceeding most other U.S. cities. Boston is a major hub for full stack development, 3D printing technology, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. Last year, the city attracted investments exceeding $5 billion—further stimulating tech growth in the city.
Learn to Code in Boston
Boston is home to several famous universities and coding bootcamps. Residents can attend bootcamps such as General Assembly and Coding Temple, or opt for Boston-specific bootcamps like the Data Incubator and First Step Coding.
Non-coding bootcamps are popular in Boston. The Product School and SV Academy train locals for high-paying career fields like product management and tech sales.
Harvard, which also offers a coding bootcamp, is one of the most famous universities in the Boston metro area. Harvard Extension’s bootcamp offers courses in full stack web development.
Best Tech City #7: Portland
Portland is a regional tech hub with excellent job prospects and education opportunities. Quality of life in the city is superb, and the economy is strong. Startups and tech workers flock to the region, creating jobs and expanding the local tech scene. Thanks to plentiful opportunity and growth, Portland is one of the best cities for IT jobs.
Portland Tech Scene
The Pacific Northwest city of Portland offers plenty of opportunities for tech workers. Portland’s startup scene is thriving, and the city is rife with incubators and coworking spaces. The average salary for tech workers in Portland is $100,000 and the local industry added over 15,000 jobs in the last five years.
Learn to Code in Portland
Portland hosts several major coding bootcamps including Epicodus, NuCamp, and the Tech Academy. Students can also attend well-established Portland coding bootcamps such as PDX Code Guild and Alchemy Code Lab.
The University of Oregon’s Portland campus also offers a coding bootcamp. Full-time and part-time courses are available, covering web development, data science, and cybersecurity.
Best Tech City #8: Seattle
Seattle is the largest tech hub in the Pacific Northwest and home to some of the biggest companies in the world. Today, tech drives Seattle’s economy—nearly half of all office jobs in the city are technology related. With such a strong tech sector, it’s no surprise that Seattle is a top destination for aspiring tech workers.
Seattle Tech Scene
Seattle’s tech scene makes it one of the top cities for tech workers, with a growth rate of nearly 28% in 2018. Over 165,000 residents work in the local tech industry, earning an average salary of $130,915. Tech is so pervasive in Seattle that the industry occupies 42% of all office space in the city.
Learn to Code in Seattle
Seattle’s booming industry attracted many coding bootcamps and career education programs. Major Seattle bootcamps include Flatiron School, Hack Reactor, General Assembly, Data Science Dojo, and Galvanize. Numerous local bootcamps also operate in the city.
Non-coding bootcamps are also popular in Seattle. Programs like the Product School offer training for product management, digital marketing, tech sales, and similar careers.
The University of Washington offers several coding bootcamps on its Seattle campus. The primary course at UW’s bootcamp covers full stack web development.
Best Tech City #9: Los Angeles
Los Angeles has more than beaches and Hollywood. Southern California has a lower cost of living than Silicon Valley in many places, yet the local tech industry continues to thrive. The LA tech scene is massive, and developers enjoy a strong job market in the city. For new coders seeking the best cities for tech jobs, Los Angeles has a lot to offer.
Los Angeles Tech Scene
Los Angeles is the technology center of Southern California. Over 500,000 Los Angeles residents work in the tech industry, and the city added 7,600 new jobs in 2018 alone. LA ranks #2 in net tech employment in the United States, and the industry is responsible for about 10% of the local economy. Experts predict that the tech industry in Los Angeles will enjoy steady growth for years to come. Developers in the LA area earn an average of $128,000 annually.
Learn to Code in Los Angeles
Los Angeles is home to many coding bootcamps and universities. Popular Los Angeles coding bootcamps include Hack Reactor, General Assembly, Galvanize, and Coding Dojo, along with numerous local and regional bootcamps.
Los Angeles residents have access to several non-coding programs as well, including the Product School and GreyCampus. These programs train students for jobs in product management, digital marketing, tech sales, and other tech-related fields.
Best Tech City #10: Chicago
Chicago is the technological center of the Midwest. The city offers some of the best IT jobs and highest salaries in the region, along with reasonable cost of living and job stability. Chicago is ideal for many tech workers looking to start a new career, especially if they live in the region.
Chicago Tech Scene
Tech isn’t the primary industry in Chicago, but it’s well-cemented into the economy. Recently, large companies like Amazon and Uber settled in the city, bringing a great number of new jobs to the area. The industry grew 6.7% between 2017 and 2018 and continued to grow throughout 2019. Tech workers in Chicago earn an average of $113,000 per year.
Learn to Code in Chicago
Chicago coding bootcamps grow increasingly popular as locals flock to the tech industry. General Assembly, NuCamp, and the Flatiron School opened campuses in the city, along with more than a dozen local and regional bootcamps. The Grace Hopper Program, an all-female coding bootcamp designed by Fullstack Academy, also operates in Chicago.
Non-coding bootcamps, such as the Product School and Grey Campus, are popular among business professionals and job seekers looking for a less technical route into the industry.
Best Tech City #11: Denver
Denver, despite its somewhat remote location, is a very modern city that’s home to a rapidly expanding tech industry. Technology on the Colorado Front Range is a major employer, both in Denver and the adjacent towns. Denver is an excellent choice for those looking for stunning natural surroundings and a prosperous local economy.
Denver Tech Scene
Denver’s tech scene is growing and adding many new jobs to the area. Major tech companies like Amazon, Facebook, HomeAdvisor, and T-Mobile recently established offices in the city, creating opportunities in the area. Plus, Denver saw a 74% increase in startup creation since 2017. Developers make an average salary of $117,000 in the city.
Learn to Code in Denver
Denver’s coding bootcamp and career education scene is also growing. General Assembly, Flatiron School, NuCamp, Galvanize, and Hack Reactor all have campuses in Denver. Several local bootcamps, such as Skill Distillery and Turing School, also help students learn to code.
Non-coding and university bootcamps are also available to Denver residents. The Product School offers product management training, and the University of Denver offers several coding courses through its bootcamp. U of D courses include web development, UX/UI design, data science, and cybersecurity.
Best Tech City #12: Dallas
The enormous Dallas/Fort Worth metro area is a bustling tech hub with ever-expanding opportunities for professionals. Compared with some of the other best US cities for tech jobs, Dallas wins on affordability and growth. Salaries in Dallas are impressive, especially considering that Texas doesn’t have a state income tax. Its booming tech industry makes Dallas a popular destination to start a career in tech.
Dallas Tech Scene
Tech in Texas is thriving, especially in Dallas. Businesses flock to the area and contribute to a rapid population surge. In fact, Dallas ranks #11 in the nation for startup creation, contributing to a 15.6% population growth rate over the last several years. In 2019 alone, Dallas added over 120,000 new jobs to the economy, thanks (in part) to the tech industry, according to the BLS.
Learn to Code in Dallas
Coding bootcamps in Dallas are becoming more common, especially over the last few years. General Assembly, NuCamp, and Coding Dojo are the most well-known programs, though numerous local bootcamps dominate education in the area.
Regional programs such as Tech Talent South are also popular, along with non-coding bootcamps like the Product School and GreyCampus.
Southern Methodist University offers full-time and part-time coding bootcamps on its campus. Available programs include web development, data analytics, and FinTech (financial technology). Like most university bootcamps, adults can enroll and attend SMU’s bootcamp regardless of their college admission status.
Honorable Mentions: 6 Emerging Tech Cities
Tech is far-reaching and present in virtually all major North American metropolitan areas. And while these cities didn’t quite make the list of best cities for tech jobs, they’re still poised for major tech growth in the coming years. The following up-and-coming tech cities are our honorable mentions.
#1 Emerging Tech City: Baltimore
Baltimore is a major economic driver of Maryland’s tech economy. In 2019, the city’s tech industry contributed over $21 billion to the region. In all, Maryland has 289,000 technology workers—many of which reside in Baltimore. Given that the tech industry already takes up 11% of the entire state economy, Baltimore is a regional tech hub to consider. Thanks to several local Baltimore coding bootcamps, residents can start a career in the city faster than ever.
#2 Emerging Tech City: Detroit
Detroit, once the industrial capital of the west, is on its way to a new technological revolution. Tech is moving into the city and bringing new opportunities with it. Over the last several years, technology jobs in Detroit exceeded 180,000—a result of steady, consistent growth. The 2020s promise to bring more jobs and coding bootcamps to Detroit, which will transform the economy. Developers in Detroit earn an average of $94,000 per year.
#3 Emerging Tech City: Houston
Houston has a diverse economy and a rapidly expanding tech industry, and tech companies continue to flood the region. Programmers also find opportunities in Houston’s other major industries such as energy and health. The average tech worker earns $92,000 per year. There are also plenty of excellent Houston coding bootcamps, which help local residents train for tech jobs.
#4 Emerging Tech City: Miami
Miami is a warm and beautiful coastal city with a thriving tech ecosystem. The city offers a low cost of living and a business-friendly environment, which naturally breeds innovation. Experts predict that Miami’s tech sector will grow nearly 10% by 2023, adding many jobs to the area. And while some tech workers in the city have college degrees, many attended Miami coding bootcamps. Tech workers in Miami earn an average salary of $91,300 per year.
#5 Emerging Tech City: Philadelphia
Philadelphia is Pennsylvania’s largest tech hub, and numerous opportunities are available to local workers. Telecom companies like Comcast are a major driver of local job growth in this former industrial powerhouse. The city itself added 8,000 new tech jobs since 2013, amounting to a noticeable expansion. Average tech worker salaries in Philadelphia are around $80,000 per year. Aspiring tech workers will find a clear path into the industry with one of the many excellent Philadelphia coding bootcamps.
#6 Emerging Tech City: Phoenix
Phoenix is a thriving desert metropolis with plenty of education and job opportunities for tech workers. Phoenix is the primary tech hub of Arizona, with an impressive salary growth rate of 5.1%. Plus, tech workers in the area earn an average of $80,000 and Phoenix has a low cost-of-living ratio. And coding bootcamps in Phoenix are among the best ways to break into the industry.
Where Will You Break Into Tech in 2020?
The future for tech looks bright, and 2020 holds a lot of promise for the industry. The cities we mentioned aren’t the only places to break into tech this year–but they do represent the opportunities that await new tech professionals.
If you’re looking to start a lucrative and fulfilling career in 2020, consider relocating to one of these top tech cities. Whether you choose to attend one of their top coding bootcamps or study on your own, once you’ve established the right skills, the best cities for tech jobs will be waiting for you.
Thanks Artur for sharing all this information!
But…. are you not ready to relocate just yet? Totally understandable—it’s a huge step! Before you start calling moving companies, you can teach yourself lucrative tech skills right where you are now.
Start coding now
Stop waiting and start learning! Get my 10 tips on teaching yourself how to code.
Options for Learning Tech Skills Online (from Anywhere!)
To get you started, here are three of my favorite resources for career-focused online learning:
- Launch School: Rigorous program designed specifically to help students launch a career in software development. Listen to founder Chris Lee talk about learning strategy on the LTCWM Podcast!
- Team Treehouse: They offer Techdegree programs to teach valuable skills like front-end development and UX design within 3-4 months.
- Coursera: Coursera offers a number of great tech specializations comprised of online courses from acclaimed universities around the world. Learn web development, data science, web design, and more.
- Codecademy: From building websites to analyzing data, Codecademy has a range of courses for all experience levels. Apply your skills with real-life projects and test your knowledge with tailor-made quizzes.
Find more platform and course recommendations on the Learn to Code With Me Tools page!
About the Author
Artur Meyster is the CTO of Career Karma (YC W19), an online marketplace that matches career switchers with coding bootcamps. He is also the host of the Breaking Into Startups podcast, which features people with non-traditional backgrounds who broke into tech.