With major universities pumping new STEM graduates into its hiring pipeline, and a host of incubators dedicated to creating the next great generation of startups, it’s no surprise that Illinois ranks high among the fastest-growing states for technology jobs. Chicago is riddled with investors, collaborative workspaces, and research centers that new tech firms need to thrive; many older tech companies have called the city home for quite some time.
Illinois also boasts another, often overlooked advantage when it comes to attracting tech firms (and tech pros): lots of non-tech enterprises call the state home. In turn, that creates a significant market (and an equally large test-bed) for B2B software created by area tech firms. There are definitely harder places to start a technology concern that targets businesses as customers.
Despite some fears of another economic bubble in the making, California’s Silicon Valley continues to draw substantial investment—and tech professionals. Tech giants such as Apple and Google are in an expansionary phase, adding hundreds of new people and opening shiny new offices. Area startups continue drawing venture funding, although much more money is spilling towards those that have proven revenue models and business plans.
But the Bay Area isn’t the sole locus of California’s tech growth: Los Angeles, home to Snapchat and other prominent tech firms, has developed into a hub that can more than hold its own. While the average tech salary in Silicon Valley hit $118,243 last year, Los Angeles wasn’t far behind, with an average of $105,091.
Over the past several years, Massachusetts tech firms have generated tens of thousands of jobs, leading to job growth that has outpaced the general market. According to COmpTIA’s 2015 Cyberstates report, one in 10 Massachusetts workers is employed in a technology field such as software or telecommunications. Or as the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council framed things last year: there are 17 open tech jobs for every qualified recent graduate.
Large firms such as EMC call Boston home, and Cambridge houses substantial research-and-development groups. Earlier this year, Boston came in just behind Los Angeles on Dice’s list of cities with the fastest tech-salary growth, with a year-over-year increase of 6.6 percent and an average salary of $103,675.
Atlanta has fought hard over the past few years to make a name for itself as an up-and-coming tech hub. According to NPR, venture capitalists are showering local startups with more attention (and cash), and emerging tech firms have a reputation for focusing on business fundamentals and balance sheets. Like many big cities, Atlanta comes with several built-in advantages when it comes to fostering a homegrown technology industry: easy access to universities and research hubs, infrastructure that can support businesses and employees’ families, and a somewhat-lower cost of living.
Eastern Maryland’s proximity to Washington D.C. makes it a beneficiary of the federal government’s need for tech contractors. Many Maryland tech firms (and tech pros) service the feds’ infrastructure and analytics needs, all while drawing a lot of talent from Johns Hopkins and other local schools. The state’s average tech salary stands at $104,570, reflective of employers’ need for talent.