Python developers have their hands full: it’s a discipline on the rise, and routinely in high demand. Python has become heavily utilized as a data-science tool, which, considering how many businesses depend on Big Data, positions it strongly for the foreseeable future.
Developers who are versed in Python are paid pretty well, too. Using our Dice Salary Calculator, we analyzed Python developer salaries in five major metro areas across the United States: New York City, Silicon Valley, Seattle, Dallas, and Chicago. We then compared those salaries with cost of living data to determine the best places for Python developers. In order to balance everything out, we queried for a hypothetical Python developer with five years’ experience, using New York City as the mean (it has the highest salary and highest cost of living).
For the other part of our equation, we used the salary.com Cost of Living Wizard. We’ll concede that long-distance commuting wasn’t something we factored in: If you want to live in (ostensibly cheaper) New Jersey and commute to NYC, for example, that’s a great plan – just know it’s not reflected here.
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The average Python salary for New York City is $102,318. Second-highest is Silicon Valley, where devs earn $97,310 on average. Seattle’s average salary is $94,362, followed by Dallas at $90,144. Chicago’s Python developers earn $89,562.
Versus the top-end NYC income, Silicon Valley devs only see an (adjusted) five percent dip. Seattle follows with eight percent less income, with Dallas and Chicago both hovering around 12 percent less than NYC Python developers. Sounds like a slam dunk for New York, but it’s not.
The cost of living in New York is the highest among these five cities, and the decreased salary elsewhere doesn’t jibe with the cost of living difference. There’s a five percent decrease in income between NYC and Silicon Valley; if you tried taking your Silicon Valley pay to NYC, you’d see a $15,563 dip in net disposable income.
And that’s the best case scenario. Applying the Seattle income level to NYC sees a $24,807 dip in disposable income. Chicago’s Python salary means $54,380 less, and Dallas’s $90,144 means a whopping $79,159 less available net disposable income in NYC.
If the discrepancy seems off, salary.com is comparing cost of living versus income. In the case of Dallas versus New York City, cost of living is 108.7 percent higher in NYC, which means you’d have to earn $188,150 to see a comparable style of living.
By that accounting, we can say Dallas and Chicago are the best of these places for Python developers – at least when it comes to income and cost of living in major metro areas. Seattle and Silicon Valley are still good bets, though there are other locations to consider, as well. And if you’re stuck on NYC, give the transit lines a hard look before deciding where to live.