These 10 States Pay the Highest Technology Salaries

Although the average tech salary remained flat in 2017 (at $92,712, a 0.7 percent increase from 2016), everyone in the industry knows that not all jobs are created equal; indeed, those specializing in “hot” areas such as artificial intelligence can reportedly pull down as much as an NFL player, if you believe the reports.

And it’s not just a question of what you do; your pay can also hinge on where you work. States with massive tech hubs and a plethora of tech companies often struggle to find all the tech talent they need, a reality reflected in the higher average salaries paid out to local tech pros. Check out the following chart, sourced from the Dice Salary Survey, to see which states paid out the most in salaries in 2017:

First things first: the Delaware results aren’t considered statistically valid, as the sample size for the state was fewer than 100 respondents. With regard to the rest of the dataset, New York and California came in first and second, respectively; did you expect any different? Silicon Valley and Silicon Alley are vacuums for tech talent, paying out enormous sums in order to lock down developers, researchers, managers, and other experts; companies are also aware of these states’ high cost of living, and often peg salaries accordingly.

But other states made an impressive showing, driven by burgeoning tech centers beyond those two “traditional” hubs. For example, Massachusetts boasts a locus of universities that make it a pipeline for talent—something local companies have attempted to leverage by encouraging graduates to stay local rather than fleeing for California.

In a similar vein, Virginia and Washington, DC enjoy busy ecosystems of tech pros and companies, many of which serve the federal government. The region will only heat up further if it becomes home to Amazon’s second headquarters, dubbed “HQ2,” which will reportedly employ as many as 50,000 people.

The presence of Minnesota on this list might surprise some, but this northern state benefits from a solid mix of startups and major corporations heading for Minneapolis-Saint Paul. For tech pros, the low cost of living is a huge benefit—especially if they’re being paid a significant salary to go with it.

Wherever a tech pro lives, one thing is clear: those with specialized skills have their pick of jobs. If you’re interested in seeing how much your skills and experience are worth on the open market, check out the Dice Salary Calculator. And if you want to see what tech pros are making in your state, click around this nifty Dice Salary Map (then see which states paid the lowest):

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7 Responses to “These 10 States Pay the Highest Technology Salaries”

  1. BC Shelby

    …meanwhile Oregon’s “real” average is closer to the 2005 level. No point of coming here. Our housing costs in Portland are ridiculously high enough the way it is, traffic here is getting much worse as there is little room to build/widen streets and freeways, There are a lot of one way and dead end streets in the inner environs (some so narrow two cars cannot pass each other), car break-ins and thefts are at a high, the city has a serious homeless issue (thanks to skyrocketing rents and low wages), parking in the city is a total pain, we get smoked out by wildfires in summer, and it rains a lot.

    • AD Cobra

      Not to mention the recently dubbed “Silicon Shire” (Willamette Valley) is drowning in UofO grads and dislocated Symantec workers, leaving very few opportunities for IT Pros. Salem/Albany/Corvallis area is the only small oasis left and the jobs are drying up quickly. Salaries are, again, closer to the 2005 level (~$60k on average) until you hit the more senior positions requiring a dozen years of experience in the most bizarre and unheard-of systems. Makes me seriously wonder if the grass is greener in Minnesota…

  2. With the possible exception of Minnesota, these states have very high costs of living. And Minnesota has a high cost of living by Midwest standards. How about a study showing the states where a IT/tech/engineering salary goes the furthest?

  3. My spouse has been a VP Software Engineer for 10+ yrs. We live in Ohio where he runs a small software company; he was offered a similar job in a larger company in the DC area. The salary was alarmingly low for the cost of living there (housing was 2-3 times that in Ohio). We decided to stay, since overhead in Ohio is lower, commute time & cost was lower and quality of life is higher!

  4. BTW, we lived in Minnesota for 6 yrs before moving to Ohio. I wouldn’t classify MN cost of living as reasonably: state income tax has skyrocketed, housing cost has surpassed pre-bubble prices of 2004/2005.

    • MN cost of living is very reasonable. Not the cheapest in the Midwest, but very reasonable. Here are some real estate stats from Zillow. You can compare that to other areas you live in as a reference.

      The median home value in Minnesota is $181,700. Minnesota home values have gone up 2.6% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will rise 1.5% within the next year. The median rent price in Minnesota is $1,400

      The median home value in Washington is $483,800. Washington home values have gone up 5.7% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will rise 2.3% within the next year. The median list price per square foot in Washington is None.

      The median home value in Delaware is $237,400. Delaware home values have gone up 11.0% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will rise 2.5% within the next year. The median list price per square foot in Delaware is $141. The median price of homes currently listed in Delaware is $275,000 while the median price of homes that sold is $239,100. The median rent price in Delaware is $1,300.

      Taking those numbers into consideration, the MN average salary as compared to the other areas makes it a very good number.