Have you ever wondered whether you need to move to San Francisco or New York City to land a high-paying STEM job? The answer, of course, is no: Over the past several years, a number of cities across the country have successfully nurtured their own tech hubs.
That being said, some cities offer more opportunity than others. For example, financial news site 24/7 Wall St. crunched metropolitan statistical area (MSA) data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data to find cities with the highest percentage of STEM jobs, as well as median wages. This is what it found:
That data aligns with Dice’s findings over the past several years. For example, North Carolina has enjoyed significant growth as a tech center, with steadily rising salaries for tech pros in Charlotte and Raleigh. (Raleigh’s tech scene is boosted by the Research Triangle, which hosts some 250 tech and scientific businesses, including conglomerates such as IBM and Lenovo.)
The area around Washington, DC (including Maryland and Virginia) has also enjoyed a rise in salaries and tech jobs, thanks in large part to federal IT hiring (and the various startups and consulting firms that feast off those federal contracts).
Of course, it’s not all about the money—you can make an enviable salary, but still hate your life if your rent is insane, your commute is a grind, and there are precious few amenities (or good burrito places) in your neighborhood. A few months ago, WalletHub crunched together some datasets related to job openings, “STEM friendliness” (i.e., the quality of local engineering universities, etc.), and quality of life (as defined by housing affordability, family friendliness, and so on), and came up with the following results:
For anyone who doesn’t want to live in a huge city, this is good news—there are clearly lots of opportunities in smaller towns across the country. But that being said, the larger hubs such as New York City combine opportunities, investment channels, and massive university ecosystems—which means they’ll likely be the desired destination of tech pros and STEM graduates for quite some time to come.
Meanwhile, cities are increasingly aware of the factors that contribute to a thriving tech hub. As a result, we’re seeing more nationwide investment in startup communities and universities, with city governments trying their best to nurture networks of well-established tech firms.