Which Cities are Best for Technologists Just Starting Their Careers?

What are the best places in the United States to start your career? A new study by WalletHub suggests that new graduates should head to Salt Lake City, Atlanta, and Orlando. But are these the best cities for budding technologists who want to start a brand-new career in their chosen field?

First, it’s worth covering WalletHub’s methodology behind its “2021’s Best & Worst Places to Start a Career” breakdown. The company analyzed 182 U.S. cities via two key categories: “Professional Opportunities” and “Quality of Life.” From there, it broke out those categories into 28 metrics, including the availability of entry-level jobs, the annual job growth rate, and the unemployment rate. That gave each city a score; here are the big winners: 

Some cities, such as Salt Lake City, offer a solid mix of professional opportunities and quality of life; others, such as Orlando or Austin, placed high in one category (Orlando was the best city for professional opportunities but ranked 22nd for quality of life, while Austin ranked first for quality of life but 22nd for professional opportunities). WalletHub’s site offers the full rankings. 

Now let’s break down the best cities for technologist jobs, as based on data assembled for Dice’s first Tech Job Report of 2021. As you can see, some of the cities from WalletHub’s list, including Austin and Atlanta, made it on the list: 

In an utterly unsurprising twist, many of the cities with the greatest demand for technologists also host numerous tech companies. In Atlanta (which is trying to position itself as the Silicon Valley of the South), Deloitte, IBM, Home Depot and Microsoft are just a few of the tech companies looking for highly specialized tech talent. In Austin, top hiring companies include VMware, Dell, Apple and Facebook. No matter where you live in the country, though, cities seem to be enjoying an upswing in tech hiring; overall, tech job postings rose 28 percent between the fourth quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021, and jumped 12 percent between February 2021 and March 2021.

The bottom line for those who want to launch a technologist career: Lots of cities offer the right mix of professional opportunities and quality of life. And that’s before you consider the impact of remote work; as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, many companies have decided to make their work-from-home policies permanent, meaning you can live in a place that suits you while working for a company that’s hundreds—or even thousands—of miles away.