February 05, 2013

As we noted in our previous blog post, IT salaries and job opportunities are growing rapidly across the country. But which metropolitan areas offer the best positions for you? We compiled data across multiple job sites, IT news sites, and other sources to create a list of the five best cities for IT jobs right now. 

5. Minneapolis-St. Paul

The Twin Cities come in at number five on our list of the best cities for IT jobs because of booming growth in the technology, manufacturing, healthcare, and financial sectors. As Dr. David Vang, Department of Finance Chair at the University of St. Thomas said in a CBS interview in 2011 “the Twin Cities, and Minnesota in general, has a much more diverse economy than other parts of the nation….we are never dependent on one sector.” That diversity helped keep the cities’ unemployment rate relatively low during the recession and continued to drop in 2012.

As for the IT job sector in particular, CIO.com placed the area number three this year on its list of “11 Best Cities to Find an IT Job”. The variety of companies and industries in need of diverse IT talent put it near the top of the list. “Help desk and computer repair positions are available for the trade-school and entry level grads while project managers and developers are most in demand at the mid-to high-level positions.” Look for this area to climb the ranks in the future as well, as Minnesota was labeled one of the fastest growing states for Computer Systems Design and Related services in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

4. Houston 

One of the biggest stories coming out of the recession has been the explosion of tech jobs in Texas. Dallas, Austin, San Antonio and Houston have all gained a strong foothold on the IT job market, thanks to the growing sectors in energy, manufacturing, and finance and many are predicting that growth will continue in 2013. 

Houston has always been a city rich in energy jobs, thanks in part to the city’s historically-strong oil industry, but the demand for clean energy has also helped fuel the growth of the tech sector. The city has quickly developed a robust IT workforce: from 2011 to 2012 job postings on popular tech job site Dice increased 37 percent, according to IT Business Edge. What’s more, wages in the “Space City” have skyrocketed (pun very much intended) in the past decade. From 2005 to 2012, the average salary for an IT position posted on Dice has gone from about $68,000 to over $94,000, a nearly 38 percent increase.

3. Washington D.C.

Our nation’s capital is home to hundreds of research universities, think tanks and nonprofit organizations. All of that data needs to be processed, organized and maintained, leading to a major need for skilled IT professionals. The government and government contractors continue to drive the need for analysts and Java and .NET developers, leading Maryland to become the fastest-growing state in the country for Computer Systems Design and related services, with nearly six percent of growth according to the BLS.

2. Silicon Valley

The standard for metropolitan areas for tech companies, Silicon Valley has been home to IT and other tech employees for decades. ITWorld puts it best: “If you’re a techie who wants to be in the center of the high-tech universe, there’s only one place to be: Silicon Valley. It’s the home to Apple, Google, Facebook, Oracle, Intel, andwhere venture capitalists along Sand Hill Road fuel great ideas. Oh, there’s also a nice little city to the north called San Francisco.” However, while the Valley has been historically great for IT and technology job creation, that growth has slowed the past couple of years: Dice.com’s Annual Salary Survey in 2012 actually showed average tech wages in the area decreased in 2012, down nearly three percent.

That being said, Silicon Valley still remains the one of the premiere cities for tech startups and other IT job creators. Silicon Valley-based start-ups raise, on average, a third more capital than those in other areas, says a report conducted by research firm Startup Genome. And while wages in Silicon Valley were technically down 2.8% compared to the year before, the average salary was $101,278, which is still higher than anywhere in the nation and certainly nothing to sneeze at.

1. Seattle

Seattle, the rainy city to the northwest, has emerged from the recession as a giant in the technology sector. Seattle serves as the headquarters to Fortune 500 companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, Boeing, and Starbucks. Tech jobs in particular have made a comeback in Seattle, with over 12% tech job growth over the past two years and 7.6% STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) growth, even beating Silicon Valley in both categories.

As Forbes writer Joel Kotkin said “Out of the 51 largest metro areas in the U.S., the Valley’s longtime tech rival [Seattle] has emerged as our No. 1 region for high-tech growth, based on long- and short-term job numbers…Seattle has enjoyed the steadiest and most sustained tech growth over the past decade.”

If you are in the market for an IT job take a look at York’s job seekers section for the latest available positions! What cities would you put on your top five list? Which cities do you see blossoming into tech hubs in the near future? Give us your thoughts in the comments section!

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