Posted by: Ed Tittel
2009 employment situation, best high-tech job cities, IT career planning, IT careers, US News & World Reprot "10 Best Places for Tech Jobs"
On September 15, US News and World Report published a story whose title matches that for this blog: 10 Best Places for Tech Jobs. While some of them match cities I’ve mentioned in earlier blogs on this topic myself–including Washington, DC and Houston, TX–others may come as something of a surprise to many readers (as some of them did to me). In their order of appearance in the story, here goes this list:
- Atlanta, GA: offers higher than typical tech openings for computer programming, software engineering, and systems analyst positions, thanks in part to corporate growth and expansion.
- Boston, MA: long a hotbed of high-tech innovation and opportunity thanks to a plethora of quality universities and R&D organizations, jobs for programmers and software engineers garner some of the highest pay rates in the country.
- Houston, TX: thanks to a still-strong economy, a large population, many services firms, and lots of high-tech activity, Houston also still boasts a high number of tech job openings for various occupations.
- Hunstville, AL: Home of the NASA Marshall Space Center and the US Army’s Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville has long been a hotbed of aerospace and defense-related high-tech activity. The local Chamber of Commerce reports that over 300 companies in this area focus on high-tech, with job openings and opportunities to match.
- NYC, NY: This huge metro area may be expensive but it also beats the national norm for the ratio of job openings to employment in various technical jobs, with the chance that healthcare changes might open even more opportunities, thanks to a large number of healthcare providers and health technology companies in its immediate vicinity.
- Phoenix, AZ: With over 4,000 companies in high-tech and more than 80,000 related jobs, Phoenix is home to most major high-tech players as well as LOTS of second- and third-tier employers. This probably explains why Phoenix gets high ratings for tech jobs open overall, and for ratios of job openings to employment for numerous IT specialties.
- San Diego, CA: City officials often observe that this area has one of the highest concentrations of high-tech companies (and jobs) anywhere in the US. San Diego also ranks higher than Washington, NYC, and Boston when it comes to IT salaries.
- San Francisco, CA: Home to Silicon Valley in the south Bay area (San Jose), SF also enjoys a lower-than-average unemployment rate of 9.3 percent (2.5 percent lower than San Jose’s, in fact) thanks to a higher number of startups and a lower number of manufacturing firms than in the south Bay area.
- Seattle, WA: With a sizable roster of big-name, well-known tech companies, Seattle is also experiencing a bit of a boom in tech startups, especially for software engineers. This probably explains why Seattle ranks third in average pay, bettter than DC and NYC.
- Washington, DC: As I’ve already explained in an earlier blog of my own, the DC area includes a concentration of high-tech companies and is benefiting from the influx of federal stimulus dollars. It leads in terms of overall IT job openings, and in their range and diversity.
To compile this list, US News started with a database of 2,000 cities to dig more deeply into metro areas of sufficient size to offer numerous different kinds of IT openings, and also looked for areas with high numbers of graduate degrees relative to population. They cross-matched this with job search hits at an unidentified “tech-specific job site,” then looked at local supply-demand rations for various technical occuptations from a company named Wanted Analytics. Their analysis also included salary data and considered the cost of living. All of this combined to identify the preceding list of cities, at least two of which I’ve mentioned in other blogs of my own.
Now, all I want to know is why so many of these cities suffer from high traffic congestion (only Huntsville is not completely swamped with cars, but even this city does experience jams on its high traffic corridors from time to time)? Is there some correlation between longer commute times and IT employment? It’s probably just a function of population density in these mostly-large metro areas, but that sure seems to be the case.
Sigh. It’s always something!