The 10 Best Cities to Live in for Tech

Evening Rush hour in Raleigh, NC
••• (c) Swapan Jha

Looking to move, but want to make sure you’re not left high and dry for a job? These are some of the best places to live as a tech worker looking for great employment opportunities with the potential for growth.

Research Triangle, NC

Consisting of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, this area of North Carolina earned its nickname for its dense concentration of research universities and related activities. Forbes named Raleigh the “second best city for tech job creation” in April 2015.

Estimated population (2018): 469,298 (Raleigh), 2,238,315 (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill combined statistical area)

Annual average tech salary: $91,686 (Raleigh)

Average monthly rental rate: $1,262 (Raleigh)

Top tech companies that operate there: Cisco Systems, Red Hat, Inc., Citrix, IBM

Top tech job sectors:

  • Infrastructure Architect
  • Design Engineer
  • SQL Developer
  • Java Developer
  • Tooling Engineer

San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara, CA area

Also known as “Silicon Valley,” it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that the tech sector is hot here. Silicon Valley is a loosely defined geographic reason, so stats may vary.

Estimated population (2018): 1,030,119 (San Jose)

Annual average tech salary: $205,650 (San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metro area)

Average monthly rental rate: $3,064 (San Jose)

Top tech companies that operate there: Apple, Adobe, eBay

Top tech job sectors:

  • Infrastructure Architect
  • Software Engineer
  • Java Developer

Austin, TX

Austin is home to many bigger, more established companies, but it also has a thriving startup scene, so you have options for where you’ll best fit in.

Estimated population (2018): 2,168,316 (Austin-Round Rock metro area)

Annual average tech salary: $90,420 (Austin-Round Rock metro area)

Average monthly rental rate: $1,556

Top tech companies that operate there: Dell, IBM, Intel

Top tech job sectors:

  • Java Developer
  • Network Administrator
  • Technical Writer
  • Development Analyst
  • Software Engineer

Portland, OR

A kind of Silicon Valley of the northwest, the suburbs west of Portland are sometimes referred to as the “Silicon Forest.”

Estimated population (2018): 653,115 (Portland), 2,478,810 (Portland metro area)

Annual average tech salary: $89,190

Average monthly rental rate: $1,653

Top tech companies that operate there: Intel, Zapproved, Vernier Software & Technology

Top tech job sectors:

  • IT Service Manager
  • iOS Developer
  • Programmer Analyst
  • Senior QA Analyst

Provo, UT

Here, you’ll be working alongside a fair share of BYU grads. There are plenty of startups and independent entities, but Google has a branch there as well.

Estimated population (2018): 116,702

Average annual tech salary: $81,740

Average monthly rental rate: $1,161

Top tech companies that operate there: Google, Google Fiber, Qualtrics

Top tech job sectors:

  • Technical Support
  • Python Developer
  • Software Engineer

Fort Collins, CO

This Colorado city combines small-town charm with great tech employment opportunities.

Estimated population (2018): 167,830

Average annual tech salary: $85,990

Average monthly rental rate: $1,359

Top tech companies that operate there:  Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.

Top tech job sectors:

  • Software QA
  • Application Software Developer
  • Test Engineer

Indianapolis, IN

This Midwest city is home to Fortune 500 companies and some specifically tech-oriented businesses.

Estimated population (2018): 867,125

Average annual tech salary: $75,100

Average monthly rent rate: $1,006

Top tech companies that operate there: One Click Ventures, Phoenix Data

Top tech job sectors:

  • Java Developer
  • Infrastructure Architect
  • Net Developer

Boise, ID

Boise ranks well for affordability and quality of life, and it's home to startups and industry giants alike.

Estimated population (2018): 228,790

Average annual tech salary: $71,917

Average monthly rental rate: $1,175

Top tech companies that operate there: Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard

Top tech job sectors:

  • Software Engineer
  • Application Engineer
  • Mobile Software Developer
  • Firmware Engineer

Nashville, TN

This is a big city for healthcare and biotechnology (and country music, but you already knew that).

Estimated population (2018): 1,932,099 (Nashville metro area)

Average annual tech salary: $79,190 (Nashville metro area)

Average monthly rental rate: $1,458

Top tech companies that operate there: Infoworks, Zycron

Top tech job sectors:

  • IT Manager
  • Information Security Engineer
  • iOS Developer
  • Senior Programmer Analyst

Manchester, NH

With Boston and Portland reasonably close and numerous tech giants within the city itself, Manchester is a great choice for those who want lots of options.

Estimated population (2018): 112,525

Average annual tech salary: $85,050

Average monthly rental rate: $1,338

Top tech companies that operate there: Dell, Hewlett-Packard

Top tech job sectors:

  • Java Developer
  • Systems Architect
  • Senior IT Project Manager
  • UI Software Engineer

The Bottom Line

Tech jobs are pretty much everywhere these days—but there’s also competition everywhere. Although you’ll still have to work for it, any of these cities will offer you a great opportunity to establish yourself in the career of your dreams.