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What are the Top Cities for IT Grads?

Best Cities for IT Graduates

There are over 200,000 open jobs across the U.S. when you search for positions related to computer and informational technology.

Although major cities may seem appealing hubs in the tech industry, they often require people to spend a lot more on general living costs. Even graduates who complete their degree without student loans (ha) won’t have a ton of extra money to spend on surviving while they search for jobs.

For those who would like to be in close proximity of their employer, we’ve analyzed 50 metros to find out which cities would be best for graduates looking for a job in computer and informational technology.

However, now more than ever, remote jobs are becoming increasingly available. Working in technology opens the door for work from home positions, and graduates can rest assured that the industry is constantly evolving and growing. Remote work can give employees the flexibility they need to handle difficult situations as they arise.

Using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau, and DataUSA.io, we evaluated major metropolitan areas to come up with the best cities for IT graduates.

City Comparison Metrics

We’d love to compare the thousands of cities across the U.S. to find the ultimate destination for graduates, but we probably wouldn’t have finished gathering that data for years. So here’s how we narrowed our list down:

Top 50 Cities – Looking at major metropolitan areas in the U.S., we took the top 50 that had the highest median salaries. Graduates might want to jumpstart their career in a city where people are making the most money on average.

Salary Prospects – Once we knew which cities made the highest median wage overall, we compared that to the median wage of workers in computer and technology occupations. The higher the salary for tech occupations, the higher the rank.

Affordability – Cost of living, based on MIT’s Living Wage Calculator, was taken into account to compare with other metrics. The living wage of one adult with no kids was matched to each metro, and the higher the cost, the lower the city ranked.

Commute Time – Cities with higher average commute times ranked lower than cities with short average commutes. Longer commutes mean higher travel costs and more wasted time.

City Growth – Cities that showed overall population and employee growth were ranked higher than cities that reported declines. We also checked whether there was employment growth in computer occupations. The higher the growth, the better the metro ranked.

Based on the above metrics, some of these results may come as a surprise. These are the top 10 cities deemed to be the best for IT graduates once we averaged their scores.

  1. Colorado Springs, CO
  2. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
  3. Huntsville, AL
  4. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
  5. Raleigh, NC
  6. Boulder, CO
  7. Durham-Chapel Hill, NC
  8. Austin-Round Rock, TX
  9. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
  10. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA

Overall it seems that the general affordability, higher salaries, and steady growth in these areas have contributed to these metros becoming tech hubs. If you’re nearing graduation and looking for an IT job, consider some of these metros:

Overall Top 50 Metro Areas

  1. Colorado Springs, CO
  2. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
  3. Huntsville, AL
  4. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
  5. Raleigh, NC
  6. Boulder, CO
  7. Durham-Chapel Hill, NC
  8. Austin-Round Rock, TX
  9. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
  10. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
  11. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA
  12. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
  13. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA
  14. Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH
  15. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI
  16. Richmond, VA
  17. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA
  18. Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL
  19. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA
  20. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD
  21. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
  22. Portsmouth, NH-ME
  23. Manchester, NH
  24. Peoria, IL
  25. Columbus, GA-AL
  26. Binghamton, NY
  27. Midland, TX
  28. San Diego-Carlsbad, CA
  29. Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD
  30. California-Lexington Park, MD
  31. Trenton, NJ
  32. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA
  33. Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA
  34. Midland, MI
  35. Brunswick, GA
  36. Sheboygan, WI
  37. Winston-Salem, NC
  38. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT
  39. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
  40. Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC
  41. York-Hanover, PA
  42. Providence-Warwick, RI-MA
  43. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA
  44. Syracuse, NY
  45. Madera, CA
  46. Wichita Falls, TX
  47. Vallejo-Fairfield, CA
  48. Santa Rosa, CA
  49. Cumberland, MD-WV
  50. Salinas, CA

Want to know how each city ranked in every category? Here are some of the higher-level results, or you can find each metros rank in our full table. The lower the number, the higher they ranked in that category.

San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA, had the highest overall median salaries and highest earnings for computer occupations. They also had the highest amount of employment growth in computer occupations although their population growth has slowed to a mere .03 increase per year.

Wichita Falls, TX, had the shortest average commute time of only 15 minutes! They were followed closely by Sheboygan, WI, and Midland, TX (Midland was also the fastest growing metro on our list).

As you can surely guess, the San Francisco metro had the most expensive cost of living, while the same three metros that had the shortest commute times also had the lowest cost of living!

When looking at this table, the lower the number, the better the metro ranked in comparison to competitors. Within each category cities were ranked 1 to 50 with a 1 being the best and a 50 being the worst.

Overall Position Metropolitan Median Wage Computer Occupation Wage Employment Amount Living Wage Employee Growth Population Growth Employment % by Computer Occupation Average Commute Time
1 Colorado Springs, CO 17 14 27 16 1 3 15 14
2 Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 16 19 10 14 4 5 19 36
3 Huntsville, AL 30 15 24 5 30 8 5 13
4 Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO 9 12 14 37 10 9 12 31
5 Raleigh, NC 37 21 18 21 6 4 4 24
6 Boulder, CO 8 9 25 42 26 16 3 10
7 Durham-Chapel Hill, NC 29 22 19 19 9 11 14 16
8 Austin-Round Rock, TX 24 28 17 24 12 2 7 27
9 Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX 15 20 13 17 8 10 30 33
10 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 12 3 9 43 7 6 33 39
11 San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA 2 2 4 50 16 33 2 47
12 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 1 1 7 49 29 34 1 35
13 New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 3 7 1 46 23 7 25 50
14 Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH 14 11 5 40 28 20 10 37
15 Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI 28 30 12 20 25 21 17 23
16 Richmond, VA 21 24 20 29 21 32 20 20
17 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 7 17 3 41 27 26 29 38
18 Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL 48 33 29 11 17 13 18 21
19 Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA 40 27 8 30 13 15 16 41
20 Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD 13 26 11 25 15 36 21 46
21 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 4 4 2 48 24 14 50 48
22 Portsmouth, NH-ME 42 6 32 33 49 18 11 5
23 Manchester, NH 38 38 36 15 19 12 9 34
24 Peoria, IL 25 35 33 9 31 38 31 4
25 Columbus, GA-AL 41 36 38 13 3 27 37 11
26 Binghamton, NY 18 37 41 7 47 23 28 6
27 Midland, TX 27 47 42 26 14 1 48 3
28 San Diego-Carlsbad, CA 19 10 15 45 41 31 23 26
29 Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD 20 8 16 34 45 40 8 43
30 California-Lexington Park, MD 22 5 37 35 40 28 6 42
31 Trenton, NJ 33 23 26 28 20 50 13 29
32 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA 31 41 22 22 5 17 42 45
33 Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA 6 18 28 47 50 42 27 8
34 Midland, MI 10 48 45 3 34 37 45 9
35 Brunswick, GA 39 42 47 10 18 19 44 12
36 Sheboygan, WI 35 45 44 2 36 39 41 2
37 Winston-Salem, NC 44 46 34 8 35 24 38 15
38 Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT 5 13 50 38 33 46 24 40
39 Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI 46 31 6 31 22 43 26 44
40 Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC 50 39 23 32 38 29 22 22
41 York-Hanover, PA 34 43 40 4 42 25 36 32
42 Providence-Warwick, RI-MA 36 32 21 23 48 35 34 28
43 Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA 11 25 31 39 37 44 40 30
44 Syracuse, NY 45 40 30 12 43 48 35 7
45 Madera, CA 43 44 49 18 11 22 49 25
46 Wichita Falls, TX 32 50 48 1 44 41 47 1
47 Vallejo-Fairfield, CA 49 34 43 27 2 30 32 49
48 Santa Rosa, CA 23 29 35 44 32 49 39 19
49 Cumberland, MD-WV 26 49 46 6 46 47 43 17
50 Salinas, CA 47 16 39 36 39 45 46 18