11 Cities You Wouldn't Expect for Tech
Posted by: - July 1, 2014
Everyone knows America's "tech cities."
There's Silicon Valley, of course, and neighboring San Francisco. There's Seattle, there's New York, and even Miami's got a vibrant tech scene. But there are a number of cities flying just below the tech jobs-radar, expanding their industry footprint one startup at a time, many of which might surprise you. Whether you're looking for IT temp work, want to launch a career in programming, or even have the engineering bug, these eleven cities are worth a second look.
Milwaukee, surprisingly, has a third of all Wisconsin's tech business and there are few cities outpacing them in high-tech innovation. When the city's manufacturing sector took a huge hit in the last few decades, industry leaders did a great job marrying technological innovation with old-school manufacturing techniques.
Want to work for a startup? Move to Indianapolis. Thanks to a handful of incubators and some really progressive entrepreneurial programs at local learning institutions, Indy’s fast-becoming a hotbed of innovation. There’s a ton of digital marketing here, too, so it’s also a good spot for general IT and programmers.
3. San Juan, Puerto Rico
Hard to believe, but 39 out of every 1,000 jobs in San Juan, Puerto Rico are in tech. Most of these jobs are in telecommunications, specifically, since Honeywell is based here, and the area’s growth seems unstoppable. As a U.S. territory, San Juan enjoys myriad tax benefits, too.
Durham, North Carolina gets a lot of credit for being one of the South’s biggest tech hubs but nearby Charlotte deserves a look, too. Wireless and internet services are big industries in Charlotte (though you won’t hear much about anything but banking) and with an average salary of over $70,000 it’s a smart city to call home if you want to work in tech.
Nebraska? Nebraska. Omaha’s a flourishing creative hotbed in its own right but most of its successful startups you’ve never even heard of. They’ve got video game makers, app creators, film editors, and startups upon startups, many of which call the area home thanks to low cost of living and favorable tax rates.
6. Virginia Beach
If you’ve got a desire to work in military tech, Virginia Beach is the place to be. Nearby D.C. is nice, yes, but it’s expensive and competition is high; VA Beach has a flourishing engineering and cabling industry and a lot of InfoSec, too. And you can live on the beach!
Albany, New York doesn’t get as much attention as its big city neighbor but what it lacks in flash it makes up for in opportunity. The city has positioned itself as the U.S. hub for “smart city” development – video, digital transportation systems, police systems – and SUNY is leading the charge.
8. Kansas City, MO
Kansas City has become the Midwest’s unofficial nucleus of tech thanks to its low-overhead and high quality of life. The talent pool is surprisingly deep here in the industries of software, programming, and IT.
A lot of big, big tech players have offices in Boise. Hewlitt-Packard, Klowd.com, and several micron tech producers all call Boise home and there’s no denying the city is as innovative as it is booming. With a low unemployment rate and high levels of (young) population growth, Boise is poised to become a big player in the tech scene.
Albuquerque is arguably the pinnacle of the Southwest “Tech Triangle” which includes Arizona and Nevada, too. High-tech (particularly aerospace) is big business here, as is renewable energy. With over 300 days of sunshine a year, what’s not to like?
Provo is currently one of only three cities in the entire country with Google Fiber which makes it a natural fit for big data and tons of startups. Part of the “Silicon Slopes” which includes Denver and Salt Lake City, Provo has over $162 million in venture capital-backed companies, alone.
Surprised? You don’t have to live in one of the five biggest cities in the U.S. to find job opportunities in tech, particularly if you’re willing to travel for work or even move to a totally new city altogether. The tech industry is growing and expanding every single day across the U.S. and it’s only a matter of time until the next Silicon Valley is crowned.
Comment by Franz T. Lohrke
Birmingham, Alabama really should be on this list. It is home to Innovation Depot, which was recognized as the most successful tech incubator in the world in 2011. In addition, it is a hotbed of tech, particularly medical tech, but also biotech, automobile, and other important tech areas.