When you think of tech-savvy cities, your mind probably wanders straight to sunny California. But with an ever-evolving tech landscape, Silicon Valley isn’t the only place you’ll find blazing-fast Internet and impressive tech salaries.
We compiled a list of ten of the most tech-savvy cities in the U.S., from Washington to California to North Carolina. We considered metrics such as the number of public Wi-Fi hotspots, the average tech salary for employees and the number of IT jobs per 100 people.
Seattle, WA: Tech-savvy professionals flock here to pick up well-paying jobs with impressive companies – greater Seattle is home to tech-giants Microsoft, Amazon and Nintendo of America. According to the 2014 Dice salary survey, the average tech employee in Washington earned $96,241 in 2014. Amazon alone recently hired 12,800 employees, so don’t overlook Seattle when it comes to tech opportunity.
San Jose, CA: Home to eBay and other well-known tech giants, San Jose has nicknamed itself “the capital of Silicon Valley.” According to TechHive.com, the San Jose/Silicon Valley area also has an average of more than 4 public Wi-Fi hotspots per 100 people, which means that San Jose residents don’t have to go far to work and play online.
San Francisco, CA: Home to tech companies such as Twitter and SalesForce, the greater San Francisco area is a no-brainer. And according to the San Francisco Business Times, the majority of companies in San Francisco develop software of some kind. California also offers impressive salaries for tech geeks, with the average tech worker earning $102,950 – just keep in mind the cost of living in San Francisco matches the pay.
San Diego, CA: This city offers beautiful weather and plenty of opportunity to get your tech start-up off the ground. San Diego Startup Week, a five-day event in the heart of downtown, gives promising innovators a chance to showcase their work. San Diego also had the fastest Internet speed on our list, with an average wired download speed of 25.63 Mbps.
Denver, CO: According to TheNextWeb.com, Denver boasts the most tech startups per capita of any U.S. metro area. Denver also has a high level of Internet connectivity, with more than 78% of residents having Internet connectivity on at least one device.
Portland, OR: Don’t let the laid-back hipster lifestyle fool you; Portland has a lot of tech-ambition. Residents have coined the nickname “Silicon Forest” to describe the cluster of tech companies in the city. True to the city’s culture, many Portland companies emphasize “cleantech” practices to help reduce environmental costs. Oregon’s relatively low cost of living combined with an average tech salary of $87,992 makes it an attractive home for tech employees. .
San Antonio, TX: San Antonio makes a friendly home for tech geeks and Tex-Mex enthusiasts alike. The city’s tech nerds can rent time in the impressive “Geekdom” facility, a collaborative work space where tech enthusiasts can connect. San Antonio is also the hometown of Rackspace Hosting, a billion-dollar cloud-computing and hosting company.
Austin, TX: Home to major tech company Dell, Austin holds a well-deserved spot on our list. Known for its slogan “Keep Austin Weird,” Austin boasts a quirky culture and thriving tech sector. Forbes rates Austin as the top city in the U.S. generating the most tech jobs.
New York, NY: Just a few years ago, New York officials predicted their city would become the next Silicon Valley. Although the Big Apple hasn’t birthed another Apple, several lucrative and well-known start-ups, including Foursquare and Tumblr, have made noise.
Raleigh, NC: Raleigh may not be the most obvious choice, but it is an optimal city for new tech startups. Forbes listed Raleigh second on its list of “Surprising Cities Creating the Most Tech Jobs.” And what sets Raleigh apart? Its high quality of living coupled with affordability, plus a big college metro area to attract blossoming tech talent.
Ranking based on a scale that takes the following factors into account: the percent of people in each city who have Internet connectivity, the percent of people in each city who have Internet connectivity on multiple devices, the number of public Wi-Fi hotspots per 100 people and the high-tech GDP growth from 2011-2012. This ranking is intended to paint a subjective picture of each city’s relative tech-savviness, but is not comprehensive.
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