Top US cities for tech workers to start their careers

Study: San Francisco, Denver and DC top new list of the best U.S. cities for tech workers to start their careers

With its high median earnings, robust economy, and wide range of options for entertainment outside the office, San Francisco is the best U.S. city for tech workers, according to a new study from  that ranked 78 metropolitan areas on a combination of economic factors and quality of life metrics.

It might come as no surprise that a Bay Area location tops the list, but the top cities were a diverse set, with San Jose — Silicon Valley’s self-proclaimed capital — finishing in the seventh spot, below rising startup destinations from around the country, including Denver; Washington, D.C.; Des Moines; and Salt Lake City.

The tech industry is unique in its relative lack of geographic limitations, and the growth of new markets around the U.S. reflects that. While venture capital investment and innovation have traditionally been focused in Northern California, the high cost of doing business in that area and the growing possibilities for conducting business in a virtual world have helped startups thrive in new markets.
Using data from the American Community Survey, the Council for Community and Economic Research, and the National Venture Capital Association, evaluated 78 cities on 11 different factors. These include: 

  • The concentration of workers in the information industry
  • How employees in that city commute to work
  • Average commute time
  • Unemployment
  • Median earnings for tech workers
  • Cost of living
  • Air quality
  • The concentration of colleges and universities
  • Entertainment options
  • Venture capital investment
  • State job growth for computer-related occupations

Based on these rankings, the top 10 cities are:

  1. San Francisco
  2. Denver
  3. Washington, D.C.
  4. Des Moines
  5. Salt Lake City
  6. Austin
  7. San Jose
  8. Colorado Springs
  9. Seattle
  10. San Diego

To see the full list of the top 30 cities and find out how they ranked in different categories, please visit’s articles on the “Best Cities to Start a Tech Career.”

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