IT is everywhere, not just Silicon Valley. Here are the top 10 ‘off metro’ regions for IT workers, based on median salary and unemployment rate.
Affordable cities that offer good IT jobs
Across the U.S., smaller, “off metro” cities are home to talent that’s just as accomplished — you just need to know where to look. Here, CIO.com has put together a list of the 10 best cities for IT — ones that don’t involve sky-high rents and impossible costs of living.
Data on median income and percentage of workforce in technology comes from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data on population, unemployment rate — which covers all workers with at least a bachelor’s degree — and cost of living is from the U.S Census Bureau and U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.
Omaha’s economy is booming, putting it squarely at the top of the list, and that’s great news for tech workers looking for work and for companies looking to lower overhead. With 3.7 percent of Omaha’s workforce in tech, an average salary of $74,710, and an unemployment rate of just 2.5 percent, it’s a great place to be an IT professional.
Huntsville’s proximity to a number of military installations and aerospace research facilities makes it a thriving tech center. Though the city boasts a population of only about 180,000, nearly 13,000 of those residents, or 6.5 percent, work in technology, and the unemployment rate is a respectable 3.7 percent. With a median salary of $89,050, IT workers in Huntsville make more than their Los Angeles counterparts ($88,940) and with a lower cost of living.
As the capital of Illinois, it’s not surprising that the largest employer in the state’s sixth-largest city is the State of Illinois. But that offers plenty of opportunity for tech workers, who earn an average $85,000 a year, make up 3.2 percent of the overall workforce and enjoy an unemployment rate of just 3 percent.
Fort Worth, Texas
Forth Worth has proximity to some major IT employers, including Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, Bell Helicopter and American Airlines. With an average salary of $83,900, an unemployment rate of 3.7 percent and no state income tax, it’s a great city for the IT workers that make up 2.6 percent of its workforce.
Rochester’s main claim to fame is the internationally renowned Mayo Clinic, and the city’s second-largest employer is IBM. There are approximately 5,000 IT workers in the region, making up 4.8 percent of the workforce. An average salary of $83,900 and an unemployment rate of just 1.9 percent makes it an incredible location for IT talent.
Though the Lynchburg metro area is fairly large, with an approximate population of about 250,000, the city of Lynchburg itself is only comprised of about 80,000, of which 2.6 percent are in technology fields. The unemployment rate is just 1.9 percent and the average salary is a respectable $79,440.
Des Moines, Iowa
Des Moines is rapidly growing as a heartland tech hub, adding over 700 technology jobs in 2014, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, which represents an increase of about 6 percent and bumping up the number of tech sector job participation to 3.8 percent. Median salary is $76,840, and the unemployment rate is a steady 2.6 percent.
Ohio State University and the Ohio Supercomputer Center contribute to Columbus’s standing as a central U.S. tech hub. The average salary is $78,790, the unemployment rate is 3.6 percent and the percentage of workers in the technology sector is 4 percent.
“Space City,” with its proximity to NASA and other aeronautics industries, as well as a focus on biomedical engineering and the energy industry contribute to Houston’s standing as a tech-centric city. The average salary is $88,230, the unemployment rate is 4.1 percent and the number of workers in the IT industry is 2.9 percent.
St. Louis, Missouri
There are more 40,000 technology workers in the St. Louis metro region, making up 3.3 percent of the total workforce. These numbers are bolstered by organizations like T-REX, a tech incubator and co-working space located in downtown, and LaunchCode, a non-profit that helps train IT workers and connect them with jobs. The average salary is $79,170 and the unemployment rate is 4.1 percent.