I'm biased in that it places Atlanta unusually high, but overall it is a better, less surprising ranking:
Let's pick a huge employer in Silicon Valley, Facebook, and search for jobs on Indeed.
Not a single Software Engineer position.
And I really don't think hot San Francisco startups are using Indeed to look for talent, which is why SF falls so low on their rankings
Tier one employers don't normally advertise on indeed
Which is also why Indeed's previous article "Where are the Highest Paying Tech Jobs in the US" is complete garbage. Shows SV average at $111k. SV and SF have disproportionately high portion of Tier 1 companies and positions, many of which will never show up on Indeed.
How can you talk about SV without Facebook? Facebook has 20k employees, about half of them in SV.
Since this is only looking at populations greater than 1 million, I think an area with an overwhelming percentage of tech jobs such as your hypo 99% would be very interesting to anyone hunting for a tech job.
Again, this is Indeed, so job seekers and employers are the target audience of this post.
That includes those fortune 500 companies (a couple of whom had internal recruiters bail when I mentioned my current salary + the COLA number). Cutting your real estate costs by $12-15k goes a long way but it doesn't magically cover $40k+ paycuts. It is good for employers (for instance, one guy was willing to disclose "I got two guys with Master degrees for $20k less than what you wanted.") but not so good for employees on the upper end of the pay scale. (i.e. above 6 figures outside of SF/NYC)
It is anecdotal, just my experience after looking to move there.
Just my experience after having moved here.
Though looking at glassdoor data for Atlanta, it does look like data scientists have an average that's almost $34k lower than san francisco. So maybe I just got lucky.
MIT grad, data scientist here. Again, if you are not a top data scientist, it will work fine for you. I routinely get offered $300K/year as a recent PhD grad in the Bay area. I would not get anywhere near proportional compensation in Atlanta or even Seattle.
I'm not going to pretend this is scientific in any way, but using online COL calculators (http://money.cnn.com/calculator/pf/cost-of-living/index.html), $300k in San Francisco is supposedly (taken with many grains of salt) equivalent to $172k in Atlanta, which you could surely land?
For most Americans that's pretty close to being correct - the average savings rate is around 6%. (https://www.fool.com/investing/2016/10/03/heres-the-average-...)
This would be quite difficult for someone on an average salary with kids, or sometime who works in an industry where keeping up appearances is important.
Vacation costs, Amazon splurges, etc, don't change between Akron and SF.
If most companies are paying a certain salary, doesn't that imply that salary IS market rate?
I don't think you can directly compare salaries across cities even after factoring in cost of living since it ignores the fact some places are more desirable to live in than others and thus should command "premiums".
Also, people overestimate the effects of cheaper housing. Yes, cheaper housing is nice but one has to remember that lots of things cost the same no matter where you live. Food, transportation, travel, and education costs are mostly static across the country. It's important to factor that in and not get dazzled by the fancy house or condo you can suddenly afford.
In my particular case, the "market rate" at Location A is ~$40k higher (after COLA) than the "market rate" in Atlanta.
So, when I mean "market rate" I mean "My options at Location A + the options in Atlanta."
> I don't think you can directly compare salaries across cities even after factoring in cost of living since it ignores the fact some places are more desirable to live in than others and thus should command "premiums".
To be perfectly honest, I consider Atlanta vs. where I am now a wash in most respects and a $40k premium is simply too steep for the difference. It isn't like I live in the Bay Area where rent is $40k.
I don't work in the Bay Area, NYC, or a similar location. I'm comparing my current location to Atlanta.
This is now the third time I've repeated this ITT, including the OP.
The difference in rent/real estate is like $10k/year. I've been to Atlanta regularly for quite some time and I can assure you I know the exact difference in COLA as a result. ;)
> had offices
For example, Johns Hopkins University is IIRC the highest-funded research-focused university in the USA.
(Edit - adding link to support above : Johns Hopkins leads U.S. universities in research spending for 37th consecutive year :
It's a general research-focused university, like MIT. The oldest research-based university in the USA in fact.
Though you're right it's very strong in medicine and all things 'bio' including biochemistry, biophysics, bioinformatics, and biotech.
But it also has a strong astrophysics program, eg the Space Telescope Science Institute is based there.
And the JHU Applied Physics Lab is not too far away too.
But I'm not sure why you feel that med-tech and bio-tech don't contribute to a tech hub. Are you considering tech as purely web tech?
Anecdotally, my rent is $1300/mo for a 900 sqft loft directly on Atlanta's Beltline , and my total comp is (edit: decided to remove this since I might get doxed. I'll be happy to talk with anyone seriously considering Atlanta via email).
It's also been really interesting to see Georgia rocket to the #2 location in the US for filmmaking (a personal hobby of mine). The folks I know in the industry say we're poised to overtake LA eventually.
I mention this because Atlanta has a great mix of culture from a variety of different backgrounds. The music and arts scenes are particularly strong.
You realize that this is solely because of Georgia making hundreds of millions of dollars in tax subsidies available to Hollywood right? This is not sustainable. Hollywood previously set up shop in New Orleans("Hollyood South")for the same reasons and then moved on to Georgia when those tax credits were capped in Louisiana. See:
Whenever we go there, usually to take in an MLB game, I just want to turn around and leave immediately. There doesn't seem to be any rational reason for it. When the spouse drives out of town to go stalk Walking Dead filming locations, the overwhelming sense of dread eases up, and I just get bored looking at bits of rural Georgia that were lucky enough to appear on television for one scene.
Maybe I'm allergic to peachtree streets.
In contrast, NYC, Chicago, Boston, Phoenix, Nashville, San Diego, Denver, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, and most other US cities I have visited just don't have an aura to them that I can pick up. Baltimore felt like I just walked in on someone who had been crying and was trying to hide it. Washington, DC, felt like someone was following me the whole time, like being hunted. Cincinnati felt great just being around it; it made me want to consider moving there.
Atlanta is just the opposite of that, every time I go. Just being there stresses me out for no readily apparent reason.
On paper, it seems like it should be great. Georgia Tech is close, and the local economy is great. All kinds of television shows and movies have that juicy Georgia peach at the end of the credits now, instead of Vancouver. The weather is decent for 10 months out of the year. Lots of local agriculture. Lots of roads leading out of town, and a hub airport for a relatively decent airline. Diverse, cosmopolitan culture, as long as you stay in the city limits and away from the suburbs. About the only thing it lacks entirely is a seaport. I just can't stand actually being there.
I've lived in Baltimore, NYC, SF, and DC as an adult, and found something to like about all of them (although I laughed out loud at your description of Bmore). I really can't imagine moving to ATL. I think it's a 3rd-tier city that thinks it's a 1st-tier city.
I am skeptical of this. I am early in my career, live in SF, and make north of $300k. I do not work for one of the big 4, and I know people making more than me. That's not imaginary money - it's all liquid.
This isn't meant to brag. I just think a lot of people underestimate how much you can make in SF if your skills are in demand.
I've taken several salary surveys and done plenty of research through publicly available sites (e.g. glassdoor, linked in, payscale, etc.). For what it's worth, my all-in compensation is well below $300k/year as a senior engineer and is typically reported as being on or above the very high end of average. Given the propensity to exaggerate in these surveys I expect my salary to be even farther from the average than reported.
Definitely agree with respect to opportunities, though. Even at double the cost of living or slightly more, the doubled salary means one is saving more in absolute terms and has access to a much better job market.
I got my current job applying through the website knowing nobody at the company. There are just more (and better) opportunities here.
I'm in the Bay Area and I'm feeling underpaid. Please tell me what to learn.
Off-topic: try a five day water fast for your migraines. You need neuronal autophagy.
ROS is something of a standard framework used in many places. AI is largely a buzzword and can mean many things, but ML tends to have more specific meaning. TensorFlow is becoming the commonly used library for all things machine learning. CUDA is becoming an incredibly useful skill, and GPU experts are always appreciated (including outside of robotics).
So play around with OpenCV if you want to work in computer vision, play around with TensorFlow if you want to do machine learning, and play around with ROS for learning how the backend of these systems work. If you want to be more of a specialist, learn CUDA and optimizing GPU code - I suspect that will be highly in demand for some time.
>Off-topic: try a five day water fast for your migraines. You need neuronal autophagy.
Tell me more.
Most modern illness is caused by a pervasive lack of autophagy, which is basically a cellular cleaning cycle for your body. Since we're all rich and we eat and snack all the time, autophagy cycles are basically never activated. The body needs "feasting" for cellular growth, but is also _needs_ famine for cellular dismantling and re-purposing. Otherwise you'll have cells with damaged mitochondria that keep clinging to life even though they are broken and very inefficient. Sometimes these damaged cells even replicate out of control, AKA cancer. Cancer cells, since they typically rely on sugar fermentation for fuel instead of oxygen, would normally be "marked" as damaged and dismantled during an autophagy cleaning cycle, but since we never stop eating sugar that never happens. Same with migraines.. in my view you basically have a bunch of damaged cells in your brain that need dismantled and cleared out. But unless you fast (or eat keto, however that's a bit less efficient for autophagy) your neural cleaning cycle simply never runs.
That would be my advice, although I have a university background so take what I say with a grain of salt.
Atlanta is not paying SF wages. Trust me on this. But you are right. The cost of living is far better in Atlanta.
NC's growth has slipped in the last couple years, though, because of the HB2 nonsense. It'll be a few years before we recover our image.
You make $100k in city A and spend $40k on expenses. That leaves $60k disposable.
You are considering a job in city B with half the cost of living and the same pay.
You still make $100k but your expenses have gone from $40k to $20k. Your new disposable income is $80k.
Cost of living is half but it's not like having 100% more income, it's 33% more .
Now, SF might be a great place if you have no kids, no expenses and rent a tiny little room. But, as soon as you want to have a family and backyard, you better get out! SF and CA in general is no place to raise a family. The key in this strategy is, don't put down roots in the CA bay area.
When a round of golf at a Davis Love or Fred Couples designed course costs the same as playing at a shitty muni in L.A., it feels like my disposable income has tripled.
Raleigh felt stagnant when I left, with most of the jobs enterprise software in unsexy industries. Grass is always greener I suppose!
Not much of a start-up scene, AFAIK.
That, and there's some really cool startups in stealth mode I've yet to see mentioned here, some breaking $10m in revenue and others getting funded left and right.
Atlanta is on the rise.
Be realistic for a minute, they can probably not afford the talents from HN.
With the pay stats, it's similar: E.g. Newark is #5 but does not even appear on the op's list.
So those 8 hubs, are not the biggest or highest paid, only the ones which match San Jose statistically the most. It's outright silly.
(Seriously, though, hit me up via my HN profile if you're interested in getting a sense of what the industry and life in general are like here - it's a great town that's been very good to me, and I'm always happy to talk about it!)
I'd be more concerned (with zero knowledge of washington) over whether or not the train + connections would take me near most of the tech jobs.
I've had an hour-long walking and train commute for the last year, and by the end was extremely burnt out. Moved to a smaller and more expensive place in the city with a 15 minute bike ride and couldn't be happier.
Can be, but often aren't. The trains in the three busiest commuter rail lines are not really conducive to laptop use if you are my height (6'4") because of the seat pitch. I have tried to use my XPS 13 on NJTransit trains, but I need to hope I get a row to myself so I can slant sideways to actually get my laptop at a usable angle.
NSA headquarters is in between Baltimore and Washington DC and there is a lot of other major government contracting work along that corridor. There is a lot of IT work available in the area, even if it isn't in Baltimore proper.
This move has been underway at least since the mid-oughts, but it has accelerated lately after Adobe's investment in the Thanksgiving Point area and as Utah County's outskirts (Eagle Mountain and Saratoga Springs) have started to recover from the mortgage crash.
I'm more concerned about SLC's long-term prospects at this point; no one seems to want to go further north than 7200 S anymore.
I'll bet Provo / Orem beats SLC on a lot of these metrics just because of Vivint and a few other bigger names.
downside - traffic is horrible.
That is my take as a long time Seattlite.
-Traffic is quickly becoming worse than all cities in the US and the tunnel nightmare will not solve that (many projections say it will make it worse)
-Local and regional bureaucracy is far worse here than comparable west coast cities
-Massively regressive taxes due to no state income tax (consumption taxes disproportionately levy the burden on poor people, and regional small business taxes/fees/etc are incredibly bureaucratic here in comparison to other areas, though the state laws are favorable)
-NIMBYism is just as bad here as it is in SF, and worse in some areas
-As a result of the above, property values are skyrocketing at rates faster than some areas of SF. My $230k townhome in the middle of a "bad area" bought 4 years ago is worth $500k+. This is ridiculous. There is no reason I should have experienced a 100% ROI windfall for simply accidentally timing the market for housing.
Heroin epidemic is especially bad here, Seattle City Police have been investigated and busted by the US DOJ in the past, high school education has serious redlining going on which encourages private schooling (which is insanely expensive here), and so forth.
I love it in Seattle but it's very much moving the same way SF is, and in many ways, trending much worse.
Coming from LA, I'm looking forward to cheaper housing prices when I move there next month.
That's the issue. It's all urban flight to suburbs. I live in the inner city and see it every day.
Nothing new with east and north side schools being better than Seattle schools. It was that way in the early 90s when I was in HS.
Seattle is very progressive, and highly in favor of income tax.
We always exaggerated the rain and the people just kept coming. So there must be something else going on.
Also, motorcycles aren't exactly a large block of votes. And, many lane splitting bills include helmet provisions which are a non-starter for some riders.
Source: watched as attempts failed multiple times in Texas.
However the rain and lack of sun kills me. I could handle year round rain if it meant it's at least sunny a lot too. It would suck, but personally the lack of sun affects my mood too much.
Otherwise especially with the no state income tax, if I'm making pretty good bank, and moving isn't an issue, moving to Seattle would be a top choice. Instead, the people who do move for tax reasons have almost all moved to Florida/Miami. Two to Austin and one to Vegas.
SF has about 60 days more of sun per year: https://www.currentresults.com/Weather/California/annual-day...
Personally, I find the weather quite nice in the PNW.
The traffic though... it's really the worst. Traffic is constantly bad during business hours.
Yeah it isn't too bad. But I get seasonal depression on top of issues already. So it would be hard for me personally. Weather is great though.
Generally, the weather is Seattle is heavily influenced by Puget Sound and the rain shadow east of the Olympic Peninsula (parts on the west side of the Olympic Peninsula are actually classified as rainforest). So we get less rain than you would think and it's fairly moderate.
Pretty sure I hear that downside for every major US city.
I would bet NYC has more total tech jobs (as well as open listings) than a lot of the "tech hubs" on the list.
Source: I live and work in Baltimore.
When they go on to infer that fast growing jobs come out of the hubs, their adherence to that standard distorts the numbers downwards. Reader beware.
I think the difference is that many companies in LA are smaller and independent, but I caution that anyone who thinks that Hollywood is more than a small fraction of Los Angeles work hasn't explored much of the city. E-commerce and random website dev is also a much larger market than any town I've seen.
Another problem is the shear size of the city and the accompanying suburbs. You have tech in Pasadena, Burbank, Santa Monica, Torrence, etc, and no sane person would make these cross-town drives every day. I don't think that many people who live in LA even realize how large the place is, and possibly wouldn't realize that many "cities" aren't cities at all, but a part of LA.
In my observation, there is more tech work in LA than Austin, but I digress.
In 2014, New York City had 165,300 finance jobs (NAIC code 523) and 365,500 tech jobs (541), broadly defined .
To illustrate why this article's metric is silly, consider that in 2014 about 4.1 million people were employed in New York City . Thus 4% of employees worked in finance and 9% in tech. Hoboken, New Jersey, meanwhile, had 34,054 people employed in 2014  and, in 2015, about 7,300 employed in finance  (22% of total employment). I guess we should crown Hoboken, instead of New York City, as the nation's new financial capital.
But in the end, it's the country's third largest city, the metro area is huge, and tech is just one industry of many. The number of jobs may be large, but the percentage will never be as high as with small, specialized towns.
Those metrics can be misleading, though: if you want to change jobs, you care more about "total number of other interesting opportunities in this one field" than "number of opportunities in this field compared to other fields."
Cities have higher productivity than other areas and larger cities have much higher productivity than smaller cities (in the developing world). Cities are like brains where bigger city thinks qualitatively better.
Housing constraints in larger cities put limits to the aggregate growth. Recent paper: "Housing Constraints and Spatial Misallocation, Hsieh and Moretti." http://eml.berkeley.edu//~moretti/growth.pdf
>We quantify the amount of spatial misallocation of labor across US cities
and its aggregate costs. Misallocation arises because high productivity cities like New York and the San Francisco Bay Area have adopted stringent restrictions to new housing supply, effectively limiting the number of workers who have access to such high productivity. Using a spatial equilibrium model and data from 220 metropolitan areas we find that these constraints lowered aggregate US growth by more than 50% from 1964 to 2009.
I just left my high paying govt contract job as I tried working things out with a co-worker who suddenly became a real S#$t to work with .. tried one on one with him & then with management. Overall nothing changed after months so I left and will be starting a better paying job in 2 weeks. There's too much demand to sit and take crap from anyone.
What kind of jobs are in DC, what's the salary range like?
The biggest problem is the absurd high cost of living, Housing prices are high for miles out of the city, and they spike along all the major forms of transportation. Unless you like sitting in traffic for hours a day you will be paying a premium for housing. Traffic is also a mess.
It has been my experience that you would be much better off in Boston, NYC, or Philadelphia ( I would check out Philly, very low cost of living and a burgeoning tech scene )
I was in Seattle recently and it's a truly beautiful city with a stunning landscape. But seemed kinda sleepy compared to DC. I was in Silicon Valley also recently and came away scratching my head why anyone would wish to live there now - miles upon miles of industrial parks, seemed kinda run down even in Cupertino. But just my 2 cents.
IMO the cost of living in not good in DC metro. Very high home prices, only below SF, Boston, NYC. Lower salaries than SF/NYC across the board. Upper middle class in DC requires 200k income, many families here with two 100k earning parents.
DC proper is just ridiculous. Thankfully you can find more reasonable places just across the river with a short commute time.
I know the Boston area has a lot of medical/health companies around, and it might be worth it to start looking at those kinds of companies as a long-term solution. Are they still a good choice for MA tech jobs?
University/academic jobs do tend to have low pay but do usually have great benefits. The work varies, sometimes super cool sometimes not. It tends to be a mix of people REALLY into what they're working on and people who'd rather not be working at all riding a cushy gig.
Biotech/pharma pays better and if you like the domain can be really cool. The software isn't that much different than the rest of the world for the most part. In most places be prepared to be viewed as a second class citizen as the MDs and PhDs get top billing.
All this said i believe that the bio space is where to be as a software pro in Boston
Can you expand on this?
In 2000 when the dot-com's went bust, things were not so bad for IT in New York because the other industries were still going along - media, advertising, fashion, and of course, finance. San Francisco has all its eggs in one basket.
Plus New York has Stack Overflow, Spotify, Computer Associates, IBM, Seamless, Rockstar Games, Kickstarter and companies like that as well.
Raleigh's total market is small compared to NYC's, of course (~2 million in 2013). Even then I can't believe a high fraction of work in the Research Triangle area is tech related. Aside from the 3 universities, it just doesn't have many significant tech employers these days. It's been decades since anyone mentioned tech business in RTP in the same breath as other hubs in the vicinity like DC, Charlotte, Atlanta, or Houston.
Searching for largest employers in Durham and Wake county, you'll see that there's a lot of tech. IBM is third largest overall employer in Durham, SAS is fifth in Wake, Cisco is seventh, followed by plenty of others that aren't quite as big. (Red Hat headquarters are here but they don't even make the list I searched http://d4.nccommerce.com/QCEWLargestEmployers.aspx).
What the triangle doesn't have is "sexy" tech. There's a lot of medium or small satellite offices, companies like Fidelity, Lenovo or Credit Suisse hiring people, and so on. Far fewer consumer oriented startups.
They all employ thousands or close to it in RTP/Raleigh. These are just the ones I thought of off the top of my head, I am sure there are others.
IBM alone employs 10,000 people in RTP.
There is a large government contractor presence in the triangle (DC is what, a 30 minute flight?). Epic's main office, Nvidia and Kitware have offices.
Like the other person said, I think it's because of the fraction, which I think is perfectly valid. If it was just pure numbers, the list would be just the largest cities in the country. Going by fraction helps weed out the fact that while NYC might have a lot of tech jobs, it has a far greater number of finance jobs. Raleigh has a lot of tech jobs and not a lot else, so in terms of how focused on tech the city is, Raleigh wins.
The Domain/Arboretum is between those suburbs and the city and it's a booming area these days with a lot going on. My advice would be to look near there or south of there for your housing. This gives you good commute flexibility for jobs in the burbs and the city, and makes getting into the city much more pleasant.
Traffic going North/South is getting really bad, so if you are wanting to be central/downtown during the weeknights you're going to want to stick around for a while and delay your commute or somehow offset your commute.
I have a coworker who lives in cedar park (our office is by UT) and fortunately for him his manager allows him to come in around 10 and leave at 4 to miss the traffic, but he has to make up for hours later in the evening.
Also, diversity sometimes looks like places other people love and you don't care for.
No public transportation means no public transportation that smells like urine. Since housing is so cheap everyone has nice cars.
Anecdotal example: when we lived in Tel Aviv (bad transit, although probably not as bad as many places in the US) I had several jobs and it would take me 50-60 minutes to get from home to work or vice versa.
This was not just me but is usual in greater Tel Aviv, unless you can afford to live in the city (almost nobody with kids does, metro tel aviv has 3.7m residents vs 450k for the city itself).
We've lived in Vienna before we moved and moved to Berlin after, both cities with great transit (that sometimes smell like piss). Both metros are comparable in size to TLV (metro Vienna 2.6m, metro Berlin 4.5m) and I've had several jobs in either - it usually takes 30-40 minutes to get to work and again it's not just me but the common case.
The problem is there is a culture of driving in Austin and not of taking the public options. Most people don't even know what is out there. We could do with quite a few less cars on the road.
Thankfully the climate is outstanding so I don't even need A/C.