Sometimes, finding success is about being in the right place. Many U.S. cities are on the rise in terms of engineering opportunities and industries, offering good job markets and exciting metro areas to live in beyond just Silicon Valley and the Bay Area, both of which are popular among engineers.
A recent data collection from WalletHub, a personal finance website, compared 100 large metro areas across 20 key metrics from per-capita STEM openings to wage growth. They also gathered insight from industry experts to determine some of the best U.S. cities for a thriving STEM career.
Figure 1: IT behemoths Microsoft and Amazon are both based in Seattle.
If you are looking for a west coast experience, Seattle and its surrounding suburbs hope to attract professionals. With information technology behemoths Microsoft and Amazon both based there, engineering jobs are plentiful. Amazon alone has 45,000 employees and approximately 10,000 jobs are currently posted. Boeing is also one of the area’s largest employers for those with an aerospace focus. Seattle is also the home of Starbucks and boasts the most coffee shops per capita.
This historic New England city is filled to the brim with colleges and universities including Harvard, Boston University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). There are also world-class medical institutions like Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Shriners Hospitals for Children. Research jobs at places like these are always in demand.
Once the center of the American steel industry, Pittsburgh is an ever-evolving city. While there are no longer any steel mills within Pittsburgh proper, many outlying towns still produce it. It has been named a top city for job growth by many sources, including Forbes. Big name companies like Google, Apple, Intel, Uber, Facebook and RAND have campuses within the city. These companies often have easy access to the talent coming out of Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh and Penn State, though the latter is a bit more centrally located.
Austin has a growing tech scene in addition to a thriving art, cultural and entertainment scene. Companies like Facebook, Amazon and Apple have offices in Austin. There are also unique opportunities in Austin for people to learn new skills that are in high demand.
Programs like WeWork’s Flatiron School offers courses in tech skills like software engineering, data science and UX/UI design, both on campus and online. The Austin campus is increasingly popular for people looking to get into Austin’s largest tech sector: software engineering.
People are flocking to Madison, Wisconsin, according to a recent Bloomberg review of mid-to-large U.S. cities. The city’s reasonable cost of living and job availability are two key factors for the influx. Epic Systems Corporation, which makes software used in many hospitals, is the largest private employer there with about 10,000 employees.
A recent analysis by 24/7 Wall Street found that this southern city has the third largest number of workers in the STEM field at 16%. The median salary is also about $80,000. Coupled with a low cost of living, that amount can go a lot farther than in some major metro areas. Companies like Boeing and Blue Origin employ thousands in Huntsville with an aerospace focus. Other companies like AT&T, IBM and Lockheed Martin also have large offices there.
Many factors influence where people call home. But sometimes, an unexpected location can mean tremendous opportunities. Often, when jobs come to a city, culture, great restaurants and things to do follow. One of these markets may be your key to success.