Find Your Next Tech Job in One of These Boom Towns

Look beyond major metropolitan areas to smaller U.S. cities with relatively few applicants for many openings

Illustration of technological objects turned into a small city with several tech workers on top.
Illustration: iStockphoto
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Tech’s share of the Silicon Valley job market continues to grow, in spite of the loud and constant complaints about dramatically escalating housing costs. (Or maybe because of them; perhaps only tech professionals can afford to work in the area.)

That’s the conclusion of a study by job site Indeed. Indeed compared the share of tech job postings with overall job postings in a number of U.S. regions and found that, among metro areas with at least 1 million people, tech is becoming increasingly dominant in established hot spots like Silicon Valley, Boston, Raleigh, and Seattle. So if you’re in downtown San Francisco or on University Avenue in Palo Alto and you think you’re seeing more hoodies than ever, you wouldn’t be wrong.

This isn’t a huge surprise.

But a number of other U.S. metropolitan areas have been trying hard to become—or to pitch themselves as—the “next Silicon Valley.” Los Angeles has been encouraging tech investments and floated the moniker “Silicon Beach.” Utah is pushing a “Silicon Slopes” initiative to boost its tech visibility. Two venture capitalists are betting Ohio’s tech sector will take off.

The Indeed study identified 10 regions that might have some reason to make that claim: Huntsville, Ala.; Boulder, Colo.; Trenton, N.J.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Fla.; Provo-Orem, Utah; Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, Calif.; Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Ark./Mo.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; and Durham-Chapel Hill, N.C.

These metropolitan areas have populations between 250,000 to 1 million and shares of tech job postings from 5.8 percent to 17.8 percent [see chart, below]. Several are college towns—the Trenton, N.J., area encompasses Princeton University, for example. Others fuel their tech industries with military or aerospace activity, like Huntsville, Colorado Springs, and the Melbourne, Fla. area, the Indeed report pointed out.

Indeed also considered where fewer tech workers are chasing more jobs in those regions, by considering the number of clicks per job listing (fewer clicks indicates fewer job seekers). By that metric, Huntsville and Colorado Springs came out on top among the smaller tech hot spots, while Ann Arbor and Boulder are more of an employers’ market [see chart, below].

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IEEE Spectrum’s blog featuring the people, places, and passions of the world of technologists in Silicon Valley and its environs.