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10 Great Cities for Software Jobs in 2020



Professionals in the tech and software industry are often willing to move for work. Whether they’re in programming or software sales, everyone likes to have a job at a great company—while enjoying other benefits like lower costs of living, shorter commutes, great weather, and local culture. Many professionals seeking software jobs congregate in urban areas, where startups are blossoming and big-name tech companies are recruiting talent. Let’s take a look at 10 great cities for relocating to a better software sales job or tech job in 2020.


10 Great Cities for Software Jobs in 2020:


  • Austin Texas

  • Raleigh, North Carolina

  • San Jose, California

  • Seattle, Washington

  • Denver, Colorado

  • Washington, D.C.

  • Columbus, Ohio

  • Boston, Massachusetts

  • San Francisco, California

  • Tampa, Florida


The cost of living will vary from city to city, and was just one of the factors we’ll consider as we move through the list. Climate, culture, work opportunities, and presence of startups are just a few other components that will help us understand the best locations for professionals focused on software.


10 Great Cities for Software Jobs in 2020


Austin Texas


This self-proclaimed capital of weird is no stranger to tech companies. Apple, Dell, Google, and IBM all have a campus in this central Texas metropolis of nearly one million residents. Zoho, a cloud competitor to Microsoft, recently uprooted their roots from Pleasanton, California and planted them into Texas soil, adding an iconic building to the Austin skyline. Local startups like RigUp and DISCO have also raised substantial venture capital and look promising among the many tech companies that view Austin’s younger population as innovative, out-of-the-box, and progressive. Those relocating for software jobs will also certainly appreciate the numerous concert venues offered in The Live Musical Capital of the World.


Raleigh, North Carolina


The City of Oaks is located in a research triangle formed in part by Duke and Chapel Hill, offering lots of young, innovative talent. Many tech companies in this North Carolina metropolis of half a million residents specialize in biotech and medicine. North Carolina startups originating in Raleigh include Pendo, Prometheus Group, and Epic Games—the name behind the wildly popular Fortnite. Pendo (a cloud based platform on a self-proclaimed mission to transform the world through software) is the largest tenant of downtown Raleigh’s The Crossing, a mix-use development project that looks promising to software job seekers lured to Raleigh by its lower costs of living and higher tech wages.


San Jose, California


With over six figures in software jobs posted in 2019, it’s no surprise that this Bay Area tech locus should be listed among the best cities for software jobs. A metropolitan locus of 2 million residents in the Silicon Valley, San Jose has long been the epicenter of technological development: Facebook, Apple, Adobe, Sisco, and Google are all based in the area, and dozens of other software companies dot the surrounding greater Bay Area. The cost of living is higher in San Jose (as much as 44% higher than the national average) but the Bay Area also boasts an incredible mix of cultural and scenic attractions, which have long made it one of the most desirable places to live in the United States, even before its digital renaissance.


Seattle, Washington


If you like rolling forests and professional opportunity, the not-too urban triangle of Seattle, Bellevue, and Tacoma might be just the place in the Pacific Northwest for you. Though Amazon recently surpassed Microsoft as the largest tech employer in the area, the brainchild of Bill Gates is still a major employer in this area—its home base—as are Facebook and Oracle. More than 100 other tech companies have transplanted themselves to The Emerald City, which is so named because the surrounding area is a verdant paradise for nature-lovers year round. Flexport, Duolingo, and HelloAlfred are just a few of the notable software, IT, and cloud companies that can now be found in Washington State’s largest city.


Denver, Colorado


As it turns out, Colorado is the 5th-fastest growing state in the US—though the combination of its scenic mountain landscapes and thriving local economies should make that no surprise. Dish Network, Raytheon, CenturyLink, and Comcast are just a few of the tech companies tapping into the workforce that LinkedIn has rated one of the most attractive cities to 20-and-30 somethings. Since Denver was one of the first locations to legalize cannabis in 2012, the area has seen a proliferation of businesses in the green marketplace, some of which benefit directly or indirectly from tech and software companies in agriculture and logistics. The cost of living is around 15% above the national average, but still around 30% less than Silicon Valley, which is perhaps why so many residents of the Golden State are moving back east—to the Rockies.


Washington, D.C.


The national capital is a monument-filled city we usually associate with government and not tech—but wouldn’t you know it...the government benefits from companies focusing on IT and SaaS like General Dynamics, Booz Allen Hamilton, SAIC, and IBM. These software and tech companies have been playing substantial roles in the modernization of the Federal Government, and they will soon be joined by eCommerce giant Amazon, who will be building their HQ2 near the Pentagon in Crystal City, Virginia. The cost of living is higher than the national average by around 16%, but in addition to all the historical attractions in the area (like museums, monuments, battlefields, and parks), the urban area around D.C. is culturally vibrant.


Columbus, Ohio


With the fall of its manufacturing industry, this Ohio city best known for the Football Hall of Fame has seen a tech resurgence. Combined with a cost of living that is 5% lower than the national average, this metropolis of the Buckeye State is an attractive option for IT job seekers. Ohio has been fairly open about how great it is for tech companies to relocate there, estimating that transplants from Silicon Valley can save up to 70% of their operating costs. Google has recently revealed plans to build a data center in the area, creating a local investment of $600 million. They will join names like IBM, Comtech Global, and Accenture, along with recognized names that also have sizable numbers of tech opportunities such as JP Morgan Chase.


Boston, Massachusetts


The Cradle of the American Revolution is becoming a cradle for robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT). Additionally, this one-time location of a famous tea-related protest has long been a locus for biotech, partially fueled by a steady stream of the the brightest talent from universities like MIT, Harvard, and Boston College. Part of Boston’s appeal in terms of software jobs and tech jobs is its diversity among startups; for example, food-related startups have recently raised significant funding. The downside to living in Beantown is the cost of living, which is around 34% higher than the national average. However, companies like Amazon, IBM, Dell, Deloitte, and Raytheon are attracting talent from around the US and motivating recent graduates to stay in this biggest of cities in New England.


San Francisco, California


Just a hop, skip, and a jump away from San Jose is another Bay Area city and tech locus, which is outpaced only by Austin in terms of tech job growth. Uber, Workday, Oracle, IBM, Cisco, and Salesforce are just a few of the recognizable names in the city that are actively hiring. Salesforce has recently built a massive skyscraper that dominates the skyline, towering over the Transamerica pyramid and symbolizing their sizable presence on the local tech landscape. San Francisco is also ripe soil for startups. Not all of them reach billion dollar valuations like Uber, but those that do are referred to as unicorns—and with 88 unicorns in 2019, San Francisco had more startup magic than any other region in the world.


Tampa, Florida


Long considered a vacation destination along the waters of the Gulf, Tampa has tried to refocus its economy on tech—which has resulted in around 150 startups blossoming in the sunny weather and tax-friendly weather of the so-called Big Guava. Tampa has been labeled by Forbes as one of the top 10 cities for young entrepreneurs. Those who don’t start their own software company can perhaps find work with Citi, Verizon, General Dynamics, Accenture, and WellCare. As a side bonus, they’ll also enjoy sunny weather and close proximity to some of the country’s best beaches, all for the low-priced tradeoff of living costs a little over 2% above the national average.


Where are the best software jobs?


As you can see, there are a number of places around the US where software jobs are booming. But keep in mind that finding a job at a great software company or tech company is not just about the job. Cost of living, housing, and culture are just a few of the other factors you’ll want to consider in your search for the perfect long-term gig among software jobs. If you’d like to talk about which location and which company best fits with your personal and professional goals, send an email to mike@michaelblair.com and let’s talk about where you might be headed next.

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