Home 2024 10 fastest growing US tech hubs for IT talent

10 fastest growing US tech hubs for IT talent

by Sarah K. White

After several years of unprecedented growth, tech salaries have started to stall and even drop in the aftermath of massive layoffs across the industry. In 2023, the average tech salary fell by $155 from 2022 to $111,193, according to the 2024 Dice Tech Salary Report. But cities where tech communities are growing are still seeing average tech salaries on the rise.

That’s due in part because you no longer have to live in the likes of Silicon Valley to earn a high-tech salary. With companies and employees alike moving to areas with lower costs of operating and living over the past few years, there are now several cities outside of traditional technology meccas such as the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle that are considered growing tech hubs where technologists can earn higher than average salaries, along with a lower cost of living. Dice defines a growing tech hub as a city with universities and colleges to recruit from, venture funding opportunities, a strong social scene for networking, and existing companies looking to hire talent.

These 10 cities are the fastest growing tech hubs by salary, according to Dice.

1. San Antonio

San Antonio is home to a former Air Force base that has since turned commercial, boasting the “largest concentration of IT workers in the area,” with a focus on engineering, cybersecurity, and robotics in the private sector and for national defense contractors, according to the San Antonio Report. The city gained some traction in attracting the talent during the pandemic, when remote work became widespread, with tech workers moving to the area to take advantage of the lower cost of living compared to Austin, the original Texas tech hub. It’s also home to Tech Port, which is San Antonio’s “vision for an innovation campus,” designed to support building a more connected future for the aerospace, energy, defense, cybersecurity, financial services, medicine, manufacturing, and supply-chain logistics industries.

The average tech salary in San Antonio is $112,057 per year — a 13.3% increase from 2022, according to Dice.

2. Philadelphia

Philadelphia is home to the Greater Philadelphia Region Precision Medicine Tech Hub, which is part of a recent government initiative to invest in technology hubs across the country. In October of last year, the Pennsylvania Tech Hub was unveiled as part of 31 inaugural tech hubs announced by the Biden-Harris administration, along with 29 Tech Hubs Strategy Development Grants. The area is home to more than 100 colleges, most notably the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton University, with 54% of graduates choosing to stay in the Greater Philadelphia area — to compare, the Greater Boston area sees only a 42% retention rate of recent graduates, according to Select Greater Philadelphia. This makes it a prime area for recruiting and hiring new talent as the tech industry grows. Companies that hire tech workers in Philadelphia include Bank of America, MetLife, PwC, Ingage, Comcast Advertising, JPMorgan Chase, Capital One, Pfizer, SAP, and Lockheed Martin.

The average tech salary in Philadelphia is $121,187 per year — a 11.8% increase from 2022, according to Dice.

3. Orlando, Fla.

In the city best known for its Disney theme parks, Orlando is also invested in growing its tech industry. The tech job market in Orlando is expected to increase 27% by 2030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is more than double the expected growth for computer and IT jobs nationally. Because of this, Orlando is quickly becoming a top metro area for tech growth, with companies such as EA, Deloitte, Oracle, Verizon, Veritas, and Stax setting up offices in the city. The University of Central Florida in Orlando awarded over 4,600 STEM degrees in the 2022-2023 academic year, making it a hot spot for companies looking to bring in fresh talent. UCF’s graduate game design program is also highly regarded, ranking in the top two, according to The Princeton Review and PC Gamer.

The average tech salary in Orlando is $106,693 per year — a 9.2% increase from 2022, according to Dice.

4. Columbus, Ohio

Columbus has always held interest for businesses due to the area’s diverse population, which has historically made it a popular test market for companies looking to launch new products. In recent years, it’s become a popular spot for the tech industry, with companies such as Facebook and Amazon moving into the city. And Intel recently announced plans to construct two chip factories right outside Columbus, slated to bring more than 3,000 jobs to the area. The city hasn’t lost its draw as a place for testing and launching new products either, as there is a growing startup community in Columbus. Between 2017 and 2021, investments into city startups started peaking, going from $583 million in 2020 to over $1 billion, with half of  the funding going to Olive, a healthcare technology company, and Path Robotics, an autonomous robotics company, according to TechCrunch.

The average tech salary in Columbus is $114,287 per year — a 6.4% increase from 2022, according to Dice.

5. Houston

Houston has emerged as a top Texas competitor to Austin for tech companies, entrepreneurs, and employees who are looking for a lower cost of living. In the past five years, venture-backed startups in Houston have received more than $6 billion in venture capital funding, with the city launching more than 80 startup development organizations (SDOs), from incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces, nonprofits, and academic institutions. The city of Houston has plans to continue growing as a tech hub for entrepreneurs, offering entrepreneurship programs at Rice University and University of Houston that have been recognized as being some of the top programs in the country, according to Princeton Review. There are plans to open an Innovation Hub in 2025 through the University of Houston, with the goal to continue encouraging the startup culture and entrepreneurship in the city. Houston is also home to the Ion District, which was established in 2021 as a “16-acre innovation community and economic engine” that is home to over 30 businesses, according to Greater Houston Partnership.

The average tech salary in Houston is $119,423 per year — a 4.8% increase from 2022, according to Dice.

6. Raleigh, N.C.

Tech companies have set their sights on Raleigh in the past few years, in part thanks to the area’s high-powered network infrastructure. North Carolina has also embraced tech development, promising Apple $846 million in funding over the next 39 years and becoming the first US state to incentivize esports after establishing a $5 million esports grant fund. Apple has also promised to invest $1 billion in a new campus in the “Research Triangle,” which includes nearby colleges and universities such as Duke, UNC Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University. Epic Games also announced plans to convert a defunct shopping mall in nearby Cary, N.C., into its new company headquarters.

The average tech salary in Raleigh is $118,933 per year — a 3.2% increase from 2022, according to Dice.

7. Baltimore

Baltimore is another city that has been designated as a Tech Hub as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s federal program through the US Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA). The city’s application for the Tech Hub designation was selected from 400 applications, with 38 partners signed on and support from over 170 elected officials, businesses, universities, and nonprofits in the city, demonstrating the city’s commitment to growing as a technology hub. The goal for this growing Baltimore tech hub is to focus on revolutionizing the healthcare industry by developing innovative healthcare technologies using predictive analytics and artificial intelligence technology.

The average tech salary in the Baltimore-DC area is $116,559 per year — a 1.7% increase from 2022, according to Dice.

8. St. Louis

The St. Louis region applied for a highly competitive federal Build Back Better Regional Challenge Grant and won $25 million to fund the St. Louis Tech Triangle, which the city has put toward building the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Center (AMICSTL). The plan for the innovation center is to connect industry leaders with higher education and workforce development partners, while also opening new career opportunities for underserved communities. The St. Louis Tech Triangle includes 15 counties in the greater St. Louis metropolitan area, bringing together the city’s already established bioscience, geospatial, and advanced manufacturing industries. Tech companies with offices in St. Louis include IBM, Amazon, WWT, Apple, Microsoft, Oracle, Dell Technologies, Fujitsu, and Google.

The average tech salary in St. Louis is $120,975 per year — a 11.8% increase from 2022, according to Dice. However, it’s noted in the report that this data point is based off less than 100 respondents, making it statistically less valid than the others on this list.

9. Denver

Colorado has seen growth in tech jobs and startups over the past decade, and Denver has become a growing hub for technology companies. The state was also early to recognize the need for clean technology, becoming the first state to pass a voter-approved renewable energy standard in 2004. The Boulder-Denver area is also well known as a hub for quantum technology research, with a strong startup scene built around those technologies. Colorado was also granted Tech Hub status by the EDA, with a commitment to develop technology centered around quantum hardware, quantum computing, and quantum networking, with the goal of bringing this technology to the market.

The average tech salary in Denver is $122,913 per year — a 1.6% increase from 2022, according to Dice.

10. Los Angeles

While the Bay Area is California’s best-known tech hub, companies and workers from Silicon Valley have trickled down to the Los Angeles area in recent years as the cost of living continues to rise in Silicon Valley. Dubbed Silicon Beach, the Westside region of Los Angeles houses more than 500 technology companies and startups. Startups such as Snapchat and Tinder were born in LA, and companies such as Google, Facebook, Netflix, Amazon, Apple, YouTube, Buzzfeed, and Salesforce have all opened offices in the area. Los Angeles is also home to universities, including UCLA, USC, and Caltech, making it a hot spot for talent recruitment, considering the strong STEM programs offered at these universities. The Los Angeles Center for Innovation and Technology has developed several initiatives to support the tech industry, including the Bixel Exchange, the L.A. Tech Talent Pipeline, and the Innovation and Technology Council.

The average tech salary in Los Angeles is $117,096 per year — a 0.5% increase from 2022, according to Dice.

2023’s Top 10 

  1. Phoenix, AZ (up 26.2%) 
  2. Tampa, FL (up 19%) 
  3. Columbus, OH (up 15.7%) 
  4. Portland, OR (up 15.5%) 
  5. Charlotte, NC (up 11.1%) 
  6. Miami, FL (up 10.6%) 
  7. Sacramento, CA (up 9.7%) 
  8. Raleigh, NC (up 9.4%) 
  9. Boston, MA (up 9%) 
  10. Seattle, WA (up 7.6%) 

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