If you work in the tech industry, you already know about the hottest spots for tech workers – San Francisco and New York City. These cities are regularly featured as top destinations for techies, but if you want to avoid a high cost of living and the big city lifestyle, there are still options galore. Indeed, over the past two decades, cities and metro areas across the country have branded themselves as “Silicon X” (or in the case of Philadelphia – Philicon Valley).
Whether you’re a recent grad or just tired of spending most of your salary on rent each month, check out these awesome destinations for tech workers.
No longer just a hub of gambling and entertainment, Sin City has a lot to offer for tech workers and companies. In 2012, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh dumped $350 million into developing the city’s tech scene. And while the project has faced stumbling blocks in its first five years and is no longer investing in new startups, the tech infrastructure it created remains. VegasTech supports these efforts by promoting and fostering tech and community events in the city.
What’s more, Las Vegas hosts the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which attracts tech leaders from across the globe–in 2016, the show attracted over 175,000 visitors. For techies who love to network and explore new technologies, you can’t do much better than having CES in your backyard once a year.
From 2012 to 2014, Phoenix added over 12,000 new tech jobs, and saw $243 million invested in local companies. The bustling downtown of Phoenix has recently started attracting younger transplants, which is helping anchor a growing tech scene. This is especially noticeable in the city’s startup scene, which has seen huge benefits from local incubators and accelerators. An abundance of co-working spaces is also enticing remote workers who don’t want to be tied to their couch all day.
ASU’s huge main campus in nearby Tempe also offers support for young entrepreneurs, and the PHX StartupWeek keeps the dream alive long after class is over. Just check out Phoenix-based TechAZ to see all the great things techies and tech companies are doing in the Valley of the Sun.
As a Google Fiber city, it’s no surprise that Kansas City boasts the fastest internet speed for remote workers in the country. There’s a reason Google chose KC as the pilot city for its internet rollout – tech companies in the area are booming. The Missouri Technology Corporation plays a large part in this success by offering large grants to tech companies with a special focus on biotech and agriculture.
The startup scene in Kansas City is thriving as well – Digital Sandbox KC helped local startups raise $7 million in a single year. Think Big Partners is another local firm that helps entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground. With lightning-fast internet speeds and established infrastructure for tech companies, tech workers will find a welcome home in KC.
Another city with incredibly fast internet speeds, Chattanooga stands out because the city itself was responsible for installing its own fiber network. Struggling to define itself following the decline of the railroad industry, which the city formerly relied on, Chattanooga reinvented itself as “Gig City” after installing the country’s first citywide fiber internet network (years before Google Fiber’s rollout). Gigabit internet is just one of many commitments the city has made to supporting and bolstering its tech scene. Chattanooga’s annual Startup Week connects its entrepreneurial community, bringing together founders and thought leaders to advance fledgling local firms. For techies that love working on the ground floor of companies and want a city that actively supports its entrepreneurs, Chattanooga is the place to be.
Lincoln tech workers earn about half what their contemporaries make in Silicon Valley, however, the average home price in the city is about 15 percent of what you’d pay in San Jose. Star City’s dirt cheap cost of living has led to a software boom and a huge expansion of its startup scene. Eager to attract tech companies and talent, Lincoln is quick to offer tax subsidies that can help firms offer better salary and benefits to their employees. However, even with a slew of success stories, Lincoln is still building a reputation as a techie destination. This means that jobs are plentiful – the city enjoys an insanely low unemployment rate of 2.1 percent. Lincoln is also surrounded by other Nebraska tech-minded cities in one of the country’s “Silicon Prairies,” leading to increased job opportunities and higher salaries.