Ten Best U.S. Cities for Tech Workers, Including Two in Colorado

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Last year, NerdWallet's list of the ten best U.S. cities for tech jobs featured one community in Colorado: Boulder.

This year, Homes.com conducted a similar study for its New Tech City Index 2016, and once again, Boulder made the grade.

But another Colorado city did, too — and placed even higher than did the People's Republic.

As a result, Colorado joins California and Massachusetts as the only states to land more than one place on the roster.

Check out the photo-illustrated Homes.com top ten below, featuring text, links and data from the site — a lot more of it for the top five. That's followed by a Homes.com graphic showing the twenty highest-rated cities for tech workers, followed by the methodology used to determine the results. For much more information, click here.

10. Boulder, CO

Boulder, Colorado, is among the most desirable residential destinations in the entire nation, and anyone who spends even just a few days there will easily understand why. With endless recreational opportunities, stunning views of the surrounding landscape and top-notch shopping, dining and entertainment opportunities, the city of Boulder offers it all, and has a hot housing market with an array of high-end options to match. From downtown residences to those that are found more "off the beaten path," there's quite a bit to behold in the city of Boulder....

9. Durham, NC

Whether you are shopping for a sprawling brick home overlooking a golf course or a cute vintage-style cottage, Durham, North Carolina, can meet your needs. There is a dreamy southern charm to the homes in this city. Wraparound porches, manicured lawns lined with azalea bushes, and old oak trees shading the front yard make these neighborhoods both cozy and sophisticated....

8. Baltimore, MD

Homebuyers who want to settle in the country's largest independent city won't need to look any further than Baltimore, MD. The almost 300-year old city retains several historical structures amidst modern developments. While many neighborhoods feature lines of townhomes and apartment buildings, suburban areas also offer single-family homes with sprawling lawns and mature trees. Dubbed "the city of neighborhoods," the seaside town of Baltimore has a variety of dwellings to offer....

7. Santa Ana, CA

In its position as the prestigious county seat of Orange County, Santa Ana makes its mark on California through its beautiful architecture, coastal atmosphere, and classic West Coast character. The homes of the densely populated city vary from beach-style condos to modern townhouses to luxury villas that echo tropical elegance. Between ranch houses, multi-floor homes, and split-level constructions, there's a lot for future residents of Santa Ana to choose from. One thing is for sure: It's sunny in Santa Ana no matter what part of the city you live in....

6. Austin, TX

Austin is the fourth largest city in Texas and home to the University of Texas, the annual music and culture festival South by South West, and the stage of the public television concert series Austin City Limits. The city was founded in 1839 on the banks of the Colorado River, and boasts a population of over 900,000 residents....

Continue to see Homes.com's top five U.S. cities for tech workers, including one more from Colorado.

5. Boston, MA

Like second placed Framingham, Boston benefits from the high educational standards in Massachusetts, but also from its relationship with other powerhouses on the East Coast. Cristina Callahan, Marketing Manager at Streetwise Media, believes there are a number of factors that have helped the city’s tech industry develop: "VC attention, favorable policies at the state and local levels, and desirable livability standards have all helped in various ways, as have local success stories..."

Average tech wage: $99,766.7
Tech jobs per 1000 employees: 4.2
Average total employment: 7,466
Average house price: $530,333
House price change (5 Years): +14.84%
Companies based there: Cambashi, SatCon Technology Corporation, SofTech

4. Atlanta, GA

Famously the home of Coca-Cola, Georgia has more recently been recognized as a tech hotspot with the development of the city’s Technology Square which includes the Georgia Institute of Technology, The Advanced Technology Development Center and soon the 20 storey headquarters of NCR. Only last week, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed signed a 20-year deal with Delta Airlines which included plans for an airport expansion....

Average tech wage: $91,996.66
Tech jobs per 1000 employees: 3
Average total employment: 7273.3
Average house price: $276,650
House price change (5 Years): +15.97%
Companies based there: Cox Enterprises, NCR, NASCO

3. Oakland, CA

As a neighbor to Silicon Valley and San Francisco, Oakland is well placed to kick-start a career in the tech industry. The city was ranked as having the fourth most culturally diverse city in the country and has a thriving arts and nightlife scene that is perfect for young professionals....

Average tech wage: $100,305
Tech jobs per 1000 employees: 3
Average total employment: 3046.7
Average house price: $534,817
House price change (5 Years): +47.61%
Companies based there: Ask.com, BrightSource Energy, Turnitin

2. Framingham, MA

Despite a population of under 70,000, Massachusetts’ 15th most populous city has been earning a reputation as a new tech hub. This is largely thanks to companies such as Bose and CA Technologies basing their global headquarters in the west of the city. The town ranks second in the index but the state of Massachusetts actually beats Colorado as the most educated state in the country....

Average tech wage: $106,850
Tech jobs per 1000 employees: 6.7
Average total employment: 1086.7
Average house price: $432,415
House price change (5 Years): +16.68%
Companies based there: Bose, Genzyme, CA Technologies

1. Denver, CO

The mile-high city has a reputation as a haven for parks and animals, with the city even owning its own buffalo herd. However, it also tops our rankings as the best place to live if you’re a tech professional.

Data from the US census last year also revealed that the state of Colorado is the second most educated in the country with 90% residents attaining a high school diploma and 38% earning at least a bachelor’s degree in higher education. This highly educated workforce has created a great environment for the tech industry to thrive....

Average tech wage: $91,861.66
Tech jobs per 1000 employees: 3.8
Average total employment: 5058.0
Average house price: $486,500
House price change (5 Years): +41.29%
Companies based there: Oracle, Sitrion, Jeppesen

How We Did It

The Homes.com New Tech City Index uses a number of factors to help inform our calculations. First, we analyzed data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, including the average wage of all job types in 365 cities across the country, the average total employed in each area, and the average number of jobs per 1000 for each job type.

Six jobs were selected as a snapshot of the tech industry: Computer and Information Systems Manager, Computer Programmer, Software Developer, App Hardware Engineer, Network Support Specialist, Web Developer. The median wage from all of these positions was calculated for each city and ranked appropriately. We then did the same with the average number of these jobs for every 1000 jobs in each city as well as the overall average total employment. We then combined the rankings in each category to get overall ranking for each city.

From this, we were served with a top 20 ranking of cities for tech jobs. In order to create a clearer picture of new and emerging tech cities, we excluded data from large, established tech areas including San Jose, San Francisco, Washington, New York and Seattle.

Although job availability and salary are important factors to consider when choosing an area to live and work, there are other factors to consider too. To give an insight into how the tech industry can affect the housing market, we also analyzed average house price over the past five months (taken from our own listings) and house price change over the past five years (data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency).

While these metrics were used primarily as a ranking factor, we were also able to analyze the effect a high concentration of tech jobs can have on a housing market. As the map above shows, while relatively isolated enclaves of tech industry like Seattle or Austin often create a high concentration of jobs, this can also lead to inflated house prices. House price increase is undoubtedly a positive sign for those looking to invest but could also indicate a volatile housing market. Additionally, smaller more competitive markets like the city of Oakland, have seen a great increase in house price but didn’t rate so well with affordability.

When looking at average house price for the index, we favorably ranked cities with a currently low average house prices. So, the city with the lowest average house price over the past five months was ranked highest, in this case, Columbus. When looking at house price increase, we favorably ranked those that had seen the most positive growth over the past five years. In this case, with a rise of 47.61% in the past five years.

With three separate rankings now for each city (jobs, average house price, house price change), we were able to create an overall average position and therefore, an overall ranking in the Homes.com New Tech Cities Index 2016.

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