The Best and Worst States to Work in Tech
As the tech industry continues to boom across the country, opportunities for tech workers in new locations have increased.
- Georgia may be the best state to work in tech, according to BestColleges' findings.
- States with high tech wages, a low cost of living, and diverse tech workforces topped the list.
- Remote work is another factor tech workers may want to consider before making their move.
While Silicon Valley is the official HQ for many tech giants and startups, you don't need to live there to work for them. Over the last five years, the technology industry has expanded outside traditional centers like San Francisco and Seattle to burgeoning hubs all across the country.
As top tech companies seek out new locations to expand and find new talent, opportunities for tech workers have increased almost everywhere. So where is the best place to go if you want to work in tech?
We looked at seven variables in each state for this study to make your search a little easier: median tech wages, the percentage difference between median tech wages and median wages of all occupations, number of job postings, cost of living, percentage of tech workers who are women, percentage of tech workers who are Black and Latino/a, and a state's overall well-being score.
We understand that priorities vary and what's important to one individual may not be what's important to all. But this list can be a useful starting point for your job search.
The Best States to Work in Tech
- According to BestColleges' findings, Georgia is the best state to work in tech. As top companies like Google, Apple, and Microsoft expand in Atlanta, tech opportunities for the state's notably diverse population have exploded. Additionally, with its low cost of living and significant increase in wages for tech workers compared to non-tech workers, Georgia is a standout state to start working in tech.
- Up next is Virginia, earning its spot for its high wages for tech workers and large number of job postings. The state has the third-highest concentration of tech workers in the nation and is home to Amazon's second headquarters.
- Closely following Virginia is Maryland. The state boasts high annual wages for tech workers and relatively high diversity within its tech workforce. It also ranks highly for well-being, but takes a hit due to its high cost of living.
- North Carolina came in fourth on the list, ranking highest for the increase in tech workers' earnings compared to individuals in other occupations. The state has well-above-average rankings in every category but well-being, where it ranked 37th.
- California rounds out the top five with its high tech wages and large number of job postings. Home to Silicon Valley, the state symbolizes tech growth and innovation. However, due to its extremely high cost of living and middling gender diversity in tech, California falls to number five on this list.
Other Factors to Consider
While this study aims to address factors that may be important to many tech workers, it doesn't account for everything. Elements like political climate, educational opportunities, crime, and weather can also play an important role in your decision to work and live somewhere new.
Further, many tech companies hire a significant number of remote-only employees. Because of this, remote workers may not be impacted by certain variables, such as a high cost of living, when applying for tech jobs in some states.
To complete this study, BestColleges used an array of publicly available datasets related to tech workers. Each variable we considered was weighted by level of importance as follows: median annual wage for tech workers (20%), percentage more that tech workers earn compared to individuals in all occupations (15%), number of tech job postings (15%), cost of living (15%), percentage of tech workers who are women (12.5%), percentage of tech workers who are Black and Latino/a (12.5%), and overall well-being (10%).
Data on the number of tech job postings and demographic breakdowns of tech workers by state were obtained from CompTIA's 2022 State of Tech Workforce report and reflect figures for 2021. Percentages of Black and Latino/a workers were averaged.
Lastly, BestColleges used Sharecare's 2020 Community Well-Being Index, which was released in May 2021, to determine well-being by state. The index measures physical, financial, and social well-being, as well as a resident's access to food, housing, economic security, and healthcare.