The pandemic tested and accelerated the work-from-home model around the world. Now, many workers have the flexibility to live where they want and work remotely.
Working from home is a trend that will continue in the tech industry, but the physical office won't disappear. Organizations around the globe still have offices in metropolitan areas staffed with employees. But there may be hybrid work opportunities, with some days spent in the office and others at home.
California's Silicon Valley is a hotbed for many technology startups. But it's not the only place to find good tech sector jobs.
Across the U.S. there are many cities where professionals can live and find tech jobs. But there are several things to consider before taking a job in any new city. Among the key criteria are an understanding of the cost of living and the average tech salary for a given area.
Median rent: $1,153
Median house value: $290,400
Median IT salary: $92,725
Tech education options: Georgia Institute of Technology
Top tech companies: IBM, Capgemini, Cox Communications
Popular job titles: senior network engineer, system administrator, desktop support analyst
Atlanta is home to the Coca-Cola Co. and has long been at the center of business in the Southern states.
In recent years, Atlanta has emerged as a strong IT center. In 2020, businesses posted nearly 114,000 tech jobs in the Atlanta area.
The median salary isn't as high as other metropolitan areas, but the cost of living and affordability in Atlanta make it a top choice for many.
Median rent: $1,280
Median house value: $337,400
Median IT salary: $89,000
Tech education options: University of Texas at Austin
Top tech companies: Dell, IBM, HP, AMD, Atlassian, Google, Facebook
Popular job titles: technology support specialist, system administrator, technical project manager
Austin has emerged as a top technology hub with a growing number of jobs. Many companies have relocated there from Silicon Valley, including Oracle, Tesla and HP.
According to CompTIA, there are more than 5,500 technology companies in the Austin area. Businesses posted more than 68,000 IT jobs between August 2019 and July 2020.
Median rent: $1,620
Median house value: $532,700
Median IT salary: $103,432
Tech education options: Harvard, MIT, Boston University
Top tech companies: IBM, BAE Systems, Wayfair
Popular job titles: IT architect, business systems analyst, director of information technology, IT security engineer
Tech job prospects in Boston are strong. Businesses posted more than 116,000 jobs in 2020 across a variety of companies. Among the top employers for IT tech talent in the Boston area are IBM, BAE Systems and Accenture.
Median rent: $1,052
Median house value: $188,100
Median IT salary: $94,044
Tech education options: University of Texas at Dallas, Southern Methodist University
Top tech companies: Verizon, IBM, NTT Data, JPMorgan
Popular job titles: director of information technology, network engineer, application support analyst
The cost of living and reasonable housing costs in the Dallas area draw many people to the city.
Dallas has a growing population and one of the fastest-growing IT job markets in the U.S. In 2020, businesses posted more than 178,000 IT jobs in the Dallas metro area. IT jobs are expected to grow by 11% over the next five years.
Median rent: $1,322
Median house value: $390,600
Median IT salary: $98,787
Tech education options: University of Colorado Denver, DeVry University
Top tech companies: CenturyLink, Arrow Electronics, Raytheon
Popular job titles: cloud administrator, director of information technology, IT support specialist
In 2020, businesses posted nearly 80,000 IT jobs. Denver has a reasonable median IT salary of $98,787, with a moderate cost of living amid the Rocky Mountains.
Median rent: $1,248
Median house value: $412,000
Median IT salary: $100,000
Tech education options: University of Oregon Portland
Top tech companies: Autodesk, Genentech, Amazon, Nike
Popular job titles: digital content specialist, principal engineer, data engineer
Tech jobs in the Portland area are varied and include tech vendors and non-tech vendors alike. Portland is also home to several global athletic brands such as Nike, Adidas North America and Columbia Sportswear. These companies -- and more -- have IT teams and growing needs for IT staff as they continue digital transformation efforts in store and online.
The Portland area has a reasonable cost of living and high median IT salary. This makes it an attractive location for IT professionals to settle down and grow their families and careers.
Median rent: $1,121
Median house value: $248,300
Median IT salary: $93,781
Tech education options: North Carolina State University
Top tech companies: IBM, Red Hat, SAS Institute
Popular job titles: project engineer, solutions architect, data engineer
The big tech hub in Raleigh is an area known as Research Triangle Park -- home to big IT vendors, including IBM. Raleigh is also home to IBM's Red Hat business unit. IBM acquired Red Hat in 2019. In 2020, businesses posted nearly 45,000 IT jobs for the Raleigh area.
San Diego, Calif.
Median rent: $1,695
Median house value: $602,600
Median IT salary: $103,781
Tech education options: University of California San Diego, National University
Top tech companies: Qualcomm, Intuit, ServiceNow
Popular job titles: director of product management, desktop support engineer, network engineer
San Diego is home to chipmaker giant Qualcomm, but that's not the only technology vendor in town. In 2020, businesses posted more than 66,000 IT jobs, with continued growth expected.
With a median IT salary of nearly $104,000 and a moderately high cost of living, San Diego is a good location to build an IT career.
San Francisco, Calif.
Median rent: $1,895
Median house value: $1.1 million
Median IT salary: $126,929
Tech education options: University of San Francisco
Top tech companies: Salesforce, Workday, Facebook, Oracle, Twitter
Popular job titles: application security architect, information technology infrastructure manager, software engineer
Some of the biggest and most influential companies in tech today -- including Salesforce and Twitter -- continue to hire aggressively in the San Francisco area. New startups across nearly every category of technology are also located in this area.
In 2020, businesses posted more than 168,000 jobs in the Bay Area.
The median IT salary in San Francisco is one of the highest anywhere in the U.S, but it's offset by the extremely high cost of living and limited availability of housing.
San Jose, Calif.
Median rent: $2,107
Median house value: $864,600
Median IT salary: $137,100
Tech education options: Stanford University, San Jose State University
Top tech companies: Apple, Cisco, Google, Nvidia, VMware
Popular job titles: software engineer, software architect, senior product manager
Nearly every major technology vendor has some kind of presence in or around the San Jose area. In 2020, businesses advertised nearly 135,000 IT jobs, with an emphasis on software development roles.
While there is no shortage of technology opportunities, the cost of living in San Jose can be higher than other areas. However, IT staff in the San Jose area are among the best paid in the U.S.
Median rent: $1,614
Median house value: $663,100
Median IT salary: $125,318
Tech education options: University of Washington
Top tech companies: Amazon, Microsoft, Oracle
Popular job titles: DevOps engineer, engineer director, full stack developer, IT manager
A key part of Seattle's stature as a tech hub has a lot to do with Microsoft, whose headquarters is 15 miles outside of downtown Seattle in Redmond.
Seattle is also home to Amazon headquarters, which is also a magnet for both tech talent and other tech companies to the city. Aside from tech, Seattle is also home to Starbucks, which started in Seattle and also hires many tech professionals every year.
In 2020, businesses posted more than 90,000 tech jobs in the Seattle area.
Median rent: $1,541
Median house value: $601,500
Median IT salary: $109,890
Tech education options: George Washington University, Georgetown University, Howard University
Top tech companies: Booz Allen Hamilton, SAIC, IBM, Deloitte
Popular job titles: senior enterprise architect, information technology specialist, software project manager
Businesses posted more than 260,000 IT jobs in 2020, making Washington, D.C., one of the most active tech worker job markets in the country. The U.S. government drives a good deal of tech activity, as jobs within government agencies and contractors dominate the landscape.