Columbus, Ohio is the best place in the country for tech workers in 2017, according to a study by SmartAsset. Columbus had the best combination of high wages and low cost of living. Workers in Columbus are paid almost twice more than the average worker across all fields. Springfield, Ill., Sierra Vista, Ariz., Raleigh, N.C. and Dallas round out the top five.
Six of the top 10 cities to work in tech are in the South, where tech workers tend to be paid more than workers in non-tech fields and the cost of living is generally low. Texas had the most cities on the list of all the states, with five cities in the top 15.
SmartAsset examined data on 201 cities in five areas: the percent of workers employed in tech, the ratio of the average tech salary to the average salary across all fields, the cost of living, the unemployment rate and the average salary for tech workers.
At the start of the boom, Seattle, San Jose and San Francisco were the unchallenged leaders as the best place for tech workers to nest and build careers. In recent years, the cost of living in the Bay Area exploded, and those very high salaries just don't go as far for workers there. The quickly rising housing market took its toll. And many women were turned off by the widening gender pay gap.
That left an opening for cities like Columbus, Ohio and Dallas — and they took it.
Working with local and state governments, cities that once were not considered tech meccas made deals that companies could not ignore. By offering affordable housing, idyllic neighborhoods and some of the most in-demand perks, tech is spreading beyond Silicon Valley.
Contributing to that growing landscape is the availability of in-house tech jobs at more types of companies. Talented people can choose where to work and live.
This whole process is a cycle. As workers locate to other areas, the Silicon Valley economy evens out and becomes affordable.