These Are The 10 Best Cities For Software Engineers

Chris Kolmar
by Chris Kolmar
Best States For Professions, Rankings - 1 year ago
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Whether you’re just starting out your career, or looking to make a move, it can be important to know what part of the country offers the best chance for your long term career prospects. And for a very common profession like Programmers, the regional differences can have a big impact on your salary and career options.

To help you make the best decision possible, we at Zippia wanted to look at the cities that offer programmers the most for their career. These are the cities across the US where programmers get paid well, relative to the cost of living, and jobs are plentiful.

So we did what we do best and dove into the numbers from the BLS to figure out which cities have the best opportunities for programmers.The result is this list of the best cities programmers:

  1. Seattle, WA
  2. Huntsville, AL
  3. Austin, TX
  4. St. Louis, MO
  5. Columbus, GA
  6. Albuquerque, NM
  7. Durham, NC
  8. Trenton, NJ
  9. Birmingham, AL
  10. San Francisco, CA

So there you have it — Seattle is the best city when it comes to being a programmer.

And where should you consider avoiding if you’re a programmer? That would be Yakima.

Read on to see how we completed our research on the best cities for programmers and for more on the top ten cities.

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How we determined the best cities to be a programmer?




Here at Zippia, we talk to a lot of people of all different backgrounds looking for jobs. Our research has concluded that there are two common things people want in a job:

  • Availability of jobs
  • Pay

So in order to find out the best cities for programmers in America we needed to figure out where the jobs are and how well programmers get paid. This led to the following criteria taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s Occupational Employment Statistics for 2015:

  • Location quotient. A measure of how common a job is a given city.
  • Average annual salary.
  • Average annual salary for entry level work.

To make all the salary numbers more apples to apples across cities, we compared the salary data relative to the state’s cost of living.

This left us with enough data for 306 metro areas across the country. We then took the primary area of the metro and labeled that the ‘city’ for this analysis. So, for example, “Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA NECTA Division” became simply Boston.

In order to develop an overall ranking, we ranked each city for each criteria from 1 to 306 where 1 was the best.

We then averaged all the rankings for a city into a Job Score with the city having the lowest overall Job Score earning the distinction of being the best city for programmers in America.

So without further ado, let’s get into just what made each city so great for programmers.

1. Seattle, WA

Best States For Programmers

Source: wikipedia

Total Jobs: 11,970
Average Annual Salary: $123,490
Average Entry Level Salary: $77,040
Location Quotient: 3.71

2. Huntsville, AL

Best States For Programmers

Source: wikipedia

Total Jobs: 1,910
Average Annual Salary: $97,840
Average Entry Level Salary: $60,550
Location Quotient: 4.27

3. Austin, TX

Best States For Programmers

Source: wikipedia

Total Jobs: 3,780
Average Annual Salary: $90,500
Average Entry Level Salary: $54,000
Location Quotient: 1.94

4. St. Louis, MO

Best States For Programmers

Source: wikipedia

Total Jobs: 4,610
Average Annual Salary: $84,350
Average Entry Level Salary: $54,270
Location Quotient: 1.66

5. Columbus, GA

Best States For Programmers

Source: wikipedia

Total Jobs: 710
Average Annual Salary: $79,970
Average Entry Level Salary: $56,660
Location Quotient: 2.94

6. Albuquerque, NM

Best States For Programmers

Source: wikipedia

Total Jobs: 1,000
Average Annual Salary: $106,060
Average Entry Level Salary: $60,720
Location Quotient: 1.27

7. Durham, NC

Best States For Programmers

Source: wikipedia

Total Jobs: 1,320
Average Annual Salary: $84,640
Average Entry Level Salary: $55,290
Location Quotient: 2.19

8. Trenton, NJ

Best States For Programmers

Source: wikipedia

Total Jobs: 1,740
Average Annual Salary: $92,100
Average Entry Level Salary: $60,910
Location Quotient: 3.74

9. Birmingham, AL

Best States For Programmers

Source: wikipedia

Total Jobs: 1,960
Average Annual Salary: $78,440
Average Entry Level Salary: $48,980
Location Quotient: 1.87

10. San Francisco, CA

Best States For Programmers

Source: wikipedia

Total Jobs: 6,110
Average Annual Salary: $108,070
Average Entry Level Salary: $56,290
Location Quotient: 2.86

And that’s our list of the best cities for programmers

If you’re looking to start out your career as a programmer these are the cities that should be at the top of your list. You’ll find high pay, available jobs, and chances for career advancement.

If you’re curious, here are the worst cities to be a programmer in America:

  1. Yakima, WA
  2. Ocala, FL
  3. Panama City, FL

Detailed List Of The Best Cities For Programmers

Rank State Average Salary Entry Level Salary # Of People
1 Seattle, WA $123,490 $77,040 11,970
2 Huntsville, AL $97,840 $60,550 1,910
3 Austin, TX $90,500 $54,000 3,780
4 St. Louis, MO $84,350 $54,270 4,610
5 Columbus, GA $79,970 $56,660 710
6 Albuquerque, NM $106,060 $60,720 1,000
7 Durham, NC $84,640 $55,290 1,320
8 Trenton, NJ $92,100 $60,910 1,740
9 Birmingham, AL $78,440 $48,980 1,960
10 San Francisco, CA $108,070 $56,290 6,110
11 Montgomery County, PA $88,090 $51,180 4,730
12 Atlanta, GA $84,690 $51,010 7,840
13 Fairbanks, AK $92,980 $68,420 100
14 Charlotte, NC $87,020 $52,000 2,700
15 Montgomery, AL $76,210 $43,950 800
16 Boston, MA $100,610 $60,450 4,620
17 Omaha, NE $77,930 $47,700 2,240
18 San Antonio, TX $94,520 $51,020 1,700
19 Anchorage, AK $103,190 $57,370 320
20 Little Rock, AR $68,020 $50,360 970
21 Philadelphia, PA $82,940 $50,170 2,160
22 Auburn, AL $82,940 $50,420 80
23 Provo, UT $79,310 $43,780 740
24 Framingham, MA $92,420 $56,510 970
25 Newark, NJ $91,530 $51,810 4,340
26 Wilmington, DE $85,000 $56,340 790
27 Silver Spring, MD $95,180 $55,420 1,620
28 Boulder, CO $97,720 $58,750 240
29 Charleston, SC $75,040 $47,410 700
30 Minneapolis, MN $80,820 $50,350 6,210
31 Kansas City, MO $75,640 $41,690 3,440
32 Nashville, TN $77,310 $51,360 1,390
33 Los Angeles, CA $95,650 $55,780 7,340
34 Bellingham, WA $98,150 $54,790 100
35 Vallejo, CA $100,730 $65,060 150
36 Lake County, IL $88,330 $43,420 1,530
37 Harrisburg, PA $77,650 $44,770 1,100
38 Warner Robins, GA $68,530 $50,830 220
39 Sacramento, CA $81,680 $58,390 3,440
40 Miami, FL $91,780 $52,730 1,460
41 Reading, PA $78,930 $55,570 270
42 Bremerton, WA $87,520 $63,600 90
43 Houston, TX $88,740 $46,730 4,040
44 Chattanooga, TN $76,290 $45,620 400
45 Jefferson City, MO $68,920 $44,020 200
46 Reno, NV $85,970 $48,390 430
47 California, MD $89,000 $53,440 120
48 Dalton, GA $70,410 $49,440 160
49 Columbia, SC $70,800 $40,900 1,830
50 San Jose, CA $93,940 $46,480 6,510
51 Portland, OR $81,010 $48,590 2,370
52 Bridgeport, CT $86,610 $57,140 1,400
53 Baltimore, MD $88,720 $55,130 2,870
54 Denver, CO $89,990 $50,770 2,130
55 Dallas, TX $89,490 $37,550 7,680
56 Warren, MI $73,040 $49,430 2,180
57 Columbus, OH $73,480 $44,330 1,660
58 Lansing, MI $80,080 $44,600 350
59 Indianapolis, IN $71,300 $43,410 2,060
60 Winston, NC $81,040 $53,410 270
61 Des Moines, IA $74,120 $51,750 520
62 Tuscaloosa, AL $79,480 $44,810 110
63 Palm Bay, FL $86,090 $43,220 450
64 Ithaca, NY $78,250 $57,930 240
65 New York, NY $95,690 $48,550 18,460
66 Elizabethtown, KY $74,050 $49,490 40
67 Lawrence, MA $93,120 $53,230 150
68 Norwich, CT $96,900 $54,780 190
69 Oakland, CA $93,920 $46,050 2,800
70 Morgantown, WV $75,590 $47,600 50
71 Lawton, OK $67,010 $45,410 80
72 Jackson, MS $72,070 $49,910 250
73 Springfield, IL $78,840 $50,180 170
74 Bloomington, IN $69,310 $40,590 190
75 Oxnard, CA $99,840 $45,880 540
76 Lowell, MA $85,430 $52,330 460
77 Elgin, IL $72,500 $49,340 630
78 San Rafael, CA $96,410 $45,550 220
79 Portsmouth, NH $95,910 $43,960 160
80 Chambersburg, PA $74,350 $53,860 70
81 Albany, NY $76,210 $55,220 2,150
82 New Bern, NC $75,880 $52,390 40
83 Spartanburg, SC $81,550 $46,280 90
84 Allentown, PA $78,230 $40,610 730
85 Danbury, CT $83,430 $52,210 230
86 Raleigh, NC $80,480 $36,390 1,610
87 Topeka, KS $68,700 $50,220 150
88 Fort Worth, TX $78,200 $41,140 1,470
89 New Orleans, LA $73,300 $45,040 690
90 Gary, IN $78,670 $50,170 130
91 Portland, ME $69,720 $48,420 410
92 West Palm Beach, FL $79,230 $45,330 960
93 Ann Arbor, MI $71,900 $39,970 560
94 Phoenix, AZ $83,030 $39,790 4,150
95 Corvallis, OR $65,310 $53,010 70
96 Wilmington, NC $80,480 $43,240 150
97 Salt Lake City, UT $76,850 $30,690 2,410
98 Waco, TX $75,890 $42,020 150
99 Chicago, IL $77,510 $40,210 12,090
100 Salem, OR $78,140 $52,350 150

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