As a web developer, your skills are in high demand no matter where you go. Your options are limitless when it comes to picking where you want to live. Despite popular belief, developers have more choices than choosing between New York City and San Francisco. In fact, software engineers are moving out of the San Francisco area and avoiding relocating there due to the high cost of living. In this blog, we're focusing on tech cities that may make your web developer salary go a little further than NYC or Silicon Valley, so the obvious tech hubs aren’t included on this list. Here are our top picks (in no particular order) for tech cities you'll want to live in as a web developer:
1. Seattle, Washington
Seattle is home to major companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Starbucks. The average salary is about $71,000 for junior web developers in this city. With a salary that is 9% above the national average and the potential to make an average of $106,000 a year as a senior developer, you might be thinking that it's worth putting up with some cloudy weather.
2. Tampa Bay, Florida
Traditionally, Florida was home to retired folks and golf courses. Many wouldn't think of Tampa as a high-tech city. However, entrepreneurs and established tech companies are continuing to evolve Tampa and its technology every single day. Major state leaders are even embracing the innovation that's happening within the area and paving the way for Tampa Bay's transformation. A great example of the transformation taking place comes from the announcement that testing will start for autonomous trucks on the Selmon Expressway. Tampa Bay is growing as a tech hub, and there are no signs of the growth slowing down, especially with all of the new talent being added to the tech community.
If the innovation and advancements happening in Tampa Bay don't get you excited enough, let's talk numbers. The average salary of junior web developers in the Tampa area is about $60,000 per year with the potential to make closer to $100,000 as you advance in your career. The starting salary of $60,000 may not sound like a whole lot, but it's one of the top places in the USA where your salary will go the furthest. According to a business analysis conducted by the Tampa Bay Times, Tampa scores lowest in housing and second-lowest in utilities compared with other large cities across the nation.
3. Austin, Texas
You've most likely heard all about Austin. What once was a sleepy city with no industry now possesses an exploding tech scene that's now home of startups, software engineers, designers, and young techies. Junior developers in the Austin area do fairly well with an average salary of about $61,000. Just like Tampa Bay, it's not the average salary that's extremely impressive for web developers- it's about how much your hard-earned dollar can stretch much further here. You'll most likely pay less for groceries, transportation, utilities, healthcare, and housing compared to the U.S. average. On top of this, you'll be around tons of startups who are on the verge of taking off. After all, Austin is home to where several large tech companies got their start, including Twitter.
4. Washington, D.C.
Our nation's capital has the third most web developer jobs in the whole country. It also boasts an average salary of $73,200 for junior web developers, which is 12% above the nation's average. One of the unique things about working as a developer in this city is the potential to land government contracts.
On top of that, this city is a melting pot where you can get to know so many different people and cultures. It will welcome you with open arms and tons of parks and green space. As a developer, you spend most of your working hours inside. If it's important to you to be able to enjoy nature during your time off, Washington, D.C. might be the city for you.
5. Chicago, Illinois
The tech community and entrepreneurial spirit have resulted in this city thriving. Tech-related employment grew by 6,000 jobs in the previous year, and with the city improving emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, there are signs of continued growth. As a junior front-end developer in this area, you can expect to make around $73,000 per year, which is 5% above the nation's average for this specific career.
Don't feel the need to tie yourself down to a city that you’re not in love with. As a web developer, you’ve gained valuable skills that can be utilized wherever you go- even if that's not Silicon Valley. The demand is growing and jobs are available all over the country especially outside of the traditional tech hubs. If you think about it, every company now is a tech company, so the demand for software developers is higher than ever.