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Tech Jobs: 12 Killer Locations

  • If you're looking for a new career opportunity in IT, sticking with the obvious may be shooting yourself in the foot. Technology hubs like the Silicon Valley, Boston and New York can offer great positions, but outlandish costs of living and competitive markets can outweigh the prestige and paycheck.

    When you consider the increasing importance of IT to most businesses, it really should come as no surprise that jobs for technologists are flourishing across the U.S. From 2004 to 2014, the number of tech-related jobs in the United States grew 31%, according to the Department of Commerce. That growth is in pockets, but definitely widespread. 

    Employment website Glassdoor's latest 25 Best Cities for Jobs report reveals that places like Oklahoma City, Louisville, and Columbus, Ohio, are prime spots for hiring, plus they boast affordable housing and expenses, as well as high job satisfaction rates. Salaries may not be as high in these cities as in the Silicon Valley, but employees may value the potential for career advancement and homeownership more. Glassdoor allows you to sort cities by number of positions, cost of living and worker satisfaction here.

    Traditional technology companies aren't the only ones hiring tech talent, either. For example, Praxis Strategy Group estimates that only 7% of the 1.5 million software developers and programmers in the U.S. work at software firms; the bulk work in other industries. 

    The image below and this interactive map, created by for Rasmussen College, pinpoint exactly which companies in each state of the union are doing the most tech hiring. Darker states indicate more openings, while lighter states have fewer. Although the usual suspects appear – Microsoft in Washington State, for example – you'll find a wide range of companies comprising healthcare, retail, finance, defense and education.

    On the slides that follow, we present a selection of Glassdoor's top locations, cross-referenced with the most active employers in the area. The results could surprise you -- your dream job might be waiting just around the corner, or in a place you never thought to look.

  • North Carolina

    Raleigh, N.C., part of the renowned Research Triangle region, ranked number one on Glassdoor's list and has experienced the biggest increase in STEM-related jobs in the past decade, according to Praxis Strategy Group. Home to large branches of corporations like Bayer, BASF, GlaxoSmithKline, IBM and Cisco, the city is known for advancement of cleantech, software, defense, life sciences and nanotechnology. Temperate weather, beautiful scenery and cultural events at the surrounding universities make the location even more tempting.

    North Carolina's top tech employers:

    • Bank of America
    • MetLife Insurance Company
    • Wells Fargo
    • Lowe's Companies Inc.

    Image: NCDOTcommunications via Flickr

  • Missouri

    Kansas City ranked at number two and nearby St. Louis, Mo., took the 11th spot on Glassdoor's list. Both cities encourage entrepreneurship and have busy startup scenes. Kansas City has even established the Kansas City Startup Village in the neighborhood of Spring Valley, providing business development resources and even free housing for new employees of local businesses. Kansas City's central location originally made it a hub for transportation and telecommunications companies (Sprint is headquartered there). It was the first metropolitan area to receive Google Fiber, increasing the desirability of the location for companies relying on or delivering broadband and cloud services.

    Missouri's top tech employers:

    • The Boeing Company
    • Monsanto
    • Enterprise Rent-a-Car
    • Deloitte Development LLC

    Image: "Plaza Night" by Hngrange via Wikipedia

  • Oklahoma

    Coming in third on Glassdoor's list, Oklahoma City has traditionally been supported by the oil and energy industry, but is finding revitalization in technology. The City's economic initiatives are providing incentives for companies to open offices; the most recent large benefactor was Boeing, which moved 900 engineering positions to OKC. The Sonics pro basketball team is a new addition to the area, and the Bricktown entertainment district provides dining, cultural events and sports in renovated warehouses.

    Oklahoma's top tech employers:

    • University of Oklahoma
    • Best Buy
    • Northrup Grumman
    • Oklahoma State University

    Image: Urbanative via Wikipedia

  • Texas

    Austin was unsurprisingly on Glassdoor's list at number four. Its music and culture have made Austin the trendiest place south of the Mason-Dixon line, and the South By Southwest (SXSW) festival and conference's blend of entertainment and technology lures many in IT to visit on an annual basis. However, you may be intrigued to see San Antonio make an appearance on the list at number nine, and Dallas-Fort Worth come in at number 14. In fact, a report from Dice cites Texas as the state with the most technology job growth in 2014 at 6% year over year. The only state with more workers in technology overall is California, says Dice.

    Texas' top tech employers:

    • Hewlett-Packard
    • Deloitte Development LLC
    • Lockheed Martin Corporation
    • Best Buy

    Image: Larry D. Moore via Wikipedia

  • Washington

    Seattle checked in at the number five spot on Glassdoor's list. The home of Microsoft and Amazon, the Puget Sound region has been one of the most resilient when it comes to tech growth, weathering the economic challenges of the 21st century with aplomb. It's now becoming a hub for cloud computing, with data centers for Google and Century Link located in metro Seattle and Oracle announcing plans to open a new cloud technology center. The Pacific location also offers many of the perks of West Coast living with a lower price tag than California.

    Washington's top tech employers:

    • Microsoft Corporation
    • Nordstrom
    • Compucom

    Image: Matthewjs007 via Flickr

  • Utah

    If skiing and outdoor life are your cup of tea, look into job listings in Salt Lake City, the number six city on Glassdoor's list. A large number of tech startups, as well as established companies like Adobe, Electronic Arts and Twitter, are relocating to Utah for its low taxes, flexible regulatory environment and cheap real estate. Headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the Mormon church has a significant history and presence in the city, but the workforce is becoming increasingly diverse.

    Utah's top tech employers:

    • University of Utah
    • The Goldman Sachs Group
    • Intermountain Healthcare
    • Oracle

    Image: Garrett via Flickr

  • California

    Of course, the Silicon Valley must appear somewhere in our feature, and San Jose -- the largest city in the Bay Area and often called the "Capital of Silicon Valley" -- was rated as California's most promising locale by Glassdoor, coming in at number seven. As the home of Cisco, eBay and IBM, San Jose actually had the most total jobs of all cities surveyed nationwide, but fell down for cost of living. Nearby San Francisco was the only city more expensive, taking top honors for cost and rating at number 12 when all factors were considered. Despite its challenges, San Francisco took the number one spot in the country for job satisfaction.

    California's top tech employers:

    • Apple Inc.
    • Deloitte Development LLC

    Image: Don DeBold via Wikimedia Commons

  • Kentucky

    Kentucky may conjure images of horse racing and bourbon far more frequently than technology, but the state's largest city, Louisville, managed to snag number eight on Glassdoor's list. Although technical positions are growing in number, the city found itself with a shortage of qualified applicants, and enlisted in the White House TechHire initiative to help train its residents. A grant through TechHire will help to expand Code Louisville, a program launched in 2012 to provide programming classes free of charge.

    Kentucky's top tech employers:

    • Humana
    • United Parcel Service Inc.
    • University of Kentucky
    • Dell

    Image: Bo via Wikipedia

  • District of Columbia

    Washington, D.C. may seem like an unlikely location for technology innovation; it's more likely to evoke thoughts of endless filibustering, clandestine meetings along the mall, or the lack of technical prowess of recent projects like But our nation's capital was recognized as number 10 on Glassdoor's list and has the fourth largest number of tech openings in the country. In truth, tech talent has always been attracted to the area, working primarily for government or military contractors. And the federal government, despite its own tech shortcomings, is a champion of expanding technology skills for Americans. At the District level, the Digital DC development initiative is working to attract high-tech firms and startups.

    Washington, D.C.'s top tech employers:

    • Accenture
    • General Dynamics
    • Lockheed Martin Corporation
    • Booz Allen Hamilton Inc.