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Houston blasts past Austin in new ranking of top places for tech workers

Houston blasts past Austin in new ranking of top places for tech jobs

Woman looking at her laptop computer
This new report doesn't include any of the country's top tech hubs. Photo by Hero Images

Silicon Valley, San Francisco, and Austin may grab lots of glory as American tech hubs, but Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio blast past all three of them in a new assessment of the top cities for tech workers.

Personal finance website SmartAsset combed through five data factors for 201 U.S. cities — average salary, average cost of living, concentration of tech employment, jobless rate, and average pay versus average tech pay — to come up with its 2018 ranking of the top U.S. cities for tech workers.

After sifting through the numbers, SmartAsset put Austin at No. 19, up from No. 20 last year, but still far below the rest of Texas' big cities.

Hurting Austin is a higher cost of living than Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio, coupled with a lower average tech salary ($90,420) than Houston and Dallas. (At $88,260, the Capital City does boast a higher average tech salary than San Antonio.)

Houston comes in at No. 10 (just behind San Antonio), up from No. 15 in 2017. As SmartAsset points out, federal data shows the typical tech worker in Houston makes $94,200 a year — 75 percent more than the typical Houston worker.

“One concern, though, if you live in Houston — a bachelor’s degree is no guarantee of employment,” SmartAsset says.

Why? About 3.6 percent of residents who have bachelor’s degrees are unemployed, according to SmartAsset.

At No. 3, Dallas is the highest city in Texas, up from No. 5 in the website’s 2017 ranking. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows nearly 1 of every 20 workers in Dallas is in the tech industry. On average, they earn $92,930 a year, which is the second-highest pay in the top 10. “Dallas is the place to be in this top 10 for high-paying tech jobs,” SmartAsset notes.

“So why isn’t Dallas any higher? Unemployment for college graduates is slightly high by the standards of this study,” SmartAsset says.

Dallas ranks 92nd for the unemployment rate among holders of bachelor’s degrees, according to SmartAsset.

Not far behind Dallas on SmartAsset’s 2018 list is San Antonio, which earned the No. 8 spot, up from No. 9 last year.

“There are not too many tech jobs in San Antonio,” SmartAsset says, “but the ones that do exist are extremely well-paying relative to other jobs in the area.”

The average tech worker in San Antonio earns $88,260 a year, which is 91 percent more than the average worker makes.

Another plus for a tech worker in San Antonio: the low cost of living. Household expenses run about 12 percent below the national average, SmartAsset says.

“So if you are moving to San Antonio to work in tech, there may not be plenty of jobs available,” according to SmartAsset. “Yet if you can land one of them, it will definitely be worth your while.”

Topping SmartAsset’s ranking is Columbus, Ohio, followed by Des Moines, Iowa, and, of course, the Big D.

It’s worth emphasizing that Silicon Valley and San Francisco didn’t crack the top 25, thanks in large part to the extraordinarily high cost of living in that region.