By Kristen Bahler
June 12, 2017

A diaspora of tech talent, driven by Silicon Valley’s tumbling job market and sky-high rents, has pushed tech job seekers to some surprising places.

Job search site ZipRecruiter recently analyzed its database of more than 8 million active jobs, and ranked the 20 fastest-growing tech markets based on year-over-year data. Job growth for engineering, software, and IT roles may be losing steam in the Bay Area, but smaller cities are picking up the slack, the company says,

Huntsville, Ala. topped the list, with over 300% tech job growth from 2016 to 2017. Thousand Oaks, Calif. (200%) came in second, followed by Phoenix, Ariz. (188%).

“The tech industry is no longer bound to the coast,” says ZipRecruiter’s Chief Economic Adviser, Cathy Barrera. “As a result, we’re seeing the tech industry expand out of the major metropolis areas, and into smaller regional cities that have since flown largely under the radar.”

Many of the cities on ZipRecruiter’s list are in the Midwest — Kansas City, Kan., Cincinnati, Ohio, and Indianapolis, Ind. are three standouts. The South also had a strong showing, with Nashville, Tenn. and three cities in Florida (Orlando, Jacksonville, Tampa) all making the cut.

Barrera credits government policies, like tax breaks that attract entrepreneurs and business startups for much of this growth. But the main impetus, she says, is the skyrocketing cost of living in coastal tech hubs like San Francisco and New York.

The median home price of a home in Huntsville hovers around $150,000, according to the report — a fraction of the $1.5 million it costs to buy a home in the Bay Area.

“Big cities can only grow so much — and at a certain point, the skyrocketing living costs make it nearly impossible to find a job with a salary you can live off,” Barrera says.

Here’s the full list, complete with average salary (as per PayScale), rent, and home costs:

1. Huntsville, AL

Top tech jobs:

  • Software Engineer
  • Systems Engineer
  • Systems Specialist
  • Help Desk Support
  • Information Technology Specialist

Growth in tech jobs YoY: 309%

Early Career Median Pay: $59,500

Mid Career Median Pay: $96,400

Median rent: $950

Median home price: $152,170


2. Thousand Oaks, CA

Top tech jobs:

  • Project Manager
  • Network Engineer
  • Project Manager Coordinator
  • Quality Assurance Specialist
  • Software Test Engineer

Growth in tech jobs YoY: 200%

Early Career Median Pay: $59,500

Mid Career Median Pay: $105,000

Median rent: $3,200

Median home price: $673,000


3. Phoenix, AZ

Top tech jobs:

  • Project Manager
  • Software Engineer
  • Software Developer
  • Data Analyst
  • SQL Developer

Growth in tech jobs YoY: 188%

Early Career Median Pay: $58,400

Mid Career Median Pay: $96,800

Median rent: $1,345

Median home price: $216,000


4. Albany, NY

Top tech jobs:

  • Project Manager
  • SQL Developer
  • ERP Engineer
  • Software Developer
  • Software Tester

Growth in tech jobs YoY: 161%

Early Career Median Pay: $55,200

Mid Career Median Pay: $87,000

Median rent: $1,625

Median home price: $175,000


5. Kansas City, MO

Top tech jobs:

  • Project Manager
  • Network Engineer
  • Project Coordinator
  • Developer
  • Web Developer

Growth in tech jobs YoY: 157%

Early Career Median Pay: $57,200

Mid Career Median Pay: $89,500

Median rent: $895

Median home price: $207,107


6. Orlando, FL

Top tech jobs:

  • Project Manager
  • Software Engineer
  • Project Engineer
  • Network Engineer
  • Developer

Growth in tech jobs YoY: 149%

Early Career Median Pay: $52,800

Mid Career Median Pay: $87,400

Median rent: $1,500

Median home price: $210,000


7. Salt Lake City, UT

Top tech jobs:

  • Software Engineer
  • Project Manager
  • Developer
  • Project Engineer
  • Technical Support Engineer

Growth in tech jobs YoY: 117%

Early Career Median Pay: $58,200

Mid Career Median Pay: $97,800

Median rent: $1,495

Median home price: $533,800


8. Nashville, TN

Top tech jobs:

  • Project Manager
  • Senior Net Developer
  • Network Administrator
  • Project Engineer
  • Desktop Support Technician

Growth in tech jobs YoY: 114%

Early Career Median Pay: $54,700

Mid Career Median Pay: $90,200

Median rent: $1,700

Median home price: $269,700


9. Jacksonville, FL

Top tech jobs:

  • Project Manager
  • System Administrator
  • Systems Engineer
  • Desktop Support Technician
  • Implementation Consultant

Growth in tech jobs YoY: 111%

Early Career Median Pay: $52,000

Mid Career Median Pay: $89,200

Median rent: $1,200

Median home price: $170,000


10. Baltimore, MD

Top tech jobs:

  • Project Manager
  • Software Engineer
  • Network Engineer
  • System Administrator
  • Software Developer

Growth in tech jobs YoY: 109%

Early Career Median Pay: $62,500

Mid Career Median Pay: $105,000

Median rent: $1,375

Median home price: $196,900


11. Cincinnati, OH

Top tech jobs:

  • Project Manager
  • Quality Engineer
  • Software Engineer
  • Lead Applications Developer
  • Scrum Master

Growth in tech jobs YoY: 96%

Early Career Median Pay: $55,500

Mid Career Median Pay: $90,400

Median rent: $1,095

Median home price: $137,50


12. Cleveland, OH

Top tech jobs:

  • Project Manager
  • Quality Engineer
  • Developer
  • Quality Technician
  • Software Engineer

Growth in tech jobs YoY: 84.3%

Early Career Median Pay: $52,100

Mid Career Median Pay: $86,700

Median rent: $1,000

Median home price: $75,000


13. Indianapolis, IN

Top tech jobs:

  • Project Manager
  • Quality Technician
  • Quality Engineer
  • Data Analyst
  • Net Developer

Growth in tech jobs YoY: 84.1%

Early Career Median Pay: $55,400

Mid Career Median Pay: $89,400

Median rent: $1,000

Median home price: $180,715


14. Columbus, OH

Top tech jobs:

  • Project Manager
  • Network Engineer
  • Quality Engineer
  • Application Developer
  • Java Developer

Growth in tech jobs YoY: 83%

Early Career Median Pay: $56,600

Mid Career Median Pay: $93,400

Median rent: $1,045

Median home price: $139,60


15. Denver, CO

Top tech jobs:

  • Project Manager
  • Network Engineer
  • Developer
  • Software Engineer
  • Systems Administrator

Growth in tech jobs YoY: 81.4%

Early Career Median Pay: $62,300

Mid Career Median Pay: $103,000

Median rent: $2,100

Median home price: $372,500


16. Detroit, MI

Top tech jobs:

  • Project Manager
  • Software Engineer
  • Quality Engineer
  • Systems Engineer
  • Application Engineer

Growth in tech jobs YoY: 81.1%

Early Career Median Pay: $59,600

Mid Career Median Pay: $94,400

Median rent: $750

Median home price: $57,000


17. Tampa, FL

Top tech jobs:

  • Project Manager
  • Systems Administrator
  • Project Coordinator
  • Data Analyst
  • Network Engineer

Growth in tech jobs YoY: 80.9%

Early Career Median Pay: $52,700

Mid Career Median Pay: $90,600

Median rent: $1,495

Median home price: $202,750


18. Providence, RI

Top tech jobs:

  • Project Manager
  • Software Engineer
  • Senior Net Developer
  • Business Information Analyst
  • Quality Engineer

Growth in tech jobs YoY: 79%

Early Career Median Pay: $55,400

Mid Career Median Pay: $90,500

Median rent: $1,800

Median home price: $194,250


19. Seattle, WA

Top tech jobs:

  • Project Manager
  • Software Engineer
  • Software Development Engineer
  • Developer
  • Technical Services

Growth in tech jobs YoY: 74.9%

Early Career Median Pay: $76,200

Mid Career Median Pay: $117,000

Median rent: $2,700

Median home price: $620,000


20. Chicago, IL

Top tech jobs:

  • Project Manager
  • Quality Engineer
  • Network Engineer
  • Devops Engineer
  • Software Engineer

Growth in tech jobs YoY: 74.1%

Early Career Median Pay: $62,200

Mid Career Median Pay: $102,000

Median rent: $1,750

Median home price: $270,000

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