If you work in the tech industry, the world is literally your stage. You can find a job on any continent and virtually in any country. If you’re particularly skilled at what you do, then you won’t have any trouble securing a high-paying job that’s exciting and offers room for upward mobility. Put simply, it’s a great time to be in the industry.
Six Cities to Keep Your Eye On
While Silicon Valley gets all of the attention, there are plenty of other tech destinations here in the U.S., as well as abroad. Let’s take a brief look at six of the top cities in the world and what makes them so ideal for those in the tech industry.
1. Barcelona, Spain
Have you ever been to Barcelona? Few cities in Europe, or the world for that matter, have as much to offer as Barcelona. There’s always something to do and a unique experience to enjoy. But what few people in the U.S. realize is that Barcelona is actually a major technology hub.
From a technology perspective, one of the city’s main draws is Barcelona’s 22@ District – also known as the Districte de la Innovacio. Launched right around the turn of the century, the 22@ District started as a government initiative to transition the rundown industrial Poble Nou neighborhood into an economic powerhouse.
“Today the 22@ District plays host to universities, research and training centers, startups and cutting-edge technology companies alike,” explains Scott Mackin, a leader in the Barcelona tech startup scene. “Since 2000, more than 3,500 businesses have moved to the innovation district and, with the almost 100,000 employees working there, Poble Nou has witnessed a nearly 25 percent increase in residents.”
2. Huntsville, USA
Huntsville, Alabama is probably the highest tech American city you didn’t know anything about. Located in northeast Alabama, Huntsville has been labeled the “Rocket City” because of its close connection with NASA, housing the Marshall Space Flight Center and employing thousands of engineers.
According to data gathered by NerdWallet, 68 out of every 1,000 jobs in the city are in technology-related fields. But unlike some of the other big tech hubs in the country, the cost of living in Huntsville is extremely cheap. The median rent price is well below $1,000 per month and the close proximity to Nashville, Tennessee (another tech hub) makes the city even more attractive to professionals.
3. Seattle, USA
Seattle is quickly making a name for itself in the global tech scene. It’s no longer seen as just an up and coming tech hub. It’s been well solidified as one of the top tech destinations in the world for a few years now.
Not only is Seattle home to Microsoft (News - Alert) and Amazon, but lots of smaller companies like Zillow and Expedia call the area home as well. A lot of the Silicon Valley tech companies like Google and Twitter (News - Alert) also have major presences in the area.
While the cost of living is higher in Seattle than some other places, the salaries tend to fall on the higher end of the spectrum as well. It’s a fantastic place to work, play, and live.
4. Toronto, Canada
Some people call Toronto “Silicon Valley North,” but that’s doing a disservice to this unique city. Toronto isn’t trying to be like anywhere else, especially Silicon Valley. It wants to be known as its own tech hub. It wants other cities to start calling themselves “the Toronto of the South.” And, quite honestly, that may not be that unrealistic because Toronto’s tech scene is thriving.
“A confluence of factors is shaping the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the fourth-largest city in North America. One driver is the city's engineering talent pool. There are 150,000 full-time students enrolled in universities throughout the Greater Toronto area,” Elaine Pofeldt writes for CNBC.com. “In addition, the federal and provincial governments offer strong support for technology innovation and financial assistance. Start-ups are also supported by a robust venture capital community.”
5. Austin, USA
If you’re strictly looking at growth in the tech industry, it’s hard to argue against a city like Austin, Texas. The total population is right around 2 million and there are more than 50,000 jobs open in IT alone. Companies like IBM, Dell, Facebook, Google, and eBay (News - Alert) all have a presence there, with high demand for Java developers, technical writers, software engineers, and network administrators.
Austin has a lot going for it. Not only does it have a burgeoning tech scene, but it’s also a huge cultural melting pot for music, food, art, and entertainment. In other words, the work-life balance there is superb.
6. Berlin, Germany
Berlin could easily be called Europe’s startup capital. Silicon Allee was started by a couple of entrepreneurs who spent time in San Francisco and has since become a term that’s synonymous with Berlin’s fast growing tech ecosystems. It’s now considered to be an even better place to launch a start-up than London!
Some of the biggest benefits of working in Berlin include the low cost of living, small average commute times, and access to affordable housing. If you’ve never been, you should definitely consider visiting sometime soon.
Keep an Eye Out for New Opportunities
It’s easy to get comfortable with where you are. And while there’s something to be said for stability, there’s also much to be gained from moving around and taking advantage of new career opportunities.
If you’re willing to travel and aren’t married to one company or specific niche, you have tons of opportunities right at your fingertips. Whether it’s here in the U.S. or halfway around the world in Germany, the tech industry stretches far beyond Silicon Valley.