Help Wanted: Software Engineer Jobs Are Turning Up In Smaller Markets

Where are the software engineer jobs? Contrary to what you may believe, tech jobs are not exclusive to expensive urban hubs. It’s not just about the Silicon Valley anymore.

For example, a recent report, America’s Growth Corridors: The Key to National Revival, analyzed job creation trends in the nation’s 52 largest metropolitan areas from 2001 to 2013 and focuses on jobs in software, engineering and computer programming services. Also included are STEM jobs which are often overlooked in such studies. According to the report, four metro areas have created the most tech jobs over the past 12 years. These areas have lower costs of living and overall friendly business climates.

The places to look for software engineer jobs include:

1. Austin, Round Rock and San Marcos, Texas.
Since 2001,tech companies here have increased employment by 41 percent while the number of STEM workers has risen by 17 percent. Dell calls this hub home, but AMD, IBM, Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, Intel and Oracle all operate satellite offices here too.

2. Raleigh and Cary, NC.
Home to the Research Triangle, Raleigh has shown a 54.7 percent increase in tech sector employment since 2001 and an impressive 24.6 percent rise in STEM jobs. Much of the growth is thanks to global companies such as IBM, GSK, Syngenta, RTI International, Credit Suisse and Cisco.

3. Seattle, Tacoma and Bellevue, WA.
This region boasts a 45.5 percent growth in tech company employment. One reason for the huge gain since 2001 may lie in the diversity of companies found here. These cities are home to Microsoft, Amazon and Boeing. Manufacturing and trade have also led to an associated increased demand for software engineer jobs.

4. Salt Lake City and Provo, Utah.
 In mid-2013, the Kauffman Foundation released a study that identified Salt Lake City and Provo, Utah, as numbers 11 and 12 of 25 for the number of information-technology startups-per-capita in the country. The cost of living plays a critical role: Housing prices here are approximately 50 percent less than in Silicon Valley. Comments from Ryan Escher, vice president, Robert Half Technology in the Greater Salt Lake City area, provide an example of the market for software engineers in these non-Silicon Valley cities: “The lower cost of living allows entrepreneurs to hire people to fill software engineer jobs at affordable rates,” he says. “That is if they can find the talent.” “The demand in Salt Lake for software engineers is just incredible,” he says. “It’s unparalleled. People are actually turning jobs down because the competition for talent is so fierce.”

In addition, Escher attributes the burgeoning tech scene to a strong support system for tech jobs. Denver is another hot city for software engineers, according to another study. A recently released Colorado Innovation Network (COIN) report, “The State of Innovation: Colorado 2014 Report,” takes into account innovation, available talent, city economy and new business, among other factors. The report shows that Colorado startups are booming – a major factor in Denver’s appeal to technology job-hunters – and STEM degrees are increasingly popular among university graduates. Young, educated workers are migrating to Colorado in droves to take advantage of these opportunities. So, if you’re willing to trade big city life for a smaller, but equally thriving venue, it may be time to explore some of these regions.

To learn about salary ranges for software engineers in cities around the nation, check out Robert Half Technology’s 2014 Salary Guide.