Best places to work in tech: 5 lessons for dev, ops, and security


The typical utility developer earns $138,000 within the San Francisco Bay Space. Data safety analysts can rating $123,400 within the New York Metropolis area. And methods and community directors command a mean of $107,600 in San Jose, California.

There’s only one catch: These salaries are all in metropolitan areas the place residing prices are excessive. Whenever you bear in mind cost-of-living bills, the San Francisco-based utility developer’s wage declines to an efficient wage of $86,000, whereas the New York Metropolis-based data safety analyst’s efficient wage declines to $80,400, based on information from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and cost-of-living information from the LMI Institute.

On the prime of the checklist of places delivering excessive adjusted salaries for utility builders? Bay Metropolis, Michigan; Bloomington, Indiana; and Rome, Georgia. These small and mid-sized cities have gotten the brand new know-how hubs as demand continues to develop for tech-savvy employees.

And corporations on the lookout for tech expertise are more and more more likely to make use of folks in smaller metropolitan areas, whether or not as distant employees or by opening up places of work in these nascent tech hubs, mentioned Jim Johnson, senior vice chairman at Robert Half Worldwide, a worldwide human sources consulting agency.

Price of residing “in New York is 40% above the nationwide common, Chicago is 24%, and even Minneapolis is 7%, however Duluth is 20% under—firms are going to take a look at the place they are often most cost-efficient,” Johnson mentioned.

The worldwide coronavirus pandemic has already triggered chaos amongst employees and employers, and thus any evaluation must be taken with a grain of salt, however the focus of software program improvement, utility safety, and operations jobs in main tech hubs will possible not change. But the tempo of hiring and acceptance of distant employees will even enhance, as will the transition of different, smaller metropolitan areas into tech hubs.

Listed here are 5 classes from a TechBeacon evaluation of salaries for 4 occupations, and different analyses of tech salaries and the price of residing round the USA.

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1. Price of residing makes a distinction, however shouldn’t be the one metric

California dominates the checklist of prime salaries for developer, safety, and operations jobs. Eight of the highest 10 common salaries for utility builders are in California, together with three of the highest 10 data safety analyst salaries, 4 of the highest 10 programmer salaries, and two of the highest 10 system administrator positions.

But, as soon as adjusted for the excessive price of residing within the state, no California job makes the highest 20 lists of adjusted salaries for jobs in improvement, operations, or safety. In one of many extra conspicuous examples, a six-figure common wage for data safety analysts within the Los Angeles space quantities to simply $62,300 once you consider the price of residing.

Determine 1. The underside 10 salaries by metro space, adjusted for price of residing. Click on on picture to enlarge.

Whereas Seattle-area programmers had the second-highest adjusted wage, even after a big lower on account of price of residing, an evaluation of the adjusted salaries for 4 professions—utility developer, pc programmer, data safety analyst, and system administrator—discovered that no different space broke the highest 20 lists. In its personal evaluation, discovered that smaller cities usually had larger adjusted salaries, however for a lot of know-how jobs, that was not essentially true.


Determine 2. The highest 10 salaries by metro space, adjusted for price of residing. Click on on picture to enlarge.

Jed Kolko, chief economist on the job web site, wrote that location was not a binary alternative.

“With regards to what many job seekers care about most, smaller cities typically are greatest, [but] as at all times, the proper metropolis is finally a private alternative—it is determined by what job you’re in and whether or not you worth a better adjusted wage above all else.”
Jed Kolko

Utility builders in Laredo, Texas, and Yuma, Arizona, see the biggest beneficial properties from price of residing, whereas data safety analysts within the Beaumont-Port Arthur space of Texas additionally see a big enhance on account of low cost-of-living bills.

Nonetheless, the established know-how hubs nonetheless maintain attract for firms and proceed to snag the lion’s share of job postings, based on Silicon Valley—the San Jose, Sunnyvale, and Santa Clara space of California—grabbed 23% of all job postings on the positioning in 2018. The federal government-heavy larger Washington, DC, metropolitan space accounted for 15%, whereas Seattle snagged 13% and the San Francisco Bay Space accounted for 12%.

2. Working remotely can ship massive salaries and low price of residing

Distant working has allowed some employees to basically do wage arbitrage, getting paid excessive salaries whereas working in cheaper areas of the USA, or the world. Because the coronavirus pandemic rewrites the foundations of distant working for many firms, employee location might grow to be far much less vital, permitting extra builders and safety and operations professionals to do business from home.

“Corporations are prepared to look wherever they should look to search out the proper abilities, Even earlier than coronavirus, firms have been providing folks distant work alternatives so long as that they had the abilities.”
Jim Johnson

That is the case at utility safety agency Veracode. With about two-thirds of the Burlington, Massachusetts-based firm’s utility safety analysis crew working from distant places, chief analysis officer Chris Eng mentioned that abilities matter, not location.

“Bigger geographies, corresponding to Asian versus North America versus Europe, might have totally different wage ranges, however my viewpoint is that this: If the job has a sure market worth, and I’d pay that for an individual residing in Boston, I do not see the necessity to penalize them for residing some place else.”
Chris Eng

Whereas this case works greatest for US employees who need to be paid equally for equal work, firms—particularly people who have a big distant workforce—are beginning to bear in mind price of residing when setting compensation. GitLab, a wholly digital supplier of developer providers and software program, has a web based compensation calculator that accounts for the place an worker lives. With the San Francisco market as the bottom to calculate the price of residing, the corporate might solely provide 63% of that base to employees residing within the least costly components of the USA.

Johnathan Hunt, vice chairman of safety for GitLab, mentioned salaries have been adjusted.

“After they transfer to a lower-cost space, their wage is reviewed, however their advantages do not change, which is a big incentive.”
Johnathan Hunt

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3. Small and mid-sized cities ship greatest salaries, decrease prices of residing

For essentially the most half, the places which might be a “deal” for employees are these with demand for know-how employees however a constrained market and low price of residing. Primarily, these are small and medium-sized cities, together with most of the up-and-coming tech hubs, corresponding to Analysis Triangle in North Carolina, which incorporates the cities of Durham and Chapel Hill.

As a tech hub on the rise, Huntsville, Alabama has the best share of know-how postings—18%—in cities of 500,000 to 1 million folks, based on As well as, job postings for Huntsville get 43% fewer clicks than the typical for the USA as an entire.

When excited about locations to reside, employees ought to take into account that firms might pay native charges, after which come to their very own conclusions concerning the lack of revenue, the distinction in the price of residing, and intangibles corresponding to an city or a rural way of life.

Brittany Rohde, the compensation and advantages supervisor at GitLab, has moved 4 occasions, and every time the corporate has recalculated her wage. Her most up-to-date transfer was to a costlier space, and he or she acknowledged that the inevitable dialog—to boost her pay—was simpler for her. Group members and the neighborhood know what our pay ranges are, 1) as a result of we submit them transparently in our compensation calculator, and a pair of) we clarify why we pay native charges, Rohde mentioned. 

“So, whereas there could also be some pushback, we’re clear and open to alter, and in the long run, the [worker] is aware of what to anticipate.”
—Brittany Rohde

4. Tech abilities proceed to be in demand

Whereas demand has spiked for particular disciplines—corresponding to specialists in synthetic intelligence and blockchain—builders and operations proceed to be main progress areas for employment, based on Robert Half Worldwide. Cloud specialists, information specialists, net builders, DevOps engineers, full-stack builders, and safety specialists are all broadly wanted, the agency mentioned.

“With know-how jobs, on the whole, you may make the assertion that there are extra openings than there are folks. Corporations are prepared to look wherever they should look to search out the proper abilities.”
—Jim Johnson has additionally seen a rising marketplace for sure know-how abilities. SQL, Java, and Python are the programming languages most frequently talked about in job postings, based on the positioning, with Python listings rising by 123% previously 5 years, surpassing each C and JavaScript. The data abilities with the best progress are all talents wanted for cloud work, together with AWS, with 418% progress over 5 years; Azure, with 1,107% progress; and Docker, with 4,162% progress.

“After all, software program engineers and full-stack builders, to call two frequent tech job titles, more and more use Python,” Andrew Flowers, a former economist for, wrote in a submit final fall. “And those self same employees use AWS rather a lot too. However an enormous purpose behind the distinctive progress of Python and AWS is that the underlying tech job combine is altering in ways in which favor these programming languages.”

5. The coronavirus pandemic might change the whole lot

A lot of this information is from 2018 and 2019, and know-how modifications rapidly. Nonetheless, the coronavirus pandemic has created chaos within the markets, dramatically sped up the development of distant working amongst know-how employees, and can possible lead to an enormous drop in financial output, with some estimates suggesting a 30% unemployment price and a 50% drop in GDP within the second quarter.

To date, job postings are simply barely down in 2020, declining 2.6% as of March 14, in comparison with the earlier yr, based on A lot of the decline is because of a scarcity of typical progress within the hospitality, tourism, and aviation industries, which is barely offset by an increase in demand for supply-chain jobs, corresponding to loading and stocking positions.

“The worldwide financial system is coming below appreciable pressure from coronavirus and containment efforts, together with social distancing. The slowdown within the US labor market is displaying up within the information for job postings on Certainly.”
—Jed Kolko

Anticipate extra tech jobs to go to distant work

A contraction within the total US financial system might, in fact, result in a contraction within the know-how workforce. Nonetheless, software program improvement, utility safety, and operations professionals proceed to be in demand. 

Furthermore, the elevated reliance on cloud-based workloads and remotely managed infrastructure will possible result in larger demand for employees who’ve the abilities to cope with these applied sciences. These jobs often can transition to distant work and extra will most likely achieve this—even after the pandemic is over.

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