When people think of the “tech industry,” they might imagine a futuristic world where CEOs zoom to work on hover-boards and AI baristas serve lattes; a sort of gold rush where discovering the right code or business model makes overnight millionaires.
As such, Silicon Valley is quickly becoming more metaphor than place. It’s where Big Idea people go to make a fortune, like ‘Tinsel Town’ for aspiring filmmakers, or ‘The Strip’ for gamblers.
It’s not necessarily the location itself that draws people…it’s the idea behind it. It’s the potential for huge success within a given industry.
That idea is spreading across the U.S.
Silicon Valley Shake-Up: These Are the Next Top Tech Towns
In Charlotte, NC, the number of tech jobs grew 18% from 2014-2016. Nashville has added over 6,000 tech jobs. Detroit, best known for building cars, has grown its STEM jobs by 26%.
Meanwhile, the Bay Area has seen a steady decrease in new tech jobs and an uptick in layoffs. What’s happening?
The tech industry is realizing that we can transplant the Silicon Valley idea, and many tech employees are happy to go along for the ride. Companies small and large are finding venture capital, a skilled workforce, and success in areas outside of the actual Silicon Valley.
Realtor.com reviewed the 500 biggest cities in the U.S. to find the fastest growing tech hubs based on criteria like:
- Percentage of tech jobs/startup capital per capita
- Jobs provided by both small startups and major tech unicorns
- Cost of living vs tech salaries
Austin, TX leads the pack as ‘Silicon Hills.’ Google, Apple, and Facebook all have a presence to take advantage of the workforce emerging from the University of Texas-Austin. Austin also hosts the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival every year, with thousands of investors, entrepreneurs, and engineers with big ideas attending.
Atlanta (one of the few cities with Google Fiber), Raleigh (IBM, Cisco), Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City (eBay, Adobe), Richmond, and even Tempe (GoDaddy, Amazon) appear in the top 10 cities competing to become the next Silicon Valley. Salaries lean higher, while the areas still boast an affordable cost of living (unlike Silicon Valley).
QUICK FACT #1: The typical single-family home costs $1,050,000 in Santa Clara County (source: San Jose Mercury News)
This could explain Joint Venture Silicon Valley’s estimates that the number of people moving to Silicon Valley dropped by 27% between 2012 and 2015:
"You may get paid a little bit less if you take a job in, say, Austin, but the cost of living is so much lower," says John Boitnott, a digital consultant for Entrepreneur Magazine. "And you'll be able to have a better existence." – Realtor.com
Silicon Valley may have begun the tech world’s success, but it doesn’t hold a monopoly. Which is why we have a Silicon Prairie, Silicon Alley, Silicon Hills, and Silicon Slopes. More tech hubs nationwide offer hope to anyone struggling in Silicon Valley, including those displaced by H-1Bs. If you didn’t get your dream tech job in the San Francisco Bay Area, you could still find it in Atlanta.
As more tech companies invest in American jobs, we’re seeing more & more opportunities. If the website BuiltinAustin.com is any indication (570 job listings as this article’s publication), tech hubs are expanding all across the U.S.