With the global tech industry booming, digital jobs are fast forming a vital foundation for the world’s economies. Indeed, as new enterprises make their mark and the traditional tech giants look to expand, skilled professionals are becoming highly sought after in every corner of the globe. In such a fast-paced, dynamic industry, though, it can be difficult to know where exactly the pulse is. Everybody wants to build the right network and be part of the organisation that is having the biggest impact.
In reality, it’s near impossible to predict where the next big thing will happen, but it is possible to get an idea of where your highest chance of securing a job lies – in fact, we’ve scoured the latest data from Savills, KPMG, Valuer and 2thinknow to prove it.
So, if you want to be surrounded by the brightest minds – but you don’t want to commute for three hours every day to see them – then look no further: these are the 10 top tech cities.
Average ranking: 15.0
With many tech professionals looking for an alternative to the fast-rising rent issue in the Bay Area, the ‘Silicon Hills’ of Texas are seemingly fitting the bill; office space is increasingly being snapped up by both startups and established firms, with funding – and talent – not far behind, either.
To suggest that Austin is piggybacking on Silicon Valley’s problems would be grossly unfair, though. The city has built up a hugely impressive tech reputation all by itself, thanks in part to homegrown companies like Dell, as well as the presence of the hugely popular annual South by South West (SXSW) music/tech festival. Indeed, with new jobs being created every day and an abundance of affordable living spaces available, this is one of the most exciting places in the US to be a tech professional right now.
Average ranking: 13.8
With Alphabet recently announcing plans to revolutionize Toronto’s dilapidated quayside with a futuristic micro city, the global tech industry is making a bold statement in Canada’s most populous city. The region doesn’t necessarily require this controversial external influence to make a name for itself in tech terms, though; with 22,500 digital jobs created in 2017, Toronto has been flexing its microchip muscles for some time.
Although it’s very much still in its growing stages (reflected in the relatively low wages in comparison to the rest of North America), Toronto’s tech scene already hosts leading research centres in the likes of data science, AI and even stem-cell research. With high living standards and affordable rent costs, this growth is surely only set to continue.
Average ranking: 11.8
Many up-and-coming tech cities purport to market themselves as the ‘new’ Silicon Valley, but within Europe, Amsterdam definitely has a bigger claim than most. Aside from the near 600 international IT firms that have set up shop there, the city is also rapidly developing a global reputation as a data centre mecca. Tech giants such as Google, Cisco and Uber are certainly paying attention, joining homegrown players such as TomTom, Booking.com and WeTransfer in establishing a presence.
Of course, if none of this persuades you that a tech career in Amsterdam is a wise choice, then you can always rely on the city’s effortlessly cool charm; life in the Dutch capital is a famously laidback and culturally fulfilling experience.
Average ranking: 10.5
From street art to punk music, Berlin has always had a reputation for doing things a little differently. Clearly, the city’s innovative spirit is now lending itself to the world of information technology, too, with the German capital firmly establishing itself as a genuine global player on the tech stage.
For instance, it currently boasts the fastest growing startup ecosystem on the planet, with many predicting it to usurp London after the UK exits the EU. But Berlin also has a much more practical advantage over its British counterpart (and, for that matter, Paris and Amsterdam), too: affordability. Not only are living costs kind for tech professionals, but there’s also no trade-off on location as is the case with most cities – the average commuting time for workers is just 23 minutes.
And that’s essentially the clinching factor. It might not have London’s level of investment, Amsterdam’s connection speeds or Boston’s universities, but it does provide high levels of satisfaction for the engineers who choose to work there. If you’re looking for your next big career move, you need scope no further.
Average ranking: 9.3
When you think of technological innovation, Japan – and Tokyo, in particular – may come immediately to mind. Sony, Toshiba and Fujitsu are just three of the many tech giants that are headquartered there, while, at times, Tokyo itself can resemble something out of a science fiction film.
Although the region’s startup programme has been accused of stagnation in recent years (Japanese startups in general have struggled to see growth outside of the country), there is still plenty on offer for adventurous tech professionals who are willing to relocate; electrical engineers and software developers remain in high demand, for instance. Rent, meanwhile, is affordable while the city’s much-lauded metro system makes commuting a breeze.
5. Bay Area (Palo Alto, San Francisco and San Jose)
Average ranking: 8.0
To put it simply, Silicon Valley is the original tech mecca. Since the 1930s, it has been home to the biggest tech companies in the world, attracting some of the most innovative minds on the planet, and much of the technology that was created and developed there continues to heavily influence the way we all live. For tech professionals, Silicon Valley is the summit and the tech hub to which all other tech hubs are compared.
The problem is that living costs in the area are now simply too high – even for senior engineers. There are numerous stories of highly paid professionals living paycheque to paycheque in the Bay Area due to excruciating rents, with many employees either applying to work remotely, undertaking huge commutes or simply heading elsewhere.
If you can mitigate the expenses, though – not to mention land yourself a job in one of the most competitive locations on the planet – then give yourself a pat on the back; there isn’t anywhere more prestigious to work in the tech world.
Average ranking: 7.8
Although the Asian city-state has traditionally been known as a financial services powerhouse, it is quickly taking strides to establish itself as the primary tech hub in the region, too, while the arrival of Facebook, LinkedIn and Google within recent years has given this aspiration genuine credence.
It’s not just the city’s ability to draw the big names that is getting it noticed, though. Singapore has solid government funding, strong infrastructure and – vitally – a dynamic talent pool to sustain its position as a recognised global technology centre. With the state heavily backing research into artificial intelligence (AI) in particular, there is a wealth of ongoing opportunities for tech talent in the Lion City.
Average ranking: 7.0
Although Boston was slightly behind the times during the original internet boom, the city has finally caught up with its tech counterparts in California. Of course, having two of the finest educational institutions in the world (MIT and Harvard) in its backyard undoubtedly helps.
Either way, the area is now seeing some returns on this talent pool in the tech sector, with HubSpot, TripAdvisor and Wayfair all recent startup success stories. In general terms, though, it’s Massachusetts’s position as the country’s top tech employer that offers the most encouragement, with better living costs and a vibrant city lifestyle providing a viable alternative to the likes of Palo Alto.
2. New York City
Luciano Mortula - LGM / Shutterstock.com
Average ranking: 6.8
Nicknamed ‘Silicon Alley’, New York has developed its own defined tech culture over the last decade or so, branching out from the Flatiron district of Manhattan to become an established player in its own right. The figures back this up, too, with an estimated 7,500 tech companies operating in the city and employing 120,000 workers. Venture capitalists, meanwhile, have invested just shy of $40 billion in local startups over the last five years.
The best part is that firms are still struggling to secure talent, with a shortage of experienced and skilled engineers meaning that salaries are being bumped up to attract new hires. For those who want the fast-paced lifestyle to match the quick-moving nature of their job, then the Big Apple is an irresistible choice.
Average ranking: 3.8
Perceived uncertainty over Brexit aside, London’s tech scene seems to be performing above all expectations; it received more equity investment than any other European nation in 2017, for instance, with several London-based startups such as Deliveroo passing the $1 billion valuation mark last year.
What’s most attractive for job seekers, though, is the UK’s skills shortage when it comes to meeting this continued growth; the country already relies on international workers for 13% of its digital sector workforce. Therefore, if you have the requisite skills, then there are few more exciting places to be; with venture capitalists seemingly undeterred by the UK’s impending departure from the European Union, London’s tech growth shows no signs of abating.
Do you live in any of these cities? Let us know your experiences in the comments below!