Most Developer Jobs Aren’t in Silicon Valley

August 2, 2016, 5:00 PM UTC
Atlanta Skyline
Atlanta Skyline at dusk, Georgia. USA.
Photograph by ferrantraite — Getty Images

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If you think you need to move to Silicon Valley to be a software developer, think again. In a study called, “Six-Figure Tech Salaries: Creating the Next Developer Workforce,” tech trade group The App Association looked at the best American communities for software developers, plotting data on maps of the United States to illustrate how all areas of the country both currently employ and seek tech talent.

The most surprising takeaway? The vast majority of software developers work outside Silicon Valley—89% of them, to be precise. Beyond Silicon Valley and New York, leading metropolitan employers included Washington, D.C. (52,200 developers employed), Chicago (28,380), Atlanta (32,090) and Boston (37,460).

The App Association’s study isn’t the first to identify surging tech markets outside the Bay Area. Earlier this year, Monster reported on the top 10 metropolitan areas with the highest startup growth, according to the Kauffman Index of Growth Entrepreneurship. There, Washington, D.C. took the top spot, with Boston and Columbus, Ohio also making the top 10.

It’s not solely large and mid-sized cities supporting developer talent. According to the study, rural areas can also be viable places for tech careers: One western South Dakota nonmetropolitan area reports 150 employed developers.

But if there’s one aspect that’s true for developers across the board, it’s that they’re paid well, with an average salary of $104,425. Granted, there’s a large difference between Silicon Valley’s average salary of $145,555 and Florence, South Carolina’s average salary of $58,660—but in many areas, a developer’s salary was still twice the region’s average.

So while countless articles (including our own) routinely seek out the “next Silicon Valley,” most developer jobs already exist outside the confines of what’s usually thought of as the tech world’s epicenter. Whether the title ultimately goes to Detroit, Austin, or rural Montana, there’s evidence that opportunities are rapidly expanding to all corners of the nation.