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Looking for a tech job? There are better places than California

Texas cities top list of metropolitan areas ranked for opportunities to find a job in science, technology, engineering or math.


If you are looking for a job in tech, you likely have a better chance in Texas than you do in Silicon Valley.

That’s the finding of WalletHub, a financial information website that ranked 100 US metropolitan areas for the best and worst areas to find a job in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM). Demand for trained employees in these fields is high, with a projected growth rate 1.7 times faster than non-STEM jobs in the period 2008 to 2018, according to WalletHub.

STEM jobs present some of the most lucrative in the US workplace, earning higher salaries than non-STEM workers. The annual average wage for all STEM jobs in 2013 was $79,640, about 71 percent higher than the national annual average, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report last April.

After analyzing 11 key metrics, such as job openings per capita for STEM graduates, annual median wage growth for STEM jobs and the projected number of STEM jobs needed in 2018, WalletHub found that the best chance to land a STEM job was in the Houston and Austin metropolitan areas, cities perhaps best known for their energy and software industries.

Silicon Valley, Seattle, and Boston didn’t even crack the top five, which was rounded out by Raleigh, N.C., Denver, and Omaha, Neb. Of the areas traditionally thought of as tech hubs, Seattle came in the highest at No. 6, Boston was a distant 35, and San Francisco snuck in to the list of top 40 areas at 38, while neighbor San Jose, Calif., ranked 49th. While Silicon Valley may not present the best STEM job opportunity, you were more likely to be surrounded by STEM employees in San Jose — the heart of Silicon Valley — than any where else in the nation. Other cities with the highest percentage of STEM employees included Washington, DC, and Seattle.

The data appears to run at odds with other economic data regarding Silicon Valley, which saw a rise in median household income rise to nearly $95,000 in 2013, an increase of of 1.3 percent, according to an analysis of US Census Bureau data conducted by the Joint Venture Silicon Valley Institute for Regional Studies. The data also showed a significant increase in the number of Silicon Valley households earning at least $150,000 in 2013, outpacing the rest of the nation by nearly 3 to 1, the institute found.

But that explosion in wealth has also had a ripple effect in the San Francisco Bay Area housing market, where longtime residents blame high-paid tech employees with driving up rents and home prices. The anger has frequently boiled over into protests blocking the Silicon Valley commuter buses for ferrying employees around the Bay Area.

That rising cost of living contributed to San Francisco having one of the lowest annual median wages for STEM employees (adjusted for cost of living), just ahead of the traditionally pricy markets of New York and Honolulu. The highest adjusted wages were found in Houston, Columbus, Ohio, and Memphis.

Looking for a tech job? There are better places than California