Last Updated: 19 Mar 2020


Author: dordal


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people:hr:second-tier-tech-cities [Mar 13, 2020 06:20 AM]
dordal [International]
people:hr:second-tier-tech-cities [Mar 19, 2020 01:09 AM] (current)
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 += Second Tier Tech Centers - 2020 Edition =
 +If you're trying to hire technical folks, and you have a virtual company or don't care where they work, you might want to look at recruiting from somewhere //other// than the big tech centers such as San Francisco & New York. There are a lot of absolutely fantastic technical people who live in what I call '​second tier technical cities'​... places like Boise, ID or Raleigh-Durham,​ NC. 
 +Here's a list of my favorite second tier tech centers in the US; comments are welcome with either US or international additions.
 +== West Coast / Mountain States ==
 +  * **Salt Lake City + Ogden UT** - Now known as the Silicon Slopes, the Salt Lake City area is still very affordable, but has a strong tech culture, with companies like Qualtrics and Domo. It's also the home of [[http://​​|BYU]],​ and many smart, hardworking folks. //Tax Warning: SaaS is taxable in Utah, and having employees there may create a tax nexus.//
 +  * **Boise, ID** - [[http://​​|Micron Technology]] calls Boise home, as do a growing number of startups. And cost of living is one of the lowest major cities in the nation.
 +  * **Colorado Springs, CO** - A progressive city just south of Denver, and home to several major tech companies as well as aerospace defense players.
 +  * **Portland, OR** - Portland has a lot of technology and a lot of really smart people, as well as a growing number of tech companies.
 +  * **Phoenix, AZ** - In the last decade, Phoenix has become the backoffice for the world. Major tech and finance companies run much of their backoffice operations -- from customer service to accounting -- out of Phoenix and its suburbs. Amex, Uber, Carvana and many more have large operations here. //Tax Warning: SaaS is taxable in Arizona, and having employees there may create a tax nexus.//
 +  * **Bakersfield,​ CA** - One of California'​s lowest cost cities, yet home to a growing number of startups. And it's only a 45 min flight from San Francisco.
 +  * **Riverside,​ CA** - Another low cost California city, in California'​s '​inland empire'​. Home to UC Riverside, it turns out a steady stream of talented people.
 +  * **Sacramento,​ CA** & **Davis, CA** - The neighboring cities of Sacramento and Davis are just north of the Bay Area. UC Davis has an excellent engineering program, and Sacramento is home to a lot of tech companies looking for proximity to San Francisco but a cheaper locale.
 +== Midwest ==
 +  * **Minneapolis/​St. Paul, WI** - Major corporations like Target, Cargill and Ecolab call MSP home, and tend to attract a lot of talent. They also want to encourage the startup ecosystem, and you'll find a growing number of very talented people here.
 +  * **Indianapolis,​ IN** - Best known for the Indy 500, the city of Indianapolis is a tech hub. ExactTarget,​ an email marketing firm, was sold to Salesforce in 2013, and that has spawned a number of startups and an associated ecosystem.
 +  * **Madison, WI** - Home to the [[http://​​|University of Wisconsin at Madison]], an engineering player. Major tech companies such as Google and Zendesk have opened offices in the last few years, driving up wages, but it is still affordable. ​
 +  * **Ann Arbor, MI** - Home to the [[http://​​|University of Michagan, Ann Arbor]], another engineering player.
 +  * **Urbana-Champagin,​ IL** - [[http://​​|University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign]] is another great midwest tech school, currently ranked #5 on the US News & World Report of top computer science schools.
 +== East Coast ==
 +  * **Raleigh Durham, NC** - home of [[http://​​|Research Triangle Park]], which itself is home of IBM, Cisco, and a number of other notables. RTP could almost be considered a first-tier tech center in its own right, but it doesn'​t have the costs of New York, San Francisco or Seattle.
 +  * **Providence,​ RI** - [[http://​​|Brown University]] is located here, a top computer science school. //Tax Warning: SaaS is taxable in Rhode Island, and having employees there may create a tax nexus.//
 +  * **Pittsburgh,​ PA** - #1 Computer Science school [[http://​​|Carnegie Melon]] is in Pittsburg. //Tax Warning: SaaS is taxable in Pennsylvania,​ and having employees there may create a tax nexus.//
 +  * **Charlotte,​ NC** - Like sister city Raleigh, there'​s a lot of tech here -- particularly fintech, as a number of major banks are headquartered in Charlotte.
 +  * **Columbus, OH** - Columbus has a low cost of living, but a lot of talented technology and engineering people. Local jobs are still sometimes hard to come by, making this fertile ground for a virtual company.
 +  * **Springfield,​ MA** - With UMass Amherst churning out tech talent, Springfield has a lot of talented people but a much lower cost of living compared to Boston, two hours away. //Tax Warning: SaaS is taxable in Massachusetts,​ and having employees there may create a tax nexus.//
 +  * **Baltimore,​ MD** - Far enough away from Washington that not everybody goes there for a job, but close enough to get some of the benefits of being near the nation'​s capitol. ​
 +  * **Chattanooga,​ TN** - Chattanooga put gigabit fiber in for all its residents in 2010, and hasn't looked back. It's attracted a lot of tech people, who've gone on to found several new startups. //Tax Warning: SaaS is taxable in Tennessee, and having employees there may create a tax nexus.//
 +  * **Sarasota/​North Port, FL** - A pair of small towns south of Tampa, Sarasota and North Port are brimming with 'get it done' entrepreneurial talent. ​
 +  * **Palm Bay, FL** - Big aerospace players like NASA, Northrop Grumman, and Lockheed Martin call Palm Bay home, but the startup scene is starting to take off.
 +== International ==
 +  * **Astana, Kazakhstan** - An upcoming tech hub, Astana has established the '​Astana Hub' innovation center. With one of the lowest costs of living anywhere in the world (even cheaper than the Philippines or Eastern Europe), there'​s a lot of potential here.
 +  * **Belgrade, Serbia** - Belgrade, and Serbia in general, has top tech talent with good english language skills. An increasing number of multi-national companies are opening offices here, but there'​s still a lot of potential for hiring top-notch people.
 +  * **Manila, Philippines** - Manilla, and smaller Philippine cities like Cebu City, have long been known for backoffice operations. It's a great place to hire customer support and operations folks.
 +  * **Vilnius, Lithuania** - Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital, has a thriving startup scene, really smart engineering talent, and a low cost of living.
 +  * **Tallinn, Estonia** - Like Lithuania, Estonia has great tech talent, and an up-and-coming economy. ​
 +  * **Kiev, Ukraine** - While Ukraine has had a rough go recently, with the eastern portion invaded by Russia and a scandal in the US Presidential election, there'​s still a strong university and tech pipeline.
 +  * **Manama, Bahrain** - A new entrant on the 2020 list, Bahrain'​s government has been putting a ton of money into pushing technology. It now ranks #1 globally in internet usage, with 98% of the population online. That's spawned a startup ecosystem; combined with business friendly laws, makes it a great place to look at for talent.
 +  * **Taipei, Taiwan** - Taiwan makes a huge percentage of the world'​s electronics,​ and consequently has a huge number of engineers specialized in hardware development and manufacturing. ​
 +  * **Canada (Overall)** - Canada has a thriving tech ecosystem, particularly in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Quebec City. While cost of living is higher, particularly on the west coast, Canada has developed a strong tech talent pipeline.
 +  ​
 +== The Past List ==
 +There are a couple cities that used to make the '​second tier tech cities'​ list, but don't anymore. Arguably these are first tier cities in their own right -- with prices to match.
 +  * **Seattle, WA** - The home of both [[http://​​|Microsoft]] and [[http://​​|Amazon]],​ Seattle is now a first-tier tech center, with a cost of living not much lower than San Francisco.
 +  * **Santa Monica, CA / Los Angeles, CA** - Although I cringe at the name [[http://​​2011/​dec/​11/​business/​la-fi-cover-la-tech-20111211|Silicon Beach]], the western part of the Los Angeles basis (Santa Monica, etc.) has a growing number of tech startups and VCs. However, costs are now some of the highest in the nation; you won't find huge value here.
 +  * **San Diego, CA** - San Diego is known primarily as a military town, but has some big name tech, such as Qualcomm, as well as a number of startups. Costs are lower than LA, but still not small.
 +  * **Vancouver B.C.** - Canada'​s largest west coast city is home to a burgeoning startup scene -- again with costs to match.
 +  * **Austin, TX** - Sometimes called the Silicon Valley of Texas, Austin is home to a number of tech companies, including [[http://​​|Dell]],​ as well as increasingly popular tech festivals such as [[http://​​|South-by-Southwest Interactive]]. Costs have risen massively in the last few years, and while it's still cheaper than San Francisco or New York, it isn't cost effective anymore.