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Report: Austin Beats Silicon Valley in Adjusted Developer Salaries

Factoring in cost-of-living expenses such as housing, Austin, Texas, and Seattle actually provide developers with more bang for their buck than does San Francisco and Silicon Valley, with their sky-high salaries being eroded by equally sky-high rents and mortgages, according to a new report from careers site Indeed.

The new report from the company's research unit, Indeed Hiring Lab (Where are the Highest Paying Tech Jobs in the U.S.?), matches up real-world salaries from 15 U.S. cities with 15 different tech types, including software architect, data scientist, software engineer and many more development-related positions.

"The Indeed Hiring Lab found that people with technology skills have a broad array of choices outside of tech's unofficial capital -- Silicon Valley," the company said. "The top five cities include: Austin, Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago and Dallas."

Out of all the adjusted salaries listed for the different tech jobs, IT security specialists command the most money -- $127,757 -- in Minneapolis. Among developer types, software architects earn the highest adjusted salaries, topping out at an average of $123,710 in Austin.

"To understand the value of a salary, it must be set in context," the report states. "This is important not only for job seekers, who want to know where they will be best rewarded for their skills, but also for employers, who are engaged in a fierce competition to attract talent."

Top 15 Cities for Tech Ranked by Salary (Unadjusted and Adjusted)
[Click on image for larger view.] Top 15 Cities for Tech Ranked by Salary (Unadjusted and Adjusted) (source: Indeed)

The Indeed report somewhat matches up with a previous report from another careers site, Hired Inc. That study took a different tack and listed the best cities for developer salaries based on the cost of living found in San Francisco. That methodology resulted in a similar conclusion that Austin is a prime choice for developers.

"An engineer in Austin making $110,000 would need to make $195,000 in San Francisco to maintain the same quality of life," according to the Hired Inc. report, published in February.

In the new report, published last week, Indeed finds that "in San Francisco a technology worker earns an average annual salary of approximately $113,000, but a median rent of $3,357 takes up to 36 percent of monthly income. By contrast, Austin averages 'only' $94,025 a year -- but just 22 percent of monthly income is required to cover the median rent of $1,693."

Indeed did note that Austin's rising costs coinciding with strong population growth might drop the city from the top of the best-adjusted-salaries list in the years to come.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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