The 7 best cities for women in tech (and how to get hired there now)

For years, Silicon Valley has championed the technology world. Innovative designers, engineers, and idea generators have flocked there to be a part of the big tech boom of the last decade. But times have changed and – with the help of a worldwide pandemic – Silicon Valley has gone to the wayside in burgeoning places for tech opportunists. Long gone are the days when tech-driven positions have to report to a physical office.

Many people chose to move away from big-city hotspots in the last year, so population numbers alone have shifted massively. With many Silicon Valley-based tech companies moving their companies to remote and hybrid work environments, the promise of other cities has cropped up, especially for women in tech.

It seems, in fact, that — even with the advancement and explosion of tech companies in the Pacific Northwest, namely Seattle — the best cities for women in tech are actually along the east coast. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is reporting an 11% increase in women in the space by 2029. With the overall compensation rate being what it is for the field — the median wage is about twice what it is for other careers, hovering around $88k — it is important to keep your finger on the pulse when it comes to what’s trending in digital.

Check out some locations before doing that next job search, it could really benefit your chances in an industry that is absolutely booming and shows no signs of stopping. Here are the best places to look.

1-3. Washington, DC Metropolitan area – Baltimore and Arlington, DC

The BLS reported in February that the top three places for women in technology are all within the same metropolitan area. These were also the top three locations reported in 2020, based on factors like the current gender pay gap, average income, and employment growth projections. Though we would hardly label these as the same place, this is the clear burgeoning hotspot along the east coast, with other top locations within a fair travel distance. You could easily get a position in Washington, DC, and have a home 16 minutes away from Arlington, or even consult and work with companies and teams across the three cities.

PWC is currently looking for a Senior Manager of Strategy & Consumer Markets (Technology Strategy) in Washington, DC.

4. Durham, North Carolina

Durham came out of the left field and knocked Chesapeake down one spot on the list this year. Currently, women fill about 30% of the jobs in the space, the city reports one of the smallest gender pay gaps. Before the pandemic hit, there was a 21.3% increase in tech jobs in Durham over a five-year span, with a concentration of those happening from 2016-2019.

With the city’s well-known Research Triangle heating up — and the fact that North Carolina is Forbes’ current Best State for Business — the potential of this area shows no signs of slowing down.

The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants is currently seeking a Product Management and Development Manager and Frontier Communications is in need of a Senior Carrier Analyst.

5. Chesapeake, Virginia

Women comprise a whopping 37.4% of the tech space in Chesapeake, a mere 3 hours from the Arlington hotspot of the state. A little further out from that big city frame of mind, the fresh air seems to have been invigorating for the industry as women prioritize different factors in their environments. Their numbers increased 23% from 2016 to 2019 in the area.

Alfa Laval Corporate AB is currently seeking a Digital Operations Marketing Manager in Chesapeake.

6. Aurora, CO

With the third smallest reported gender pay gap, Aurora, Colorado pays women 97 cents to the dollar. In the last three years alone, the tech industry has expanded by 25%, and the income rate is within the top ⅓ of cities surveyed. Aurora boasts sweeping, dramatic backdrops, Colorado mountain air, all four seasons, many fun outdoor options, and is located just a half-hour from Denver, also bursting with opportunities.

7. Houston, TX

Though many might have guessed Austin to be the hot spot for women in tech — what with the industry’s recent multiplication within city lines — but there is actually a more concentrated amount of women in the field in its neighboring city, Houston. Though their tech space has grown at a slower rate than many on the list (17% from 2016-2019), women make up 27.2% of that space and the city has the 13th highest income for those positions. Dry heat, affordable living, incredible food options, and lots of quirky places to stop on a road trip are particularly fun reasons to relocate.

Check out Women in Tech Houston for advice on navigating the industry once you’re there. HP is currently looking for an Analyst Relations Manager, while Academy Sports & Outdoors, Ltd needs a Digital Development Manager.

In 2019, we published a list of the most sought-after businesses to approach in every state. Many of these businesses are hiring tech positions right now. These 21 resources should help every woman approaching work in tech in 2021, and keep in mind that jobs are constantly updating at The Ladders.