Hotspots for Startup IT Jobs

Startup companies all over the country are fighting hard to attract and retain top technology talent — a tough chore given the rise of powerhouses such as Facebook and which are lapping up engineers and developers at every turn. (No wonder some startups have resorted to giving away cats in order to find engineers).

PayScale, the Seattle online salary information provider, just compiled the top cities in the U.S. for startup IT jobs. It’s not a big surprise that San Francisco ranked first, but Seattle is right in the mix when it comes to both median annual pay and tech startup worker ratio.

(The map and chart above shows Seattle in third place, even though it has the same score as Austin, Texas). I’ve asked PayScale about that and will update when I hear more.  Update: I am told that it is a rounding issue, and Seattle’s official score is actually 2.35. (Damn, those SXSW showboaters in Austin actually are ahead of us, though I still wouldn’t trade tech communities with them).

Meanwhile, here’s how PayScale explains the “Hotspot Score.”

The tech startup hotspot score for each US metro area is an index based on the number of startup IT jobs available per capita in that location and how well those jobs pay, compared to the national average. An index higher than 1 means the metro area offers a better combination of those two factors than the national average.

Previously on GeekWire: Why it’s so gosh-darned hard to find tech talent: Thoughts from 8 startup veterans

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline


  • Nick White

    I’m awfully surprised that NYC isn’t on here.

    • johnhcook

      Good point Nick. Didn’t notice the missing Big Apple. Let me ask them about that. 

    • Marcelo Calbucci

      Yes, without NYC this is obviously a bad analysis.

      • Elise Oras

        Hi Marcelo, you can see my comment below to Kate explaining why NYC is not in the top 10. NYC has a smaller presence of IT start up jobs than the other cities.

      • Dustin Brownell

        Marcelo, that’s not true if they are accounting for % of population working in the tech industry. 2% of NYC’s population requires 400,000 IT workers, or 50% of the entire population of Austin.

        • Marcelo Calbucci

          Than the infographic title is misleading. If I’m a graduating from college and look at report like this I might try to go to Austin (if I want to avoid the Bay Area) and find out actually there isn’t that many jobs.

        • Elise Oras

          We only looked at startup IT jobs, not all IT jobs.

  • Kate Hough

    Yes, this is a total joke. I work in NYC tech and I can tell you that the job market is hot here and people get paid real $$$. 

    • Elise Oras

      It’s true that NYC is a new and upcoming locale for IT start-ups, earning it the nickname Silicon Alley.  However, they still have a ways to go to compete with places like Seattle and San Francisco as they are currently #17 on the list. 

      • johnhcook

        Here’s my rub on the NYC tech scene. Name me one technology giant that’s actually headquartered there? 

        I am of the belief that a tech hub or tech center actually needs “anchor tenants” — like Amazon or Microsoft (in Seattle) or Facebook and Apple (in Silicon Valley) or Dell (in Austin).

        I am hard-pressed to come up with the equivalent in NYC. I love a lot of the things they have going on there, and I like the energy and devotion that the VCs and politicians seem to have for tech. But until they create a juggernaut, I don’t think they really make the big leagues. 

        OK, now, I am ready for some of that East Coast aggression. Let it fly. :)

        • michael

          “Name me one technology giant that’s actually headquartered there”

          Huh? Isn’t this about Startups and not so much big companies?

          What about Etsy, Tumblr, FourSquare, Bitly, Chartbeat, Vimeo, Gilt Groupe,, NewsBlur and this list of 260+ companies:

          Facebook, Google, Amazon may not have HQ’s in NYC but they have offices (Google’s being huge…).

          I’ve lived in NYC until last year (now Seattle) and this just doesn’t add up. Its not doing the reader/job-seeker any favors by not including it.

  • Cory Huff

    No Portland? We’ve had several big funding announcement in the last year – Janrain, Urban Airship, Geoloqi, and several acquisitions as well.

  • Elise Oras

    Hi Cory, 

    We looked at the top 50 metros area by population and Portland was not on that list. You can see more about the metros in the methodology:

  • Dustin Brownell

    It would be more interesting/useful if you compared the pay scale to the cost of living, SF or NYC can get paid a lot more, but you’re using a lot of that to pay rent, as opposed to Austin or Raliegh (I think Seattle it somewhere in between?).

    • michael

      Exactly. Washington also has no personal income tax which affects things too.

  • Reddy Teddy

    …Seattle’s official score is actually 2.35…..

    Would that not round up to 2.4 which is ahead of Austin?

    • Elise Oras

      @5fd3d8040bc1c13a28991a74125ea024:disqus Seattle and Austin are tied at 2.4 in the score for hot spots (you may be looking at the worker ratio column).

  • Vijayv

    I wonder if it makes sense to break up the Bay Area into more than just SF . They could very well take rank 1, 2 and 3 just between SF, peninsula  and SJ

Job Listings on GeekWork

Find more jobs on GeekWork. Employers, post a job here.