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Seattle traffic. Photo via Shutterstock
Seattle / Photo via Shutterstock

It’s graduation time, and one of the biggest challenges facing those with fresh diplomas today is just finding that first job.

Fortunately, if you’re a grad focused in the STEM areas, you have a better shot than most. And Seattle is one of the best places to find work, according to this report from NerdWallet. The Seattle metro area ranked No. 5 among the best American cities for STEM grads.

“The job market in the Seattle metro area features 121 STEM employees for 1,000 jobs, making it one of the largest STEM centers in the U.S.,” states the report.

Photo via NerdWallet/Jobs and average salary for top 10 markets for STEM grads
Photo via NerdWallet/Jobs and average salary for top 10 markets for STEM grads

NerdWallet also cited the average STEM salary in Seattle as “among the highest in the nation at $98,493,” and the number of major employers, like Microsoft, Amazon and Boeing, in the area.

The other areas that beat us? Huntsville, Ala., Silicon Valley, Boulder, Colo., and Durham-Chapel Hill, N.C. respectively.

“According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary in 2014 for occupations in STEM fields was about $81,000, which is 72% higher than the $47,000 average salary for all occupations,” states the NerdWallet report. “The growth in the STEM job market is expected to continue to outpace other sectors: From 2010 to 2020, employment in science and engineering occupations is projected to increase 18.7%, which is higher than the 14.3% estimated rate of growth for all occupations.”

To crunch the numbers, NerdWallet looked at 354 of the largest U.S. metro areas, weighing factors like the number of STEM-related jobs for every 1,000 employees, income and median rent. And while our rent is getting too damn high, Seattle is still a more affordable market than Silicon Valley, as we’re finding out the hard way.

Below, a look at NerdWallet’s rankings of the top 10 markets for STEM grads:

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