Electronic Design

San Jose And Seattle Top High-Tech City Survey

Are you looking for some new opportunities? Then pack your bags and head for the Rockies! If high salaries are all you need, grab an umbrella and check out Seattle. Naturally, computer workers looking for some talented colleagues will find them in San Jose. And, software service providers can mingle with the politicos inside the Beltway.

Perhaps some explanation is in order. The American Electronics Association and the Nasdaq Stock Market comprehensively studied the high-tech industry in 60 U.S. metropolitan areas. While each of these cities presents its own set of pros and cons, all but one saw their high-tech employment grow over the last five years.

Colorado Springs saw the most growth in high-tech employment, expanding by 77% since 1996. San Francisco followed with a 65% increase, Houston saw a 64% jump, and Denver leaped by 63%. Based on volume alone, San Jose unsurprisingly was the top city, with 252,900 high-tech workers. Boston was next with 234,800 employees. Chicago encompasses 180,400 workers, Washington D.C. sees 177,700, and Dallas has 176,600.

Thanks to a very healthy software industry, Seattle's average 1998 wage was $129,300. That's 50% more than runner-up San Jose's $85,100 yearly total. In fact, the high-tech workers in Seattle make 200% more than the average workers in other Seattle private sectors. Middlesex County in New Jersey boasted an average wage of $78,800, and San Francisco and Austin followed closely behind with $78,400 and $76,300, respectively.

Specifically speaking, San Jose has the highest number of workers in computer, electronics components, semiconductor, and industrial electronics manufacturing. Washington D.C. leads in software services employment with 70,400 workers, while Boston has 48,100 people in this field. Meanwhile, San Francisco received the most money, as venture capitalists invested $9.3 billion in companies in that city in 1999.

Engineers also have to consider where they go after they leave their cube at the end of the day. The survey examined six quality-of-life factors for each of these cities, too: air pollution, crime, unemployment, commute times, arts and culture, and climate. Based on these criteria, Boulder is the most desirable city, followed by San Francisco, Denver, Raleigh, and Minneapolis-St. Paul.

With these figures in mind, maybe it's time to update that resume again. For more information about the survey, go to www.aeanet.org.

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