By Brittany Anas for Hack Reactor
Already, many software engineers had the option to work remotely. But remote work and hybrid-remote work has become even more widespread amid the coronavirus pandemic as a growing number of companies are experimenting with telework on a much larger scale. So, as a software engineer, if you can work from just about anywhere and you’re not tethered to an office, what city do you choose to call home?
Several cities across the United States are known as hot spots for software engineers, and because of this, have tech ecosystems in place to help you launch or grow your coding careers, whether that’s taking a coding bootcamp or signing up for professional development courses for software engineers.
Here are seven cities—big and small—across the United States that are great for coders not only because they are ripe with job opportunities, but also because they are brimming with engineering entrepreneurship, are great places to connect with fellow coders, and have plenty of amenities to enjoy on your time off. Of course, no matter where you live, Galvanize is offering a slate of part-time professional development Hack Reactor courses for experienced professionals looking to grow their skills without pausing their careers to re-enroll in a traditional degree program.
Located at the front porch of the foothills, Boulder, Colorado is a place that’s both brawny and brainy. You’ll find hardworking professionals here breaking from work for a mid-day scramble up a mountain or to go on a bike ride. As a university town, and home to federal labs, Boulder is also a highly educated city (In fact, GoBankingRates named Boulder as one of the most educated cities in the country because nearly 75 percent of the adult population has a bachelor’s degree or higher). Boulder has also earned itself the reputation of being the startup capital of Colorado, and Galvanize has a coworking space that’s home to top-notch tech companies and venture capitalists. Not only are there plenty of job opportunities in this techy town, but coders with a service calling will have an opportunity to volunteer their skills with Code for Boulder, a nonprofit that raises civic awareness through technology. A current project includes creating a digital directory of resources to assist the unhoused community as studies have shown the majority of homeless people have access to cell phones.
When you’re looking at job listings, you’ll likely find bigger salaries in the bigger cities. But, those tech hot spots come with higher costs of living. When you factor in the cost of living, software engineers in Seattle end up having the biggest take-home pay, according to an analysis by Arc, a site that connects developers with employers. Major employers, including Google and Amazon, hire software engineers in Seattle and coders can advance their careers here with boot camps in Galvanize’s five-story Seattle campus that has sweeping views of Elliott Bay. Plus, with plenty of WiFi hotspots, Seattle is a great “work from anywhere” city. An iconic coffee scene, great public transportation, and an emphasis on outdoor recreation make the Emerald City an ideal place to live and work.
With rent and housing prices lower than in tech hubs like San Fran and New York City, Austin has an impressive start-up scene and community of coders. For instance, the Women Who Code Meetup group’s Austin chapter hosts hacking hangouts and virtual events on a weekly basis. Austin’s Galvanize campus is close to Lady Bird lake (lunch on a kayak, anyone?) and there are plenty of local coffee shops nearby to keep you fueled. Plus, Austin boasts a diverse (read: resilient) economy with employers including Whole Foods, General Motors, and the University of Texas looking to hire software engineers.
San Francisco, California
No doubt, San Francisco is home to some big-name tech giants and has a thriving startup scene, which means there’s plenty of job opportunities for software engineers who decide to call the Bay Area home. Galvanize’s campus in SoMa has a rooftop overlooking downtown and hosts several meetups and hackathons to bring coders together. But beyond all of the plentiful career opportunities and an entrepreneurial spirit that fuels this city, San Francisco is a top LGBTQ-friendly city. Plus, pro sports, a thriving arts and culture scene, and iconic landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge, Painted Ladies and Lombard Street make it a fun city to explore as a local. San Fran also has a cosmopolitan dining scene: Hunting down Mission-style burritos, Dungeness crab, and slices of Golden Boy pizza should be among residents’ rites of passage.
Those who live in the Mile High City get a two-for-one here. Denver has all of the amenities you’d want from a big city, including major league sports teams, breweries, museums, and art districts. But you can also slip away to the mountains for hiking, skiing, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, and other outdoor adventures. With one of the largest convention centers in the United States located downtown, Denver is a consummate host for tech conferences and workshops. Galvanize has a co-working space in the energetic LoDo neighborhood, and like its other campuses, offers plenty of workshops and mentorship opportunities. Several Meetup groups in the coding niche can also be found in Denver, including a chapter of Women Who Code and a Denver Tech Happy Hour group.
Not only does Phoenix have lots of software engineering jobs, the adjusted median salary for these jobs are also among some of the highest in the country. There’s a thriving social scene for software engineering and coding professionals in both Phoenix and neighboring Scottsdale and Galvanize has a Phoenix campus in the Warehouse District just outside of downtown, where up-and-coming coders can find mentorship opportunities and professional workshops. Plus, residents here can easily find fun ways to fill up their weekends. The McDowell Nature Preserve has more than 225 desert hiking trails and the Desert Botanical Gardens has fun programming, including concerts and art exhibitions.
A recent tech boom has put Dallas on the map as a top city for software engineers. From start-ups to big companies, there are more than 2,000 job postings for software engineers in Dallas. Recognizing the growing scene for coders here, Galvanize is opening a new campus in Dallas. An affordable cost of living, diverse economy, mild year-round temperatures, plus plenty to do—from the Dallas Art District to sampling TexMex and barbecue—make Dallas a great place to live.