10 Cities Where Your IT Pay Is Worth The Most - InformationWeek

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9/6/2015
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10 Cities Where Your IT Pay Is Worth The Most

Big paychecks are nice, but in some cities they only let you keep pace with the cost of living. In honor of Labor Day, we're highlighting the US metro areas that allow you to stretch your IT paycheck the farthest.
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(Image: Purple Slog via Flickr)

(Image: Purple Slog via Flickr)

If you're a graduate of one of the highest paying computer science programs in the US, you may feel you're living large compared to your peers. But where you live can matter as much as what you make when it comes to understanding how far your paycheck will go. Lucky for us, job-search site Glassdoor has us covered, providing information on the top 10 cities in the US based on cost of living.

To compile the results, Glassdoor used its database of salary reports in 28 major metro areas for three popular IT jobs: software engineers, programmer analysts, and system administrators. The organization then compared that salary to the cost of living numbers for each city to create a guide to how much your paycheck is really worth depending on where you live.

When you look at our list you'll see average salaries for these jobs in each city, followed by "real value" of that salary adjusted for cost of living -- what that salary is really worth in your city. In other words, if a city's average pay for a position was $100,000, and its cost of living was $5,000 above average, the "real value" of that salary will be listed as $95,000.

Here, we're ranking the cities based on Glassdoor's results for those working as software engineers, though we do include the rankings for the other two job titles studied by Glassdoor.

The good news is that, for the most part, the top 10 most paycheck-friendly cities are all nice places to live. Most of them would qualify as tech centers with a hot job markets. Still, a couple of cities on the list might will surprise you (check out number 6).

How'd California do? Does the expense of living in its fair cities outweigh the salaries? See for yourself. Then tell us in the comments section below whether you live in one of the cities on the list, or plan to move there now that you've seen this report.

David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Enterpriseefficiency.com. Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, ... View Full Bio

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PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
9/19/2015 | 1:26:46 PM
Re: Getting the Most for Your Pay
I hope if they aren't giving large salaries, their perks should be worth it. Good family/ work balance, gas subsidies, good work environment, Parternal and maternal leave. I would like to see these factors added when comparing companies and salaries in major cities.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
9/16/2015 | 5:31:14 PM
Re: Boston, Really?
@kstaron- they used data from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis. https://www.glassdoor.com/research/real-value-of-salaries/
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
9/16/2015 | 5:30:18 PM
Re: Boston, Really?
@kstaron- they used data from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis. https://www.glassdoor.com/research/real-value-of-salaries/
kstaron
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kstaron,
User Rank: Ninja
9/16/2015 | 5:23:49 PM
Boston, Really?
I'm a bit surprised at the cost of living quoted for Boston. All of the other sources have priced it out as closer to 140 (Mostly due to housing.) I've been looking at that area and the house price is nearly double. Did Glassdoor take housing into account or just the other stuff? If 110 is more accurate, that might be easier on my budget if I make that move. Was anyone else surprised by any of the results?
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
9/15/2015 | 5:16:56 PM
Re: Getting the Most for Your Pay
@dave -- I think the sportscaster Bob Costas lives in St. Louis -- he picked it because it had a major league team and was equidistant from both coasts. 
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
9/15/2015 | 12:50:17 PM
Re: Maybe remove the numbers?
@GAPprogrammer- Well, the issue is that there are three common jobs listed there and no city is the same for every job. We chose to list them in order of bang for the buck for one of those jobs (software engineer) rather than average the three jobs or something. 

So, you really do get your best bang for your buck working in Seattle as a software engineer. Even though it is expensive you get paid more as well. Each job title was different, but we chose software engineer because it is the most common IT job. 

We put the other data there to compare it with. 
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
9/15/2015 | 12:44:07 PM
Re: Getting the Most for Your Pay
@pedro- I think there is always a lag between the economic realities and salaries. I would assume as we revisit this data you'll see companies in cities with less value need to step up their salary game. 
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
9/15/2015 | 12:42:34 PM
Re: Getting the Most for Your Pay
@jastroff- Yes, one of the most interesting parts of this survey is that being "number 1" in one area didn't make yo number one in all of them. St. Louis seemed like the best mix of all three jobs. i never really think of St. Louis as a tech center so that's interesting. I guess it takes a lot of tech to sell beer. 
GAProgrammer
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GAProgrammer,
User Rank: Ninja
9/14/2015 | 12:22:54 PM
Maybe remove the numbers?
I had to go back and re-read the first page to make sure my understanding was correct. Maybe remove the numbers, as #1 was far from the best place to get the best bang for your buck for the salary?

I was surprised Atlanta fared so well. I live (relatively) nearby and always thought the cost of living there was high.
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
9/13/2015 | 12:29:44 AM
Re: Getting the Most for Your Pay
@PedroGonzales   What you speak of happens in most major cities, wages have long lagged behind the cost of living. Companies give no raises year after year, in essence, drinking their own Kool-Aid.  

We are no longer in a recession/depression which was the excuse for not raising wages, now it is comfortable for companies and they realize they can get away with it - so they do so without shame.

Even though  it is probably the definition of shame.
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