If you’re thinking about your next career move, you may be considering a physical move too. Whether you’re already Stateside or you’re thinking about moving to the US for work, let’s explore the top 5 US tech hubs to watch in 2023.
The one thing that makes the USA a great place for CISOs and other infosec leaders is the infamously generous compensation. According to Heidrick & Struggles, the reported median cash compensation for CISO roles rose to $584,000 in 2022. When you take bonuses and equity into account, this rises to $971,000 in total compensation.
When you compare this to the same study’s UK figures it’s clear that US cybersecurity leaders are getting the sweeter deal, with median cash compensation in the UK reportedly £318,000 (which at the time of writing, doesn’t even reach $400,000!). Even Cybersecurity Ventures has noted that US CISOs are out-earning their counterparts abroad.
Even entry-level cybersecurity roles make a pretty penny in the US, with entry-level workers at companies like Booz Allen Hamilton making around $150,000 a year.
This is a great situation for the USA to be in – it provides an incentive for existing and emerging cybersecurity talent to stay in the country, but it also provides an incentive for the best cyber-talent to move to the US as well.
You may be wondering why we, as a US and UK cybersecurity recruiter, have focused on wider tech hubs, and not specifically cyber and infosec hubs. Well, it’s simple. Wherever tech is, cybersecurity naturally has to follow. Where there’s something to secure, CISOs and infosec leadership will be needed to secure it!
Top 5 US Tech Hubs to Watch in 2023
It may be the capital of the lone star state, but you certainly won’t feel alone with Austin’s southern hospitality.
There are a number of huge tech firms based in/around Austin’s Silicon Hills, including:
● Oracle Corporation
● Adobe, Inc.
● Atlassian, Inc.
There is no state income tax in Texas, and a range of business incentives make Austin a hive of business and financial productivity. Austin’s job market is going from strength to strength and has regained 96% of its pandemic-related job losses.
According to CyberSeek, Texas’s cybersecurity workforce is 105,762-strong, but still in need of 82,046 more people. This number of job openings puts Texas second in need of cyber talent only to California – the US’s Silicon Valley heartland. Supply of cybersecurity talent in Texas is just below the national average, so it’s fertile ground for infosec workers up and down the chain of command.
Lifestyle & Culture
Austin’s mantra “Keep Austin Weird” is rooted in its slightly countercultural yet easy-breezy approach. Ethan Parker, founder and CEO of Austin-based PR firm Treble, says “Companies in Austin seem to have found that optimal balance between working hard and playing hard.”
Austin has been the US’s live music capital since 1991 as it is believed to have more live music venues per capita than anywhere else in the country. It’s also home to the SXSW music and film festivals.
Texas is hot. If you can’t handle warm, humid weather then Austin probably isn’t for you. Economic success and increasing relocation has put pressure on the housing market, making housing increasingly expensive (though the rates of increase are slowing). This is sadly resulting in gentrification and the displacement of vulnerable, low-income households.
Boston is a welcoming city with a rich history – and a lucrative future in software development and AI, it seems.
The Boston Metro area is home to both household tech names and more specialist tech firms. Here are some you are likely to have heard of:
● Hubspot, Inc.
● Amazon.com, Inc.
● MIT & IBM
● Harvard University
● VMware, Inc.
● Apple, Inc.
What’s Boston Like to Work in?
Boston is the largest city in New England, and is considered a moderately safe and pleasant place to live and work. It’s a lively city with a strong job market and great quality of life for both families and individual professionals.
Boston is considered one of the US’s main STEM hubs. Salaries are usually generous, and Boston’s average salary is the 4th-highest in the US. Both of these check out, considering it is arguably America’s educational capital too, serving as home to both Harvard University and MIT.
The city has been earmarked as a notable AI and machine learning hub with the reported potential to become the AI capital of the world! Considering that AI companies need both operational infosec leadership as well as DevSecOps leadership in order to create secure tools, it stands to reason that there are opportunities galore for cybersecurity experts.
Cyberseek data shows that Massachusetts needs to practically double its cybersecurity workforce in order to fill all of its available job openings.
Lifestyle & Culture
If you like history, you’ll love Boston. It’s crammed with exciting museums and historic buildings painting the history of America’s formative years. There’s always something to do – whether it’s absorbing the rich pre- and post-colonial history; checking out the arts scene; experiencing the city’s vast multi-cultural cuisine; or chilling out in one of the city’s many open spaces.
Boston enjoys a number of events throughout the year, including the historic Boston Marathon, their buzzing St Patrick’s Day parade (reflecting the city’s large Irish American population), and an annual LGBTQIA+ Pride Parade.
Boston also has a huge sports culture, being home to the Boston Red Sox, the Boston Celtics, the Boston Braves, the New England Patriots, and the Boston Bruins.
But the rough must come with the smooth. Boston’s cost of living is high; in fact it’s Investopedia’s 8th most expensive US city to live in. They note groceries and healthcare as two of Boston residents’ biggest expenses. UpHomes also notes limitations to public parking and transportation.
Boston’s weather is pleasant throughout much of the year, but their winters can be bitterly cold and snowy.
Portland is a beautiful, picturesque city with an established tech community, earning it the nickname “Silicon Forest”.
The Portland metropolitan area serves as a base for a number of tech mainstays, leading to its well-deserved “Silicon Forest” moniker:
● Hewlett Packard
● eBay, Inc.
● Autodesk Inc.
● Nike, Inc. (Headquartered in nearby Beaverton)
Portland is also home to a number of financial services institutions too, like Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, and Bank of America.
What’s Portland Like to Work in?
Portland is a welcoming city with an established tech presence. One of the area’s biggest employers is Intel, with reportedly around 22,000 employees in the nearby Hillsboro campus.
But big tech players aside, there are plenty of retailers, educational establishments, and financial institutions that call the greater Portland area home – all of which likely have an established need for infosec leadership. These include Oregon Health & Science University, Fred Meyer Stores, Daimler Trucks, Adidas, and Jaguar Land Rover.
Lifestyle & Culture
Portland is a laid-back, friendly, progressive city filled with culture and green spaces. It’s known for its strong hipster vibe, with indie coffee houses, microbreweries, alternative transportation options, and a booming arts scene. It’s also reportedly the 6th best city for LGBTQIA+ folks to live in.
The city is reportedly very walkable, with plenty of opportunities for walking; biking; and rental bikes and scooters to help you get where you need to go. And if you want to venture outside of the city, you’ll be met with verdant forests, hiking trails, lakes, beaches, and mountains.
Oregon’s weather lends itself well to outdoorsy types, with dreamily warm, Mediterranean-like summers and cool, cloudy winters. Additionally, there’s no general sales tax throughout the state of Oregon.
Though Portland is a great city, it’s not without its problems. One of the biggest issues facing Portland is sadly that of homelessness – an issue that has been growing increasingly intractable in recent years. Plans are in the works for 2022-23 to invest in more affordable housing for the city and begin “safe rest villages” for the city’s most vulnerable.
Portland has a long and complex history of gentrification and is making some efforts to undo its mistakes, though these problems are far from over. Also, winters are grey and dull, which has led to the city becoming associated with seasonal affective disorder. Additionally, the cost of living is 27% higher than the national average.
Atlanta is a highly diverse and metropolitan city that’s home to a good handful of sectors, tech included.
As we’ll discover, Atlanta’s fintech market is going from strength to strength, though Georgia’s capital is home to a wide range of tech-adjacent organisations:
● General Motors (in nearby Roswell)
What’s Atlanta Like to Work in?
It’s estimated that about 70% of all US card transactions are processed in Atlanta, and the city is growing in recognition as a fintech hub. Dubbed “Transaction Alley” and hailed as an unsung hero in financial technology, Georgia benefits from being home to preeminent tech research universities like Georgia Tech and Emory University.
Atlanta enjoys a robust jobs market, and it is home to a number of crucial, infrastructural organisations in transportation, infrastructure, telecoms, finance, and media. In fact, Atlanata’s economy is the 10th largest in the US and the 18th largest in the world. There is plenty of room for Georgia’s cybersecurity workforce to grow, with 35,721 individuals already employed in the field, but 24,543 more needed to fill existing openings, according to Cyberseek.
Lifestyle & Culture
Atlanta boasts a thriving food scene; a plethora of historic sites and museums; and a rich performing arts community. The city is a hotspot for music and theatre, and leads the country in motion picture and television production. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is a massive global travel hub, linking the city to countless travel destinations worldwide.
Atlanta is refreshingly diverse, with the majority (46.7%) of the city’s population reporting as Black or African American. The city is also home to a thriving LGBTQIA+ scene, as home to both Atlanta Pride and Atlanta Black Pride, and has been reported as the 2nd best place for LGBTQIA+ people to live in the US.
Atlanta enjoys a reasonable cost of living for such a successful metropolitan city, sitting at just 5% above the national average. Georgia’s capital is surprisingly leafy, with a reputation as a “city in a forest” and surrounded by picturesque parks and lakes. Atlanta has a humid, subtropical climate with long, humid summers and short, cool winters.
The biggest problem facing Atlanta at the time of writing is undoubtedly crime. Though generally safe overall, it has a long and well documented history of property and violent crime, some of which is gang related. Needless to say, walking alone at night is a no-go.
The city’s summer heat and humidity isn’t for everyone, with air conditioning a must between June and August. Even if you can cope with these gruelling summers, you may not be too impressed with what the humidity brings: bugs. Expect pests like mosquitos, ants, and cockroaches.
Traffic and public transport are pretty notorious in Atlanta. So, if you can, bring a car and lots of patience.
Seattle has long been synonymous with tech, yet is also considered the Emerald City due to its lush, green backdrop.
Seattle has been a preeminent tech hub for some time, famously serving as home to Microsoft and Amazon. But you’ll also find:
● Dell Inc.
● Expedia Group
● Salesforce, Inc.
What’s Seattle Like to Work in?
Seattle is a great place to find work, especially in the tech industry. In fact, it’s the 7th best city in the whole of the US to find work. However, as it is such an established tech hub, competition can be quite fierce. After all, the big companies have their pick of the best talent to choose from!
Lifestyle & Culture
Seattle is a great base for those who love the great outdoors. The city is surrounded by thousands of acres of lush parkland, providing picturesque trails for all levels of physical ability; from leisurely park strolls to higher elevation hikes and climbs. Being on the coast, there’s ample opportunity for chilling out on a boat or a beach somewhere.
In fact, a total of $325 per capita is spent each year on publicly accessible parks and recreation in Seattle – that’s among the highest in the areas monitored by the US’s ParkScore Index.
The city has a cultured, yet playful artistic personality, with museums, art galleries, music venues, and performing arts companies galore. The city is proud of its diverse cultural heritage, with Asia Pacific, African American, Native American, Latino, and Nordic cultural heritages all celebrated.
The city suffers from a few common metropolitan gripes: a high cost of living, expensive housing, horrendous traffic, and property crime. In the past, Seattle has been the darling of “best places to live” lists, but it seems that this shine is fading, having recently fallen out of US News’s top 20 and currently sitting at number 36.
Seattle has quite a notorious reputation for rain, though this is a little unfounded. Though Washington state doesn’t suffer massive extremes of weather, it does spend a lot of the year hidden under grey skies. However, this makes its lovely, warm summers all the more of a treat.
Seattle also has a rather widespread homeless issue, with the third highest houseless population in the US.
Where Do You Want to Go?
Granted, no single article or travelogue can really give you the experience of setting up home in a new city (or indeed in a new state… or country!), but we hope our whistle-stop tour around our top 5 US tech hubs has been helpful.
If you’re looking for work in any of these destinations, or elsewhere, we’d love to help you on your journey. Simply get in touch with the team to discuss your next career move!