10 Best U.S. Cities for Science, Math and Tech Grads
Entrepreneur's New Year’s Guide
Help yourself find top-notch tech talent by looking in the right places.
A new analysis by consumer-advocacy website NerdWallet ranks the best metro areas in the U.S. for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) college graduates. Using data from Washington, D.C.-based think tank the Brookings Institution, NerdWallet compared 357 metro areas based on the demand in each city for employees with a STEM bachelor’s degree, the average salary of STEM graduates and the health of the local economy.
If you’re an entrepreneur looking for technical talent to staff your startup, consider nosing around where STEM grads are likely to be. Here’s a rundown of the top metro areas in the U.S., according to NerdWallet, which is based in San Francisco.
1. San Jose, Calif. Home to tech powerhouses like Intel and Adobe, the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metro area is right in the heart of Silicon Valley. There’s a lot of competition in the area, but there’s also a lot of demand for tech talent in manufacturing, health-care and information industries.
2. Washington, D.C. The political hub supports well-paying jobs in biotechnology, health-care, computer systems design, software publishing, and science and technology consulting sectors. Tech giants Micron Technology and Computer Sciences Corporation call the metro region, which also includes Arlington and Alexandria, Va., home.
3. Huntsville, Ala. A national aerospace hub, the Marshall Space Center generates demand for high-tech workers. Also, an army missile program and Redstone Arsenal support a wide variety of science, technology, architecture, computer and math jobs.
4. San Francisco, Calif. Practically synonymous with entrepreneurship, Silicon Valley is the epicenter of tech and engineering jobs. It’s also an extremely expensive place to live. Google, Facebook, Dropbox and Twitter are all headquartered in the metro region, which includes Oakland and Fremont, Calif.
5. Trenton, N.J. The Princeton area, which is adjacent to Trenton, is home to a high concentration of biotech and pharmaceutical companies. What's more, the local Center for Excellence in STEM Education in the Trenton-Ewing metro area is working to innovate teaching techniques from pre-kindergarten through college. Also, the cost of living in Trenton is comparatively low, a definite plus for recent college grads carrying heavy student loan loads.
6. Boulder, Colo. This outdoor-adventure lover’s paradise is one of the most educated metro areas in the U.S. Also, the local Colorado Collaborative for Girls in STEM, funded by the National Science Foundation, aims to get girls interested in science and technology careers early on.
7. Seattle, Wash. Seattle is home to a conglomeration of clean technology and health-care businesses that support science and tech jobs. Also, the local University of Washington works to encourage middle-schoolers to get involved in the sciences with its camp, called Green Energy. The metro area also includes Tacoma and Bellevue, Wash.
8. Boston, Mass. A plethora of prestigious research universities, including Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, are located in the Boston metro area, which also includes Cambridge and Quincy. Local innovations have nurtured a robust health-care industry. Northeastern University has a summer program supporting middle-school students in the sciences, and MIT has a program to encourage women to pursue STEM degrees.
9. Ann Arbor, Mich. In addition to being home to the University of Michigan, a major employer in the region, Ann Arbor’s biomedical research, automotive, health-care and manufacturing industries provide a bevy of jobs to STEM graduates. The local M-STEM Academy gives summer stipends, research experiences and internships to students from kindergarten through high school.
10. Kennewick, Wash. Local commerce in the metro region, which also includes Pasco and Richland, is primarily based on farming, wine, health-care and the automotive industries, all of which support STEM graduates in some capacity. A local program at the nearby Washington State STEM Education Foundation encourages public schools in the region to make science and math an exciting priority for students.