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Programming Stats The Almighty Buck United States IT

By the Numbers: The Highest-Paying States For Tech Professionals 136

Nerval's Lobster writes The average technology professional made $89,450 in 2014, according to Dice's latest salary survey. When it comes to salaries, however, not all states and cities are created equal. Those tech pros living and working in Silicon Valley are the highest-paid in the country, with an average annual salary of $112,610—but that salary grew only 4 percent year-over-year, lagging behind cities such as Portland and Seattle. Dice has built an interactive map that shows where people are making the most (and least). As you click around, note how salary growth is particularly strong in parts of the West, the Northeast, and the South, while remaining stagnant (and even regressing) in some middle states. If anything, the map reinforces what many tech pros have known for years: that more cities and regions are becoming hubs of innovation.
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By the Numbers: The Highest-Paying States For Tech Professionals

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  • Flash Map? (Score:5, Funny)

    by catsRus ( 548036 ) on Saturday January 24, 2015 @07:27AM (#48891977)
    How 2005, guess I dont need to see it anyway.
  • by petark ( 188753 ) <pknezevi@nOsPAM.hotmail.com> on Saturday January 24, 2015 @07:30AM (#48891991) Homepage

    Salary means nothing unless you can compare it to the cost of living in each city. I would suggest a high wage in Silicon Valley is actually lower than many other areas due the the high cost of rent and real estate.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 24, 2015 @07:55AM (#48892031)

      Salary means nothing unless you can compare it to the cost of living in each city. I would suggest a high wage in Silicon Valley is actually lower than many other areas due the the high cost of rent and real estate.

      If I participated in the Mod system you would get an +1 insightful.

      I would say the real metric is salary/cost of living * some base number like national average cost of living.

      So Dallas TX has an average Salary of 91,674 compared to Los Angeles 95,345, however the cost of living for Dallas TX is 73.2% that of Los Angeles (according to http://money.cnn.com/calculator/pf/cost-of-living/ ) so that is the equivalent of 125,268 in LA. Taking what would prima facia be a 3.5k raise is really a 24% (21k) pay decrease.

      Plus, I would rather live in Dallas than on the Left Coast.

      • Telecommute from another area. If you can land such a job (and if you don't mind the lack of face-to-face time), you can get a large-city salary with a small town cost of living.

        • Most companies in SV are hip to the remote worker, and your pay will be granted or reduced appropriately to your geographic location.

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by guacamole ( 24270 )

        If you live in LA you can surf and ski on the same day. You enjoy a mild-dry climate instead of a hot and humid Texas climate (at least in the summer). Authentic ethnic food is far easier and cheaper to find in LA than in Dallas. The same "LA" arguments apply to the Silicon Valley. California cities are a great place for bicyclists, but in Texas bicyclists are being moved down with big ass trucks like they're some sort of terrorists. I can tell you from my personal observations that a small Bay Area city li

        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 24, 2015 @09:27AM (#48892213)

          Got a car, since the cost of living is lower here. Actually, a few vehicles (car, truck, boat). Don't need a bike anymore. I've bicycled for recreation all around the USA. Road across Nebraska a few times - have done many MS-150s in Texas, Georgia, NC. Cost of living matters.

          Also have a 3600 sqft McMansion on a small 1 acre estate - thanks to a lower cost of living here.

          Don't have many crazies living nearby either.

          I can surf and ski in the same day too. That is hardly a reason to live somewhere with 30% higher cost of living for the same salary.

          My $130K/yr in Atlanta goes a long way.

          Fortunately, I can visit Cali for a day or so to help me remember why I never want to live there. Don't get me wrong, it is a nice place to visit, sorta like Omaha, but I don't want to live there anymore.
          I have friends who lived/worked in SF for a few years. They didn't like it and moved back to Houston, Tx. I lived in Houston for 8 yrs and thought it was an armpit. To me, it was. I didn't enjoy the weather, but many folks do. I did like the people in Houston. I like most people around the world, provided they aren't small-minded.

          Happy that you like it in Cali. Finding happines in our lives is important. Just because it isn't right for me, doesn't mean it isn't right for everyone. Plus if everyone moved to where I lived, traffic would get worse. Don't need that.

          • I can surf and ski in the same day too. ... My $130K/yr in Atlanta goes a long way.

            You can surf and (snow) ski on the same day where near Atlanta?

        • by gatkinso ( 15975 )

          To be fair, TX is so large that the climate varies greatly, and I note that you omit fat meccas like Palmdale, Sacramento, and Barstow from your comparison.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Spoken like somebody who's desperately trying to convince himself that living in a 200 sq ft, $3000 a month studio in Los Gatos and commuting 15 miles - an hour each way in traffic - is a great idea, because once, you had authentic Somalian grub when some girl you were desperately trying to fuck said she wanted to try something new, and since there are so few women in the Bay Area, you'll do pretty much anything if there's a possible hint that you'll get to sleep with a Bay Area "8" (which is, naturally, an

        • If you live in LA you can surf and ski on the same day. You enjoy a mild-dry climate instead of a hot and humid Texas climate (at least in the summer).

          Point of order, the annual average humidity is lower in Dallas [currentresults.com] than it is in LA [currentresults.com].

      • by ranton ( 36917 ) on Saturday January 24, 2015 @03:52PM (#48894339)

        I don't know about SV, but I live in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and have a significantly higher cost of living than most of northern Illinois. For instance my parents live an hour southwest of Chicago and have a 50% larger house for 75% of the cost.

        But I am not just paying the extra money to be closer to higher paying jobs. I get better schools, better restaurants, better entertainment options, and of course better career options. I also live next to more affluent neighbors, which means my daughter will have more affluent friends, have better internship opportunities, etc. That makes a big difference. My high school techie friends from the same small farm town my parents still live in mostly have jobs as satellite dish repair men or something similar. My wife's high school techie friends from the northwest suburbs build robots for Microsoft Research or other similar jobs. Part of my high cost of living is paying so my daughter has the same head start in the "who you know" category that my wife did.

        When you look at "self-made" millionaires and other outstanding success stories, you will almost always notice they came from highly affluent upper middle class families in areas that would give them more opportunities than your average person. The creators of the next Microsoft, Facebook, etc. are mostly likely already born in a place like New York City, Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, Denver, etc, not the rural Midwest. And in a similar fashion, the next generation of C-level executives, big shot lawyers, etc. are probably also going to be mostly from these high COL areas.

        Paying for that high COL in part helps increase the chance that your next generation has a chance of sitting at that table. And even if my children are not that ambitious, at least I enjoyed better food options and a better theater scene for my money.

    • Yep. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      $80K here in Metro Atlanta is like $250K out there - and that's not even including lifestyle.

      Meaning, commute times, being able to own a house, health club member ship to swim and play tennis, free time (Those SV jobs seem to want you there 24/7.) and a bunch of other things.

      After looking at rents and whatnot, for me to do a one to one move, I would demand no less than $400K/year, - NO stock options. And that's at an established company like Google.

      Those flaky startups that will be out of business in 6 mon

    • This. A billion times this.

      I earn less now than what I did 5 years ago. But I have a MUCH bigger apartment and much more money left over after bills are paid. And for sure it ain't because I've been cutting back on expenses, quite the opposite.

      It doesn't matter what you earn. What matters is how much is left after your bills are paid. To give you a drastic example, a lot of senior citizens from Europe spend their last years somewhere in the far east where their 800 bucks a month retirement money allow them

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Time for a wee bit of Schadenfreude.

      A married couple of tech professionals in Silicon Valley, both earning just slightly above average, $125,000 a year, . . . will qualify as "wealthy", greater than $250,000 a year, . . . and get hit by Obama's new tax policies.

      The gag is that the seriously wealthy aren't worried about Obama's new tax policies, because they can afford a tax lawyer who can prove that they earn nothing.

      • The gag is that the seriously wealthy aren't worried about Obama's new tax policies, because they can afford a tax lawyer who can prove that they earn nothing.

        If you haven't been paying attention for the past few millennia, the purpose of government is to transfer resources from the masses to the few. I know, they don't tell that to the masses in their indoctrination centers, but if you look at all available evidence, it's pretty clear.

        Sure, they throw a few bones to the dogs to make sure they don't turn o

        • by s.petry ( 762400 )

          You should have qualified this as "today's Government". We had a revolt a couple hundred years ago which broke away from England for the same reason we need to do something today.

          All Governments have gone corrupt over time, because the type of person who gravitates to this job is a sociopath or psychopath. Sophists sound a whole lot like Philosophers when you hear them talk and lack training in rhetoric and logic. The "fix" in Athens was to go to a lottery system for representation, which successfully go

          • I think the lottery system worked fairly well actually.

            • by s.petry ( 762400 )

              From the history I read, it worked very well. Hence, the "Noble uprising" where the Government was taken back over by them and the lottery removed.

      • Uhhh yeh, and you don't think a couple earning $250,000 can afford a tax lawyer too? Yeh right. Get off your high horse.

      • by Cyberax ( 705495 )
        Ok, I'll bite.

        I'm in that 'wealthy' category and being single I probably pay more taxes than a married couple with children. All of the taxes apply gradually, so there's no difference whether you earn $249999.99 or $250000.01. And my tax lawyer ($5000 for all the consultations and paperwork) helped me to optimize my tax by quite a bit. So in the end, my effective total tax rate (including state taxes) is a little bit less than 30%, this year it'll be close to 28% because I moved much of my income into cap
    • by gatkinso ( 15975 )

      Home is where the heart is.

    • Ahh yes, the debate reignites :-)

      First off, you are absolutely right. Making 125K a year in Silicon Valley isn't worth a hill of beans if you have to pay 5K a month for a nice apartment. Or maybe even not so nice.

      I did some work recently at Stanford University - right smack dab in the middle of all that. Google, Facebook, LinkedIn...all of them right there. I had a heck of a time finding a hotel that didn't cost a fortune. For a while I stayed in San Jose and did the commute. It was about a 15 mile commute.

      • First off, you are absolutely right. Making 125K a year in Silicon Valley isn't worth a hill of beans if you have to pay 5K a month for a nice apartment. Or maybe even not so nice.

        Just for reference - SV is expensive, but not that expensive. I pay less than $3k a month for a nice 3 bed house there. It's only the idiots who want to live in the city that end up paying $4k a month for a 1 bed apartment.

        • by s.petry ( 762400 )

          In what city are you getting a 3 bed house for less than 3K? Freemont? East Palo Alto? Sure, some areas are a bit lower than others but unless you are in a pretty bad neighborhood 2bedroom apartments are 2.5-3K/month. Hell, I know people paying that much for rent in areas where they are afraid to go outside at dark in East Palo Alto, Freemont, and San Jose.

          Housing in SV is absolutely horrid as far as price. Count how many 1 and 2 bedroom apartments have 4 or more adults living in them. I have a neighb

          • by Anonymous Coward

            OAKLAND

          • by Cyberax ( 705495 )
            I lived in Mountain View and was paying $1500 for a 1-bedroom apartment in a nice (well insulated walls, washing machine, fast Internet) apartment complex, within 5 minute walk from a Caltrain station. I could have gotten a 2-bedroom apartment in the same complex for $2000.

            Yeah, SV is pretty expensive compared with middle-of-nowhere states, but it's definitely worth it.
            • by s.petry ( 762400 )
              I'm not sure how long ago this was, but in the last 5 years rent has gone up an average of 17% a year. Maybe in the Moffet and 101 ghetto something would go for 1.5K today, but I'm a skeptic.
          • Sunnyvale. It's not uncommon here at all.

    • Yes, but also no. In general, even in areas with a high cost of living, you end up better off. No matter where you live, you typically end up spending somewhere around 30-40% of your income on housing, 20-30% on living, and 30-40% as disposable income of one form or another (savings, having fun, etc). 30-40% of a silicon valley wage is still substantially more than 30-40% of a mid-west wage, that means you gain substantially more savings by working there, and when you retire, and move to somewhere like t

    • by Rob Riggs ( 6418 )

      Cost of living (COL) is one thing... quality of life (QOL) is another. I moved from Colorado to Chicago. I did that because the pay was better and it seemed that the COL was about equivalent based on a number of online COL calculators. What one realizes when one gets here is that the COL for the same QOL is actually quite a bit higher. Now, I feel like I came out ahead, but not as far ahead as I had imagined.

      Here's the deal: the COL is based on the average cost of housing, food, energy, transportation,

      • by Bigbutt ( 65939 )

        I think that a QOL calculator might be pretty difficult. Something you find enhances the area, such as water skiing, might not be appealing at all to someone like me who doesn't much like the left or right coast (oceans) and water skiing in general. I grew up in California and lived in Virginia for 30+ years. I'm quite happy living in Colorado. The roads are much quieter, I ride a motorcycle so the mountains are great fun, I love to hike, snowshoe, and snow ski so being close to the Rockies and several ski

    • Salary means nothing unless you can compare it to the cost of living in each city.

      "Salary surveys" mean even less. The people taking these surveys have a vested interest in inflating their salaries, so the results show they are underpaid relative to their peers. When I have taken salary surveys, I report my salary about 50% more than than my real income.

    • There are options to one's lifestyle that matter vis a vis cost of living. If you live frugally in a high cost of living area, you may still be spending more than if you live frugally in a low cost of living area, but you can probably save/invest more money from that high salary, so it may pay off as part of a long term plan to build up capital.

      I also realize that inflation can wipe out savings. Any long term plan is something of a gamble. My point is, that one shouldn't be too simplistic about weighing

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 24, 2015 @07:32AM (#48891995)

    I went from $107K just outside Los Angeles to $124K in silicon valley and lost in the deal

  • by Crashmarik ( 635988 ) on Saturday January 24, 2015 @07:40AM (#48892009)

    I mean really that thing doesn't present information so much as hide it.

    • What else would you expect from Dice.com?
    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      This is advertisement from the parent company of /., so there is no need for any real information.

      Presenting things as maps is the 21st century method of establishing credibility. It is much cheaper than actually creating an informative graphic with useful data, a la Edward Tufte.

      As has been mentioned, this data is not all that useful. One still pretty much makes more money in places that are more expensive to live, but not nearly enough. For instance, in San Jose one might make 25% more than in Hous

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The average salary is much much lower if you include tech professionals who earn exactly ZERO.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Slashdot is owned by Dice Holdings, so a story about a survey by Dice without disclosing that fact is quite shady.

  • Missing some states there...
  • Flash? (Score:5, Informative)

    by wjcofkc ( 964165 ) on Saturday January 24, 2015 @08:39AM (#48892111)
    No Dice...

    Minor rant aside, where I live in the mid-west we are rich with tech companies but the cost of living here is oh so very cozy that ~$70,000 here probably equates to ~$140,000 in Silicon Valley and other parts of the country where the cost of living is high.
    • And when you order something on Amazon or New Egg, they charge you less because you live in the mid-west?

      • by wjcofkc ( 964165 )
        ??? I don't think you understand cost of living as it relates to day-to-day living in terms of pricing levels in a geographic area. Of course Amazon does not charge us less.
      • And when you order something on Amazon or New Egg, they charge you less because you live in the mid-west?

        If you buy all your food on Amazon, you are already paying too much.

        Plus I don't think Amazon can deliver you a house, apartment, or cheap land yet, even with drones ...

      • And when you order something on Amazon or New Egg, they charge you less because you live in the mid-west?

        Of course not. The main cost of living difference is housing. By way of example, consider me (I live in the Mountain West; Utah) and one of my colleagues (in Sunnyvale, CA). He bought a house last year for $1.2M. If I bought a comparable house in my area, it would be maybe $150K, probably less. My $400K house would cost at least $7-8M in the bay area. His house cost so much that he can't make the mortgage payments on his (fairly nice, by most standards) Google salary, so he actually rents out his master

    • The thing is, suppose your cost of living is indeed half that of SV. Lets assume for you, the cost of living is 40k a year - you are able to save or enjoy 30k a year. Lets assume it's 80k a year in SV. That guy earning 140k a year is still saving 60k a year, and will retire to the mid west much better off.

      Also, the other thing that this isn't taking into account is the rate at which you get given shares in companies. Someone working for one of the big SV tech companies, and earning $140k a year is likel

      • by bouldin ( 828821 )
        Really? A typical person making $140k base gets $100k/year in stock?
      • 100k doesn't sound right at all for somebody making 140k a year in non-stock (base+bonus). I would have guessed more around the 30k-40k mark. Quick searches for some well-known Silicon Valley companies corroborate that. Can you support the claim that anybody making 140k should expect 100k of stock?

    • As someone who was born and raised in St. Louis, MO -- I can tell you it really depends. In the last decade or so, my opinion is that it's time to get out of St. Louis if you're trying to make a living there doing I.T.

      It has several "big players" who hire for tech positions and pay well, but the problem is what's available outside of those options. Enterprise Leasing, for example, has their corporate HQ in St. Louis and employs a lot of I.T. workers. (Some of my best friends worked for them for years.) You'

    • The worth of a job is more than just the money.

      I'm a junior sysadmin. I live in a nice 1200 sq.ft. plus a finished basement house, two-car garage, shop (that could function as a third garage if I wanted), and a large yard (large enough to take me 50 minutes to cut by hand, which I don't mind). I'm still in a city proper, technically in the suburbs, but very close to a major bus route. I do drive to work and that's 15-20 minutes, depending on the day. I'll be biking next summer along what's mostly bike p

  • What an impossible to use clickie-map.

    A test list would have been WAY easier to use.

  • .. but I found this useful. At least I can see what salary averages are in my area so that I know where I stand. If I'm looking for work, this knowledge puts me in a better position. The year over year increases (and decreases in some previous years) aren't that surprising to me, they tend to follow the economy.

    Yes, I get that this is a dice slashvertisement, but I appreciate it anyway.
  • Maybe some of the programmers who worked on that page could fix this mess? Yeah it's far from the greatest page in the history of the interwebs but it is more functional than this one. I'll bet its administrators are more responsive to user feedback as well.
    • Maybe some of the programmers who worked on that page could fix this mess? Yeah it's far from the greatest page in the history of the interwebs but it is more functional than this one. I'll bet its administrators are more responsive to user feedback as well.

      That's because this site is just designed to feed clicks to their real bread and butter. Now keep clicking over there peon.

  • Have fun with 'This map requires Flash Player 8.0 or higher'

  • The map leaves off Hawaii (and Alaska). Guess we don't count or don't exist.

  • If you're surprised to see Mississippi taking a leap in salary, don't be. The reason is because tech salaries in Mississippi have been atrociously low.

    It is changing. But not fast enough.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      So the title of the article is "The Highest-Paying States for Tech Pros" and the label on the graph says "Average U.S. Tech Salaries". But the graph actually shows change in average tech salary. I think I'm going to stop paying attention to Dice entirely.

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