Top 10 cities for tech workers

A high salary can mean nothing if you're living in a city with a high cost of living, like San Francisco or Boston. But in these 10 cities that are experiencing job growth, you can find a decent salary with a low cost of living.

cities where tech is booming

Top 10 cities for tech workers

A lot goes into finding a new job. You want to make sure the job is a good fit, you want a decent salary and you want to make sure you can afford to live in the city where you'll be working. CareerCast pulled salary data from 200 careers it tracked through its Jobs Rater report, broken out by metropolitan areas. Next, it measured the data against the cost of living in those cities using data from both PayScale and the Council for Community and Economic Research.

The result is a list of the top 10 cities to work in if you want to get the most out of your salary. These 10 cities not only have higher than average median salaries, but also low costs of living and low unemployment rates. Nearly all the cities listed are also experiencing major growth in their respective tech industries.

Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas, has a fast-growing tech sector, as more startups turn to the up-and-coming -- and more affordable -- city over Silicon Valley. It's home to the well-known SXSW festival every year, which not only features the latest musicians, but also the latest in tech.

According to CareerCast, the average median household income in Austin is $63,603 per year. The unemployment rate in Austin is 2.9 percent and the average cost of living is 6 percent less than the national average. Combine an inexpensive cost of living, with a strong median household income, and it makes Austin one of the best places to start your career -- especially in tech.

Columbus, Ohio

Columbus, Ohio

Columbus has seen a recent spike in startup activity. In just one year, the city jumped from a ranking of 22 to 12 on the Kauffman Index, which ranks startup activity across the nation. The city has seen the biggest growth in both information technology and health IT, which made up 56 percent of the startups in Columbus in 2015.

And it's one of the most affordable cities to live in with an average cost of living that is 10 percent lower than the national average. With an unemployment rate of 3.8 percent and a median household income of $56,371 -- it makes for a great place to further your career, without living outside your means.

Durham, North Carolina

Durham, North Carolina

Durham is another city experiencing the positive effects of a growing tech industry, as more startups flock to the city and put down roots. The city was previously ranked at 16 on Jones Lang LaSalle's national ranking of top cities for high-tech companies, but recently moved up to number 9. The city cites the growth of high-tech companies as the major contributing factor to the city's economic recovery.

And it's a city that makes sense economically for tech workers. The median household salary is $51,988 with a cost of living that is 8 percent lower than the national average, with an unemployment rate of 4.2 percent.

Fort Worth-Arlington Metro, Texas

Fort Worth-Arlington Metro, Texas

The Fort Worth-Arlington Metro area in Texas, also known as the "Metroplex," is better known for its roots in oil but, in recent years, its tech sector has experienced major growth. Facebook invested $1 billion into a data center in Fort Worth and Aligned Data Centers also put $300 million into a 30-megawatt data center complex in Plano.

With an unemployment rate of 3.5 percent, an average median household income of $52,430 and a cost of living that is right on par with the national average, it makes for another great location for tech workers.

Houston, Texas

Houston, Texas

Houston ranked second among U.S. metropolitans and eighth across every city for growth in tech workers in 2015, according to the Houston Technology Center. Since 2010, the city has added around 45,000 tech workers, bringing the total amount to about 220,500.

CareerCast found that the average median household income for Houston is $60,072, while the cost of living is one percent lower than the national average. However, unemployment is higher in Houston than other cities on this list, coming in at 4.8 percent overall.

Lincoln, Nebraska

Lincoln, Nebraska

Lincoln, Nebraska, might not inspire visions of a bustling tech industry, but it's just one city that is a part of the growing "Silicon Prairie" in the Midwest. The Silicon Prairie spans across a number of Midwestern states, including Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, the Dakotas and Nebraska, where tech workers are flocking for the booming tech jobs and lower costs of living.

Not only does Lincoln have a fast-growing tech industry, it also has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country at just 2.5 percent. The average median household income is $52,046, which will go a long way in this city, considering the average cost of living in Lincoln is 10 percent lower than the national average.

Midland, Texas

Midland, Texas

Midland isn't attracting as many startups as its other Texas counterparts, but the city is experiencing growth around energy, which is good news for petroleum engineers. It might not be the best spot for all tech workers, but if you work in the energy industry, Midland might just hold your next job.

Midland also boasts one of the highest median household incomes at $77,574 per year, with an average cost of living that is three percent lower than the national average. The unemployment rate, however, rests at 4.3 percent, so a bit higher than some other cities listed, but still below the national average.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh has experienced major growth around tech, which has helped the economy bounce back from the recession and has even increased office rentals. The city cites the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, which opened in 1979, as one of the driving forces behind the city's tech boom.

The average median household income in Pittsburgh is $52,293 per year, with an average cost of living that is 4 percent below the national average. Unemployment is still high -- at least when compared to other cities on this list -- at 5.7 percent, just a bit over the national average.

Tucson, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

Tucson's tech industry has grown so much that the city even has its own Tucson Tech Corridor (TTC), with companies like Raytheon and IBM employing droves of residents. The TTC, which spans along the I-10 holds a whopping 44,000 tech employees within one mile and even includes a "world-class solar-centric research park."

The average median household income in Tucson is $45,856 with an average cost of living that falls two percent below the national average. Unemployment is still slightly high compared to other cities mentioned, coming in at five percent.

Wausau, Wisconsin

Wausau, Wisconsin

Wasusau made CareerCast's list of best cities for a return on salary, but it might not be the case for tech workers. But that doesn't mean tech workers can't thrive in Wisconsin -- they might just want to look two hours south at Madison, where tech startups have set up shop.

But Wasusau still makes the list for one of the best cities to work in, with an average median household income of $53,000 per year and an average cost of living nine percent below the national average. Unemployment is low too, with the city reporting just a 3.4 percent unemployment rate.