When people think tech jobs, they tend to think Silicon Valley or New York City.
They don’t think about the Midwest, which is better known for rolling farmland and wide-open spaces than a booming tech scene where startups thrive.
But it’s time to think again about the Midwest.
This region comprises 19 percent of the entire U.S. GDP. Twenty-five percent of all computer science grads get their degrees in the Midwest. Forty-five percent of Fortune 500 countries are located here, as is 60 percent of all U.S. manufacturing.
And, as icing on the cake, seven of the top 10 most affordable states in the nation are in the Midwest.
What does that have to do with tech jobs? Well, increasingly, startup founders and investors are taking note of all those things the Midwest has to offer, as well as the excellent quality of life and affordable cost of living you can find in so many cities in the Heartland. They’re realizing you don’t have to be based in the Golden State or the Big Apple if you want your startup to succeed. You can be based in the Midwest and find just as much success.
So tech startups are booming in the Midwest. Don’t believe us? The proof is in the numbers.
In 3 of the Midwest’s Top 10 Cities, Tech Hiring Is Up More than 100% In the Last 3 Years
We’ll let the numbers tell the full story. These are the Midwest’s top 10 cities in terms of growth and offerings for tech workers.
Chicago is the No. 1 city in the Midwest for growth in the tech sector, and it ranks eighth in the country for net tech employment. Currently, there are 344,146 people in Chicago working in tech jobs. The city saw nearly 18 percent growth in its net tech employment from 2010 to 2018, and from just 2017 to 2018, job posting in the tech sector increased by a whopping 73 percent.
Coming in just behind Chicago is Detroit, which ranks 11th in the U.S. for its net tech employment. 241,135 people work in the tech sector in Detroit, where net tech employment increased by 37.2 percent from 2010 to 2018. From 2017 to 2018, job postings in tech rose 41 percent, making Detroit a fantastic spot to look for a startup job.
Third in the Midwest for growth is Minneapolis, a thriving city many overlook, despite its tech workforce of 196,151 and growing. Minneapolis is ranked 14th in the U.S. overall for net tech employment, which increased 17 percent in the city from 2010 to 2018. What’s even more impressive is that job postings in the tech sector increased 76 percent in Minneapolis from 2017 to 2018.
Kansas City has more to boast about than its Super Bowl win. The city is home to 100,782 people who work in the tech sector, making it 24th in the U.S. for net tech employment. Kansas City also saw 17.3 percent growth in its net tech employment from 2010 to 2018, and 82 percent growth in its tech job posting just from 2017 to 2018, indicating that its rate of growth is ramping up even faster in recent years than over the last decade.
Fifth on the list of growing Midwest cities in Cincinnati, where 82,088 workers already have tech jobs. From 2010 to 2018, the city saw a 23.9 percent increase in its net tech employment, and job postings in the tech sector jumped up 41 percent just from 2017 to 2018. That lands Cincinnati 28th in the U.S. for net tech employment, and there’s plenty of opportunity here as the city continues to grow.
Sixth in the Midwest is Cleveland, an oft-overlooked Ohio metropolis that has plenty to offer tech workers — just ask the 76,698 workers who have tech jobs there. Cleveland saw 16.3 percent growth in its net tech employment from 2010 to 2018, which led to its 93 percent increase in tech job postings from 2017 to 2018. Of all the cities in the U.S., Cleveland ranks 29th for net tech employment, making it a place well worth considering whether you’re looking for a tech job or hoping to found a startup in a new home.
Indianapolis is the first of our three Midwestern cities that increased their startup job growth more than 100 percent — the city saw a 121 percent increase in new tech job postings from 2017 to 2018, after 24.2 percent growth in net tech employment from 2010 to 2018. As of now, there are 74,615 people employed in the tech sector in Indy, and that number is only going up.
With an astonishing 137 percent increase in new tech job postings from 2017 to 2018, Milwaukee is one of the most promising spots in the Midwest for anyone looking for a tech position. The city currently boasts 71,755 tech workers after a 9.2 percent increase in net tech employment from 2010 to 2018. Sure, that’s slower growth over the course of the decade than some of the cities on our list, but the rate of new job postings in Milwaukee show this city is just getting started.
Like Milwaukee, Omaha also had a stunning 137 percent increase in new tech job postings from 2017 to 2018. While growth in net tech jobs in the city was only 10.7 percent from 2010 to 2018, all that seems to indicate is that tech workers are just starting to realize what Omaha has to offer. 37,508 tech workers live in the city now, but with such a marked increase in new tech jobs, we can only see that number going up.
While Des Moines is 10th in the top 10 Midwestern cities, it’s had the second-highest rate of growth in net tech employment from 2010 to 2018: 26.9 percent, behind only Detroit. Des Moines is currently home to 28,693 tech workers, and from 2017 to 2018, saw a 47 percent increase in new tech job postings.
Midwestern Companies Are Hiring Tens of Thousands of Tech Workers Right Now
In Chicago, Detroit, and Indianapolis alone, there are nearly 31,000 open tech positions at any given time. The Midwest is next for tech workers. Find out more with a free download of the Midwest Salary and Cost of Living Handbook.
Christina Marfice is a born and raised Midwesterner who traveled the globe and came right back. She has been a journalist and freelance writer for almost ten years. In addition to her other projects, she explores startup strategies, business operations, and eCommerce topics for Optimist. She currently resides in Chicago with her two cats, Dumpling and Doughnut.