What makes a “tech-savvy” or “tech-friendly” city? It may be a combination of public and private amenities that are available to those people who spend a significant amount of their time online, whether they’re at home or out and about. It could also mean the availability of such services at prices that don’t make it difficult to live the digital lifestyle. A tech-savvy city might be one where a significant part of the local economy is driven by information technology or by the production of the machines that allow people to create or access information.
©IDG Communications, Inc. Photo contributed by Matthew Mikaelian.
Albert Filice, Leah Yamshon and Mike Homnick contributed to this feature. Special thanks to OpenSignal, Semiocast, Ookla and the U.S. Census Bureau for contributing data and expertise to this feature.
TechHive developed a set of ten measurements to reveal the extent to which the country’s largest cities possess those tech-friendly traits, or, put a different way, to show which cities are the most and least hospitable places to live for the tech-inclined.
Specifically, we looked at the number of IT jobs, the computer sciences graduate programs in the area, the availability of public Wi-Fi, the speed of 3G and 4G cellular services, the number of LTE wireless services to choose from, the speed and cost of home broadband service, the number of tweets that originate from each city, and the availability of city-government apps. (More about each of these measurements below.)
The most tech-friendly cities
After we had gathered and crunched all the numbers, San Jose/Silicon Valley, Atlanta, and Boston emerged as the most tech-friendly and tech-savvy cities in the land. The winner, San Jose/Silicon Valley, is not so surprising, since that Northern California area has long been considered ground zero for the computer industry. As such, personal technology is a deeply ingrained part of the local culture.
San Jose and the surrounding cities of Cupertino, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Santa Clara, and Sunnyvale have by far the largest proportion of computer pros of any place in the country. More than 52,000 IT jobs—or about 3.7 of them for every 100 residents—are based in the area. That number put San Jose/Silicon Valley well ahead of the city with the second-highest IT jobs per capita, Seattle, which has about 2.5 IT jobs for every 100 residents.