According to data from the [Department of Labor](http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcma.htm), it’s Houston. The blog at [delatores.com](http://www.delatores.com/blog/default.aspx?id=14&t=Top-10-Best-Worst-Cities-For-Software) crunched the numbers from the DoL for us and adjusted them for cost of living. This wasn’t even a close race, folks. Here are some highlights from the post:
|Top 10||Bottom 10|
|Rank||City||Adjusted Salary||Rank||City||Adjusted Salary|
|3||Fort Worth||$91,614||3||San Diego||$48,181|
> Who knew that a developer in Houston had more than twice the buying power of developers in San Francisco.
Well, I didn’t **know**, but I’m far from surprised. Houston is a serious bargain for anyone who wants all the amenities of a major US city for around half of the cost. The city boasts top notch [cuisine](http://tonyshouston.com/cuisine.cfm), [opera](http://www.houstongrandopera.org/), [regional theatre](http://www.alleytheatre.org), [symphony](http://houstonsymphony.org/), [sports](http://houston.astros.mlb.com/index.jsp?c_id=hou), [rodeo](http://rodeohouston.com/), and [parks](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memorial_Park,_Houston,_Texas), and that’s just the stuff that I care about :).
Houston also has a large, thriving developer community supported heavily by the financial, biomedical, and energy industries. The [Python](http://python.meetup.com/14/), [Ruby](http://houston-ror.pbwiki.com/), [Java](http://www.hjug.org/), [.NET](http://www.hdnug.org/hdnug/home.aspx), and [Agile Development](http://agilehouston.org/) user groups each consistently draw at least 20 members to almost every meeting. That’s not bad for a city that spans more than 600 square miles.
Houston also has a burgeoning tech start up community powered by its favorable business climate. It’s not a stretch to say that a $100,000 investment in a company in the Valley will probably burn out in about half of the time as the same investment in a startup headquartered in Houston.
There is no scarcity of programming talent in Houston, either. With [Rice University](http://www.rice.edu/) and the [University of Houston](http://uh.edu/) in the city limits and [Texas A&M University](http://www.tamu.edu/) a mere 90 miles away, the market gets pumped full of eager developers at the end of every semester. As for experienced developers, who do you think has been powering the space program and the energy industry all of these years?
It’s no secret that I love Houston, and, yeah, I’m a bit of a cheerleader, but I hear a lot of negative things about Houston from people around the country. Most of that negativity is baseless, and it comes from people who have visited Houston only briefly or not at all. Try spending a couple of weeks here, and [I’m sure you can find something about the city that you love](http://ants.wynand.com/2006/10/07/203/). So, if you’re a developer, and you want to live and work in a big city, hop a flight to Houston (you can get here non-stop from pretty much anywhere in the US). [There](http://www.snapstream.com/) [are](http://www.bmc.com/) [a](http://www.enfoldsystems.com/) [lot](http://corp.fuelquest.com/) [of](http://www.bindview.com/) [software](http://www.int.com/) [companies](http://www.schipul.com/index.asp) [here](http://corp.webxites.com/), and I’m sure one of them would love to have you.
Actually what I find interesting is that so many Texas cities rank so highly – San Antonio is in the top 10. Let’s hear it for the low cost of living !
I was going to say something about that, but my Houston fanboy-ism got in the way. 🙂
Nathan — we should talk. I’m starting a campaign to keep the Creative Talent in Houston. I’m dismayed by the “Flight of the Creative Class” to cities like SF and Austin — and think it’s about time that Houston shared a little well deserved glory 😉
Noooooooooooo! The secret is out now! Thanks alot!
Well, if a horde of developers do come on down here for the loads of money they throw at us Houston Developers (yeah right), bring your cowboy hat, a six shooter, and a horse 🙂
Those of you with no horse may come by camel. Why a camel? Because in 10 days YAPC gets underway at the University of Houston.
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