Masters in Computer Science
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Hot Spots for Computer Science Master’s Grads

With a master’s in computer science, you often find yourself with a choice of employers. Your credentials are in hand… now where to search? It’s not just the total number of jobs you’ll want to consider, but the strengths of the local industries, and how well they match your skill set and passions.

hot geographies for computer science master's grads

Some locales pay higher salaries, but this isn’t always net gain. Salary has to be weighed against cost of living… and quality of life. There is no single quality of living index — multiple organizations have tried to measure it and come up with vastly different numbers. The figures here are from a real estate site, CLRSearch; they’ve weighed in things that might attract people (cultural opportunities, education) and then given a negative weight to things like crime and earthquake risk.

The cost of living data here is from C2ER.

The Greater DC Area

The Washington DC area computer and software industry is booming, though the biggest players are not necessarily the household (or handheld) names. You’ll find a lot of companies that contract with the U.S. government. The security industry is big. You also find companies working behind the scenes in fields like automation. But there’s a good deal of variety, with literally thousands of companies, big and small. The e-learning company, Blackboard, is based in the District of Columbia.

The cost of living in DC is 147.5. CLR puts the quality of life at 127.

Northern California

The San Jose area – Silicon Valley – is synonymous with the computer industry in many people’s minds. But there’s a lot of hiring in San Francisco, as well. The “companies” page of includes the 20 most influential companies, and it reads like a “Who’s Who?” for the computer industry. There are the social media and professional networking companies: Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. You also find Google, Apple, Cisco, Intel, Adobe Systems, and Hewlett-Packard.

One thing for job seekers to keep in mind: California is not cheap. The cost of living index is 152.4 in San Jose and 161.3 in San Francisco. But CLR has put the quality of life in San Jose real at 183 -- and 187 in San Francisco.

The Greater Seattle Area

Seattle is known for the software giant Microsoft and for the ups and downs of Boeing. But Amazon also has an office there, and Google has quite a few on the payroll. Nintendo and are based in the greater metropolitan area. Adobe also has a Seattle location. The security mogul, F5 may not be quite a household name, but it has offices around the world… and its headquarters in Seattle.

The cost of living index in Seattle is 115.2, well above the national average, but not quite as high as some of the other booming software cities. The CLR quality of life index is 158.


Boston is frequently touted as having a hot market with lots of companies posting jobs in computer science. Some of the smaller cities (Lowell, Framingham) also have a high proportion of workers in computer science jobs. Lowell has its own F5 office, and it focuses on file virtualization, among other things

Boston is home to the well-known social network platform, Gather, as well as to Modo Labs, which offers universities and other organizations mobile support for open technology.

The cost of living in Boston is listed at 137.2. The CLR quality of life index for the Boston area is 127.

Boulder, Colorado

There’s no need to shoot off to the East coast, or the West coast, or some large city. There are a lot of places with a high proportion of computer related jobs, even if the total numbers aren’t as high. One place to consider: Boulder, Colorado. The percentage employed in math and computer related fields is 7.5, according to data released by the BLS in 2012. (This compares to 2.7 for the nation as a whole.)

The CLR quality of life index: 130. But if you like the mountains…


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