50 Great Cities for Studying Computers and Technology 2021

By: CSDH Staff
November 2020

Computer and technology careers are becoming more popular than ever. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates the number of STEM-related careers will grow 8% through 2029. For reference, non-STEM careers are expected to grow by only 3.4%. That makes now a great time to pursue that degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.

Of course, some parts of the United States are better than others when it comes to studying these subjects, and then working in STEM industries. So that begs the question: what are the best cities for studying computers and technology?

Ranking Methodology

To come up with our 50 great cities for studying computers and technology, we began by studying rankings of the best colleges and universities for STEM subjects and their locations. We also considered each university’s 20-year Return on Investment (ROI) to see how well graduates do financially. From there, we looked at lists and rankings of top companies to work for in various STEM-related fields and their locations. By this point, a number of cities were beginning to make themselves known as great places to be if you’re interested in STEM. Finally, we considered the resources such as research facilities, resources for entrepreneurs, mentoring for start-ups, etc. available for graduates of computer and technology programs.

Of course, what makes a city “great” varies from one place to another, and by each person’s individual needs. But to be included on this list, a city had to tick most of the aforementioned boxes. Generally, the more features a city can boast, the higher the ranking.

#50. Worcester, Massachusetts

Fun Fact: Worcester is known as the “Heart of the Commonwealth,” because it is believed that Valentine’s Day cards were invented here.

Why Worcester?

There are a number of technology and biotechnology jobs in the Worcester area. Some of the top STEM employers include the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Memorial Healthcare Center, and St. Vincent Hospital. Combined. These facilities employ over 20,000 people. Other computer and tech opportunities can be found at Bluefin Technology Partners, AbbVie Bioresearch Center, or Petricore, Inc.

Best Local Colleges

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) is well-known for producing high-earning graduates. It is in the top 30 for median starting salaries, according to PayScale.com. PayScale also ranked WPU as number 20 for ROI. In fact, PayScale estimates the 20-year ROI to be $804,000 compared to a $242,000 investment in schooling. Forbes ranks WPI in the top 100 colleges in the U.S. Forbes also ranks WPI as the 17th best STEM college in the United States. College of the Holy Cross is also located in Worcester. Forbes ranks Holy Cross as the 77th best school in the country. 

#49. San Jose, California

San Jose

San Jose is known as “The Capital of Silicon Valley,” and because of its impact on worldwide affairs, it is considered to be a Global City.

Why San Jose?

As of 2019, more than one out of every five jobs in San Jose is in the STEM field. It has the second-highest number of STEM jobs in the nation. Tech workers in San Jose are paid very well. For example, PayScale notes that software engineers make an average yearly wage of $116,000. Senior software engineers make an average of $142,000. This being the case, it’s no surprise that San Jose is home to many technologically-focused companies, including Cisco, Adobe, and eBay.

Best Local Colleges

San Jose State University is the oldest public institution of higher learning on the West Coast. US News & World Report ranks its undergraduate engineering program as one of the best in the nation. Specifically, its computer engineering program is ranked 10th among schools that do not offer a doctorate. Additionally, SJSU provides Silicon Valley companies with many business, computer science, and engineering graduates. The university is also ranked by Forbes as one of the best value colleges in the country. Forbes also ranks SJSU as a top-100 public university.

#48. San Luis Obispo, California

San Luis Obispo

Featured by Oprah Winfrey’s book club, Thrive, by David Buettner, called San Luis Obispo the “happiest city in America.”

Why San Luis Obispo?

San Luis Obispo is located roughly halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. It’s a sleepy little town of 45,000 people. It offers an attractive option for students who want a top-tier college education without the added stresses of big-city life. Additionally, San Luis Obispo is home to a number of tech companies. These includes CygNet, Hathway, and Etna Interactive.

Best Local Colleges

California Polytechnic State University is highly-ranked by several sources. It’s the top public master’s-level university in the western U.S. according to US News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges guidebook. US News & World Report also ranks several of the university’s engineering programs as the best in the nation among public universities. Likewise, Money Magazine listed Cal Poly as one of the best colleges for the money. Speaking of money, PayScale ranked Cal Poly as 40th in terms of ROI. The school has a projected 20-year ROI of over $716,000. The educational investment is just $100,000. Furthermore, Cal Poly is ranked 71st for career salary. This includes a mid-career salary average of $123,500.

#47. Bloomington, Indiana

Bloomington, IN

Bloomington is home to The Kinsey Institute. The Institute is part of Indiana University, and was originally established in 1947 as a research center on sexuality, relationships, and well-being.

Why Bloomington?

In 2019, USA Today rated Bloomington as one of the best college towns in the U.S. In fact, Bloomington came in at number two on the list behind Ames, Iowa. According to the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation, there are a large number of technology companies in town. These include companies in the software, defense, and eLearning sectors. In years past, Bloomington was highly rated for high-tech employment. It has also been recognized for opportunities for entrepreneurs. Some of the largest employers in the area are in the STEM realm. These include the Cook Group, Indiana University Health, and Catalent Biologics.

Best Local Colleges

Indiana University Bloomington is the largest university in the state. As one of the best universities in the world, IU Bloomington is considered to be a “Public Ivy.” Some of the school’s past honors include a top-100 ranking in the world by Global University Ranking and The Academic Ranking of World Universities. It was once Time’s “College of the Year.” Newsweek listed it as one of the “Hottest Big State Schools” as well.

More recently, IU has been recognized as having:

  • A top-5 entrepreneurship program
  • A top-10 analytical chemistry program
  • A top-10 nuclear physics program

Kiplinger has also recognized IU Bloomington as one of the best values among public colleges. The Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering is on the cutting-edge of emerging technologies. Its degree in Human-Computer Interaction is one of a few in the world. U.S. News and World Report rates IU Bloomington as having the 55th best Computer Science grad school. According to Collegexpress, IU Bloomington is one of the “Top 20 Wired Colleges” in the country.

#46. Gainesville, Florida

Gainesville, Florida

The University of Florida is the oldest and one of the largest universities in the state. It is one of the largest employers in Gainesville. The other big employer is Shands Hospital. 

Why Gainesville?

Job growth has been strong in Gainesville and throughout Florida in recent years. Job growth in Florida has outpaced the national average every year since 2012. In recent years, Gainesville has become a city for technology. There are many research facilities. Because of this, tech companies have come to the city in large numbers. Gainesville’s pool of college graduates is another reason why companies are coming to this Florida city.

Local companies include medical technology firms Axogen and Exactech. Software companies like Infotech and Innovative Product Technology are also in Gainesville. Sid Martin Biotech, one of the highest-rated biotechnology incubators in the world, is in Gainesville as well.

Best Local Colleges

The University of Florida is a “Public Ivy.” This is due in part to its ranking by US News & World Report as the sixth-best public university in the United States. Its engineering program is also highly ranked. It comes in at number 32 in the country. Niche also has high praise for the University of Florida. It ranks UF as a top-20 school for public health. It is a top-30 school for nursing. Its chemistry and environmental science programs are ranked in the top 50 as well. 

The University of Florida has a great Career Connections Center. In the past, it was ranked number one in the country by Princeton Review for career and job placement services. The Center offers workshops and job fairs. You can get advice on resumes and portfolios. There are also training programs for interviewing and job strategies. The Center also provides leads for finding employment.

#45. Raleigh, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina

In 2019, Forbes listed Raleigh as third on their list of the “Best Place for Businesses and Careers.”

Why Raleigh?

Along with Durham and Chapel Hill, Raleigh is considered to be part of the Research Triangle. This is a growing high-technology region. There are three Tier 1 research universities here. These includes Duke, the University of North Carolina, and North Carolina State.

With so much research and technology support here, it is the location of many high-tech companies. Cisco, Red Hat, and IBM have a presence here. So does the SAS Institute, Dell EMC, and NetApp. The entire area supports innovation through technology transfer and research and development.

Best Local Colleges

More than 36,000 students are enrolled at North Carolina State University. It is one of the largest colleges in the Carolinas. It is ranked by US News & World Report as the 32nd-best public school in the United States. Its STEM programs rank much higher. For example, North Carolina State has the 9th-best software engineering program in the country. Its biological engineering program is ranked 10th-best in the nation by US News & World Report. NCSU has an excellent graduate computer and information technology program too. Its online program is ranked 15th in the nation.

North Carolina State has a good standing in the world as well. The Center for World University Rankings puts it in the top one percent of universities worldwide. 

#44. Tempe, Arizona

Tempe, Arizona

ASU and its research play an important role within space exploration. This includes working with NASA. In 2012, ASU built a $110 million building that includes the School of Earth and Space Exploration.

Why Tempe?

Tempe is a hot-bed of tech firms. These include many software development companies such as:

  • Tyler Technologies
  • Synapse Studios
  • Ipro Tech LLC,
  • Isos Technology

Additionally, Tempe is home to Honeywell Aerospace. This company has been deeply involved in most of the U.S. space missions over the years.

Tempe is a smaller city. However, it is close to Phoenix, which offers even more opportunities for research and study in computers and technology.

Best Local Colleges

Arizona State University has nearly 75,000 students. That makes it one of the largest public colleges by enrollment in the United States. The university also has many high rankingsUS News & World Report ranks it as the number one university for innovation in the nation. Times Higher Education ranks it as the number one university in the U.S. for global impact in research. It has also produced among the most Silicon Valley hires in the last three years. Additionally, ASU is in the top 10 schools in the country for research expenditures among colleges without a medical school.

#43. St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis, Missouri

Twenty-four different Nobel laureates have an affiliation with Washington University. Many of them did a lot of their award-winning work at the university.

Why St. Louis?

St. Louis has many tech companies, including IT job-placement company LaunchCode. Launchcode helps teach people to code. They also pair coders with apprenticeships and help people find tech jobs.

It makes sense that LaunchCode and other tech companies would like St. Louis. The city has been a hub for biotechnology for years. There are many companies in the aerospace, energy, and healthcare sectors as well. These include:

  • Global Aerospace
  • GKN Aerospace
  • Emerson Electric
  • Peabody Energy
  • Express Scripts
  • Centeneir 
  • Sigma-Aldrich

Furthermore, the St. Louis area consistently has lower unemployment rates than the national average.

Best Local Colleges

Washington University in St. Louis is the premier college in the area. In fact, it’s one of the best colleges in the nation. US News & World Report ranks it as the 16th-best national university. Times Higher Education ranks it as the 50th-best university in the world.

Washington University in St. Louis is a smaller school with a student population of just over 16,000. However, it has top-notch STEM programs. Niche ranks its chemistry and biology programs in the top 10 in the nation. Its environmental science program is ranked 11th. Engineering students benefit from the 15th-ranked program in the country.

In its College ROI Report, PayScale.com determined that Washington University ranked 166th out of more than 2,000 colleges and universities. The school has a projected 20-year ROI of over $484,000, versus a cost of $266,000.

#42. Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah

Originally established in 1850 as the University of Deseret, the University of Utah is the oldest higher-education facility in the state, and currently has a total enrollment of approximately 32,000.

Why Salt Lake City?

The greater Salt Lake City area is known as “Silicon Slopes.” It is an emerging area in the technology sector and is home to many high-profile companies. These include:

  • SanDisk
  • EA Sports
  • eBay
  • Adobe Systems
  • Intel

Additionally, this area has a long history of partnerships with government agencies. In fact, in 2019, the National Security Agency opened its Utah Data Center. The data center is a storage facility for the U.S. intelligence community. It was built at a cost of around $1.5 billion. Utah is also considered to be very business-friendly. In fact, the state is often near the top of prominent rankings. For example, CNBC ranked Utah fourth in the nation for its business friendliness.

Best Local Colleges

The University of Utah has a well-regarded School of Computing. It works closely with the Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute (SCI) at the university. SCI is a world-leading research facility that focuses on computing and visualization techniques. The institute also develops tools and systems for biomedical engineering applications. Many of the Institute’s discoveries are made available to the scientific community through open source licensing. US News & World Report ranks the University of Utah as the 40th-best public college in the U.S. The university’s entrepreneurship program ranks in the top 10. Other rankings include being in:

  • the top 50 colleges for public health
  • the top 100 for computer science
  • the top 100 for engineering.

#41. Boulder, Colorado

Boulder, Colorado

The University of Colorado has produced thirteen Nobel Laureates, nine MacArthur Fellows, and 20 astronauts.

Why Boulder?

Boulder is a high-tech city. It is expected to continue its growth as a hub for innovation in the coming years. Industry giants like Google, Facebook, and Amazon have operations in the Denver-Boulder area. There are also hundreds of startups along the Front Range.

Some of Boulder’s top tech companies include:

  • NetApp
  • MojoTech
  • SurveyGizmo
  • SnapEngage
  • CA Technologies
  • VMWare Carbon Black

It helps that Boulder ranks among the nation’s best small towns. Resonance Consultancy named Boulder as the 7th-best small town in the U.S. Boulder also made Travel Pulse’s list of the 10 best small cities in the nation.

Best Local Colleges

The University of Colorado-Boulder is one of the best public institutions in the country. It is considered to be one of the nation’s “Public Ivy” schools. According to U.S. News & World Report, the university ranks in the top-50 public schools. More specifically, UC-Boulder has the 28th-best undergraduate engineering program. It also has the 12th-ranked aerospace engineering program.

In addition, the school is home to the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP), which employs over 100 research scientists. Scientists specialize in designing, building, and operating spacecraft. Boulder is also home to the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics (JILA), one of the top research institutes in the United States.

#40. Tucson, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

Fun Fact: In 1972, Pima County, where Tucson is located, enacted a dark sky code. This was meant to help minimize light pollution for the observatories in the area. As a result, Tucson has far less light pollution than most cities of its size.

Why Tucson?

Tucson is perhaps the world leader in the design and manufacture of optics. Because of this, it has earned the nickname “Optics Valley.” Over 150 companies in the area are involved in optic design and manufacture. There are also many observatories in the area for scanning the night sky.

There are a large number of tech employers in the area. These include:

  • Raytheon Missile Systems
  • IBM
  • Honeywell Aerospace
  • Texas Instruments
  • Bombardier Aerospace

Other well-known tech companies in the area include Universal Avionics and Sunquest Information Systems. These companies are based in Tucson in part because of the large number of computer and tech graduates from the University of Arizona.

Best Local Colleges

According to U.S. News & World Report, the University of Arizona is tied for being the 40th-best public school in the country. It also has the 53rd-best undergraduate engineering program in the country. 

Other University of Arizona rankings include the 37th-best public health program according to Niche. Niche also ranks the university’s physics program in their top-100. According to Forbes, the University of Arizona is the 116th-best research university in the nation. The university also has a respected online program. In fact, their online information technology degree is in the top 20 in the U.S.

#39. College Station, Texas

College Station, Texas

Texas A&M had a student population of nearly 70,000 in 2018-2019. This ranks it as the largest university by enrollment in the United States. Compare that to the population of College Station, which is currently estimated at around 118,000.

Why College Station?

College Station is a unique city with a vibrant population thanks to Texas A&M University. College Station is ranked as the 11th-fastest-growing city in the U.S. It’s also ranked 5th for the best city in Texas for economic advancement.

Forbes looks highly on the city, too. It ranked College Station as the 2nd-best small places for business and careers. It’s also one of the top cities in Texas for job growth. There are a number of scientific and tech research companies in the area, including NASA. Smaller companies include:

  • Brazos Technology
  • Capsher Technology
  • FrogSlayer

Best Local Colleges

According to U.S. News & World Report, Texas A&M University has a large number of top-100 rankings. This includes number 25 for most innovative schools. It’s also number 13 for the best undergraduate engineering programs. The university’s biological and agricultural engineering program is ranked number two in the country. Its petroleum engineering program is tops in the nation.

Texas A&M supports research for graduate and undergraduate students. One of the university’s unique spaces is ASTRO. ASTRO stands for AeroSpace, Technology Research and Operations (ASTRO) Center. Its mission is to advance research and operations in the aerospace industry. It also promotes STEM education.

In their College ROI Report, PayScale.com determined that Texas A&M offers 10.4 percent annual ROI for graduates. The 20-year net ROI stands at $599,000. This is after a four-year investment of just $97,000.

#38. Stony Brook, New York

Stony Brook, New York

Many people in STEM fields first became interested in science and technology because of comic books. One of Stony Brook’s most famous residents is Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee.

Why Stony Brook?

Stony Brook is a tiny town of less than six square miles and fewer than 14,000 full-time residents. However, Stony Brook University has an economic impact upon the region of $7.23 billion annuallyMajor facilities include the Brookhaven National Laboratory and the Stony Brook Research and Development Park. The latter houses the Advanced Energy Center, the Innovation Center, and the Center for Excellence in Wireless and Information Technology (CEWIT).

CEWIT is a world leader in the wireless and IT industries. Research there is very diverse. This includes robotics and mobile computing. It also includes microwave sensors, computational genetics, and hybrid networks. CEWIT is involved in virtual reality and a wide variety of other niches as well.

Best Local Colleges

According to Niche, Stony Brook University is a top-100 public college in the United States. Niche also ranks Stony Brook as one of the top-100 schools for computer science. The school’s physics, chemistry, nursing, and biology programs are also ranked in the top-140. U.S. News & World Report ranks Stony Brook University as the 34th-best public university in the country. Stony Brook is also ranked 139th in terms of value among colleges and universities across the nation. Stony Brook is the only public research university on Long Island. The university supports nearly 55,000 jobs in the area. It is also responsible for 8% of all jobs in Suffolk County, New York.

#37. Hanover, New Hampshire

Hanover, New Hampshire

Dartmouth was founded in 1769. It is one of the nine Colonial Colleges that were established before the American Revolutionary War. It is the smallest among the Ivy League schools.

Why Hanover?

Besides Dartmouth, another major facility in the area is the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL). CRREL is owned by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Its focus is on research and development of scientific and military applications in cold climates.

Hanover is also home to a number of tech startups. In fact, there are many software and hardware companies in town, including:

  •  Sassafras Software
  • Strava Inc.,
  • Bionic Advertising Systems

The medical field is also important in Hanover. The Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center is one of the largest employers in the city. It is also ranked the best regional hospital in New Hampshire.

Best Local Colleges

Dartmouth University is widely regarded as one of the best in the nation. In fact, the Times Higher Education ranks Dartmouth as the 12th-best college in the nation. US News & World Report ranks it as the 13th-best among national universities. US News & World Report also ranks some of Dartmouth’s individual programs highly. This includes their undergraduate engineering program, which is ranked 48th in the country.

In their College ROI Report, PayScale.com determined that Dartmouth ranked 56th out of more than 1,300 colleges and universities. The school has a projected 20-year ROI of over $668,000, versus an education investment of $265,000. In the past, Dartmouth was named by both Newsweek and Yahoo! as being among the most technologically-advanced universities in the country.

#36. Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois

The University of Chicago is affiliated with 53 Rhodes Scholars, 10 Fields medalists, and more than 90 Nobel laureates. 

Why Chicago?

As one of the largest cities in the U.S., Chicago has plenty to offer. There are hundreds of tech companies in the greater Chicago area. These include:

  • bswift
  • CCC Information Services
  • Echo Global Logistics
  • Enova

Chicago also has some of the finest research institutions in the world. The University of Chicago and the University of Illinois-Chicago are just two examples.

There is a wealth of support for startups in Chicago too. For example, the Founders Network connects Chicago founders with a global network of support. Its mentoring programs provide entrepreneurs with resources that help facilitate growth. Another resource for startups is Chicago SCORE. This organization offers free assistance to help entrepreneurs start their companies and grow them for long-term success.

Best Local Colleges

As noted above, the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois-Chicago are prime research institutions. The University of Chicago is ranked 6th by Niche for the best colleges for academics. Niche also ranks UC highly for its programs in math, chemistry, physics, and psychology. In fact, each of those programs is ranked in the top 10. US News & World Report named UC as the 6th-best national college in the U.S.

The University of Illinois-Chicago gets high marks too. US News & World Report ranks it as 52nd among public universities. UIC’s engineering program is ranked in the top-80 in the nation as well.

#35. Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara, California

UCSB has 6 Nobel laureates and more than 60 Guggenheim Fellows. There are 41 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. There are 29 members of the National Academy of Engineering as well. Over 90 companies have been started with UCSB technologies.

Why Santa Barbara?

Santa Barbara is a breathtaking city on the central California coast. As far as college towns go, this one is tough to beat. But Santa Barbara isn’t just about sun and surf. There are plenty of major STEM employers in the area. QAD is a huge employer. Cottage Health is another large tech company. Others include:

  • Sonos
  • Zoom Video Communications
  • WellHealth
  • Procore Technologies

There are also a large number of tech start-up companies in the area.

Best Local Colleges

The University of California at Santa Barbara is recognized as a Public Ivy school. It is ranked by US News and World Report as the 6th-best public school in the nation. The magazine also ranks UCSB as having the 37th-best undergraduate engineering program. Niche also regards UCSB highly. It ranks UCSB’s environmental science and physics programs in the top-50. Niche ranks the following programs at UCSB in their top-100:

  • Engineering
  • Psychology
  • Math
  • Economics
  • Computer science

UCSB also has a research mentorship program. This program involves intensive, hands-on research for high school students. Students are mentored by graduate students, post-doctoral students, and faculty. The program is designed to inspire talented young people to pursue research at the university level.

#34. Davis, California

Davis, California

Alumni and faculty associated with UC Davis have won many awards. This includes the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize,and  the National Medal of Science. University affiliates have also won the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the MacArthur Fellowship.

Why Davis?

The city of Davis has been called a great college town. SFGate ranks it in the top-25 college towns in California, noting Davis has “personality with a capital P.” 

UC Davis is far and away the largest employer in the city. There are many research and tech facilities nearby, including the Advanced Highway Maintenance Construction Technology Research Laboratory. Also in Davis is the Contained Research Facility and the Crocker Nuclear Laboratory. The Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle Research Center is located in Davis as well. With so many research facilities, it’s no wonder that Davis ranks in the top-50 cities for studying computers and technology.

Best Local Colleges

UC Davis is a well-known research institution. Its rankings reflect its commitment to top-notch technology education. The Times Higher Education ranks the school as the 64th-best in the world. US News and World Report also views UC Davis highly:

  • 39th among national universities
  • 50th for most innovative schools
  • 11th among top public schools
  • 28th for its engineering program
  • 7th for its biological and agricultural engineering majors

UC Davis has a long history of excellence. In fact, in 2001, the school was recognized as a Public Ivy.

#33. Piscataway, New Jersey

Piscataway, New Jersey

Rutgers is the eighth-oldest college in the nation. It was founded in 1766. It is one of the nine Colonial Colleges that were founded before the American Revolutionary War.

Why Piscataway?

Piscataway is a small town. However, it offers many educational, research, and job opportunities. The cities of Newark and Camden are close as well. Both of those cities are ripe with STEM-related studies and careers as well.

This area is home to many top tech companies. These include InetSoft, which offers business intelligence software. Another local company is First Tek, a leading IT services provider. Other tech companies in the area include:

  • Software Programming Group
  • Nextgencia Technology and Solutions
  • Rigas Technologies, Incorporated 

In 2019, Piscataway was ranked 68th by Money magazine among its “Best Places to Live.”

Best Local Colleges

Rutgers University is the state college of New Jersey. It is highly regarded as an excellent school. This is especially true of its STEM-related programs. The Times Higher Education ranks Rutgers as the 166th-best university in the world. US News and World Report puts Rutgers at 23rd on its list of top public schools. Additionally, the undergraduate engineering program is ranked 48th in the nation.

Other US News and World Report rankings include:

  • 28th for its physics program
  • 37th for its computer science program
  • 52nd for its earth science program
  • 67th for its chemistry program

Niche ranks Rutgers’ public health program 48th in the United States. They also rank the math program as 92nd and computer science as 103rd in the country.

#32. Columbus, Ohio

Columbus, Ohio

In 2018, Forbes magazine rated Columbus as first in their top-10 rankings of rising cities for startups. SmartAsset has also named Columbus as the best city in America for tech workers three years in a row.

Why Columbus?

Columbus is a hotbed of STEM-related activities. There are many tech companies in the area. For example, the Battelle Memorial Institute is the largest private research and development foundation in the world. Battelle is responsible for many contributions to major technology innovations. These include assisting with the development of:

  • Xerox copy machine
  • Compact discs
  • Bar codes
  • Cruise control

Today, Battelle is working on the U.S. chemical demilitarization program. The company also plays a role in developing vaccines and therapy treatments for infectious diseases. Other notable IT employers in the Columbus area include:

  • Online Computer Library Center
  • JP Morgan Chase
  • IBM
  • Alliance Data Retail Systems

Because of the presence of so many tech companies, the Columbus region has been named the top U.S. metro area for IT staffing potential.

Best Local Colleges

When you think of Columbus, Ohio, you think of The Ohio State University. OSU is one of the most well-known universities in the world. It’s also one of the largest universities by enrollment. In 2018-2019, OSU had an enrollment of 61,170. That made it the third-largest college in the U.S.

OSU isn’t just big. It is also highly ranked on a number of measures. It’s ranked by US News and World Report at 21 for learning communities. Its undergraduate engineering program is ranked 28th. It is also ranked 25th for innovation and 17th for top public schools. Ohio State is also considered to be a Public Ivy.

Research facilities at OSU include:

  • Aerospace Research Center
  • Center for Automotive Research
  • Biomedical Research Tower
  • Electroscience Laboratory
  • OSU Planetarium

#31. Evanston, Illinois

Evanston, Illinois

Northwestern is one of only 65 institutions that are part of the Association of American Universities (AAU). AAU is an organization of colleges and universities dedicated to the highest standards of research and academic excellence. Northwestern has been a member for over 100 years.

Why Evanston?

Research opportunities abound in Evanston. This is in large part due to Northwestern University. The Innovation and New Ventures Office at Northwestern is particularly active in research. In fact, in 2019, the office reported that:

  • 250 inventions were disclosed
  • 501 applications for patents were made
  • 172 patents were issued
  • 12 startups were formed

Additionally, the Innovation and New Ventures Office reported that in 2019, licensing revenue reached $7.9 million.

Evanston is also regarded as a great place to live. Niche ranks it as 68th on their list of the best suburbs in America. It’s also ranked as the 75th-best suburb for young professionals.

Best Local Colleges

As mentioned above, Northwestern has a robust research presence. The university has multiple research facilities. This includes the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics

Other facilities on the campus include:

According to U.S. News & World Report, Northwestern University is 22nd in the nation in undergraduate research opportunities. Northwestern is also ranked in the top-25 in engineering. It’s 30th among most innovative schools and 9th among national universities. Niche ranks Northwestern as 7th for the best professors. It also has top-10 rankings for its psychology and biology programs. It’s ranked 10th for colleges with the best academics in America. 

#30. Charlottesville, Virginia

Charlottesville, Virginia

The University of Virginia’s inaugural Board of Visitors had Presidents James Monroe, James Madison, and Thomas Jefferson as members.

Why Charlottesville?

Popular tech essayist Paul Graham says, “I think you only need two kinds of people to create a technology hub: rich people and nerds.” Despite its small size, Charlottesville has both. A few years ago, the city was ranked as the fastest-growing venture capital city in the nation. That ranking came as a result of venture capital increasing by 55% year after year between 2010-2015.

Because of the University of Virginia, the area has a lot of talent in the life sciences and information technology. Furthermore, the region is attractive to higher-income residents looking for new ventures. Finally, the Charlottesville area is in close proximity to other high-tech regions. These include Northern Virginia, home of advanced defense and communication projects.

Best Local Colleges

The University of Virginia has a history of being highly ranked on a number of factors. It’s ranked by US News and World Report as 4th on their list of top public schools. UVA is also ranked 68th for innovation and 44th for undergraduate research opportunities.

Niche also ranks UVA as the 4th-best public college in the United States. They also have top-10 programs in:

  • nursing
  • kinesiology
  • physical 

In their College ROI Report, PayScale.com ranked the University of Virginia as 48th for ROI. The school has a projected 20-year ROI of over $683,000, versus a cost of $114,000.

#29. Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minnesota

The University of Minnesota Twin Falls is just one of five UM campuses in the state. Systemwide, the University represents 130 nations, has 571,000 alumni, and generates $8.6 billion in economic impact in Minnesota each year.

Why Minneapolis?

Minneapolis is perhaps the major business center between Seattle and Chicago. In 2020, Fortune listed it as one of the top-15 cities for revenue from Fortune 500 companiesThere are also many large STEM-related companies that aren’t on the Fortune 500. These include:

  • Medtronic
  • Ceridian
  • ATS Medical
  • DIGI International, Incorporated

The famed St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is also headquartered in the Minneapolis area.

Best Local Colleges

The University of Minnesota Twin Cities is the largest university in the state. It has over 20,000 faculty and staff. There are more than 50,000 students enrolled as well. The University of Minnesota Twin Cities is ranked 66th among national universities according to US News & World Report. The school is ranked 26th among public universities. Niche gives UM high marks for agricultural sciences (7th in the nation) and information technology (17th in the nation). Its nursing program is ranked 32nd, psychology is ranked 45th, and chemistry is ranked 49th. The university’s commitment to academic excellence has garnered it the Public Ivy designation.

#28. Irvine, California

The University of California Irvine is home to the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. The Center was the first comprehensive national cancer institute in Orange County.

Why Irvine?

Irvine has been recognized for years as a desirable place to live. In fact, it has been voted as the best city to live in by Orange County residents multiple times. It’s also been noted as one of the happiest cities in AmericaIts proximity to Los Angeles makes Irvine a prime location for technology companies. These include:

  • Vizio
  • Broadcom
  • Paragon Software Group.

Other major tech companies in the area include:

  • ATEN Technology,
  • Epicor Software Corporation
  • West Coast Design Center for Ford Motor Company

Computer gaming giant Blizzard Entertainment is also headquartered in Irvine. Its building is in Irvine’s Medical and Science Complex.

Best Local Colleges

The University of California Irvine has received many accolades over the years. In recent years, many different publications have ranked the school among the best in the nation. These include:

  • 8th-best public university by US News and World Report
  • #1 best college by Money magazine
  • #1 university for doing the most for the American dream by College Access Index

UC Irvine has the 38th-best engineering program. The software engineering program is ranked 6th in the country by US News & World ReportThe University of California at Irvine is also considered to be a “Public Ivy.”

#27. State College, Pennsylvania

State College, Pennsylvania

The State College area is known as Happy Valley. The nickname started during the Great Depression. Because of the opportunities presented by Penn State, the area wasn’t hit nearly as hard by the depression.

Why State College?

State College has been recognized in the past as one of the smartest cities in the nation. It has also been ranked as one of the best cities for entrepreneursThe largest employer in the city is Penn State University and University Park. The University has over 17,000 faculty and staff. Other major employers in the area include Minitab and Raytheon. Minitab developed a statistical analysis tool for business. Raytheon is an aerospace and defense company. There is excellent support for startups in State College, too. Each year, the local TechCelerator@State College program graduates a new class of entrepreneurs.

Best Local Colleges

Penn State University is a top institution in the U.S. and the world. The Times Higher Education ranks it as 114th globally. US News & World Report ranks it as 23rd among top public schools.  The publication also gives high marks to many Penn State engineering programs, including:

  • #5 in petroleum engineering
  • #7 in industrial engineering
  • #10 in materials engineering
  • #12 in mechanical engineering

The information technology program at Penn State is ranked 7th in the nation by Niche. Niche also ranks the Penn State campus as the 25th-best in the country.

#26. Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland

Johns Hopkins University, based in Baltimore, is affiliated with 29 Nobel Prize Winners. This includes U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1919 for his efforts to end World War I.

Why Baltimore?

According to Business.org, the Baltimore area is one of the best in the nation for tech employee salaries. In fact, Baltimore ranked sixth on that list, with a salary just over $102,000. Historically, Baltimore has had hundreds of thousands of STEM-related jobs available. Many of those have required extensive engineering knowledge. The major tech jobs in Baltimore are found at Johns Hopkins University and its Applied Physics Laboratory. Other tech companies that are on the rise include:

  • clean.io
  • Ortus Academy
  • SafetyPIN Technologies
  • Tribe

In addition to having a large tech presence, Baltimore also has a lot of organizations to support startups. The Baltimore Eco Map has more than 200 organizations listed that provide support services.

Best Local Colleges

Johns Hopkins University is one of the best research institutions in the United States. US News & World Report ranks it as 12th on their list of most innovative colleges. It’s also ranked 9th among national universities and 11th for undergraduate research. Johns Hopkins has an excellent engineering program. Its biomedical engineering program is ranked first in the nation.

The Times Higher Education ranks Johns Hopkins as the 12th-best college in the world. This makes it a prime choice for students from the U.S. and abroad. In their College ROI Report, PayScale.com determined that Johns Hopkins ranked 82nd in the country. The school has a projected 20-year ROI of over $600,000, versus a cost of $258,000.

#25. Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

In 2020, UNC Chapel Hill was ranked 30th among the world’s best universities. The school also had 11 programs of study rank in the top 20.

Why Chapel Hill?

Along with Durham and Raleigh, Chapel Hill is one of the corners of the Research Triangle. It is one of the most important high-tech research and development areas in the United States. At the Research Triangle Park (RTP), there are over 300 companies that employ over 55,000 workers and 10,000 contractors. Some of the companies here include:

  • IBM
  • Cisco
  • NVIDIA
  • Microsoft

GlaxoSmithKline also has its largest research and development center in the Park. The center employs approximately 5,000 people. Nearby are the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Best Local Colleges

The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill is ranked by US News & World Report as the 5th-best public school in the nation. It’s also ranked as 14th among best value schools and 28th among national universities. US News & World Report also ranks UNC Chapel Hill as being the 25th-best for innovation. According to Niche, UNC Chapel Hill has several STEM programs that rank highly. These include:

  • 18th for public health
  • 21st for nursing
  • 21st for chemistry
  • 23rd for environmental science

The school’s math, computer science, and biology programs are all ranked in the top 50 as well. With so many highly-regarded programs, it’s no wonder UNC Chapel Hill is considered a “Public Ivy” school.

#24. Amherst, Massachusetts

Amherst, Massachusetts

UMass has a student population of more than 30,000 students. It is a large school, but Amherst has a small town feel. The city has a population of just over 37,000.

Why Amherst?

Amherst is a great city for studying computers and technology. One of the primary reasons for this is the Northeast Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (NEAGEP). The NEAGEP has a stated goal of increasing the number of US students who earn doctoral degrees and who become professors in STEM fields. NEAGEP provides recruiting, support, and mentoring for statistically-underrepresented minorities in STEM areas. This includes students that identify as:

  • African American
  • American Indian
  • Hispanic
  • Native Alaskan
  • Native Hawaiian 

Amherst is also home to the University of Massachusetts. UMass has been involved in aiding the development of a number of tech startups. This includes:

  • Aclarity, LLC, which develops water purification devices
  • AuCoDe, LLC, which uses machine learning to identify controversies in data
  • Genoverde Biosciences, Inc, which bioengineered tree seedlings with greater wood density and a greater ability to capture carbon dioxide

This is just a sampling of the types of startups that began at UMass. 

Best Local Colleges

UMass is regarded as one of the best research institutions in the country. Students who major in computers and technology will find ample opportunities to test theories, devices, inventions, and the like. US News & World Report lists UMass as 26th on their list of top public schools. The magazine also ranks UMass 66th among national universities. The school’s engineering program gets high marks as well. It’s ranked 63rd in the nation. Niche ranks several UMass STEM programs in the top-75 in the nation. This includes:

  • Agricultural science (38th)
  • Nursing (50th)
  • Kinesiology and physical therapy (72nd)
  • Computer science (74th)

#23. Durham, North Carolina

Durham, North Carolina

The city of Durham gets an overall grade of “A” from Niche. This rating is based on high marks for diversity, opportunities for young people, and a low cost of living.

Why Durham?

Along with Chapel Hill and Raleigh, Durham is one of the corners of the Research Triangle. Though Silicon Valley is perhaps best-known for high-tech research and development, the Research Triangle isn’t far behind. Durham has tech companies in other areas of the city, too. The downtown area is a hotbed of new startups. Many of the people who work at these startups are graduates of Duke, North Carolina, or North Carolina State. This area is full of well-educated workers. In fact, nearly 50% of workers in the Durham area have at least a bachelor’s degree.

Best Local Colleges

Duke University is located in Durham, and is considered one of the top universities in the world. The Times Higher Education ranks Duke as 20th on its list. Their rankings also include 29th in the world for reputation and 49th in the world for its engineering and technology programs.

US News and World Report ranks Duke highly as well. Their rankings include:

  • 12th among national universities
  • 14th among the most innovative universities
  • 14th in learning communities
  • 22nd for its engineering program

Duke is also ranked 8th for undergraduate research by US News & World Report.

In their College ROI Report, PayScale.com determined that Duke ranked 60th out of more than 1300 colleges and universities. The school has a projected 20-year ROI of over $659,000, versus a cost of $262,000.

#22. New Haven, Connecticut

New Haven, Connecticut

According to the American Library Association, Yale has one of the largest libraries in the country. It is the seventh-largest with more than 13.7 million volumes. It is the fourth-largest university library behind Harvard, the University of Illinois, and the University of Michigan.

Why New Haven?

For recent graduates in the computer or tech fields, Connecticut promotes the Connecticut Technology Council (CTC). CTC is a statewide association of tech-oriented companies. The primary goal of CTC is to provide leadership, advocacy, assistance, and community for growing companies. CTC is an organization made up of over 6,000 companies that employ over 120,000 workers. CTC offers networking events for tech professionals. They also have professional enrichment programs and offer mentoring as well.

The city of New Haven also offers support for entrepreneurs. Their Small Business Resource Center offers support for startups and other new businesses. This includes financial assistance for women-owned and minority-owned companies.

Best Local Colleges

The most iconic institution in New Haven is Yale University. Founded in 1701, it is one of the oldest educational institutions in the United States. As an Ivy League school, it is also known for its superb academics. US News & World Report ranks Yale 4th among national universities. It is also 4th on their list of “best value schools.” Their rankings also give high marks to Yale for innovation (30th), learning communities (2nd), undergraduate research (3rd), and engineering (32nd).

Niche takes it a step further. Their rankings place Yale at the top of the list for the best professors. Niche also ranks Yale in the top-10 for:

  • Chemistry
  • Economics
  • Psychology
  • Biology
  • Math
  • Computer science

In their “College ROI Report,” PayScale.com determined that Yale ranked 31st out of more than 1,300 colleges and universities. The school has a projected 20-year ROI of over $749,000, versus a cost of $261,000.

#21. Houston, Texas

Houston

Rice University was established as a gift to Houston from William Marsh Rice. Rice was a businessman in Massachusetts who chartered the school on May 18, 1891. The charter required that work on the school would not begin until after Rice’s death. He was murdered by his valet in 1900.

Why Houston?

Houston has put forth great effort to become a tech hub. It has paid off. In the last decade, the city has added nearly 26,000 tech jobs. Today, more than seven percent of the city’s residents are employed in tech industries. There are nearly 8,800 tech establishments in the greater Houston area as well. The largest tech sectors in Houston include:

  • Research and development
  • Testing
  • Engineering
  • IT services
  • Custom software services

Houston also has a large presence of telecommunications and internet services companies.

The median yearly wage for tech workers in Houston is $89,519. Combined with a low cost of living in the area, this makes for a solid wage.

Best Local Colleges

Houston has several universities, but Rice University is the most highly regarded. US News & World Report ranks it as the 16th-best national university. It is also ranked as 8th on their list of best value schools. Additionally, US News & World Report ranks Rice’s engineering program at 19th. Their programming languages program is ranked 12th.

According to Niche, Rice is the number one school for kinesiology and physical therapy. Rice ranks in the top-10 for engineering, psychology, and environmental science. The economics, physics, and chemistry programs are in the top-10 as well.

In their College ROI Report, PayScale.com determined that Rice ranked 55th out of more than 1,300 colleges and universities. The school has a projected 20-year ROI of over $669,000, versus a cost of $229,000.

#20. Providence, Rhode Island

Providence, Rhode Island

Brown University was founded in 1764 and is one of the nine “Colonial Colleges” that were established before the American Revolutionary War. It is the 12th-oldest higher education institution in the country.

Why Providence?

Though Providence is a relatively small town, it is home to many tech companies. Some of the better-known companies include:

  • Splitwise, a mobile app developer
  • Vitae Industries, a med-tech company
  • WhatsGood, a food technology firm
  • Sproutel, which makes interactive games for kids
  • ToGoBox, a virtual food court

Computer and tech graduates in the Providence area can get help starting a business at RIHub. RIHub offers networking and space to create. It also connects startups with its partners who can help accelerate company growth. There are good-paying jobs in computers and technology in Providence as well. For example, the average salary for information technology careers can be as high as $74,000 per year.

Best Local Colleges

Brown University is an Ivy League school and one of the top research universities in the country. It is ranked 14th among national universities by US News &World Report. It is also ranked as 20th on the list of most innovative schools and 15th for undergraduate research.

Brown is also highly regarded around the world. The Times Higher Education ranks it 61st in the world. Many of Brown’s STEM-related programs are ranked in the top 100 as well:

  • Clinical, pre-clinical, and health (50th)
  • Engineering and technology (82nd)
  • Physical sciences (80th)
  • Life sciences (100th)

In their  College ROI Report, PayScale.com determined that Brown ranked 51st out of more than 1,300 colleges and universities. The school has a projected 20-year ROI of over $672,000, versus a cost of $275,000.

#19. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

There are 26 Nobel laureates that are affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania.

Why Philadelphia?

Over the last 20 years, Philadelphia has shifted to an economy based on information technology. Financial activities is another economic sector that has grown a lot.  With the growth of Philadelphia’s tech scene, many new startups are calling the city home. What’s more, enterprise organizations are shifting their focus towards tech to better compete within their respective industries. As a result of all this, there is an abundance of tech jobs in Philadelphia. There’s also a lot of support for entrepreneurs and startups. Philly Startup Guide is a great resource for tech entrepreneurs to get their businesses off the ground and running strong.

In 2020, the REAList named the most promising tech companies in the area. These included:

  • FORT Robotics
  • Avisi Technologies
  • NICKL
  • Astarte Medical

This is just a sampling of the dozens of new startups that are shaping the future of Philadelphia’s tech scene.

Best Local Colleges

Philadelphia has three top-ranked universities in Temple, Villanova, and the University of Pennsylvania. They are ranked 103rd, 53rd, and 8th, respectively, among national universities according to US News & World ReportIn the case of the University of Pennsylvania, they also have a top-25 ranking among the most innovative schools. Penn’s undergraduate engineering program is ranked 22nd. Their programming languages program is tied for 6th in the nation.

In their “College ROI Report,” PayScale.com determined that the University of Pennsylvania ranked 30th out of more than 1300 colleges and universities. The school has a projected 20-year ROI of over $774,000, versus a cost of $262,000.

#18. College Park, Maryland

College Park, Maryland

The University of Maryland has a “living and learning” honors program called Design Cultures and Creativity. In this program, students take part in an open, collaborative learning environment. The focus is on design, society, creative practices, and emerging technologies.

Why College Park?

The University of Maryland is the largest employer in College Park. It provides jobs for over 14,000 faculty and staffBut the University isn’t the only employer with high-tech needs. Other organizations that require STEM or tech skills include:

  • The Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
  • The National Archives and Records Administration
  • The American Center for Physics

There are also multiple tech incubators in College Park. In 2018, Capital One opened one in the University of Maryland’s startup hub. The incubator is focused on machine learning and data science and how both can be used to improve banking in the future.  Another local incubator is the Maryland International Incubator. The purpose of this organization is to connect the state with international businesses that have technology and innovation needs.

Best Local Colleges

The University of Maryland at College Park is ranked by US News & World Report as the 58th-best national university in the country. It’s also ranked as the 19th-best public college in the nation. Students who want to study cybersecurity are in good hands at UMD. Their cybersecurity program is ranked 9th in the country. The University’s undergraduate engineering program is ranked 22nd in the United States. Because of the University’s close proximity with Washington DC, the school has a number of research partners. These include several government agencies:

  • The National Science Foundation
  • The Department of Homeland Security
  • NASA
  • The National Security Agency
  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology

#17. San Diego, California

San Diego, California

UC San Diego has had 16 Nobel laureates teach on campus over the years. The University has also had three professors that are Fields Medalists.

Why San Diego?

The largest sector of San Diego’s economy is dominated by the military and defense industry. Among the national defense contractors in San Diego are:

  • General Atomics
  • Cubic Corporation
  • General Dynamics NASSCO

In fact, there are so many defense dollars in San Diego that the city ranks second in the nation in defense dollars received. There are more than 5,600 firms and 62,000 employees working in the defense realm in San Diego. Communications is another big employer in the city. Cricket Communications, Novatel Wireless Labs, and LG Electronics are just a few examples. Another large part of the San Diego economy is the life sciences. There are over 1,200 life sciences businesses in the city. There are also more than 80 independent and university research facilities.

Best Local Colleges

The University of California at San Diego has one of the most highly regarded schools of engineering in the world. The program ranks 9th in the nation according to US News & World Report. It ranks 5th in the nation among public school programs.

Additionally, individual programs in the engineering department get high marks:

  • Bioengineering – 4th
  • Computer systems – 11th
  • Programming languages 13th
  • Computer science theory – 14th
  • Electrical, electronic, communications engineering – 14th
  • Computer engineering – 14th
  • Mechanical engineering – 17th
  • Aerospace, aeronautical, astronautical engineering – 18th

The University’s civil engineering (21st) and materials engineering (31st) round out their top-50 STEM programs. Due to these high rankings, UC San Diego is regarded as a “Public Ivy.”

In their “College ROI Report,” PayScale.com determined that UC San Diego ranked 61st out of more than 1300 colleges and universities. The school has a projected 20-year ROI of over $656,000, versus a cost of $125,000.

#16. New York City, New York

NYC

Over 100 Nobel Prize winners are associated with Columbia University and New York University as staff, faculty, or students.

Why New York City?

In 2020, the New York Times reported that New York City is “becoming Silicon Valley’s newest rival.” In fact, tech giants like Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple already have thousands of employees in the city. That number is expected to reach 20,000 by 2022. The outlook for tech companies in New York is only expected to get better. Bloomberg noted that the city has long been known for finance and telecommunications. However, the tech industry is already the number-two employer in town and it is rapidly catching up to finance for the top spot.

The city is also home to dozens of startup accelerators. There are just as many incubators as well. These include:

  • AngelPad
  • Barclays Accelerator
  • Bullish
  • DreamIt

Best Local Colleges

New York City is home to two of the finest universities in the nation. Columbia University is ranked 3rd among national universities according to US News & World Report. New York University is ranked 30thColumbia has highly-ranked engineering and computer science programs. Their undergraduate engineering program is 13th in the country. Their computer science program has many top-15 entries, including:

  • Data analytics – 8th
  • Theory – 8th
  • Artificial intelligence – 12th
  • Cybersecurity – 12th

NYU has a top-70 undergraduate engineering program. It is also ranked by US News & World Report as 30th among the most innovative schools.

In their “College ROI Report,” PayScale.com determined that Columbia ranked 32nd out of more than 1300 colleges and universities. The school has a projected 20-year ROI of over $741,000, versus a cost of $272,000. NYU ranked 175th on the same list. It has a projected 20-year ROI of $481,000, versus a cost of $268,000.

#15. Blacksburg, Virginia

Blacksburg, Virginia

Blacksburg is ranked 8th among emerging metropolitan areas. It is also ranked 19th among the most secure places to live in the U.S. among small towns.

Why Blacksburg?

The economy of Blacksburg revolves around Virginia Tech University. The school employs around 13,000 people. There are many tech jobs in and around Blacksburg as well. The Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center is a primary employer. This science park is home to a variety of companies, including:

  • Aerosoft Incorporated
  • The National Weather Service
  • Virginia Cyber Range
  • Brush Mountain Data Center

The range of businesses in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center is quite wide. Just a few STEM fields represented among its tenants are: 

  • computer science
  • biotechnology
  • engineering
  • chemistry 

Best Local Colleges

US News & World Report ranks Virginia Tech at 74th among national universities. It also ranks Virginia Tech at 29th among public universities. The University also gets high marks for innovation. It’s ranked 35th on US News & World Report’s list of most innovative universities.

Virginia Tech’s engineering department is very highly ranked as well. This includes several top-10 programs:

  • Industrial engineering – 4th
  • Civil engineering – 8th
  • Environmental engineering – 10th 

In their “College ROI Report,” PayScale.com determined that Virginia Tech ranked 73rd out of more than 1300 colleges and universities. The school has a projected 20-year ROI of over $623,000, versus a cost of $103,000.

#14. Madison, Wisconsin

Madison, Wisconsin

The University of Wisconsin at Madison ranks 6th in the nation in research expenditure. The university has 13 schools and colleges and a faculty and staff of more than 22,000 people.

Why Madison?

Since 2008, Madison’s technology jobs have doubled. Along with Green Bay and Milwaukee, Madison accounts for nearly half of all jobs in the state. But it isn’t just the availability of tech jobs. It’s also the pay.

Madison is one of the best cities for Millennial homebuyers. It’s an affordable place to live, has a modern, urban lifestyle, and the median income for Millenials was $68,500 as of 2017. The higher-than-average wages are due in large part to the city’s tech scene. Major corporations call Madison home, including:

  • Google
  • American Family Insurance
  • Epic Systems
  • Swan Leap
  • Exact Sciences
  • Zendesk

There are a lot of tech startups, too. Among states in the “Silicon Prairie” – the Midwest’s answer to Silicon Valley — Madison ranks fifth in startup activity and entrepreneurship.

Best Local Colleges

The University of Wisconsin at Madison is one of the top public universities in the nation. It  is ranked 13th in the nation among public universities by Niche. Niche also ranks its agricultural sciences program as 3rd-best in the country. Other top rankings from Niche include:

  • Kinesiology and physical therapy – 20th
  • Nursing – 24th
  • Environmental science – 31st
  • Biology – 34th
  • Engineering – 46th 

Niche isn’t the only one that ranks UW highly. US News & World Report ranks it 42nd among national universities. Its chemical engineering program is ranked 10th in the country and its computer systems program is ranked 6th.

#13. Princeton, New Jersey

Princeton, New Jersey

Princeton is the ninth-oldest university in the United States. It was founded before the American Revolutionary War in 1746. The school has been affiliated with 19 National Medal of Science winners, more than 200 Rhodes Scholars, and more than 40 Nobel laureates.

Why Princeton?

Princeton is very popular with many STEM companies. This is true for two primary reasons. First, with graduates from Princeton, employers have a deep pool of talent. Secondly, Princeton is roughly halfway between New York City and Philadelphia. This makes resources and travel extremely convenient. Besides Princeton University itself, major opportunities that exist in the area include:

  • Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
  • Institute for Advanced Study
  • Siemens Corporate Research
  • Dow Jones & Company

Best Local Colleges

When you think of Princeton, New Jersey, you likely also think of Princeton University. Princeton is one of the top universities in the nation. It is also an Ivy League school. Niche gives high marks to many of Princeton’s programs of study. This includes the following STEM programs:

  • Engineering – 2nd
  • Environmental science – 6th
  • Physics – 6th
  • Chemistry – 9th
  • Psychology – 9th
  • Biology – 10th

Niche also places Princeton 5th on their list of the colleges with the best academics in America. Overall, US News & World Report ranks Princeton as the number one national university in the country. It’s also ranked 2nd among best value schools and 22nd for most innovative. In their “College ROI Report,” PayScale.com determined that Princeton ranked 15th out of more than 1300 colleges and universities. The school has a projected 20-year ROI of over $879,000, versus an education investment of $240,000.

#12. Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington

The faculty of the University of Washington includes seven Nobel Prize laureates, 16 MacArthur Fellows, and 43 winners of the Presidential Early Career Awards in Science and Engineering.

Why Seattle?

By some accounts, Seattle is the best metro area for tech workers in the U.S. Seattle’s ranking at number one is based on several factors, including:

  • STEM-friendliness
  • job opportunities
  • quality of life

You can also add salary to that list. Seattle tech workers make an average of $279,000 per year. That’s more than double the average wage for any other job sector in the city. This means that tech employment and economic impact from the tech industry ranks Seattle in the top-10 nationallySeattle is home to many startups and tech incubators. It’s also home to many top-tier tech companies. These include:

  • Amazon
  • Microsoft
  • Boeing

Amazon alone employs more than 53,000 people in the Seattle area. Microsoft is close behind with about 52,000 employees. Boeing employs over 70,000 people in Washington, many in the Seattle area.

Best Local Colleges

According to Forbes, the University of Washington ranks 12th in the nation among public universities. Forbes also ranks the University as 35th among research universities. US News & World Report also ranks UW highly. It ranks the University as the 19th-best public school in the country. It also places UW’s computer science program at 5th-best in the nation. This includes a laundry list of high-ranking majors, including:

  • Mobile and web applications – 4th
  • Data analytics – 5th
  • Artificial intelligence – 8th
  • Computer systems – 8th
  • Programming languages – 10th
  • Cybersecurity – 12th

#11. West Lafayette, Indiana

West Lafayette, Indiana

Purdue is home to three of the world’s top 500 supercomputers. It also has 23 NASA astronauts among its alumni. This includes the first and most recent men to step foot on the moon.

Why West Lafayette?

One of the big reasons why West Lafayette is a great place for studying computers and technology is the Purdue Research Park. The park is 725 acres in size. It is the largest university-affiliated research park in the United States. The park employs thousands of people at more than 100 tech companies. Some of the larger companies in the park include:

  • Arxan Technologies Incorporated
  • Akina Incorporated
  • Delphi E & S
  • Indiana Technology Group

According to Niche, West Lafayette is one of the best cities in Indiana in which to live. The city also ranks in the top-50 cities in the state for young professionals. West Lafayette is a small town that is highly affordable. But its location about an hour from Indianapolis means there is easy access to recreation, the arts, and even more tech companies and incubators.

Best Local Colleges

Purdue is ranked 17th among public schools in the United States by US News & World Report. It gets high marks for innovation too. It is ranked 5th in the nation on that metric. The University is also highly regarded for its engineering program. In fact, US News & World Report ranks nine of the University’s engineering programs in the top-12 in the nation. These include:

  • Biological and agricultural engineering – 1st
  • Industrial engineering – 2nd
  • Civil engineering – 3rd
  • Aerospace, aeronautical, and astronautical engineering – 5th
  • Mechanical engineering – 7th

The cybersecurity program is tied for 6th-best in the nation as well. In their “College ROI Report,” PayScale.com determined that Purdue ranked 99th out of more than 1300 colleges and universities. The school has a projected 20-year ROI of over $575,000, versus a cost of $92,300.

#10. Ithaca, New York

Ithaca, New York

Cornell has been affiliated with 50 Nobel Prize winners. These include three current faculty members and 17 alumni.

Why Ithaca?

Ithaca has made efforts to attract tech businesses. The city promotes cutting-edge entrepreneurship. Something that has helped do this is the Cayuga Venture Fund. The goal of the Fund is to establish a thriving community of tech companies. They do this by providing the necessary resources for startups to grow. Some of their success stories include:

  • Calient Technologies, whose switches help improve computer and server functions
  • Incodema3D, which creates prototypes and supplies complicated 3D parts for the aerospace, energy, motorsports, and medical industries
  • Rheonix, which simplifies molecular testing and detection of pathogens

Best Local Colleges

Many of Cornell University’s STEM-related programs earn high marks. For example, Niche ranks several Cornell programs in the top-10, including:

  • Agricultural sciences – 1st
  • Information technology – 2nd
  • Physics – 8th
  • Computer science – 9th

US News & World Report ranks Cornell at 18th among national universities. It also ranks Cornell as the 16th-best school for innovation in the country. Many individual computer science programs earn top rankings as well:

  • Programming languages – 6th
  • Artificial intelligence – 6th
  • Cybersecurity – 6th
  • Data analytics – 8th

Cornell’s undergraduate engineering program is also highly ranked. It comes in 9th in the nation on US News & World Report’s list. In their “College ROI Report,” PayScale.com determined that Cornell ranked 44th out of more than 1300 colleges and universities. The school has a projected 20-year ROI of over $701,000, versus a cost of $258,000.

#9. Pasadena, California

Pasadena, California

Caltech boasts 40 Nobel laureates, 58 National Medal of Science winners, 13 National Medal of Technology and Innovation recipients, and 124 National Academies memberships.

Why Pasadena?

The California Institute of Technology and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory are two of the three largest employers in Pasadena. Together, they provide over 10,000 jobsOther industry opportunities can be found in the city as well. Kaiser Permanente, Tetra Tech, and Wells Fargo have operations in town. Others include:

  • Huntington Memorial Hospital
  • Doheny Eye Institute
  • Carnegie Institute of Science Observations
  • ACCO Engineering Systems

Pasadena is also home to a number of tech incubators. Idealab is among the oldest. This incubator is responsible for creating more than 150 companies. More than 45 IPOs and acquisitions are associated with Idealab as well.

Best Local Colleges

The California Institute of Technology is one of the premier tech schools in the United States and the world. The Times Higher Education ranks it 4th in the world overall. Caltech has other high world rankings, including:

  • Engineering – 1st
  • Physical sciences – 2nd
  • Computer science – 10th

US News & World Report ranks Caltech 2nd for undergraduate research. The University’s computer science department is ranked 5th in the nation. The undergraduate engineering program is also ranked 5th. Caltech is 7th on US News & World Report’s list of most innovative schools. The magazine also ranks Caltech as 9th among national universities. In their “College ROI Report,” PayScale.com determined that Caltech ranked 10th out of more than 1300 colleges and universities. The school has a projected 20-year ROI of over $919,000, versus a cost of $250,000. The average salary of Caltech graduates is $112,686.

#8. Ann Arbor, Michigan

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Niche ranks the University of Michigan as having the 6th-best student life experience among U.S. colleges. The school also has a top-10 ranking of best colleges for student-athletes.

Why Ann Arbor?

The Ann Arbor area is one of the fastest-growing tech hubs in the country. In fact, Bloomberg named Ann Arbor the #3 new top tech hub in the nation. Many companies are drawn to the area because of the University of Michigan’s research spending. In 2019, the University spent $1.62 billion on research.

A host of high-tech companies are located in Ann Arbor. This is due to the aforementioned research budget at the University as well as the large pool of qualified graduates looking for jobs. There are local high-tech companies in software, machine learning, biotech, energy, and more. These include:

  • Amesite
  • 123 Net
  • Perch
  • Accio Energy
  • Refraction AI

There are also many support services for entrepreneurs and startups. Engage Networking and the New Enterprise Forum are two resources for networking and pitch groups. 

Best Local Colleges

Ann Arbor is home to the University of Michigan. UM is one of the top colleges in the U.S. and the world and is a “Public Ivy.” Niche ranks UM as the top public university in the country. Its programs in kinesiology, physical therapy, and sports management are all ranked in the top-3 in the nation as well. Other highly-ranked STEM programs at UM include:

  • Information technology – 3rd
  • Nursing – 6th
  • Psychology – 13th
  • Computer Science – 15th

According to US News & World Report, UM is 13th among innovative schools in the United States. Its undergraduate engineering program is tied for 6th in the nation. The University’s data analytics program is ranked 5th and its computer systems program is ranked 6th nationally.

In their “College ROI Report,” PayScale.com determined that the University of Michigan ranked 81st out of more than 1300 colleges and universities. The school has a projected 20-year ROI of over $601,000, versus a cost of $110,000.

#7. Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas

The University of Texas library has more than 11.5 million volumes. This makes it the 8th largest research library in the U.S.

Why Austin?

The city of Austin is one of the fastest-growing tech hubs in the United States. This is due to two factors. First, the University of Texas at Austin attracts a lot of research dollars. In fact, the University of Texas is second in research money among public higher education systems. In addition, the school has an Office of Technology Commercialization. It is a technology transfer center that can help move research into development. This office has helped create dozens of startups. Its startups have hundreds of patents too.

The second major factor for the tech buzz in the Austin area is the availability of world-class equipment. The University of Texas has the Texas Advanced Computing Center. It features the Ranger supercomputer. This computer is considered one of the most powerful on earth. The Microelectronics Research Center is also on campus. Research on micro-and nanoelectronics is done there.

In addition, Austin is consistently viewed as one of the best cities to live and work in the country. US News & World Report named it number one best place to live in the United States. Wallethub named it the fifth-best place to start a career. And for tech workers, the city is ranked fourth in the nation for cybersecurity.

Best Local Colleges

The University of Texas at Austin is a highly ranked public school. In fact, it is a “Public Ivy” institution. The rankings for the school bear this out. US News & World Report ranks it 42nd in the nation among national universities. UT is 13th among public schools and ranks 15th among the most innovative schools.

UT’s engineering and computer science programs are highly rated as well. Overall, the undergraduate engineering program is ranked 11th in the nation. Individual programs within the engineering department are ranked even higher. This includes 2nd in the nation in petroleum engineering and 4th in the nation in environmental engineering. There are several computer science programs ranked in the top 10 in the nation as well. These include:

  • Software engineering – 5th
  • Artificial intelligence – 5th
  • Programming languages – 6th
  • Computer systems – 10th

UT Austin is also ranked globally. The Times Higher Education places it as the 44th-ranked university in the world.

#6. Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia

Georgia Tech has an extensive Career Center. It includes cooperative education and internship programs that help students get real-world job experience. The Career Center also offers support to students to find full-time employment after graduation.

Why Atlanta?

Tech entrepreneurs in Atlanta can get help from the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC). The ATDC is a science and business incubator. Membership is open to all technology entrepreneurs in Georgia. Member companies have generated more than $12 billion in revenue.  Atlanta also has better salaries for tech workers. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for information technology workers in Atlanta is $52,799 per year. This is two percent higher than the national average.

The Atlanta area is known as a tech hub. Its suburb Alpharetta has over 600 tech companies on its own. The Atlanta Tech Village has many different tech startups as well. This includes companies focused on:

  • analytics
  • cybersecurity management
  • blockchain technology

Another benefit for tech students and workers is the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG). This organization advocates for economic growth through technology advancement. They hold a yearly summit that allows tech workers to share knowledge and network.

In addition to all this, the Atlanta area has many research institutions. These include

  • Georgia Tech
  • the University of Georgia
  • Auburn University

Best Local Colleges

Among the colleges in Atlanta, Georgia Tech is the most highly regarded for studying computers and technology. According to Niche, Georgia Tech has multiple programs that rank in the top 25 in the nation. They include:

  • engineering (7th)
  • computer science (8th)
  • physics (25th)

Because of this, Niche ranks Georgia Tech as the 3rd-best public university in the nation.

US News & World Report also views Georgia Tech favorably. The computer science department is ranked 5th in the nation. Various programs within the department get high marks as well:

  • Cybersecurity (1st)
  • Software engineering (2nd)
  • Computer systems (8th)
  • Data analytics (8th)
  • Artificial intelligence (9th)
  • Theory (10th)

Georgia Tech’s engineering department is ranked even higher. It is 4th in the nation. Ten of its programs are ranked in the top-10 in the nation. They includes number one rankings for civil engineering and industrial engineering.

#5. Berkeley, California

Berkeley, California

The University of California at Berkeley has produced more Peace Corps volunteers than any other university in the United States.

Why Berkeley?

Berkeley is in Alameda County. It is considered to be part of the San Francisco metropolitan area. This is one of the largest tech hubs in the United StatesThe largest employers in the city of Berkeley are the University of California at Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Between these two facilities, over 6,500 people are employed, many in high-paying tech jobs.

By itself, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory employs over 4000 people. The lab is responsible for advanced research. This research falls within 14 scientific areas. In addition, the Laboratory itself hosts six other world-class scientific facilities:

  • The Joint Genome Institute
  • The National Center for Electron Microscopy
  • The Advanced Light Source
  • The Energy Sciences Network
  • The National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center
  • The Molecular Factory

Best Local Colleges

The University of California at Berkeley is one of the top universities in the nation. US News & World Report ranks Berkeley 2nd in the nation among public schools. It also ranks Berkeley as the 22nd-best national university. It is ranked 18th among the most innovative schools as well.

Both the computer science and engineering programs at Berkeley are tied for 2nd in the country. Many computer science programs are in the top five. They include:

  • Computer systems (1st)
  • Data analytics (1st)
  • Software engineering (2nd)
  • Theory (2nd)
  • Cybersecurity (3rd)
  • Artificial intelligence (4th)
  • Biocomputing (4th)
  • Mobile and web applications (4th)
  • Programming languages (5th)

As for Berkeley’s engineering programs, they are also highly-ranked:

  • Environmental engineering (1st)
  • Materials engineering (2nd)
  • Civil engineering (2nd)
  • Electrical engineering (2nd)
  • Chemical engineering (3rd)
  • Computer engineering (3rd)
  • Mechanical engineering (5th)

With all these high rankings, it’s no wonder Berkeley is a “Public Ivy.”  In their “College ROI Report,” PayScale.com determined that UC Berkeley ranked 25th out of more than 1300 colleges and universities. The school has a projected 20-year ROI of over $792,000, versus an education investment of $139,000.

#4. Champaign, Illinois

Champaign, Illinois

In 1952, Illinois built the Illinois Automatic Computer. Nicknamed ILIAC, it was the first computer that was completely owned by an educational institution.

Why Champaign?

Champaign is a prime area for STEM students and entrepreneurs. The University of Illinois has much to do with that.  Because of the University, the Urbana-Champaign area is a prime destination for tech, IT, and STEM job-seekers and entrepreneurs. The Center for Measuring University Performance rates the school as one of the top-40 research colleges in the country. This is because of the amount of research dollars in the region. Another reason why Champaign is a great place for STEM students and workers is the incredible facilities that are available. All of this helps the local economy. It also boosts the local research community.

Research Park is one of the best technology and startup incubators in the country. It currently houses over 120 companies. There are more than 2,100 people employed in the park in high-tech careers. Some of the companies in the park include:

  • Caterpillar
  • NVIDIA
  • Abbott Laboratories
  • Bayer
  • BP

In addition, the University hosts the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). It provides cutting-edge computing resources to support researchers around the country.

Best Local Colleges

Like many other schools on this list, the University of Illinois is a “Public Ivy.” There is good reason for that. The University is highly ranked by many measures. US News & World Report ranks the school 15th on its list of top public schools. It is ranked 47th among national universities. Among the most innovative schools, the University is ranked 35th.

Illinois’ computer science program is very highly regarded as well. Nine individual programs are ranked in the top-7 nationally. Niche gives high marks to many of Illinois’ STEM-related programs. They include:

  • Agricultural sciences (17th)
  • Engineering (30th)
  • Physics (32nd)
  • Computer science (33rd)
  • Chemistry (39th)

In their “College ROI Report,” PayScale.com determined that Illinois ranked 76th out of more than 1300 colleges and universities. The school has a projected 20-year ROI of over $617,000, versus a cost of $118,000.

#3. Palo Alto, California

Palo Alto, California

Alumni from Stanford have founded Google, Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems, and Yahoo!. In addition, the school can boast 32 faculty members that have won the Nobel Prize.

Why Palo Alto?

Palo Alto is in Santa Clara County. It is part of the San Francisco metropolitan area. San Francisco is one of the top tech cities in the nation. Because of Stanford University, the area has a large number of research facilities. They include about 20 independent labs and institutes.

Palo Alto is in Silicon Valley. It has a high number of tech, software, and IT companies. Some of the more notable companies include:

  • Amazon
  • Google
  • Electric Power Research Institute
  • Hewlett-Packard
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Tesla

There are many tech incubators in Palo Alto as well. Tech incubators can help new businesses figure out a path to success. This includes product development and assistance pitching to investors. Some of the top incubators and accelerators in Palo Alto include:

  • Edvenswa Tech
  • 500 Startups
  • Women’s Startup Lab
  • World Innovation Lab
  • Prospect Silicon Valley

Best Local Colleges

Stanford University has long been regarded as a top university in the nation and the world. The Times Higher Education ranks it 2nd in the world. The Times also ranks Stanford’s engineering and technology department as best in the world.

US News & World Report ranks the engineering and computer science departments as 2nd in the nation, tied with the University of California at Berkeley. Individual majors with high rankings include:

  • Environmental engineering (2nd)
  • Mechanical engineering (3rd)
  • Computer engineering (4th)
  • Aerospace, aeronautical, and astronautical engineering (5th)
  • Biomedical engineering (5th)
  • Electrical engineering (5th)

Stanford has many computer science majors ranked in the top-5 as well:

  • Mobile and web applications (2nd)
  • Programming languages (2nd)
  • Artificial intelligence (3rd)
  • Theory (3rd)
  • Biocomputing (4th)
  • Data analytics (4th)
  • Computer systems (5th)

In their “College ROI Report,” PayScale.com determined that Stanford ranked 18th out of more than 1300 colleges and universities. The school has a projected 20-year ROI of over $840,000, versus an education investment of $255,000.

#2. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Alumni of Carnegie Mellon hold many awards. They include 20 Nobel laureates and 12 Turing awardees. There are 60 members of the National Academy of Engineering and 20 members of the National Academy of Sciences.

Why Pittsburgh?

Because of Carnegie Mellon University, there are several world-class research facilities in Pittsburgh. They include:

After the steel industry collapsed, Pittsburgh worked hard to turn itself into a tech hub. Today, many well-known tech companies are in town, including:

  • Google
  • Zoom
  • Apple
  • Microsoft
  • Amazon

The University of Pittsburgh has also helped turn the city towards tech. The school has a Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology. The department prepares students to use technology to assist others in rehabilitative settings. 

The city of Pittsburgh has also done its part to turn the area into a smart city. It is a hub for research in education and health care. Software engineering and medical research are also big. In the last decade, the tech sector in Pittsburgh generated $22 billion.

Best Local Colleges

Carnegie Mellon University is the highest-ranked school in Pittsburgh. According to Niche, it has the top-ranked information technology department in the nation. Its computer science program is ranked 4th. Its math department comes in 7th. Chemistry, physics, and engineering are all ranked in the top-25 as well.

US News & World Report ranks Carnegie Mellon 26th among national universities. It is also ranked 8th among most innovative schools. It is 30th among best value schools.

Computer science programs at Carnegie Mellon that are highly ranked include:

  • Artificial intelligence (1st)
  • Cybersecurity (1st)
  • Mobile and web applications (1st)
  • Software engineering (1st)
  • Biocomputing (2nd)
  • Computer systems (2nd)
  • Programming languages (2nd)
  • Data analytics (3rd)
  • Computer systems (3rd)
  • Computer theory (3rd)

The engineering department at Carnegie Mellon also has a number of highly-ranked programs:

  • Computer engineering (1st)
  • Electrical engineering (6th)
  • Environmental engineering (8th)
  • Materials engineering (9th)
  • Mechanical engineering (9th)

In their “College ROI Report,” PayScale.com determined that Carnegie Mellon ranked 37th out of more than 1300 colleges and universities. The school has a projected 20-year ROI of over $720,000, versus an education investment of $260,000.

#1. Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts

MIT can claim 97 Nobel laureates and 58 Rhodes Scholars. This is dwarfed by Harvard. It boasts 161 Nobel laureates and 369 Rhodes Scholars.

Why Boston?

Boston is a major tech hub. It is ranked as the 15th-best city for IT workers. In 2019, nearly 95,000 tech jobs were posted in the Boston area. That’s good for 15th among metro areas in the nation. Boston has been known as a tech city for decades. Healthcare is a primary industry there. Many advancements in artificial intelligence, robotics, and the internet of things have occurred in Boston.

Salaries for tech workers in Boston are quite good as well. On average, IT workers earn over $101,000 per year. There are many tech startups in Boston too. This makes sense because Boston is ranked as the 5th-best city in the world for tech startups. Among Boston’s many tech companies, several are growing faster than most. They include:

  • IntelyCare, which developed a mobile app to help healthcare organizations with their staffing needs.
  • Botkeeper, which uses machine learning and AI to provide automated bookkeeping services.
  • MainSail Group, which provides IT, cybersecurity, engineering, and other services to many federal agencies.

Best Local Colleges

There are two top-ranked schools in Boston — the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard. Tufts University is also in Boston. MIT is ranked by US News & World Report as 4th among national universities. Program rankings include number one in computer science and number one in undergraduate engineering. Individual computer science majors with high rankings include:

  • Biocomputing (1st)
  • Programming languages (1st)
  • Theory (1st)
  • Artificial intelligence (2nd)
  • Computer systems (2nd)
  • Data analytics (2nd)
  • Mobile and web applications (2nd)

In the engineering department, MIT has high rankings for:

  • Chemical engineering (1st)
  • Electrical engineering (1st)
  • Materials engineering (1st)
  • Mechanical engineering (1st)
  • Aerospace, aeronautical, and astronautical engineering (1st)

There are four other engineering programs ranked in the top-7 nationally as well.

Harvard University ranks 2nd among national universities according to US News & World Report. It is considered the 20th-best school for innovation. It is also ranked as the number one best value school in the U.S.

In their “College ROI Report,” PayScale.com determined that MIT ranked 2nd out of more than 1300 colleges and universities. The school has a projected 20-year ROI of over $1,123,000, versus an education investment of $249,000. 

Harvard does very well, also. The University ranks 19th. It has a 20-year ROI of $821,000, against an educational investment of $254,000.

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