The Blog

Where are the Best Technology Jobs in Boston?

We are in the midst of one of the most active technology job markets WinterWyman has seen, and the past 12 months have revealed incredibly interesting trends. There are major changes in high-demand technology skills, driven primarily by start-ups and small companies and their tech stack choices. Interestingly, these same companies are driving a trend in where they are choosing to locate.

Boston suburbs were “the” desirable location in the 90’s

During the last 20 years, various office locations have been considered desirable for technology companies, in particular Waltham, Lexington and Burlington. Most companies wanted to be along Rte. 128 with its rich tech-based history and its proximity to the suburban areas where most of the software engineering community lived. We rarely saw software companies set-up shop in downtown Boston; rents were high, space was limited, and there was not enough critical mass to create a tech culture.

Start-ups were a big part of the change

As we came out of the dot-com recession, in the early 2000’s, this started to change. The Boston tech scene became far more open and collaborative with activities like meet-ups and other networking events. Suddenly, being in an urban area where there was a concentration of talent and a sense of community and collaboration was more attractive, and companies began to target Boston real estate.

Boston’s revitalization played a role

In parallel, Boston’s government leaders sparked an interest in revitalizing and developing the open spaces along the waterfront and into South Boston, naming it the “Innovation District.” With lots of new office space and room to grow, tech companies flocked to the area. To further amplify this migration, rents in Kendall Square ballooned as tech giants like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon scooped up big chunks of real estate in and around the area. 

A decade of data

Below is a graph I created from data WinterWyman has compiled during the last 10 years. It shows what percentage of our active Software Search jobs were located in Boston or Cambridge for each of those 10 years.  The trends can’t be ignored. While the percentage of Cambridge jobs grew from 20 to 27%, the percentage of Boston jobs grew from 5% to 36% in that same span. Combined, more than 63% of all of our tech jobs taken last year were located in Boston or Cambridge – with the majority of the Boston jobs along the waterfront and the majority of the Cambridge jobs in Kendall Square. What does this chart not show? Combined, jobs located in Burlington, Lexington and Waltham accounted for only 13% of the total demand we saw last year. This is a massive change from the market I saw in the late 90’s where those three towns would have accounted for the majority of the jobs we saw.

What this means for job seekers

When seeking software engineering jobs, the concentration of small, growing tech companies is clearly along the Boston waterfront, and to a lesser degree, in Kendall Square. It is highly advisable to include one or both locations in your job search in order to get access to the best the greater Boston tech market has to offer.

What this means for employers

For technology companies looking to grow, you should seriously consider the Boston waterfront.  It is a huge selling point to call Boston home, and you will have access to a large portion of the applicant pool. Moreover, you will be tied directly into a growing and very dynamic tech community and this will help in promoting your brand and in recruiting top talent.

Photo Credit: Seaport Innovation District