Top 10 cities for IT pros looking to make a move

Business is booming in 2015, and across the country IT organizations are loosening the purse strings and shelling out big bucks for critical IT talent. Here's a look at the 10 hottest cities for IT pay based on percent increase in salary, area home prices and median salary.

cities ranked by tech slaries

Top cities for IT pros

Relocation? If your answer is, "Yes, please," the timing is right. The Computerworld IT Salary Survey 2015 confirms that business is booming and salary increases are back in a big way. As budgets are loosened, organizations are shelling out big bucks to land top IT talent. This year 67 percent of respondents reported a raise, with only 4 percent reporting a pay cut, compared with 60 percent reporting a raise and 8 percent reporting a pay cut in 2014.

What's more, for the first time since the economic downturn, we're seeing significant year-over-year gains in IT compensation, according to the survey. Total average compensation (including salary and bonus) is up 3.6 percent in 2015, versus 2 percent in 2014. This year, average salaries increased 3.6 percent, and average bonuses increased 4.6 percent, according to the survey results.

Back to that relocation question: Some metro areas reported even stronger gains in pay. Here they are the top 10 metro regions that have seen the greatest jump in pay over the last year, as well as their median home price and median salary. What -- or perhaps where -- is your next move?

St. Louis

St. Louis

St. Louis has reinvented itself as a hub for healthcare, biotechnology and advanced engineering. It also offers opportunities in more traditional industries like manufacturing. Median home values are low, and the city is family-friendly and affordable.

New York City

New York City

The city that never sleeps is the perfect home base for an always-on, plugged-in IT professional -- and there are hundreds of thousands of them in the metro area. Though median home prices are above the half-million dollar mark, New York's other boroughs as well as nearby Long Island, Staten Island and New Jersey make great bedroom communities for IT pros who work in "The City."

Phoenix

Phoenix

IT is hot, hot, hot in the Valley of the Sun. The nation's 13-largest metro area is more than just a winter destination for snowbirds and a vacation spot for golfers -- the IT industry is growing because of a highly educated talent pool. Arizona consistently ranks among the top five U.S. states for employment growth.

Chicago

Chicago

Chicago's thriving as an up-and-coming tech center, with many IT, research-and-development and green energy technology firms calling the Windy City home. And with home values relatively low, Chicago and its suburbs are a great option for IT pros to live and work.

Seattle

Seattle

Seattle's legacy as an IT hub is almost as great as that of San Francisco. With Microsoft headquartered in Redmond and more than 850 other IT heavyweights in the area, it's no wonder Seattle's something of a destination for IT pros.

Atlanta

Atlanta

Atlanta's home to a number of IT giants; more than 75 percent of Fortune 1000 companies have a presence there. As of 2006, Atlanta has been one of the 10 largest high-tech center in the U.S. and home prices remain affordable.

Minneapolis/St. Paul

Minneapolis/St. Paul

The Twin Cities are built around the intersection of the Mississippi, Minnesota and St. Croix rivers, and the region is an IT hub. Strong finance and biotech sectors, a cosmopolitan city and an affordable place to raise a family all make this a place worth considering.

3 san francisco

San Francisco

San Francisco's been an IT mecca for decades, and Silicon Valley is still a great incubator for tech startups and elite talent. Even though IT salaries jumped by 4.6 percent, a median home value of $728,000 makes it pricey for all but the wealthiest of tech workers.

Detroit

Detroit

Though Detroit's been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons, it's made a strong showing in this year's survey, with a 5 percent increase in average pay. And with an extremely low median home value, it's an affordable metro area in which to live and work.

Boston

Boston

Last year's number 2 metro areas jumps to the top of the list with the highest percent change in annual pay. The city is doubling down on its commitment to innovation; examples like the Cambridge Innovation Center and more academic research and development spending than anywhere else in the U.S. prove that point.

hottest cities by salary

Methodology

Source for percent change in compensation: CW's IT Salary Survey 2015 Base: 4,863 respondents; metro regions with a base size of at least 50 respondents

Source for median IT salary: PayScale.com; 50th percentile value of total cash compensation (base annual salary, bonuses, profit sharing, other forms of cash earnings as applicable). The middle value for TCC across all workers with the same job titles. Half of workers will make more, half will make less.

Source for median home value by city/metro region: Zillow Home Value Index