NYC vs. Bay Area: Which Area's Tech Field Pays Better?

The Bay Area offers the highest average salaries for tech jobs. This may make it seem that a move to San Francisco is the right decision for anyone seeking top wages for their tech skills. However, you should not be fooled by the fact that New York shows up in the number six position for top tech salaries. New York could offer more opportunities and higher wages, depending on your skills. It's important to consider specialization when comparing average salaries for any job in a specific region.

Other considerations when choosing between New York and the Bay Area include cost of living, community, amenities, entertainment options, and various other lifestyle considerations. These two cities are on opposite sides of the country. NYC & SF offer a wealth of differences that must be considered before you choose to move for a job. You will be working 40 hours a week, and living in the city you choose for the remaining 128 hours each week. It's more important to choose a city you enjoy living in over one that offers a higher salary.

@@NYC & SF offer a wealth of differences that must be considered before you choose to move for a job.@@
  Photo via  Forbes

Photo via Forbes

Network Security

Looking for a job in network security? You should consider a move to New York. According to Indeed, there are easily twice as many job openings in New York as there are in San Francisco. While you might earn a little more in the Bay Area than you would in New York, the job hunt in San Francisco will be much more grueling. Since there are fewer people and more jobs, it can be easier to find employment in New York. Additionally, you can always leverage the scarcity in the market for increased pay once you prove your skills in New York.

Software Engineer

With a typical salary range between $80,000 and $160,000 a year, San Francisco offers higher wages when compared with New York. The average salary for a software engineer in San Francisco is around $103,000 and New York offers an average closer to $80,000. Additionally, there are more openings for software engineers in the Bay Area than there are in NYC. For these reasons, software engineers should consider migrating to San Francisco. However, the outlook becomes very different when you dig into specific technologies.

Web Developer

Salaries are about the same for web developers in New York or San Francisco. However, there are many more jobs available in New York. For this reason, web developers should think twice about going to San Francisco.

Ruby on Rails

San Francisco is the hands-down winner for Rails developers. Salaries range from $60,000 up to $150,000 a year, and most entry-level employees start at $60,000 and move up to $80,000 rather quickly. In New York, on the other hand, it will take much longer to move up from an entry salary. This is because there are more entry-level jobs for Rails developers in New York than there are top-end jobs. This makes it easy to get your foot in the door, but means there is a lot of competition for the higher paying jobs. Additionally, the top-end of the pay scale in New York is only $140,000.

@@San Francisco is the hands-down winner for Rails developers.@@


Higher wages and more jobs make New York the right place for Java developers to call home. The top-end of the pay scale in San Francisco is $160,000 a year, but it goes up to $170,000 in NYC. Additionally, New York has about 1.5 times the number of job openings when compared with the Bay Area. Higher salaries and more job openings make New York a compelling option.


Here, too, New York wins out over San Francisco. C++ coding skills can land a top-paying job with a salary around $160,000 in the Bay Area. That's $10,000 less than the top-end salary of $170,000 in New York.


If you're focused on mobile technologies and app development, you'll need to consider your career progression before choosing between NYC and the Bay Area. If you're just starting your career, you'll find the same entry-level salary in New York or San Francisco. However, you will find more jobs in New York. Additionally, if you're reaching the upper end of the career ladder, then San Francisco offers higher salaries. The top-end of the pay scale in New York is $140,000 while, in the Bay Area, it extends to $150,000.

Take a close look at your specialty and your career progression before choosing a city based on average salaries. As you can see here, New York offers more opportunities and better pay for some specific areas of the tech sector - even though the Bay Area has the highest average salaries across the tech sector. Switch offers a great way to browse job openings and find the right position that matches with your career progression and salary requirements.