These may be the best places to live in the US if you’re a Network Engineer.

Back in January I was thinking about moving from my last position. I was willing to relocate and was curious if I could find a list of places that cross-referenced salaries and cost of living. I found none, so I made one, got a new job, and now I'm sharing this in case it's useful to anyone else. Raw numbers may have fluctuated since then but should still be relatively close.

Note: this was not an attempt at a perfect statistical analysis, so please don't come at me with criticism of my methodology. This was simply intended to be a rough estimate that might help me find a better job in a place that I'd be happier living in, and I have. If you think you can make a better list, go for it. Scroll to the bottom if you want to know more about how I came up with the list.

That said, here's the list:

South Bend, IN Peoria, IL Cleveland, OH Brownsville, TX Dayton, OH Birmingham, AL Akron, OH Lansing, MI Rockford, IL Topeka, KS Rochester, NY Buffalo, NY Toledo, OH Montgomery, AL Macon, GA Baltimore, MD Cedar Rapids, IA High Point, NC Fort Wayne, IN Little Rock, AR Memphis, TN San Angelo, TX Abilene, TX Huntsville, AL Winston–Salem, NC Des Moines, IA Laredo, TX Waco, TX Beaumont, TX Syracuse, NY Amarillo, TX Las Cruces, NM Pittsburgh, PA Killeen, TX Lubbock, TX Davenport, IA Cincinnati, OH Odessa, TX Augusta, GA Columbus, OH Sioux Falls, SD Evansville, IN Kansas City, MO Green Bay, WI Indianapolis, IN Allentown, PA Hartford, CT Milwaukee, WI Lakeland, FL Aurora, IL Louisville, KY Knoxville, TN Greensboro, NC Columbia, SC Corpus Christi, TX Elgin, IL Kansas CityKS Savannah, GA Wichita, KS San Antonio, TX Baton Rouge, LA Oklahoma City, OK Pueblo, CO Springfield, MA Columbia, MO Joliet, IL Independence, MO Rochester, MN Jackson, MS Albuquerque, NM Omaha, NE Kenosha, WI Clarksville, TN Hampton, VA Houston, TX Detroit, MI Tucson, AZ Broken Arrow, OK Gainesville, FL Clinton, MI New Orleans, LA Irving, TX Richmond, VA Athens, GA Spokane, WA Midland, TX Lincoln, NE Durham, NC Charlotte, NC Tuscaloosa, AL College Station, TX Waterbury, CT Lexington, KY Jacksonville, FL Norfolk, VA Denton, TX Saint Paul, MN Palm Bay, FL Worcester, MA Pasadena, TX Warren, MI North Charleston, SC League City, TX Dallas, TX Sterling Heights, MI Tampa, FL Billings, MT Bakersfield, CA Raleigh, NC New Haven, CT Fort Worth, TX Clearwater, FL Wilmington, NC Phoenix, AZ Fresno, CA Carrollton, TX Round Rock, TX Grand Prairie, TX Visalia, CA Lewisville, TX St Petersburg, FL Nashville, TN Arlington, TX Madison, WI St Louis, MO Philadelphia, PA Mckinney, TX Allen, TX Colorado Springs, CO Port St Lucie, FL Chicago, IL Salem, OR Lakewood, NJ Boise, ID Olathe, KS Atlanta, GA Garland, TX Minneapolis, MN Pearland, TX Plano, TX Mesquite, TX Mesa, AZ Glendale, AZ Surprise, AZ Providence, RI Manchester, NH Stamford, CT Pompano Beach, FL Murfreesboro, TN Virginia Beach, VA Eugene, OR Orlando, FL Victorville, CA Peoria, AZ Meridian, ID Tempe, AZ Lowell, MA West Valley City, UT Cary, NC Woodbridge, NJ Tallahassee, FL Lancaster, CA Santa Maria, CA Chesapeake, VA Bridgeport, CT Sugar Land, TX Newport News, VA Cape Coral, FL Richardson, TX Provo, UT Overland Park, KS Greeley, CO Chandler, AZ Paterson, NJ Modesto, CA Charleston, SC San Bernardino, CA Clovis, CA West Palm Beach, FL Lafayette, LA Frisco, TX Tacoma, WA Aurora, CO Ann Arbor, MI Las Vegas, NV Vancouver, WA Gilbert, AZ Sacramento, CA Elizabeth, NJ Sparks, NV Austin, TX Fort Collins, CO North Las Vegas, NV Hollywood, FL Newark, NJ Henderson, NV West Jordan, UT Fargo, ND Salt Lake City, UT Miramar, FL Grand Rapids, MI Reno, NV Stockton, CA Hillsboro, OR Everett, WA Norman, OK Edison, NJ Fort Lauderdale, FL Palmdale, CA Thornton, CO Pembroke Pines, FL Westminster, CO Davie, FL Moreno Valley, CA Vallejo, CA Chattanooga, TN Gresham, OR Anchorage, AK Fontana, CA Naperville, IL Miami Gardens, FL Coral Springs, FL Murrieta, CA Jurupa Valley, CA Elk Grove, CA Ontario, CA Arvada, CO Tulsa, OK Tyler, TX Roseville, CA Miami, FL Riverside, CA Rialto, CA Denver, CO Springfield, IL Vacaville, CA Lakewood, CO Fairfield, CA Scottsdale, AZ Portland, OR Kent, WA Temecula, CA Salinas, CA Mobile, AL Hialeah, FL Centennial, CO Antioch, CA Rancho Cucamonga, CA Mcallen, TX Santa Clarita, CA Wichita Falls, TX Fayetteville, NC Shreveport, LA Jersey City, NJ AlexandriaVA Columbus, GA Pomona, CA Renton, WA El Paso, TX Washington, DC Escondido, CA Oxnard, CA Springfield, MO Corona, CA Oceanside, CA Simi Valley, CA Chula Vista, CA Vista, CA Norwalk, CA Santa Rosa, CA Santa Ana, CA Richmond, CA Yonkers, NY Sandy Springs, GA Anaheim, CA El Cajon, CA Concord, CA Ventura, CA Downey, CA Fullerton, CA San Diego, CA El Monte, CA Boston, MA Long Beach, CA Garden Grove, CA Orange, CA West Covina, CA Hayward, CA Thousand Oaks, CA Oakland, CA Inglewood, CA New York, NY Los Angeles, CA Costa Mesa, CA Boulder, CO Seattle, WA Cambridge, MA Irvine, CA Huntington Beach, CA Pasadena, CA Torrance, CA Carlsbad, CA Burbank, CA Honolulu, HI Glendale, CA Bellevue, WA San Jose, CA Fremont, CA Daly City, CA Santa Clara, CA Berkeley, CA San Francisco, CA San Mateo, CA Sunnyvale, CA

I found a list of the top 300 US cities by population on Wikipedia, put that into a spreadsheet. Then I went to salary estimate websites and figured out what a Network Engineer with 15 years of experience and a CCNP would make in each location. Then I went to cost of living calculator sites and compared the cost of living for each of these sites compared to where I was living. I used this to come up with a ratio – salary versus cost of living, where I currently lived the ratio would simply be 1 – and sorted based on the ratio.

I considered learning how to scrape websites or pay someone on Fiverr to do it for me, in the end I found a couple websites where the HTML links were based on the actual city names, so using Excel and Notepad++ I was able to quickly generate what links should be for the searches I wanted to do. This worked for 95% of the cases, I had to do a few manual searches. Gathering the data took me about 8 hours total (~4 hours on two nights after work). It was extremely repetitive but once the combination of keyboard shortcuts became muscle memory it was brainless.

I used two salary calculator sites and two cost of living sites, and used an average of each in my calculations.

I'm aware that not everyone in this sub has 15 years of experience, or either has no certs or non-Cisco certs, but I think we should all be able to agree that all other things being equal this is at least a fair general indicator of what a certain metropolitan area may pay for network professionals in general, at least in comparison with other metropolitan areas.

Basically, you can use this list as a starting point, then if you want to know what YOU would make in this location feel free to do a search for what YOUR salary would be in that location. You can also do your own cost of living search to validate what I have here.

I'm glad I made the list because about a week after I compiled it I got an email asking if I'd be interested in a job in a city in the top 50 of my list. I never would have even thought about this place before, but now I'm here.

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