by Thomas Wailgum

The Worst U.S. Cities to Work in IT

Jun 22, 20094 mins

IT workers have their choice of many great U.S. cities for work and play (Atlanta, Chicago, Seattle), but what are the cities that you probably should avoid? Here's a very unscientific, highly subjective and unapologetically snarky list of our least favorite U.S. tech job locales.

Detroit, Mich.

It’s easy to pick on poor Detroit, but it would hardly be any IT staffer’s destination of choice right now. What’s left of the tech jobs at automobile industry companies that haven’t already been outsourced (see: GM) is quite low as those companies and their suppliers try to survive bankruptcy and the global recession. Detroit also has the distinction of being named to the top 10 of Forbes’ “Fastest Dying U.S. Cities” list.

Available IT jobs in Detroit (as posted on June 18 on 449

Bentonville, Ark.


You can’t talk about Bentonville without talking about Wal-Mart, the site of its headquarters and where hundreds of IT people have worked (though some IT jobs might be heading overseas). Other than that…well…um, I guess you’ve got a good chance of seeing a Clinton or maybe a tornado, like this one hovering over a Bentonville-area Sam’s Club (which is, naturally, owned by Wal-Mart).

Available IT jobs in Bentonville (as posted on June 18 on 81

Cleveland, Ohio


Cleveland may “rock” (it’s home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ), but beyond that you’re looking at one of the highest foreclosure rates in the U.S., huge population declines and dying industries of yesteryear. Cleveland was also named to the top 10 of Forbes’ “Fastest Dying U.S. Cities” list. And just to kick more sand, Ohio native and basketball star LeBron James could bolt from the Cavaliers NBA franchise and head to New York in summer 2010. Goodbye NBA title hopes.

Available IT jobs in Cleveland (as posted on June 18 on 211

Syracuse, N.Y.


This is all you need to know, math guys: Syracuse holds the title for the U.S. city (pop: 50,000+) with the highest average annual snowfall (115 inches), besting even Anchorage, Alaska (114 inches). It also has a bit of a problem with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) due to all that snow and not a lot of sunshine. It’s called the Salt City: A good thing, since there’s all that snow and ice on the roads.

Available IT jobs in Syracuse (as posted on June 18 on 49

Tie: Boston, Mass., and San Francisco, Calif.


You read that right: These havens for IT geeks and tech companies both offer insanely high real estate prices, suicide-inducing traffic and too many cocky and annoying IT people fighting over precious jobs. San Francisco claims the No. 1 spot for worst cities for identify theft, or “iJacking.” For professional sports, the Bay Area has the longest current streak without a major sports championship. And Boston is too full of itself (what with the recent titles by the Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics).

Anytown in Alaska

The CIO calls you into his office and tells you you’re being transferred to run applications at the Anchorage branch. Do you:

a) Laugh in his face;

b) Call the wife and tell her to pack up the kids because you’re moving north of the border;

c) Start training for the “Running of the Reindeer”;

d) Take heart in the fact that Anchorage, on average, receives less annual snowfall than Syracuse, N.Y.;

e) Immediately resign your post and look for employment elsewhere, because you’re not sure about seeing moose in crowded parking lots.

Available IT jobs in Anchorage (as posted on June 18 on 24

Orlando, Fla.


It’s a haven for tourists visiting Disney World (sing it with us: “It’s a small world after all!” — repeat ad nauseum), stuck right in the center of hot and humid Florida. Your kids can have their own pet gator who crawls out of canals and into the backyard at night. And don’t forget about Orlando’s own real estate mess or the annual hurricane season.

Available IT jobs in Orlando (as posted on June 18 on 235