January 5, 2023 | Industry Trends & Research

The top 20 cities for hiring software developers in 2023

The U.S. and India lead with the most cities ranked in the top 20 for software developer performance in technical interviews

Gordie Hanrahan
Director of Communications

Last month, Karat’s data and insights team ranked the top cities in the U.S. for technical hiring. These rankings covered the metro areas with the highest concentrations of software developers scoring in the top quartile of all global coding scores in technical interviews. Unsurprisingly, the greater Seattle Area and San Francisco Bay Area (including Silicon Valley) topped the list. But despite America’s West Coast dominance in domestic technical interviewing performance, four international cities performed even better in this year’s global top-20 list.

The shifting economy continues to present a unique opportunity for companies to hire top tech talent. Sectors like financial services, insurance, and telecom are in strong positions to attract elite software developers who had previously flocked to higher-growth fintech, big-tech, and unicorn startup organizations.

This sector rotation has kept the employment rate for tech workers at historically high levels, despite a slew of high-profile layoffs. As the economic transformation continues, we are seeing a shift in how organizations are thinking about their global talent strategy. As more international engineering hubs emerge, distributed workforces that were previously used to minimize costs are now being used to raise the hiring bar.

Top 20 cities for hiring software developers worldwide

The best cities for hiring software developers in 2023
Percentage of developers performing in the top quartile of worldwide technical interviews by city.
1. Singapore, SG 50%
2. Tokyo, JP 49%
3. Vancouver, CAN 47%
4. Toronto, CAN 46%
5. Seattle metro area, USA 43% 
6. San Francisco Bay Area, including Silicon Valley, USA 42% 
7. New York City, USA 34%  
8. Boston, USA 29% 
9. London, UK 28%
10. Hyderabad, IND 28%
11. Washington DC, USA 27%
12. Chennai, IND 24%
13. Gurgaon, IND 23%
14. Austin, USA 23% 
15. Bangalore, IND 22%
16. Chicago, USA 22% 
17. Pune, IND 20%
18. Denver, USA 19%
19. San Diego, USA 19%
20. Mumbai, IND 18%

Singapore, Tokyo, Vancouver, and Toronto, all edged out the U.S. tech hubs of Seattle and San Francisco (43% and 42%, respectively) in this year’s top cities rankings.

Despite the broader economic slowdown, Singapore’s tech, finance, and government sector hiring continued to boom in 2022. Intense demand for data scientists, cybersecurity specialists, front-end, back-end, and full-stack developers continues to empower top tech talent to explore new opportunities.

Paul Endacott, CEO and Founder of Singapore-based recruitment firm, GRIT, underscored this trend in a recent interview with The Economic Times, noting that “Now, more than ever, companies are looking for tech talent to bring their businesses to the next level. In Singapore, the demand has not waned in recent years and many individuals are looking for better job prospects.”

India is a uniquely high-volume market that rivals software developer performance in most U.S. cities

Continuing the trend of strong engineering markets across South East Asia, six cities in India made the top 20 this year–more than any country outside of the United States. One unique dynamic about the Indian market is that candidate volume is extremely high compared to other high-performing developer markets. The continued investment from global companies to support the accelerating digitization trend is adding fuel to the fire.

As a result, six cities across India: Hyderabad, Chennai, Gurgaon, Bangalore, Pune, and Mumbai, rank alongside emerging tech hubs in the U.S. such as Washington D.C. and Austin, and ahead of other top cities like Los Angeles, Kansas City, and Pittsburgh.

Recruiter efficiency is at a premium, due to the unique mix of volume and high performance, as employers sift through a high volume of qualified applicants to identify top candidates. To combat this, talent leaders across India are increasing their investments in HR tech and recruiting vendors while also forming collaborative communities on platforms like Whatsapp’s “Recruitment Remote!” channel to help facilitate dialog among industry peers.

Canada was the best in the West for developer hiring in 2022, but showing signs of slowing

Last year, Vancouver and Toronto topped the State of the Tech Workforce Canada research from CompTIA, and it is easy to see why. With the highest concentrations of top software developers in the western hemisphere, these cities boast two of the most elite concentrations of software developers in the world. However, the slowdown in big tech hiring is hitting these markets especially hard, unlocking opportunities for homegrown startups and the Canadian finance and energy sectors to better compete for top engineering talent this year.

Similarly, London’s concentration of top developers ranks alongside U.S. markets such as New York, Boston, and Washington D.C., all of which represent major industry hubs for the financial services, health care, bioscience, and government sectors. As these industries continue to attract top talent and workers leaving the traditional tech sector, performance on next year’s rankings may increase.

Investments in quality

As Karat CEO, Mohit Bhende, noted last month, we are seeing an industry-wide shift in hiring trends that places engineering quality at the forefront.

“Historically, some companies have looked to India or other international regions for hiring because they saw it as an opportunity to spend less money on great tech talent,” Bhende explained. “But in 2022, we saw a shift across all of Karat’s customers. They want the best possible talent in the market – and that talent isn’t limited to the United States.”

If you are an engineering leader looking to raise the quality bar in the coming year, the cities on this list are a good place to start.

For more hiring trends, check out our full 2022 hiring trends report.

Gordie Hanrahan
Gordie Hanrahan is a comms leader with a passion for creating useful content that helps business decision-makers and engineers level up their careers.

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