Research reveals the best states to be a web developer – and it’s not California. Nor is North Carolina.

  • Washington ranks first with a score of 82.6/100
  • California is fifth on the list, scoring 57.5/100
  • East Coast states take up four spots, with two in the top five – (North Carolina didn’t crack the top 10.)

Here’s data on NC:

Ranked 22nd, North Carolina’s median annual salary for web developers is $71,740.

  • Travel costs are $88.90.
  • Rent and Utilities are $1,315.
  • Food is $558 and they have a quality of life score of 74/100

The research, conducted by web design company Digital Silk, analyzed metrics such as the average base salary for web developers, remote working statistics and quality of life scale in each state, which compares average wages against living costs such as rent, food and transport costs. The factors were then combined into an index to reveal the best states to pursue or continue a career in web development.

Washington – Index score: 82.6/100

The research revealed that Washington is the best state in America to be a web developer, with a total score of 82.6/100. Washington has the highest average base web developer salary in America, which is an annual amount of $138,780. Washington also scores 10/10 on the index for the amount of web development jobs per 1,000 residents, making opportunities plentiful.

Virginia – Index score: 67.4/100

Ranking second on the index is Virginia, with a total score of 67.4. Virginia scores highly for remote working opportunities, scoring 8.94/10, with 22.3% of Virginia’s entire workforce working from home. The average base salary for web developers in Virginia is $101,060, the second highest in the country.

Maryland – Index score: 66.9/100

Maryland places third on the list as the best state to be a web developer. Maryland scores 8.15 on the index for its quality of life, the joint highest on this list, which makes it a prime choice for those interested in a career move. The positive quality of life scale rating may be motivated by the fact that of all the states in America, Maryland has the second highest number of people working from home, so if remote working is vital to web developers, Maryland would be the ideal state to build your career. The average web developer’s salary is $93,160 in Maryland, the fifth highest in the country.

Colorado – Index score: 61.8/100

Colorado ranks fourth as the best state for web developers to work and reside in. The average web developer’s salary is $80,270 in Colorado, and 23.7% of the workforce works from home. Colorado also has a 6.67 ranking on the quality of life scale, contributing to its final index score of 61.8.

California – Index score: 57.7/100

Ranking fifth on the list is the Golden State of California. Despite being the home to Silicon Valley, the average web developer’s salary in California is $99,620, and the cost of living in California is amongst the highest in the top ten, to no surprise, as food, transport, rent and utility prices are considerably high in the state.

The numbers

Rank State Index Score (/100) Transport Median Web Developer Annual Salary Rent & Utilities Food Quality of Life (/100) % Working From Home
1 Washington 82.6 $81.20 $138,780 $1,493 $597 75 24.20%
2 Virginia 67.4 $69.20 $101,060 $1,376 $582 74 22.30%
3 Maryland 66.9 $83.70 $93,610 $1,430 $561 79 24.00%
4 Colorado 61.8 $89.30 $80,270 $1,353 $572 75 23.70%
5 California 57.7 $103.00 $99,620 $1,647 $593 76 21.40%
6 Massachusetts 57.3 $69.40 $85,840 $1,451 $584 73 23.70%
7 Illinois 56.8 $112.00 $82,490 $1,284 $550 79 19.30%
8 Minnesota 56.8 $68.80 $80,050 $1,270 $564 72 20.90%
9 New Jersey 55.8 $63.80 $81,280 $1,329 $558 72 22.10%
10 Utah 54.2 $59.50 $61,330 $1,226 $521 69 20.00%

Massachusetts – Index score: 57.3/100

Massachusetts places sixth on the list. The average web developer’s salary in the state of Massachusetts is $85,840 and 23.7% of the workforce work from home. Even if you wish to work in the office, transport costs are relatively cheap in the state, scoring 7.41 on the index, meaning you could only be spending an average of $69.40 a month on transport in Massachusetts.

Illinois – Index score: 56.8/100

Illinois is the seventh-best state to work as a web developer, with an average base annual salary of $82,490 for web developers. Illinois has the lowest percentage of workforce working from home on this list, which isn’t ideal as transport costs are the highest, costing up to $112 a month for transportation.

Minnesota – Index score: 56.8/100

Placing eighth on the rankings is Minnesota, with an average annual base salary of $80,050. Approximately 20.9% of the workforce works from home, and Minnesota scores 5.56 on the quality of life scale. As the only Midwestern state in the top ten, Minnesota is a great choice to build a career in web development in the Midwest.

New Jersey – Index score: 55.8/100

New Jersey ranks as the ninth-best state to be a web developer. 22.1% of the workforce works from home, and the average base web developer salary is $81,250 and the state ranks 5.56 on the quality of life scale, contributing to its index score of 55.8.

Utah – Index score: 54.2/100

Rounding up the top ten is Utah. The average base annual web developer salary in Utah is $61,330, 20% of the workforce works from home, and rent and utilities costs are the cheapest in the top ten, scoring 7.11 out of 10 on the index.

Gabriel Shaoolin, CEO and founder of Digital Silk, notes:

“Web development is becoming a more popular career choice across America. Not only did this study analyze salaries and remote working statistics per state, but also living costs across the country. Measuring these factors alongside each other gave the finished list, and the results can be surprising; for example, California, known as a global tech hub and home to Silicon Valley, fails to rank in the top three.”