Engineers are in demand everywhere, but some regions in particular are engineering hot spots – and they might not be the places you’d think. For engineers who are considering a career shift along with a change of scenery, moving to a city that has a high need for their chosen specialty could mean a faster track to a desired position.
Huntsville, AL – Aerospace engineers are flocking to the NASA flight center and military facilities in and around the Huntsville area, but there’s room for more. High salaries for engineers and a low cost of living make Alabama’s “Rocket City” an attractive proposition for engineering professionals on every rung of the career ladder. If you go, you’re also about equidistant from Nashville and Atlanta and have access to everything from live music to NFL football games on weekends.
Warren, MI – The automotive industry is still a major employer for engineers. Warren’s combination of high income, low housing costs, and proximity to Detroit make it a good choice for people who want to be at the forefront of a cultural renaissance in the region. You’re not far from city life in Detroit and Toronto when in Warren, but you also have access to some of the region’s best outdoor activities.
Palm Bay, FL – Florida might be a place you associate with sunny vacation spots or the night life of Miami Beach, but it’s also home to one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies and a major semiconductor manufacturer. Between them, Intersil and the Harris Corporation employ thousands of engineers. Located on the Atlantic side of the state, Palm Bay features beach living but at a lower cost than you’d find farther south toward Miami.
San Jose, CA – Silicon Valley remains a draw for engineers now and in the foreseeable future. While California’s cost of living is higher, San Jose engineers’ earning power keeps pace with expenses. The West Coast tech Mecca also gives engineers plenty of opportunity for lateral advancement, so if you’re someone who values variety and mobility, you may be ready to head west.
New Orleans, LA – Famous for jazz and Mardi Gras, New Orleans might not be on many engineers’ radar as the place to launch the next phase of a career, but the region has abundant and varied opportunities. Louisiana’s petroleum industry is thriving, and so are its shipyards; the Ingalls (formerly Avondale) and Bollinger shipyards are the largest in the region. Increasingly, it’s also a hot spot for biomedical engineers, and the NASA facility in the Michoud area employs aerospace engineers.
Midland, TX – Like New Orleans, Midland is a smorgasbord of engineering opportunities. Aerospace engineers and petroleum engineers have looked to Texas for work for decades, but they have traditionally gravitated to Houston. While Houston remains fertile ground for aerospace and petroleum engineers, its western neighbor offers less competition for choice jobs. Midland is the third-fastest growing city in Texas and one of its wealthiest; the unemployment rate in Midland is one of the lowest in the country.
Dayton, OH – The Wright-Patterson Air Force Base has drawn aerospace engineers for decades, and it’s still an attractive option for them today. It’s not far from Indianapolis, Columbus, and Cincinnati, so it’s an excellent choice for anyone who enjoys the occasional day-trip to see new sights.