For the next several posts this month I want to discuss employment for data center technicians because this position is growing, especially in America. Why? AI. With this technology being all the rage at the moment companies are investing more money into their own data centers, or renting out more data center space, to accomplish their (or their customers’) goals. So in the first of many posts regarding employment I will discuss data center techs best work locations in America.
Choosing To Work In The Best Location Is Important
As an experienced data center technician I can tell you that choosing where to work is important because there are some states where data centers aren’t plentiful. And if you live in one of those states, or choose to move there, most likely your career won’t be successful. However, there are states (and some cities) where there are dozens and dozens of data centers, so it’s easier to get a job. And due to the high competition those technicians command a higher salary. I want you to get paid what you’re worth and develop your skill-set so you can keep commanding a higher salary. Thus, choosing where to live is vital for that to happen.
Data Center Techs Best Work Locations In America
Here’s the list of the cities providing data center techs best work locations in America (in no particular order):
- Ashburn, VA
- Atlanta, GA
- Phoenix, AZ
- Central Ohio
Data Center Techs Best Work Locations In America: Ashburn, VA
Ashburn, VA is on the list of the cities providing data center techs best work locations in America because it is the place for those techs. Known by the industry as “Data Center Alley” Ashburn, VA is home to data centers from Silicon Valley tech companies like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft, to major data center colocation providers like Equinix, QTS, and Digital Realty. In addition, there are many data centers providing the U.S. Federal Government support.
Why should data center technicians choose Ashburn, VA? Here are two reasons:
- Plenty of employers: With over 60 data centers in the city there are plenty of employers to choose from. Which means it will be easier to find an entry-level data center position for those new to the role, or find a senior position for those more tenured. Also, with so many employers vying for workers they offer higher salaries and better benefits.
- Great networking opportunities: The city and the county holds events constantly where data center technicians can get together and talk. These events also help those individuals find better jobs, or improve their skill-sets by learning about new technologies.
While this city is a great place to move to there are two downsides:
- High cost of living
I’ve been to this part of Virginia since my employer has a few data centers there (and I need to travel to those DCs for work from time to time) and let me tell you how expensive everything is. Housing is crazy expensive, no matter if you rent or buy. I overheard one employee who said his rent for a one bedroom apartment was $1500 a month! And he said that was a great deal! Looking at this site that employee was right because that’s the average cost in the city.
Finally, traffic is bad in the city and the Northern Virginia (NoVA) area thanks to its closeness to Washington, DC. So get used to traffic everywhere you go.
Data Center Techs Best Work Locations In America: Atlanta, GA
Next on the list providing data center techs best work locations in America is Atlanta, GA. I gotta talk about my home state because there are quite a few data centers in the Atlanta, GA metro area. Now, it’s not like Data Center Alley but a tech can still have a great career in the city. Atlanta does have some data center from major Silicon Valley companies like Google and Facebook but they are located in the outskirts of the city (Douglas County and Walton & Newton County respectively). However, the city mostly has major data center colocation providers.
Why should data center technicians choose Atlanta, GA? Here are a couple of reasons:
- Most of the employers are located in Downtown Atlanta: This really helps with commuting purposes. One could decide to live close to downtown and walk to work (or take public transportation).
- Various types of data center available to choose from: If you want to work for a data center handling state lotteries there’s Scientific Games. Or if you want to work with various types of customers then working at Digital Realty, QTS, or Equinix.
While this city is a great place to move to there are two downsides:
- The cost of living continues to increase
- Terrible traffic
I lived and worked in Atlanta for about 8 years (2014 to 2022) and I saw the cost of living continue to increase year after year. My rent increased from $650 to $800+ before I bought a house in 2020. Today the rent for my previous apartment now just under $1100!
Finally, the traffic in Atlanta is just plain terrible. There’s too many people, not enough public transportation, and the highways weren’t built to contain it all. Yes, the city continues to expand the highway system and its city streets but it’s not enough.
Data Center Techs Best Work Locations In America: Phoenix, AZ
Let’s jump over to the West Coast for a moment. One of the best locations for a data center technician is Phoenix, AZ. There are 40+ data centers in the area. (If you don’t mind traveling 20 miles away there is the Apple data center in Mesa, AZ which is considered their global command center.) Like the other two cities on this list Phoenix has several major colocation providers like PhoenixNAP, H5, Digital Realty, and QTS.
Why should data center technicians choose Phoenix, AZ? Here are two reasons:
- Decent cost of living
- Various employers to choose from
Unlike the other two cities on this list Phoenix, AZ has a decent cost of living. It is higher than what it used to be due to the influx of Californians moving into the city over the past few years. Yet, when I check out the cost of living for the city is only 4% higher than the national average. Housing is high, however, just like it is in every major American city.
Finally, just like the other cities there are plenty of employers to choose from. So it shouldn’t be too hard to get a job.
Data Center Techs Best Work Locations In America: New Albany, OH
The last location on this list may surprise you because it’s not a city well-known to many. However, you will probably know of it within the next 3 to 5 years. New Albany, OH, a suburb of Columbus, OH, is home to data centers for Google, Amazon, Meta, and in the next few years Microsoft. (Microsoft just bought land in New Albany.) In short, this part of Ohio is becoming a place for Big Tech and I expect this part of Central Ohio to become a tech hub in the next few years.
So if you want to want for a major tech company without moving to California or New York City this city is the top choice. However, this move is going to come with some costs. Housing is getting more expensive in the area. That’s due to the large salaries these companies are paying for talent. And Columbus, OH is the capital of the state and people move out to the suburbs and commute into the city for work. Finally, you’ll have to deal with traffic. Yet, like with Atlanta, the city and the state are working on expanding the highway system.