Chicago, Illinois is the third-most-populous city in the United States. IT offers good career opportunities in the IT sector, relatively low cost of living, and rich cultural life.

IT infrastructure in Chicago

IT salaries

The average IT salary in Chicago is $73,550 per year ($6,130 per month).

Average IT salaries in Chicago depending on the specialization (USD per year / per month):

  • Software developer: 78,190 / 6,520
  • Back-end developer: 86,560 / 7,210
  • Front-end developer: 73,950 / 6,160
  • Full-stack developer: 89,700 / 7,475
  • DevOps engineer: 93,580 / 7,800
  • Database administrator: 78,930 / 6,580
  • Web designer: 54,890 / 4,570
  • System administrator: 64,810 / 5,400
  • Project manager: 65,680 / 5,470
  • QA engineer: 67,410 / 5,620
  • Technical writer: 56,430 / 4,700
  • Security analyst: 72,510 / 6,040

Read more:

→ IT jobs market in the United States: mid-2020 data


Chicago is an international hub for commerce, culture, education, finance, industry, technology, telecommunications, and transportation. It’s one of the largest economies in the US and the world, a major world financial center, and the third-largest labor market in the country.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 3.3% — almost on a par with the national average of 3.5%.

Important economic sectors in Chicago include:

  • Construction
  • Finance
  • Food processing
  • Insurance
  • Manufacturing
  • Printing
  • Publishing 
  • Retail
  • Transportation
  • Tourism

With more than 5,960 tech companies present in Chicago, this city is also an important IT market. The most popular tech industries in the city include FinTech, MedTech, and Big Data.

And the largest technology companies present in Chicago include the following:

  • Google
  • IBM
  • Microsoft
  • Mitsubishi Electric
  • Motorola Solutions
  • SAP SE
  • Uber

Cost of living

Despite being the third-largest city in the United States, Chicago has a low cost of living relative to other comparable cities in the country. 

Monthly costs without rent in Chicago are $1,030 for a single person and $3,740 for a four-person family.

Consumer prices comparison (including rent) in other US cities vs. Chicago:

  • Austin: 12% lower
  • Boston: 14% higher
  • Los Angeles: 8% higher
  • New York: 46% higher
  • San Francisco: 48% higher
  • San Jose: 20% higher
  • Seattle: 10% higher

The average prices in Chicago (USD):

  • Meal at McDonald’s: 6–12
  • Meal at another inexpensive restaurant: 12–30
  • Average food basket (milk, bread, eggs, cheese, chicken, apples, potatoes, water, beer): 41
  • Monthly fee at a fitness club: 20–100
  • Monthly pass: 100–120
  • Monthly rent (1 bedroom): 995 – 2,500
  • Monthly rent (3 bedrooms): 1,600 – 5,500
  • Property prices per square meter: 1,500 – 7,000
  • Utilities: 75–220 per month


The city’s O’Hare International Airport is ranked as the world’s fifth or sixth busiest airport (depending on the year). It serves flights to many major US cities, as well as to Abu Dhabi, Amsterdam, Auckland, Beijing, Copenhagen, Delhi, Dublin, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Kraków, Lisbon, Montreal, Munich, Paris, Rome, Seoul, Shanghai, Stockholm, Tokyo, Vienna, Warsaw, Zurich, and other destinations.


Chicago entertainment

Chicago attracts tourists from all around the US and offers dozens of museums, a great number of quality restaurants, many museums and a lot of tourist attractions including Wrigley Field (a baseball park) and Navy Pier.

The city is also known for a live jazz, blues, gospel, hip-hop, house, electronic dance music and soul music scene. Annual festivals held in Chicago include Lollapalooza and the Pitchfork Music Festival.

IT companies in Chicago