San Jose

San Jose, California is the economic and cultural center of Silicon Valley, which also includes Cupertino, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Redwood City, Santa Clara, and Sunnyvale. It’s the largest and most desirable IT hub in the world, with about 250,000 IT workers, thousands of tech companies and startups.

San Jose

San Jose is known for its center of innovation, high-tech industry, Mediterranean climate, and high cost of living. San Jose — Sunnyvale — Santa Clara metro area is the happiest place to work in the United States, according to Careerbliss.com.

IT salaries

San Jose is located in Santa Clara County, the most affluent county in California and one of the most affluent counties in the United States. No wonder that IT salaries in San Jose are 20–40% higher than the national average and stand at around $99,440 per year ($8,290 per month).

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

  • Software developer: 103,690 / 8,640
  • Back-end developer: 128,590 / 10,720
  • Front-end developer: 107,880 / 8,990
  • Full-stack developer: 123,770 / 10,310
  • DevOps engineer: 122,170 / 10,180
  • Database administrator: 96,050 / 8,000
  • Web designer: 71,910 / 5,990
  • System administrator: 86,535 / 7,210
  • Project manager: 84,860 / 7,070
  • QA engineer: 88,460 / 7,370
  • Technical writer: 76,980 / 6,415
  • Security analyst: 102,410 / 8,530

Read more:

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

Economy

If Silicon Valley were an independent state, it would be among the world’s richest countries. Its GDP of more than $128,300 per capita is higher than that of Luxemburg, Macao, and Qatar — all of them belonging to wealthy countries and territories. The San Jose metro area is also one of the locations with the highest number of billionaires per capita in the US.

The unemployment rate in the San Jose — Sunnyvale — Santa Clara metro area is 2.2% — lower than the national average of 3.5%.

Important economic sectors in San Jose include:

  • Computer services
  • Design
  • eCommerce
  • Hardware
  • Media
  • Software development
  • Tourism

The largest technology companies present in San Jose and surrounding towns include:

  • Acer
  • Adobe Systems
  • Apple
  • Cisco Systems
  • eBay
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • IBM
  • Intel
  • Hewlett Packard
  • Netflix
  • Nvidia
  • Oracle Corporation
  • PayPal
  • Samsung

Cost of living

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the overall price level in and around San Jose for housing, goods, and services is 31% higher than the overall country on average. It also has one of the most expensive housing markets in the United States.

Monthly costs without rent in San Jose are $1,050 for a single person and $3,830 for a four-person family. 

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

  • Austin: 26% lower
  • Boston: 5% lower
  • Chicago: 17% lower
  • Los Angeles: 10% lower
  • New York: 22% higher
  • San Francisco: 23% higher
  • Seattle: 8% lower

The average prices in San Jose (USD):

  • Meal at McDonald’s: 7–12
  • Meal at another inexpensive restaurant: 10–30
  • Average food basket (milk, bread, eggs, cheese, chicken, apples, potatoes, water, beer): 42
  • Monthly fee at a fitness club: 25–90
  • Monthly pass: 70–160
  • Monthly rent (1 bedroom): 1,800 – 3,400
  • Monthly rent (3 bedrooms): 3,200 – 5,500
  • Property prices per square meter: 5,870 – 10,760
  • Utilities: 85–200 per month

→ Guide to cost of living in Silicon Valley: Part 1

→ Guide to cost of living in Silicon Valley: Part 2

Travel

Mineta San Jose International Airport is the city’s main airport. The flight destinations include many major American cities as well as Beijing, London, Tokyo, Toronto, and Vancouver. San Jose residents also use San Francisco International Airport located 35 miles (56 km) to the northwest and Oakland International Airport located 35 miles (56 km) to the north.

San Jose is also located at a relatively close distance to San Francisco (50 miles or 50 min drive) and Los Angeles (340 miles or 5 hours drive).

San Jose is highly automobile-dependent, so you will likely need a car to live and work there.

Entertainment

San Jose and its surroundings are home to 15 large parks, 60 miles (100 km) of walkable urban trails, many performing arts companies (including Opera San Jose, Symphony Silicon Valley, Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley, and others), Pace Art and Technology Gallery in Menlo Park, the San Jose Museum of Art, and a dozen of other museums.

San Jose entertainment

Among the city’s notable landmarks are Lick Observatory, History Park at Kelley Park, SAP Center, Winchester Mystery House, San Jose Flea Market, The Tech Museum of Innovation, and many more.

The annual events include the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, Cinequest Film Festival, Facebook F8 Developer Conference, FanimeCon, San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival (held in downtown San Jose), Silicon Valley Comic Con, as well as wine, jazz, and arts festivals.

IT companies in San Jose