Conversations about the hottest tech markets typically revolve around Silicon Valley, but that notion is changing. Not only is Houston, Texas, the fourth-fastest growing city in America, as Forbes pointed out, but it's quickly establishing itself as a central hub for the tech sector.
Houston boasts a number of must-see sites, just like any other major metropolitan area. Whether you explore the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, peruse the Museum of Fine Art or take in an Astros game at Minute Maid Park, it'll be difficult to run out of things to do after you've clocked a 9-to-5 workday. Sunday football games at NRG Stadium, a flourishing nightlife scene, a vibrant food scene and a population of nearly 2.1 million, according to the Houston City website, will keep your weekends exciting as well.
Houston, We Have Lift Off
Initially, Houston's energy industry fueled its rapid upswing, with oil companies making large investments locally. However, with the rapid decline in oil prices, Space City can no longer rely on its oil industry. Due to a booming population, Houston has instead needed to open up infrastructure and other services, thus creating a blossoming healthcare field. Other industries such as the petrochemical, construction, and refineries fields remain strong, helping to offset the hurting oil industry. As a result, Houston has been able to add 667,800 new jobs to the economy since 2005, Forbes observed. This has played a huge role in the city's job growth rate, which sits on the throne as the highest in the nation at 4.5 percent, as pointed out by Forbes.
While Houston has a great, flowing economy in the works, it also benefits from a cheap housing market. The Greater Houston Partnership observed that, between 2013 and 2014, the city had a home market that averaged at $198,400. Compared to other tech hubs, this number is extraordinarily low - San Francisco, home of Twitter's headquarters, had a $737,600 average home price, and New York City, home to Squarespace and Vemo, was at $395,900. These prices can be concerning for those looking to create startups in the area, while Houston looks a bit more manageable.
Tech Industry Boosting Houston
Houston is central to several startups making waves in the tech sector - most notably the medical niche. Due to the low cost of living and thriving culture, Houston has asserted itself as a great place to start a company. One of the most exciting ventures could very well be 2nd.MD - a portal for Web-based doctor visits. The company is a fusion between the technology and health care sectors, making it easy for those who find themselves incredibly sick to get diagnoses from specialists without wasting money on travel.
More conventional technology startups call Houston home as well. HostGator, a popular Web host, BMC software, a technology management company, and Xervmon, a hybrid cloud management system, all label Houston as their headquarters.
However, Space City boasts more than a vibrant tech scene. As of 2015, 26 companies headquartered in Houston were featured on the esteemed Fortune 500 list. These companies cover industries as far-ranging as energy, automotive, engineering, manufacturing, environmental services, and logistics. The dynamic job market in Houston, as well as the area's affordability, makes this city an ideal one for job seekers.
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