When it comes to starting or developing a career in information technology (IT), Manchester is the best place in the UK, according to a study into IT careers published today.

Entitled the UK Tech Town Index, the study by IT trade association CompTIA looked at the IT employment opportunities in more than 200 different towns and cities across the country.

It took into account multiple elements that form the basis of a good IT career, including opportunities for progression, over demand for IT skills and quality and cost of living.

The best cities to start or grow IT careers in the UK

The study concluded that while London is often regarded as the go-to option for IT, it is by no means the best choice in the UK when it comes to IT careers, coming in at fifth place.

Manchester got the top spot due to its wide range of opportunities for career progression due to the large selection of jobs on offer, and the low cost of living, which translates into a superior quality of life compared to the UK capital.

Bristol came in second due to having the best year-on-year job opportunity growth in the UK, while Leeds came in third due to low living costs and a projected increase in the number of tech-related jobs over the next few years.

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“The UK Tech Town Index shows the breadth and depth of opportunity in the UK. No longer are IT jobs concentrated in traditional pockets like London,” said Nancy Hammervik, executive vice president, industry relations at CompTIA.

“More and more opportunities are being presented across the region to ensure anyone can pursue their dream career in technology without geographical or economical restrictions.”

The top ten cities for IT careers in the UK according to CompTIA are:

  1. Manchester
  2. Bristol
  3. Leeds
  4. Birmingham
  5. London
  6. Cambridge
  7. Edinburgh
  8. Bath
  9. Basingstoke
  10. Reading

Manchester as a leader in UK IT

The city of Manchester has increasingly been positioning itself as a key player in technology, particularly as part of the Northern Powerhouse initiative that sought to combat the disproportionate share of the economy held by London and the South East.

This research indicates that the efforts have and are working, and may increasingly see those with tech skills looking to Manchester and other regional cities rather than London.

“I’m delighted that in Greater Manchester we are leading the way and doing digital differently. It’s great to see that we are perfectly positioned to become one of Europe’s top-five digital city-regions, boasting some of the most cutting-edge technology firms in the world,” said Elise Wilson, Greater Manchester’s portfolio lead for Digital City Region.

“This recognition as the United Kingdom’s top town for IT jobs only reinforces our ambition and shows we are creating a bold digital economy which will encourage our businesses to grow.

“To help Greater Manchester to keep pace with this rapid growth, we are putting in place a range of initiatives to recruit a highly skilled workforce from all our communities regardless of their background or starting point.”

Read more: How an average salary in London compares to other big cities