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From Worst To First: Here’s How Each State Ranks For Finding Tech Talent In 2021

Rick Whiting

Looking for highly skilled technology workers? CRN’s annual Best States project ranks all 50 states for finding and hiring technology employees.

Best States Methodology and Data Sources

In developing the Best States 2021 Tech Talent project CRN utilized a wide range of sources to collect data about tech employment, education levels, business activity in each state and state economic performance.

As the criteria and data for the CRN Best States analysis is updated and modified each year – this year specifically to reflect the emphasis on finding and hiring tech workers – it’s expected that the rankings of each state will change.

For the analysis the criteria and collected data were weighted according to the results of a CRN Research survey of solution providers to determine their importance to solution providers.

In determining state rankings, criteria were scored as to whether the data was favorable or unfavorable for companies looking to hire tech talent. States ranked higher, for example, if they had larger numbers of technology workers or workers with higher education levels. But states received lower rankings in other criteria, such as states with the highest average tech worker salaries, as higher salaries are an impediment to finding and hiring tech workers.

The CompTIA Cyberstates 2021 report was the source for state-by-state tech job data and tech industry employment, including tech jobs gained or lost in 2020, tech job forecasts for 2021, the percentage of tech jobs of total state employment, and tech GDP/GRC (gross regional product) as a percentage of total state GDP/GRC.

It should be noted that CompTIA’s tech employment numbers for each state includes employees in the IT industry (including non-technical professionals such as sales, marketing and finance); technical professionals working across all segments of the economy (such as IT managers and support professionals working for a manufacturer or financial services company); and self-employed technical professionals.

Data on job postings between the first and second quarters of 2021 came from the Dice Q2 Tech Job Report. Other employment/unemployment data came from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and WalletHub.

Data and rankings for employee education, college degrees and other education criteria came from a variety of sources including Bloomberg, U.S. News, WalletHub and the National Science Foundation.

Tech salary data came from a Visual Capitalist report on states top tech salaries while the State Technology and Science Index from the Milken Institute provided benchmarks for evaluating a state’s knowledge economy and capacity for achieving prosperity through scientific discovery and technological innovation.

GDP data came from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. The data on states’ recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic came from a Sept. 8, 2021 report from WalletHub, which evaluated the 50 states according to 17 metrics including COVID-19 hospitalization and vaccination rates, consumer spending, job postings, and pre- and post-pandemic unemployment rates.

Data on job postings between the first and second quarters of 2021 came from the Dice Q2 Tech Job Report.

Data about state-by-state recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic came from a WalletHub report that examined a range of criteria including share of the vaccinated population, COVID-19 hospitalization and death rates, pre- and post-pandemic GDP and employment data, consumer spending and more

Data about the number of solution providers in each state came from The Channel Company, parent company of CRN and





Rick Whiting

Rick Whiting has been with CRN since 2006 and is currently a feature/special projects editor. Whiting manages a number of CRN’s signature annual editorial projects including Channel Chiefs, Partner Program Guide, Big Data 100, Emerging Vendors, Tech Innovators and Products of the Year. He also covers the Big Data beat for CRN. He can be reached at

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