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San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and New York are the obvious American meccas for the developer industry.   The Bay Area has been the world leader in the tech sector as a whole period for several decades now.  New York is a top contender by default of its sheer size and status as a global commercial center across the board.  Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston are in the running as well, considering their large populations.

However, when software development output and quality per city size is considered, Portland, Oregon is a standout location in the developer community.   With most of the same quality of life amenities as its larger city counterparts, but without the substantially higher cost of living, Portland is a rising star on the software development map.

The city with a famously laid-back, outdoorsy scene is becoming known in the developer community as a stronghold for high-end programming in languages such as Ruby, Javascript, and Python.

Several noted software products have come out of Portland recently. Developer Puppet Labs uses Ruby for virtualization applications used by NASA, among other marquis clients.   Geoloqi has created a geography-based API for use by third party enterprise, government, and mobile developers for advanced geolocation functionality.   Urban Airship uses a Python/Java hybrid infrastructure for sending millions of push button notifications per second.  Talent and output in Scala, Clojure, and Cocoa is also pronounced.

Beyond software start-ups, large companies such as Nike and Tektronix have headquarters nearby.   Portland hosts large regional offices as well for Intel, IBM, Hewlett Packard, Intel, Genentech, Xerox, and Yahoo.  Salesforce is slated to hire 500 new employees ion Portland, many of whom will be programmers. The sizeable  presence of these companies provides healthy local demand for developers.

The tech community in Portland is tight-knit, with several weekly meetup groups for each of the programming languages.  Local cafes and bars also host frequent hackathon competitions.

The OSCON convention for open source coding takes place in Portland every July and is now in its 15th year.  It is a landmark event in the worldwide open source scene with hundreds of exhibitors (including Bluehost, Spotify, Twitter, and even General Motors) and thousands of attendees.

Also on the tech conference schedule is TechFest NW every September (formerly the Portland Digital Experience), which includes three days of conferencing on programming, startups, and design creativity. The event coincides with the MusicFest NW five-day music festival similar to SXSW in Austin.

It doesn’t hurt either that Portland is known as one of the nation’s leading craft beer producing cities.  There are over 25 local breweries of note listed in the city alone, keeping developers very happy in their free time.