Veterans looking for cleared tech jobs may want to steer a little north or south of some of the more popular, sprawling urban behemoths.  Major cities are always good spots for civilian jobs, but some lesser-targeted regions may hold better opportunities to technically skilled job seekers with a clearance. At least that’s what the numbers say.

September’s tech job ads totaled more than 800,000 across the U.S.  But four pockets had the largest year-over-year increase, and they aren’t the usual suspects. Take a look.

Syracuse, New York

Here, tech demand is up 60 percent over last year.  The demand for cleared technical personnel runs along the 45-mile stretch between Syracuse and Rome, with jobs in a variety of levels.  Chenega Corporation in Syracuse has multiple system administrator openings.  In Rome, NCI Information Systems, Inc. is looking for VMware administrators and cyber security professionals.  PAR Government and Northrop Grumman are also hiring.

The region ranks high on the affordability score, with a median home price of $106,000.  Other perks include Syracuse University and a good economy, as the median income is higher than the national average.  So is the annual snowfall, which adds up to about 10 feet per year.  Weather aside, Syracuse and Rome offer small town living, with populations of 144,000 and 32,000 respectively.

Greensboro/Highpoint, North Carolina

Hiring demand for tech jobs is up more than 40 percent this year, and the defense and aerospace industry have a lot to do with it  Greensboro boasts, Cessna, Honda Aircraft, Timco Aviation and AAR. Outside that realm, International Textile Group is now one of the heaviest players in Greensboro’s defense industry, winning multimillion dollar Department of Defense contracts for the Defense Logistics Agency.  Cleared veterans also have opportunities at the Gateway University Research Park and Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering.  In High Point, New Breed Logistics, Inc. brings in hefty Defense Department contracts for Navy logistics services.

Highly affordable, the area offers cleared software engineers and systems administrators between $80,000 and $90,000; not bad in a region with a median family income of $43,958.

Rochester, NY

This year, CNN dubbed Rochester one of the least stressed out cities in America, mostly due to virtually no commute times and a workforce that works fewer hours than average. As for tech jobs, demand is up 36 percent over last year.  In fact, technology is now the city’s leading industry.

Rochester is home to aerospace defense contractor, Kaman and L-3 Communications (in Victor, just outside Rochester).  The CEI Group and the Judge Group also look for cleared personnel, with openings for design engineers and structural composite design engineers. Salaries are good, with project managers and senior software engineers averaging $80,000 to $86,000.

Rochester sits on the southern shore of Lake Ontario, and is known for both outdoor adventure and a strong cultural arts environment.  Affordable, the median home price is $124,900.

Manchester/Nashua, New Hampshire

According to a study of tech recruiters by Wanted Analytics, the Manchester/Nashua region has a hard time finding local tech talent.  That means most hiring managers have to look outside, making opportunities for cleared veterans extremely good.

Jacobs Technology, BAE Systems, General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman all have a presence here.  Current opportunities for cleared personnel include software engineers, who average salaries above six figures, and program managers, averaging salaries of $65,000 to $75,000.  Additional current openings include remote pilot operators, subcontract administrators, and systems engineers.

Manchester is known for its health. It has been designated as one of the best cities by Men’s Health, and the state consistently comes in at the top of the list for most liveable state and healthiest state. Currently, the median home price is $186,000.

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Tranette Ledford is a writer and owner of Ledford, LLC, which provides writing, editorial and public relations consulting for defense, military and private sector businesses. You can contact her at: