If you’re looking for a great tech job in the Seattle area, you may be a bit overwhelmed as to how to get started. Seattle saw an influx of 33,000 additional tech jobs between 2016 and 2017. Additionally, tech accounted for 93% of all office jobs in Seattle during 2017. While that’s pretty great in itself, and definitely boosts your chances of landing a job, it also makes searching even harder.
With so many great companies out there, how do we distinguish which companies are the best to work for in Seattle? As you’ll soon find out, the best and brightest tech minds of Seattle are generously compensated for their expertise and innovative work ethic. Stick around for the breakdown of the best companies to work for in Seattle.
The Age of Tech Giants and Startups
Before we dive into the world of tech in Seattle, we need to take a step back and better acquaint ourselves with how we got to this position.
30 or 40 years ago, we probably wouldn’t have been having the same conversation that we’re about to have. The tech scene as we know it didn’t exist back then. In the early days of tech and the Internet, there were only a few major players in the game.
Startups weren’t popping up the same way they do today. This allowed the few major companies that did exist to forge a major part of the tech industry for themselves. While some of these big companies still hold a lot of power in the tech industry today, we’ve started seeing a shift over the past decade that’s pretty intriguing.
Startups aren’t anything new per se, but the sheer amount of startups that are continuously popping up across the globe, that’s new. While the amount of money startups have been pulling in has steadily grown over the past few years, over the last couple of months things have changed. We’ve gone from steady to skyrocketing, as the amount of money startups were raising increased by almost $300 million dollars to the whopping $1.07 Billion dollars that it is today.
While this number is good news for the startup industry, the number of “exits” or startups bought out by major companies has also continued to increase. This buying of small companies is continuing to become a trend across the tech scene. Industry giants with enough money have latched on to an “if you can’t beat ‘em, buy ‘em” mentality.
With Amazon’s acquisitions of Twitch and Audible and Google’s buyouts of Youtube and Fitbit, what started out as a slew of small startups has quickly risen to join the major tech giants of the industry. With so much buying and selling amongst companies, it makes you wonder if startups and tech giants can ever coexist peacefully. That’s where Seattle comes in.
There are numerous startups in Seattle that are thriving under the shadow of Seattle’s major tech competitors. With Seattle native Microsoft and other major companies such as Amazon currently housing huge campuses in Seattle, competition for workers is steep. While this may seem like a bad thing, it’s actually great for workers.
With competition comes higher wages, better perks, and better work atmospheres. Companies are fighting for skilled workers and will do anything they can to attract talent.
Seattle by Numbers
What do you think of when you think about Seattle? Do you think about the city’s 38 inches of rain a year? Maybe you envision the iconic skyline with the Space Needle observation tower. Whatever your memory conjures when you think of Seattle, many people don’t automatically think of Seattle’s booming tech scene.
In fact, Seattle’s tech scene has been growing and evolving for some time. When you think of the Seattle tech scene, it’s inevitable that you’ll think of Microsoft. Of course, you’d have a good reason to. 4 years after its founding, Microsoft moved its headquarters to Redmond, WA just across the bay from Seattle.
Many former Microsoft employees have since branched out and created their own successful startups in the Seattle area. With Microsoft being the first tech giant in Seattle, many others soon followed including Amazon, Zillow, Boeing, and many more.
While the average cost of housing in Seattle is around $750,000, this number is still significantly lower than other tech hubs of the West coast. Additionally, Seattle’s median salary that is needed for one person to live comfortably in the city is around $72,000.
Signs of a Great Seattle Tech Job
It’s important to remember that humans are more than just numbers. While salaries and monetary benefits are a great part of working, they’re not the only thing to be on the lookout for when searching for the perfect job. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you search for your dream job in Seattle.
1. Work Culture
One of the most important aspects of the workplace is the social atmosphere that comes along with it. Do you vibe with your coworkers and team? Do you feel safe and comfortable during your day to day activities? Do you feel that your superiors foster an open and nurturing learning environment?
While you don’t have to be best friends with all your coworkers, working in an environment where you feel comfortable and accepted is an absolute must if you’re going to maintain your mental health throughout your career. Regardless of the amount you make on paper, some hostile work environments just aren’t worth the immense havoc they wreak upon your mental and sometimes physical health.
2. Work/Life Balance
This one goes hand in hand with number 1. While the tech industry is notorious for long hours and overtime, it’s important to realize that this work method may not be sustainable forever. Finding a job that encourages a strong work/life balance is absolutely crucial to building a long-lasting and successful tech career.
Additional perks to be on the lookout for include paid time off, casual workdays, work from home options, work retreats/outings, and just a general dedication to downtime. While these perks alone may not make or break your job experience, they are certainly a great bonus!
3. Workplace Perks
Speaking of perks, these are actually some of the biggest positives of working in the tech industry. Tech companies both big and small are constantly competing for talent and competent employees. As an effect of this, many companies have resorted to incentivized perks as a way to retain and attract employees.
These could include anything from free food, free transportation, complimentary gym memberships (or even office gyms!), paid time off, cool office gadgets, trendy workspaces, and much more. While you shouldn’t base a job offer solely on the offered perks ( no matter how good your company’s lunch specials are!), the job benefits are definitely something to keep in mind when scoping out potential employers.
Best Companies to Work for in Seattle
Now that we’ve covered both a history of Seattle’s tech scene and what you should be looking for in a great tech job, let’s get down to business. To better assess the companies, let’s break these into two categories: Tech Giants and Tech Startups.
The competition for major tech companies in Seattle is insanely high. If you can pass the interviews and make the cut, then these tech companies are definitely for you!
Amazon is absolutely everywhere and is continuing to grow. While everyone knows about the famous Microsoft Headquarters in Redmond, Washington, many don’t know that Amazon’s global company is actually headquartered in downtown Seattle. Amazon currently employs over 50,000 people at its Seattle campus.
The famed Seattle campus is comprised of over 40 buildings featuring a wide arrange of perks including prayer rooms, game rooms, mother’s rooms, free food, and much more. The company also offers great healthcare, 401K matching at 50%, stock options, discounts on Amazon products, pet-friendly workspaces, paid vacation time, and more.
This list would be incomplete without mentioning the pioneer of Seattle’s tech scene. Located just outside of Seattle in Redmond, Washington, the iconic campus of Microsoft has greatly expanded since its establishment in 1986. Today, the enormous campus extends over 8 million square feet combined throughout its 125 buildings. Microsoft currently employs 51,000 people at its headquarters in Redmond.
The perks at Microsoft are huge. From multiple cafes and restaurants to an abundance of outdoor spaces, the campus itself is already a major perk for employees. Additional perks include stock options, 401K matching, great healthcare benefits, paid maternity/paternity leave, discounts at Microsoft stores, and much more.
3. Expedia Group
Expedia Group is home to some of the world’s biggest travel booking sites including Hotels.com, Travelocity, Trivago, Hotwire, HomeAway, and many more. Originally founded as a division of Microsoft, the company became its own entity in 1999. Today, Expedia’s headquarters is currently located in Bellevue, Washington.
Perks of working at Expedia include a great healthcare package, parental leave, PTO, paid holidays and paid sick days, commuter benefits, tuition reimbursement, volunteer hours matching, commitment to diversity, and much more.
Now that we’ve covered the top three major tech companies in Seattle, let’s take a look at the top three startups in the area. It’s important to note that with so many startups in the surrounding Seattle area, it is near impossible to review every one of them. However, from our research we’ve gathered that the following three companies offer some pretty great perks for employees.
You may have heard of the popular second-hand sales platform OfferUp before. That’s because their growth over the past two years has been skyrocketing with the company now being worth well over $1 billion. OfferUp is headquartered in Bellevue, WA and currently has around 200 employees.
Employee perks include competitive healthcare rates including paid premiums, free food, tuition reimbursement, unlimited PTO, gym membership, and more.
Somewhat new to the Seattle tech scene, Porch is an online platform where homeowners connect with local home improvement contractors. Launched in 2013, the company has since risen to 3 million listed professionals and over 130 million home improvement projects. The company currently has around 450 employees.
Perks include a generous vacation package, competitive healthcare plans, free snacks, and more.
Founded in 2015, this Seattle based startup was recently nominated Startup of the Year. Convoy develops technology to match truck drivers with shippers looking to move freight.
The company currently has over 500 employees.
Perks include unlimited vacation, great healthcare, free food, travel compensation, and more.
How Does This Benefit You?
We get it, that’s a lot of information to take in. But whether you’re new to coding or a seasoned professional, there are plenty of reasons to know the best companies to work for in Seattle. The tech industry is constantly changing, so stick around to get the latest on Seattle’s booming economy.
As you continue to grow throughout your coding journey, keeping yourself informed of the industry’s latest happenings will be absolutely vital to your career success.