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The 10 cities likely to become the next tech hot spots

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Over the past couple of decades, the San Francisco Bay area has been the tech mecca of the country. It’s the shiny, silicon haven where the nerds are the cool kids and where artisanal coffee is a main food group — where there are more startups than gyms and everyone seems to be looking far into the future.

But this flood of entrepreneurial hopefuls has brought with it a surge of sky-high housing costs and a lack of space. Those looking to start a company are already using all of their resources to make sure their venture is a success. But how can they take such a risk if they’re paying upwards of $4,000 a month for a two-bedroom apartment?

As it turns out, there are other areas of the country — including some in California —where more tech companies and venture capital firms are popping up every year. These dark horses may be poised to become the next silicon superpowers.

To determine the next tech hot spots in the country, FindTheHome created a Tech Rating. This formula factors in total tech companies and employees per capita, as well as the area’s “tech ecosystem”—the variety of those employees and companies.

For example, a county with a broad range (an “ecosystem”) of tech industries—from computer programming services to venture capital firms to application development—received a higher score than counties with companies from just one or two tech industries. The data is provided by Dun & Bradstreet and FindTheCompany.

The counties with the highest Tech Ratings are San Francisco County (96.4) and Santa Clara County (96.4), which is no surprise. Two other counties in Silicon Valley made the list as well, but we decided not to include those in Northern California as to highlight the “techie” counties across the country that are coming out of the woodwork.

10. Travis County, TX
Notable City: Austin

Industry Density Score: 15.2
Tech Employees Per Capita: 85.7
Tech Ecosystem Score: 87.5

Travis County has a Tech Rating of 89.9.

9. King County, WA
Notable City: Seattle

Industry Density Score: 15.7
Tech Employees Per Capita: 90.1
Tech Ecosystem Score: 87.8

King County has a Tech Rating of 91.

8. Middlesex County, MA
Notable Cities: Lowell, Cambridge

Industry Density Score: 17
Tech Employees Per Capita: 89.8
Tech Ecosystem Score: 89.2

Middlesex County has a Tech Rating of 91.6.

7. Howard County, MD
Notable City: Ellicott City

Industry Density Score: 20.
Tech Employees Per Capita: 86.6
Tech Ecosystem Score: 88.3

Howard County has a Tech Rating of 91.7.

6. Arlington County, VA
Notable City: Arlington

Industry Density Score: 22.1
Tech Employees Per Capita: 85.6
Tech Ecosystem Score: 89.6

Arlington County has a Tech Rating of 92.4.

5. Fulton County, GA
Notable City: Atlanta

Industry Density Score: 15.9
Tech Employees Per Capita: 97.6
Tech Ecosystem Score: 87.7

Fulton County has a Tech Rating of 92.5.

4. New York County, NY
Notable City: New York City

Industry Density Score: 18.7
Tech Employees Per Capita: 90.3
Tech Ecosystem Score: 92.2

New York County has a Tech Rating of 92.8.

3. Boulder County, CO
Notable City: Boulder

Industry Density Score: 23.4
Tech Employees Per Capita: 84.3
Tech Ecosystem Score: 93.3

Boulder County has a Tech Rating of 93.3.

2. Loudoun County, VA
Notable City: Leesburg

Industry Density Score: 27
Tech Employees Per Capita: 85.8
Tech Ecosystem Score: 90.4

Loudoun County has a Tech Rating of 94.2.

1. Fairfax County, VA
Notable City: Fairfax

Industry Density Score: 27.6
Tech Employees Per Capita: 91.3
Tech Ecosystem Score: 91.7

Fairfax County has a Tech Rating of 95.7.