skyline of Minneapolis Minnesota

It’s not surprising to see a few cutting-edge tools and technologies from tech giant Google recently make the list of Upwork’s Fastest-Growing Skills List for Q2 2018: Go (Golang), a slick, modern programming language created by Google; Google’s App Engine API, a serverless platform designed for building and deploying large-scale apps; and Google Cloud Platform, which just announced support for blockchain. What was surprising is where these development skills have taken off in recent quarters. (Spoiler: Mountain View wasn’t at the top!)

These were the five cities that topped the list for Google-related development:


One of the Twin Cities nestled in the Silicon Prairie isn’t a big surprise here—Minneapolis is almost a top 10 tech city, with a strong health tech startup scene here for a while. It boasts a strong talent base when it comes to the tech sector. Amazon recently opened an office downtown, lured by area logistics companies and local software development talent.


This seaside artist’s haven nestled between Pebble Beach and Monterey is less than two hours from Mountain View, but its influence is apparent. Pacific Grove is known for its historic homes and famous residents, and a slower pace that seems to have attracted some Google-savvy developers, too.


Low taxes, an affordable cost of living, and a lower cost of doing business have made Phoenix, Arizona very attractive to tech companies. Some of the key tech industries that have taken root in the Silicon Desert include cybersecurity, EdTech, FinTech, additive manufacturing, health, and bioscience among others.


Situated on the southern tip of Lake Michigan, centrally located between Chicago and South Bend with Milwaukee and Grand Rapids both to the north, it’s no surprise this summer hotspot has attracted a few top-notch digital nomads. Those bigger cities around the Great Lakes are booming metropolises, and anyone looking for a slower pace and lakefront living will find it here.


This county surrounding Richmond has been attracting a younger generation—and incubating plenty of tech startups like Fenris, which leans heavily on AI and big data. Some top tech companies in the area include Solvaria and Summit IT solutions, and nearby Virginia Tech University feeds plenty of engineering talent to the area.

Coming in behind these five were San Antonio, Texas; New York, New York; Edison, New Jersey; Atlanta, Georgia; and, Riverside, Rhode Island.

It’s further proof that hotbeds of cutting-edge tech talent are popping up over the country, from the Southwest’s Silicon Desert to the New England’s Silicon Millyard. The contingent workforce is strong across the US, and continuing to spread out—especially outside big city centers in search of lower cost of living and higher quality of life.

What does this mean for hiring managers who are seeking these elusive skills and specialized talent? It means they’ll find what they’re looking for when they start looking where the talent is—beyond big cities. And Upwork can help connect them to that talent, no matter where they are.