It wasn’t even a decade ago that Iowa organizations and elected officials were working overtime on proactive measures to incentivize talented STEM and IT college graduates to consider Iowa as a place to live and work. Today, Iowa and its metropolitan areas are attracting and retaining top talent.

Iowa offers a burgeoning tech scene and ample opportunities for placement in financial services and insurance industries. Whether the rookie IT force is looking for a quality-of-life balance or decent housing prices, Des Moines and the surrounding communities check a lot of the boxes on the list. In April, the Greater Des Moines Partnership announced a survey projection by the U.S. Census Bureau that showed the population of Des Moines growing more than its other Midwest-counterparts, including Chicago, Omaha, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and St. Louis. “Our region’s robust population growth is further evidence that DSM is a vibrant and welcoming place,” said Jay Byers, CEO of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. “We will continue to focus on attracting and retaining talent by collectively sharing our region’s success story with national and international audiences.”

Iowa’s not just cornfield cut-aways for caucuses and NCAA tournament broadcasts (although we’re damn proud of our Ag sector!). Here are three reasons why Iowa’s holding its own in technology and drawing top talent.

#1: The tech startup scene is ultra connected and accessible.

Des Moines and Ames made Livability’s list of “5 Up-And-Coming Tech Hotspots.” “Iowa is another state considered to be a star of the ‘Silicon Prairie.’ The capital city of Des Moines in particular is a stand out — it’s officially the fastest-growing city in the Midwest after successful efforts to recruit and attract millennials. We listed Des Moines as one of our best cities for entrepreneurs of 2017 given its career opportunities and affordability, and it already ranks among the top cities for tech hiring in 2018,” writes Clara Hogan of Livability.

Across the state, organizations like the Technology Association of Iowa, make it easy to connect to other entrepreneurs and founders, as well as venture capital and enterprise opportunities.

#2: Corporations offer competitive consulting and full-time employment options.

Des Moines and Cedar Rapids are ranked #2 and #4 respectively on SmartAsset’s 2018 report of “Best American Cities to Work in Tech in 2018,” citing outstandingly low unemployment rates for those with IT degrees. Whether you are looking for a full-time or consulting gig here in Iowa, there is a wealth of opportunities as organizations race to fill IT and innovation positions. The trends of digital transformation trends on the horizon are indicators that the need will only continue to grow across every sector.

#3: Quality of life and “work-life balance” is really a thing too.

In April, U.S. News & World Report released survey and data findings the most desirable places to live in the U.S. This took into account cost of living, home prices, job market viability, crime rates, education and more. The report ranked Greater Des Moines as #3 on the list of “Most Affordable Places to Live” and #5 on the list of “Best Places to Live in the United States.”

There’s a reason we built Paragon IT Professionals in Des Moines, Iowa and why it continues to provide a vital and healthy headquarters for our organization. Every day of the week there’s a full line-up of things to do – Iowa Cubs games, arts, music and food festivals, recreation and fun runs, to name a few – and new restaurants popping up. The construction projects along the horizon that hint at new businesses and modern housing spaces are further evidence that the Des Moines metro is really starting to hit its stride. If you’re looking to relocate to the metro or need a recommendation of where to start, don’t hesitate to contact our office!

Images courtesy of Catch Des Moines.