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Tampa Bay area named top 20 ‘Tech Towns’

The bay area’s 150 startups put it onto the Computing Technology Industry Association list for the first time.

The Tampa Bay area was named one of the nation’s top 20 “Tech Towns” on Tuesday by the nonprofit Computing Technology Industry Association, thanks largely to its low cost of living and supply of tech jobs.

“Efforts to transition the economy from one based on traditional construction, agriculture and tourism businesses to an economy built on technology are paying off,” said the association, which is based near Chicago and is commonly known as CompTIA. “The investment opportunities in Tampa Bay are plentiful and the area is now home to more than 150 tech startups.”

The bay area was ranked 19th and was one of four metros that made the list for the first time, along with Columbus, Ohio, San Diego and Jacksonville, which was one spot ahead of Tampa at No. 18.

“No surprise,” Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said in a statement on the ranking. "Our robust talent pipeline, low cost of living, diversity, and vibrant social scene make Tampa a top city to attract and retain some of the best and the brightest.”

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The association noted that the bay area had about 43,200 information technology jobs posted last year, with median salaries of $79,553 a year. IT employment is projected to grow 6 percent in the next five years.

The top five metro areas on the CompTIA list were Austin at No. 1, followed by Raleigh, N.C., San Jose, Calif., Seattle and San Francisco.