SoloPoint Insights

California’s Top Cities for Engineering Opportunities

Home to some of the world’s most influential tech companies and cutting-edge research institutions, California offers a dynamic and diverse landscape for engineers to thrive. See which cities within the state are the top places to kickstart or advance an engineering career and delve into the reasons why California is a mecca for engineering professionals.

From the tech-centric buzz of Silicon Valley to the aerospace innovation in Southern California, these cities offer not only a wealth of job openings but also a unique blend of industries, research opportunities, and quality of life that make them prime destinations for mechanical electrical and manufacturing engineers looking to make their mark in the field. Here are the key cities that have emerged as hotbeds of employment opportunities, drawing engineers from all corners of the globe:

Why California Remains a Top State?

Being known as one of the main hubs for technological innovation, there are many factors that make California at the forefront of global industry leadership. Here’s why California remains a top state for engineering opportunities:

  1. Silicon Valley
    • Located in the South San Francisco Bay Area of California, Silicon Valley stands as a global hub for technological innovation and it is home to numerous major technology, software, and internet companies. Among its prominent employers are industry giants like Apple, Alphabet’s Google, Meta, and Visa. It is recognized as the most startup-friendly region in the country due to its proximity to a rich pool of talent, suppliers, and investors. This environment is conducive, especially to startups in areas like artificial intelligence, big data and analytics, fintech, and the life sciences.
  2. Venture Capital
    • California is home to a vast number of venture capital (VC) firms, and many of them are actively making investments in product research and development (R&D). VC giants like Andreessen Horowitz, Khosla Ventures, Sequoia Capital, and Kleiner Perkins are historically known for making early investments in companies and start-ups that are breaking new ground in technology and innovation across various sectors such as biotechnology, green tech, and consumer products.
    • The region’s track record of high-profile ventures has made it an attractive target for venture capital firms and investors, with around 117 venture capital-backed initial public offerings (IPOs) in the area, collectively valued at around $253 billion as of December 2020.
  3. Access to talent
  4. Diverse industry presence: Each industry in California plays a significant role in the state’s economy, offering unique opportunities for engineers and employment prospects. Here’s a quick overview of some of the industry job trends in California:
    • Biotechnology: California has the largest concentration of biotechnology industry in the US. Job distribution spans across regions, with the Bay Area leading the state with over 15,000 biotechnology jobs. Southern California follows closely with a range of 10,000 to 15,000 biotechnology jobs. Some of the big biotech equipment manufacturers include:
      • Danaher: with around 80,000 employees located in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, and San Francisco.
      • Boehringer Ingelheim: employing around 52,391 workers located in  Fremont and San Francisco.
      • Cepheid: based in Sunnyvale with around 6,000 employees.
    • Semiconductor: California ranks as the second-best state for semiconductor engineers, with around 516 semiconductor companies based in Silicon Valley and having an average annual salary of $143,265 for semiconductor engineers in San Jose. Some of the major semiconductor equipment companies in the area include:
      • Applied Materials, with around 24,000 employees scattered in San Jose, San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
      • Lam Research, with around 14,100 employees and locations in Fremont and Livermore.
    • Medical Device: The Medical Device Manufacturing industry is heavily concentrated in California, where 228 medical device companies employ 26,208 workers. It has the highest share of establishments in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Orange County. Here are some of the well-known medical device companies in the area:
      • Johnson’s and Johnson’s: with a workforce of 134,500 employees scattered around San Diego, Los Angeles, San Jose, Fresno, and San Francisco.
      • Abbott: with approximately 109,000 employees located in San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, and Los Angeles.
      • Intuitive Surgical: based in Sunnyvale with around 5,527 employees
    • Aerospace: The aerospace engineering sector is also found in various parts of California. Its workforce consists of approximately 11,450 employed aerospace engineers within the state with an average annual salary of $122,270. Some of the large aerospace companies include:
      • Boeing: with around 141,582 employees located around Los Angeles, Long Beach, Huntington Beach, and San Diego.
      • Lockheed Martin: based in San Diego with around 115,000 employees.
      • Northrop Grumman: with around 97,000 employees located in San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Jose.
    • Robotics & Automation: California ranks first as the state with the most number of Automation and Robotics Engineering Jobs, with 17,820 robotics engineers and 8,274 Automation Engineers. It is also home to numerous tech startups like:
      • Cobalt Robotics: based in San Mateo, this startup robotics company was only established last 2016 with 75 employees and an annual revenue of around $8.5M.
      • Knightscope: based in Mountain View, this robotics and automation company was established in 2013 with  67 employees and an annual revenue of $2.0M.

All of these factors contribute to why California continues to stand as one of the top-paying states with the highest employment level for mechanical, electrical, and manufacturing engineers. Here’s BLS’s data on California’s average employment and annual wage for engineers:

With this, California stands as a prime destination for engineers seeking thrilling career opportunities and the chance to be at the forefront of technological advancement. With its diverse industries, innovation hubs, and a climate of constant evolution, the Golden State has something to offer every engineering discipline.

If you’re a Mechanical, Electrical, or Manufacturing Engineer looking for opportunities within California, check out our Job Board or speak with a SoloPoint recruiter today:

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