What makes Denver a hotspot for web design and development?

For the last decade, Denver has experienced exponential growth, attracting highly qualified web design and development talent from all over the United States. So, what makes Denver such a desirable destination for tech workers?

Man looks out over a mountain scene

Brief history of the Denver Tech Center (DTC)

The Denver Tech Center (DTC) has a rich history that certainly contributed to its current growth and stature. The DTC was founded in 1962 on just 40 acres near Greenwood Village. The very first office established in the area was a mechanical and electrical engineering consulting firm owned by George Wallace. Wallace was able to acquire the original 40-acre tract of line and became so interested in land development as a career that he eventually quit engineering entirely. 

Less than a century later, the DTC has matured into a high-tech city-within-a-city encompassing over 900 acres. More than 1000 companies now call the DTC home, and over 35,000 people work within the designated area.

Fast-paced growth for a mid-sized city

As one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States, Denver is likewise a fast-growing technology hub. Centrally located in colorful Colorado just East of the Rocky Mountains, Denver’s beautiful cityscape has attracted and enchanted creative forces in many industries since its founding in the mid-19th century. 

Apparently, Colorado’s gold rush of the 19th century persists today as more and more companies position themselves in the DTC. At just 12 miles south of Denver’s city center with portions in Greenwood Village, the DTC has a growing reputation as a hub for businesses, from local to international. Many notable enterprises have chosen the DTC as a primary or secondary headquarters, including big names like Boeing, Comcast, Nestle, and Western Union.

Denver’s perenially great job market

Like many areas of California during the Silicon Valley boom of the 1990s, smaller businesses and startups have similarly gravitated to Denver as it attracts the fresh, nimble minds synonymous with the tech industry. Startups that would be priced out of markets like New York or the Bay Area find nourishing grounds for entrepreneurship in Denver. And Denver itself has benefitted from this growth, as the city continues to outpace US cities of similar population size.

From fresh college grads to experienced professionals, Denver has recently ranked as high as number 3 in the hottest job markets, even outpacing large markets like Seattle and San Francisco. Though its unemployment rate rose during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, Denver has proven itself to be a resilient market, boasting a high number of job openings per capita and a record number of new business filings as of the middle of 2023.

Reliable public transport

The Denver metro area has surprisingly reliable and extensive public transportation, making it a desirable destination for young professionals in many industries, including technology. With light rail and bus and rail commuter systems stretching from Boulder to Parker and Golden to Aurora, residents can easily commute throughout the city’s sprawling boroughs. 

Additionally, boasting over 100 miles of multi-use trails and bike lanes as well as almost 400 miles of sign-designated bike routes, Denver is a bike commuter’s dream.

Work hard, play hard in Colorado

It’s no secret that part of what makes places like Silicon Valley and New York City attractive to ambitious people is the location itself. California, with its beautiful weather, rocky coasts, and mountains and deserts for miles, is famously magnetic for thrillseekers and professionals alike. And New York, the city that never sleeps, has long been a destination for creatives, including web designers and developers. 

So what does Denver - and Colorado - offer in this area? Well, with over 300 days of sunshine a year, the incredible weather supports the adventurous, athletic population getting outside and staying there. With 58 mountains exceeding 14,000 feet of elevation (affectionately dubbed “fourteeners”), world-famous rock climbing, hiking, skiing/snowboarding, camping, and mountain biking, Colorado has no shortage of active things to do.    

And if you’re not outdoorsy? There’s still plenty to do! As a former mining town, Denver has a long history of throwing them back at a saloon. Denver’s nightlife is alive and kicking well into the 21st century, from sports bars to music venues, dance clubs, and more. The Nuggets, Rockies, Avalanche, and Broncos round out a rollicking sports scene, all of which attract bright minds and jobs to this growing oasis in the Mountain West.

A casual vibe (and dress code)

At this point, it’s an accepted social expectation that tech talent “dresses down” compared with professionals in industries of similar demand and stature. This practice ostensibly began in Silicon Valley and has spread into the zeitgeist via movies like “The Social Network,” television shows like “The Big Bang Theory,” and the omnipresence of technological giants in our everyday lives over the last 20-30 years. 

There are theories about why this is the case, but that doesn’t matter for our purposes. Our point is that Denver (and Colorado at large) is a notoriously casual town. You are just as likely to encounter someone wearing full formal garb as cowboy boots and sweatpants on any given day at your Denver local brewery, and it’s all good. This casual approach to dress and attitudes aligns perfectly with the values shared by those employed in technology.

Web design and development + Denver = a match made in mile-high heaven

Though the reasons listed above are by no means all of the reasons that explain Denver’s status as a web design and development hub, it’s a pretty good start. DTC, the job market, the transportation, and all the things to do in this casual, good-natured city make it a desirable location for people working in technology. 

At By the Pixel, we love our hometown and are proud to be part of the active and growing web design community. So, if you’re looking for web design and development in the Denver area or beyond, check out our work and contact us for an estimate today!