If you are at entry-level, it is helpful to come here with several months' savings to live on while you search. Many work for a while at service industry jobs while they look for positions in their fields.
Some come here and find suitable employment quickly; others search unsuccessfully for months. It depends on your background, the economic climate, and the needs of employers at the time. Networking is key.
Like other places, the majority of jobs are landed through networking and personal contacts. Fortunately, Austin is a big networking town. There are many conferences and networking events held, and people are generally friendly and receptive.
View some tips for exploring the hidden job market from the Austin Public Library.
For networking opportunities, see a list of local groups and organizations on the Austin groups page.
Cost of Living
Another thing to consider is the cost of living. Austin's cost of living is higher than average for Texas and for the nation. Keep in mind the cost of housing, food, gas, and other necessities when you figure how much savings or what salary level you will need.
To see the consumer price index and example prices for food and housing in Austin, visit the Numbeo site.
At the same site you can also see similar figures for selected other U.S. cities for comparison.
Expand Your Horizons
If you're looking to move to Texas and you're not in one of the most sought-after employment categories, you might also consider Houston and Dallas. These are larger cities and have a much wider range of job openings.
The best IT prospects in Austin are for those with proven experience and demonstrable skills in software development, particularly web development with Java and .Net and mobile applications with Android and iOS. There are also positions for system and network administrators, but the competition is much keener.
A good resource to check the Austin technical job market is door64. There, you can skim the job postings to see what positions and skills are being sought. They also sponsor happy hour and other networking events for people to interact with local employers and other IT professionals.
The Austin health care infrastructure is not as robust as in some other cities. This may be related to demographics: Austin's population is relatively young, and healthcare services may not be as as great demand as elsewhere. The prospects depend on the medical field. Obstetrics and gynecology are good fields. But salaries tend to be lower than in other metropolitan areas in Texas.
There are some major health care networks in Austin, Seton and St. David's being the main ones. But competition for nursing positions is keen, and salaries are relatively low compared to Houston and Dallas. Newly graduated RNs can expect starting salaries under $25/hour and experienced nurses up to $35/hour. Many nurses accept the lower salaries in exchange for a higher quality of life they find in Austin.
Start Your Job Search Here
Check out recent salaries and employment rates for various fields at the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.
View salary ranges in Austin for various fields at salary.com.
Browse Austin jobs in your field at Indeed.com.
Another excellent starting point is the Texas Workforce Commission.
The Texas Workforce Commission, a state government agency, helps prospective employees in their job search. In addition to online job listings, TWC offices offer career counseling, guidance on resumes and interviewing, references to local job training classes, assistance in applying for unemployment benefits, and more.
Click here to search for TWC offices.