For the past few decades, most people have associated innovation in technology with Silicon Valley. But the area that started the first wave in the digital revolution in the United States has positioned itself to continue leading well into the future.

Boston and the surrounding areas of Massachusetts have led in technology since the 1950s. A recent study has found they are poised to lead in future tech innovation.

In 2017, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ranked the top cities in the U.S. for support of innovative startups. The Bay Area and Silicon Valley ranked No. 2. The top city: Boston.

It was the second year in a row that Boston topped the Innovations That Matter list.

In creating the list, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce wrote that in addition to changing how people live and work, the digital revolution “has the potential to make winners of some cities and leave others behind. The cities that embrace and capitalize on the shift to a digital

economy by supporting technology startups and innovation will reap the rewards of economic vibrancy and an improved quality of life.”

Clearly, Boston is the best in the country in this key area.

The Advantages of the Boston Area

In the report, Boston – and the entire metropolitan region around the city – came away with clear advantages over other parts of the country.

Cities were judged on how well leaders have positioned themselves to both support and reap the benefits of a digital economy. It boiled down to three major areas:

  • The number of innovative thinkers in the area
  • Financial support for startups and tech companies
  • A culture that supports innovative technology and a digital economy

Boston scored high in all the above. The presence of so many high-quality universities in the area adds to both the innovative thinking and positive culture. The Chamber also reported that the city has seen a steady flow of capital to support startups.

The universities in Massachusetts also supply a “good pipeline of human capital” into the digital economy in the Boston area, the report stated.

Political support is also there. The city partnered with IBM several years ago to start StartHub, a website that connects those in the Boston startup and tech community.

Other Factors in Tech Innovation

The Boston area has a rich history in technology. The Route 128 tech corridor was a pioneer in the 1950s in digital innovation. Even with the shift in the 1980s and 1990s to Silicon Valley in northern California, the corridor remains one of the strongest in the world for technology and, increasingly, startups.

Boston is now poised to lead the way in tech innovation. According to Forbes and other media sources, the area has many distinct advantages:

It’s a cheaper area for startups to thrive than northern California. The city is even developing a “startup village” that offers low-cost housing options for startup companies.

The Boston area and Massachusetts also has a unique mixture of leadership in the arts, education, science and technology. The area fosters a positive environment and culture for startups, including the HubWeek event that draws together people from more than 100 companies to discuss tech innovations.

Boston clearly is reemerging as a leader in the tech world, improving on its long history as a center for innovation in academics, business, science and the arts. For those seeking a degree in fields such as data science and business analytics, Boston – and Massachusetts in general – provide ample opportunity for a stable and rewarding career.