New York's Silicon Alley

As New York grew to rival California's famed Silicon Valley as a second center for tech innovation, the term Silicon Alley sprung up to describe the migration of tech giants to the East Coast. As the Alley grew to encompass most of the city, the expansion means that freelancers working in tech positions are able to make a living in the industry without dealing with Manhattan- sized overhead.

Wider Than A Single Alley

In time, the "Alley" widened to include most of the city's boroughs, including Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. While Manhattan is often criticized for hoarding the city's talent into the central borough, over the years, the technology industry's presence grew to encompass more affordable locations in New York.

This is great news for freelancers looking to hold down costs, since it means office space is more affordable, and in-person meetings with tech giants like Twitter are more reasonable for those living and working in the outer boroughs.

The New York Comptroller's office recently stated that the current imaginary boundaries of Silicon Alley include Midtown South to Lower Manhattan, and cross over to both Queens and Brooklyn. With a territory that continues to grow, there's a good chance that the "Alley" will become city- wide and the opportunities for starting a home based tech career will continue to be a viable option.

Booming Industry Adds to New York's Economy

Technology based companies came to New York early, with the first companies setting up shop in 1995. The City responded to the burgeoning industry by offering tax breaks, especially for those willing to take a risk and open storefronts in Manhattan and help with the Manhattan Revitalization movement.

The tech industry continued to grow, slowed only by the 2000 Dot Com bust. Many of the internet based companies in the city were hit by the bust, which forced many to either relocate of close entirely. By 2013, tech executives were bringing in more than $13 Billion in annual salaries.

Today, the most recognizable companies in the technology industry have a presence in New York, including Facebook, Google and Twitter. As the area grows, so do the opportunities for networking with other technology professionals. In addition to helping connect tech professionals, Meetup.com is one of many start-up companies that was born in the hearth of Silicon Alley.

City Makes Aggressive Plans to Continue Silicon Alley's Growth

In 2011, one of the most promising offshoots of the technology boom was the growth of biotechnology in the area. Recognizing the usually strong tie between the now home- grown tech talent, financial backing and academic-based medical research facilities, Mayor Bloomberg announced plans to build a state-of-the art graduate school of Applied Sciences at Roosevelt Island. Combining the academic resources of Cornell and local tech companies, the facility will spur new innovations in the biotechnology field. And with innovations come more opportunities for freelancers looking to provide services for companies specializing in the field. In order to handle the increased load on the city's telecommunication grid, Verizon announced in 2015, it would complete a $3 Billion upgrade of the existing fiber optics grid.

In 2013, Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer announced an aggressive set of plans intended to foster the entrepreneurial community within the borough. Realizing that outsourcing and crowd funding were the future of the tech industry, Stringer plans to offer micro-zoning and other incentives that are directly marketed towards young entrepreneurs. The plans recognize that the tech industry directs those in jobs not directly based on technology, including lawyers and marketing firms. By providing an affordable and "wired" place for these professionals to conduct business, the city is making a long-term investment in keeping the area full of home based and self employed workers.

Tech Alley has grown with the technology industry to provide a healthy alternative for workers outside of the traditional Wall Street based financial industry. The City has worked to provide tech professionals with an affordable workplace where they can grow their own businesses. With easy access to current tech giants, New York has risen to become the second largest hub of technology based jobs in the United States, and investments by the City are helping to make sure that the city remains at the forefront of the tech industry.