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The top UK locations for tech students and grads

With the tech industry continuing to boom, and average salaries high, at £62,500[1], a lot of prospective students are looking for tech hubs that can help them get started in the field.

With that in mind, we decided to uncover the top locations around the country for students and graduates who want to start a career in tech. We looked at several factors including average broadband speeds and prices, the number of free Wi-Fi hotspots, tech jobs available, and more.

1. Manchester

Coming out on top for tech is Manchester, coming first for the number of coworking spaces, as well as the number of free Wi-Fi spots available. It also has the fifth largest population of 21–30-year-old’s, at 110,843, great for students who want to stay in the city after they’ve graduated, as they'll have the opportunity to meet and socialise with like-minded people their age.

In addition to that, Manchester has the 10th cheapest broadband costs in the country, at £27.18, and broadband speeds of 74.6 – ideal for students studying tech at the University of Manchester.

2. Reading

Reading has made it into second place, with the second highest number of tech grad jobs across multiple job sites, and the third highest number of shared working spaces.

The University of Reading is a great place to study tech, due to its proximity to London, which opens up more job opportunities, but still has the benefit of cheaper rents. The average rent in the town is  £1,040.77 a month, whereas London is almost double, at £2,004.44.

3. Bristol

In third place is Bristol, where the city boasts the second highest broadband speeds from the study at an average of 100Mbps, as well as having great grad prospects too, with the sixth highest number of tech jobs, and the second highest number of shared working spaces – perfect if you prefer hybrid or remote working.

4. Salford

Salford comes in a very respectable fourth position, with its university just a 20-minute walk from Manchester’s. The city has lots of tech grad opportunities, with the highest number of job ads than any other city on our list– not to mention, its proximity to Manchester which opens further scope there, too.

5. Cambridge

Cambridge – home to one of the world’s most prestigious universities – has made it into fifth place, for students and graduates looking to get into tech, not just due to the great courses available, but grad jobs too.

The city boasts the third highest number of tech grad positions available. Alongside this, it has the third highest broadband speeds at 80Mbps, and the joint seventh highest number of free WiFi spots, which is perfect for remote work.

6. Nottingham

With joint second highest broadband speeds (100Mpbs), and the fifth highest number of shared working spaces, Nottingham’s made it into sixth place.

The University of Nottingham is a great option for students who want to study tech, due to the varied courses available; and being in the Midlands, the city offers more affordable rent compared to the likes of Manchester and Bristol, with average monthly rents in Notts standing at £765.

7. Birmingham

The second Midlands based city to make the list is Birmingham, with the joint second highest broadband speeds. The cost of broadband is also reasonable, coming in at around £27.17 a month (ideal if you’re a student on a budget). Additionally, the location comes sixth highest for the number of free Wi-Fi hotspots, too.

8. Edinburgh

The only Scottish city to feature on this list, Edinburgh comes in at eighth place. It has the joint third fastest broadband speeds at 80Mpbs, the second highest number of free Wi-Fi spots, and has the joint sixth highest number of shared working areas, if you decide you don’t want to work from the office or at home.

9. London

The UK’s capital makes it into 9th place for budding tech gurus, which is perhaps surprising given that you might think it would feature higher up on our list, but ultimately, the high rental rates make it less affordable to live in for students or grads, compared to other cities on our list.

With that said, London has the largest population of 21-30-year-old’s in our research, at 1,436,899, giving ample opportunity for recent grads or students to socialise with people their own age. And with the fourth highest amount of free Wi-Fi spots, it would be very easy to do remote study sessions with friends.

 10. Cardiff

Rounding off our top 10 list is Wales’ capital, Cardiff with the second cheapest broadband costs on our list, at £25.25 – just behind Aberdeen, at £25.19. The city is home Cardiff University, which makes an ideal alternative to other major university cities if you are looking to immerse yourself in Welsh culture.

Even outside of those mentioned, there are lots of great locations in the UK that are ideal for tech students and graduates. Oxford falls just outside the top 10, with Glasgow, Exeter and Belfast making it into the top 15 as well.

Top tips for staying connected at university

If you’re moving away from home for the first time, it can be really daunting – after all, you’ll likely be in a new city, surrounded by new people that you’ve never met before. It’s natural to feel homesick, but these tips can help to make your transition that bit easier.

1. Plan in regular catch ups with your school friends

If your friends have moved away from home too, they’ll likely feel the same way you do. Setting up weekly or monthly catch ups can help you to feel closer to each other, and you could have a different theme each time – e.g. cheese and wine night, or a games night – just make sure you’ve got fast broadband speeds, so you don’t end up freezing mid-conversation!

You could also use those catch ups to make face-to-face plans during the holidays, which will definitely give you something to look forward to.

2. Check your broadband connection is fast

We rely on WiFi for so much: whether it’s to turn in assignments or catch up with family and friends, and if your WiFi’s slow or lagging, it can make you feel disconnected. Try our broadband speed test, and if it’s not fast enough, compare broadband deals with us, for better alternatives.

3. Say yes to socialising

When you feel homesick, it’s easy to stay shut in your room, but the easiest way to get over those feelings is by going out, making new friends, and enjoying yourself. That doesn’t mean saying yes to everything, but putting yourself out there is the quickest way you’re going to meet new people and make friends at university.

If you’re currently at university and are looking for a good deal, discover our broadband tips for students, or find out more about the fibre broadband, if available in your area, which typically have a bigger bandwidth, and are faster than other broadband options – making it perfect for researching and writing up assignments.



This dataset ranks 62 UK university towns and cities, based on how good they are for technology and connections. To do this, 9 different factors were used. Once the data for the factors was collected, the factors were then normalised, to provide each factor with a score between 0 and 1. The normalised values were then summed, to give each location a total score out of 9. The locations were then ranked from highest to lowest, based on their total scores.

The factors used are as follows:

  • 21-30 Population - The number of 21-30 year olds living at each location, according to the 2021 census. Local authority districts were used, hence some areas may include populations from other locations. One example is that the population of Bournemouth actually corresponds to the population of Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole.
  • Indeed Jobs - The number of jobs listed on indeed for "technology graduate", within 10 miles of the location.
  • Total Jobs - The number of jobs listed on indeed for "technology graduate", within 10 miles of the location.
  • Adzuna Jobs - The number of jobs listed on adzuna for "technology graduate", for the location.
  • Broadband Speeds - The median broadband speed in Mbps for each location, according to ofcom. The speed for London as a whole was gathered from the fairinternetreport.
  • Broadband Cost - The average cost per month of unlimited broadband, in GBP.
  • Average Rent - The average cost per month of renting an apartment in the city centre, in GBP.
  • Free WiFi Spots - The number of free WiFi spots in each location, according to If a location was not available, a score of 0 was given.
  • Shared Working Spaces - The number of shared working spaces in each location, according to

The factors were indexed as follows:

  • 21-30 Population - High values get a high score. Low values get a low score.
  • Indeed Jobs - High values get a high score. Low values get a low score.
  • Total Jobs - High values get a high score. Low values get a low score.
  • Adzuna Jobs - High values get a high score. Low values get a low score.
  • Broadband Speeds - High values get a high score. Low values get a low score.
  • Broadband Cost - Low values get a high score. High values get a low score.
  • Average Rent - Low values get a high score. High values get a low score.
  • Free WiFi Spots - High values get a high score. Low values get a low score.
  • Shared Working Spaces - High values get a high score. Low values get a low score.


All data is correct as of 26/01/2023.