North Carolina's universities produce more than just top-notch basketball. The three biggest Triangle-area universities produced more than $31 million last year from bringing  new technologies and discoveries to market, further fueling the tech job market in Raleigh. Logging 50 percent growth in jobs posted in the past year, Raleigh topped Dice's most recent Top 10 list of the fastest-growing cities for technology jobs.  It's home to open source vendor Red Hat and more than 50 companies working on technologies to make electric, water and gas utilities more efficient. More than  40,000 people work at nearby Research Triangle Park, which houses operations for companies such as IBM, Cisco, Avaya and EMC. With more than 1,100 jobs posted on any given day, tech professionals in Raleigh enjoy a broad base of possibilities, including openings at banks and those big-name universities. Richmond, Va., ranked  No. 2, with a 40 percent growth in tech jobs over the past year. There, the news Thursday centered around the possibility of expansion of Rolls-Royce operations there in manufacturing high-precision turbine blades for its lineup of engines. General Electric located its information security technology center there, drawn by the local IT labor pool and the cyber security curriculum at nearby Virginia Commonwealth University. It joins Dominion Resources, Capital One Financial Corp. and the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond in the area. Plus, social news site Tumblr just opened a Richmond office. Semiconductor, financial services and defense firms add to Richmond’s boon in tech jobs. While it’s a smaller tech market with 500 jobs posted on Dice on any given day, it’s growing at a faster rate than the national tech job market. Oil and space and... what's left to say about the IT job market in No. 3 Houston (+37 percent)? Plenty. Consider the state's strong comeback overall from the recession. As  The Atlantic points out, Texas added one in every five new jobs in 2011 and by last September, only six major U.S. cities had recovered all of the jobs they had lost in the recession. Five were in Texas, including Houston. Houston-based financial services and health care companies are hiring and offering IT pros strong wage increases – salaries jumped seven percent in the past year. No. 4 Sacramento (+37 percent) and No. 8 San Diego (+24 percent) show not all the West Coast action takes place in Silicon Valley. In Sacramento,  health care and technology companies are hiring and IT salaries have jumped 6 percent in the past year to an average of $87,000. San Diego is home to tech companies such as Qualcomm and a host of biotech, clean tech and startup ventures, along with the more traditional defense and aerospace industries. Tech salaries average more than $85,000. Sacramento employers average 600 job postings a day at Dice while San Diego job seekers can comb through an average of 1,100. No. 5 Kansas City (30 percent growth) and No. 7 St. Louis (26 percent) are jazzed in their search for tech pros in industries such as financial services, legal firms and health care. In the two Missouri cities, the competition is not just between the Cardinals and Royals, but to fill important tech jobs in a state where the number of computer science graduates has declined in recent years. You'll find plenty of big-name employers in No. 6 Portland, Ore., including Intel, McAfee, Hewlett-Packard and more in the so-called "Silicon Forest." And it's not all about trees. Tech companies tend to return to build more data centers along the Columbia River as surely as the salmon swim upstream to their spawning grounds. The area's lure goes beyond the breathtaking scenery. Tech salaries are growing at a faster rate the nation overall, with annual wages up 12 percent from last year to $82,000 on average. On any given day there are more than 900 tech job opportunities in Portland. Boston, ranked No. 9 with an increase of 24 percent in the past year, comes as less a surprise than some cities, being a long-time hotbed of tech jobs. You'll find tech jobs there in financial services, research and health care companies as well as from the innovation of its big-name universities and startups. Last week, however, the Venture Development Center at the University of Massachusetts Boston tweeted that local universities can't keep up with demand for IT pros. That should make it a job seeker's market. It said:
Mass last year created 3,550 new economy jobs. But are they filled? 3,772 tech jobs open according to Dice ... in Boston Metro Area, +10% over last year. Shocking failure to prepare workers for innovation economy jobs. Mismatch of jobs and qualifications undermines innovation economy.
No. 10 Denver posted 23 percent job growth in the past year. On any given day,  you'll find more than 1,700 jobs posted. Tech professionals have opportunities in financial services, telecommunications, alternative energy and startups. Patty Silverstein, economist at the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp., recently cited Denver's "coolness" with young tech pros as a major lure. Plus, tech salaries are on the rise, up 4 percent from last year, boosting the average to more than $86,000.