Top Software Development Companies in Chicago in 2024

Last updated: July 2024

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List of the Best Software Development Companies in Chicago


Frequently Asked Questions

Chicago-based software development companies use technologies like Backbone.js, C++, JavaScript, React, Ruby, and Scala. Besides this, developers in the city have also been known to be well-versed in languages and frameworks like HTML, Java, C#, jQuery, and Angular. 

Choosing a software development company in a city you don’t know is a challenging task. Chicago is home to many software development companies — both big and small. When looking for the right one, start by asking for references. 

Look at a company’s older projects and ask around to shortlist the companies. Always assess the company, its employees, and their capabilities to see if they match your project’s expectations. After all of this due diligence, you can go ahead and hire one that suits your needs.

The average cost of a project depends on multiple factors, like the extent of work, labor, hours, etc. However, on average, a small to midsize project would cost between $50,000 and $250,000 price range. These costs are only estimates and can be lower or higher — all based on external factors. 

In 2023, Illinois created or expanded business incentives to attract new companies and retain the existing job creators. Some of the new changes include:

  • Cash assistance from the $400 Million closing fund through the Invest in Illinois Fund.
  • Reimagining Energy and Vehicles (REV Illinois)
  • Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE)
  • Manufacturing Illinois Chips for Real Opportunity (MICRO)
  • High Impact Businesses (HIB)
  • Enterprise Zone Expansion

The software developers in Chicago are just as talented as professionals in other major cities like NYC or Silicon Valley. However, the only difference in Chicago is the labor costs. Since the cost of living here is low, labor is not as expensive as well, helping major software development companies save money. 

The average turnaround time for any software development project is dictated by the project’s needs, difficulty level, and the number of people appointed to complete it. There is no way to know how long a particular project would take. This applies to Chicago and any location — even outside the U.S. 

It depends. Each software development company functions differently. Whether they provide post-launch support and maintenance is a question to ask before you sign any contract. 

If you are handling a small project and do not need help, your contract should mention that. But if you are handing over a huge project and want maintenance, note that in the contract, too. This way, there is no miscommunication, and your project will run smoothly.

Yes, of course! Chicago has a wide pool of talented individuals ready to work with big-name companies. You can work with third-party companies or freelancers who charge by the hour to complete projects for you remotely without having to visit the city. 

Companies like Toast, Tegus, Bridge Legal, Bento for Business, Caterpillar, and BigTime Software Inc. are some notably successful businesses in Chicago.

Since the cost of living is lower in Chicago than in other software development hubs like NYC and Silicon Valley, the labor costs or salaries for professionals will also be lower. This, without a doubt, will help save money and reduce the overall project cost by a significant margin. 

For example, the average software developer’s salary in NYC is about $158,500/year, while the average salary in Chicago is about $109,868/year. This difference is quite staggering, especially if the project is challenging and requires many hands at work.

Buyer's guide

Chicago, Illinois, not only boasts a rich history and architectural marvels but has also become an emerging hub for technological innovation. The city is slowly becoming a powerhouse in the software development industry. If anything, the development seen here is a testament to the city's adaptability in the ever-evolving digital era. 

The third-largest city in the United States is considered one of the best cities in Illinois. Thanks to its diverse range of people, exciting neighborhoods, plenty of museums and art, and cuisines, the population of Chicago is increasing. Although there was a decline in numbers due to COVID-19, reports suggest that as of 2023, the city has close to 3 million residents. 

Moreover, today, more than 30 Fortune 500 companies are setting shop here to become one of the best software development companies in Chicago. One of the many reasons for Chicago's tremendous growth is its key location for logistics and business operations jobs. Also known as the Windy City, Chicago also has premium housing, healthcare, and infrastructure, drawing more and more IT professionals.

Major Software Development Hubs in Illinois 

While Chicago is the most prominent place for jobs in Illinois — after all, it is one of the major metropolitan cities — other smaller cities are also great contenders if you are looking for a lucrative career. 


Chicago is an excellent place to live if you want to focus on your career. However, if the city life concerns you, the suburbs are close and have some great amenities. Additionally, although the cost of living in Illinois is relatively high, it is still lower than the U.S. average, causing herds of people to relocate here increasing the population. 

In the past three years, Chicago has seen an annual increase of up to 1% in jobs. This progressive growth and the sheer number of jobs available make the city a go-to location. From entry-level to senior-level jobs, the city has it all. Whether you're looking for a career in the field of finance, marketing, or software development, you'll find plenty of opportunities here. 


Champaign is home to some of the best Universities in Illinois, many startups, and Fortune 500 companies, creating numerous jobs in multiple fields. The city has close to 13,500 education-related jobs available. Additionally, the tech industry here is mainly focused on AgTech. 

Champaign has a strong economy and a relatively low cost of living. And although Champaign is away from the hustle and bustle of the city, traffic is nonexistent. This means traveling to work takes minutes. This serene place has no nightlife but impressive art galleries, museums, and farmers' markets.


Springfield is home to Abraham Lincoln's legacy, like the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Naturally, it has become a tourist hub, but people can also find government jobs here. In fact, most of Springfield's population (about 110,000 people) work with the state government. It is also estimated that the living wage is about $17.75/hr.


Although the city has had a population decline (down to 119,000), its economy is left unaffected. With some of the best software development companies like Caterpillar, Peoria has become a major hub for IT. Additionally, it's close to major cities, like Chicago and St. Louis, making it an ideal location for families and singles. 

Along with jobs in technology, professionals can also find jobs in energy, healthcare technology, and manufacturing. Agriculture is a major industry, with the National Center for Agriculture Utilization Research based here.

Chicago’s Market Overview

In a recent survey, KPMG noted that among 750 global tech industry leaders, Chicago was ranked the third-most innovative tech hub in the country. It was also rated among the Top 10 worldwide. 

With massive acquisitions like DocuSign taking over Chicago-based SpringCM for $220 million and Kroger with Home Chef for $200 million, it is safe to say the city’s market is growing exponentially. Meanwhile, startups have raised about $1.4 billion in venture funding in 2018, and bigger companies like Salesforce, LinkedIn, and Facebook are also making expansions here, indicating the city’s growth. 

Most software development trends depend on the location and type of clients. Unbeknownst to many, Chicago is making impressive developments in the agricultural industry to analyze production data. In fact, the AgTech industry is predicted to transform into the next high-tech sector. In 2022, the sector saw total investments of about $10.6 billion. And this number is said to grow to a mind-blowing 22.5 billion by 2025.

Here are some of the most popular trends seen in some top software development companies in Chicago: 

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are trending not only in the top software development companies in Chicago but also globally. The technology is revolutionizing software development across various industries, including agriculture. 

In Chicago, like all places, companies are increasingly integrating AI and ML into their day-to-day work and solutions. From AI-powered chatbots and automation to predictive analytics, AI and ML are transforming software development. There’s a noticeably streamlined process, better decision-making, and unique user experiences.

Internet of Things (IoT)

Advancements in technology are causing the Internet of Things (IoT) to expand at a rapid rate, connecting devices and systems in a jiffy. As a result, some of the best software development companies in Chicago are embracing the trend of IoT and creating innovative solutions. 

From smart home automation to industrial IoT, we see tremendous growth in real-time data, operations, and interconnected ecosystems.

Cloud Computing

A pioneer in software development – cloud computing is making strides unlike any other. And COVID-19 only accelerated this growth. Top software development companies in Chicago are integrating cloud platforms for flexible solutions. 

Some of the benefits of cloud computing include reduced infrastructure costs, improved collaboration, and enhanced accessibility. As a result, many companies are finding it lucrative to deploy, manage, and scale their software applications. 

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) 

VR and AR have entirely changed how we look at things – literally. It has reshaped software applications, and the top software development companies in Chicago are exploring avenues like gaming, education, healthcare, and defense.

Low-Code/No-Code Development

Some of the best software development companies in Chicago and worldwide have realized the potential of low-code/no-code development. It is, undoubtedly, one of the fastest ways to encourage businesses to grow, reduce costs, and become self-reliant. 

Chicago’s Technical Expertise 

Some of the best software development companies in Chicago use various technologies and frameworks in their day-to-day operations. One of the leading companies that often looks for remote software developers in Chicago, Cisco Meraki, lists the technologies and frameworks they use as: 

  • Backbone.js
  • C++
  • JavaScript
  • React
  • Ruby
  • Scala

Besides this, knowing some common languages and frameworks like HTML, Java, C#jQuery, and Angular is always a good idea, as it’ll never go to waste. 

Education and Talent Pool in Chicago

The state of Illinois is home to some prestigious universities – most of them located in Chicago. These colleges provide in-depth knowledge on the subject and have excellent faculty to help kickstart careers. 

Some of the top universities in Chicago include: 

  • Loyola University - 2 Software Development degree programs
  • DePaul University - 1 Software Development degree program
  • Illinois Institute of Technology - 2 Software Development degree programs and 1 Master’s degree 

However, if you’re a student and are looking at schools away from the city but in Illinois, you can also look at a few other colleges, like:

  • University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign
  • Northwestern University, Evanston
  • Northern Illinois University, DeKalb

That said, today, software developers can skip the 3-4-year degrees if that’s not your thing. Plenty of boot camps and part-time degree courses cover in-depth information in minimal time. 

If you are hoping to work in one of the best software development companies in Chicago without a degree, you can try the bootcamps and part-time courses, like: 

  • The University of Chicago - Software Development Bootcamp
  • DeVry University, Illinois

You can also try various online private boot camps and complete them from the comfort of your home.

Today, there are about a total number of 7,107 tech companies in Chicago. In a 2022 report, it was revealed that Chicago is home to about 40,850 software developers, standing #10 in the whole of the U.S. In 2016, the city broke record and reached a record number of jobs since 2001. It gained about 144,181 jobs since 2010, a 14.3% increase. 

Going by these numbers, it is safe to say that there are ample talented individuals and companies in Chicago. If you own a company and wish to become one of the best software development companies in Chicago, you can rest assured knowing you will have the crème de la crème of professionals here. 

Salaries and Compensation in Chicago

It is universally known that professionals in IT are some of the highest-paid employees. This is because this is a very skilled job requiring a lot of technical knowledge. Niche skills, along with a hefty investment in education, make professionals in this industry one of the highest earners. 

As of 2023, the average salary for a software developer in Chicago is $109,868 (annually). The average base salary is about $55,376, and most entry-level positions are usually around $98,255/year. While these numbers are high and competitive, they are still quite low compared to the pay scale in California, which is about $1,61,744/year. 

So, even though the salaries are high when compared to other metropolitan cities in the U.SChicago is quite an affordable option. The city is an ideal option if you wish to avoid dealing with outsourcing talent. Additionally, the level of expertise and geographical factors are major plus points. 

Cost of Living in Chicago 

The cost of living in Chicago is comparatively lower than most places in the U.S. For example, a family of four would have monthly expenses of about $4,925.8, while a single person’s expenses would come around $1,355.6. If you compare these costs with other leading IT hubs in the country, you will find that Chicago is easily 34.4% lower than in New York, NY, while CA is 15.0% higher. 

The city has great infrastructure, plenty of public health facilities, and reputable universities. Even if you do not wish to live in the city, many neighborhoods are neatly tucked a few miles away, giving you the charm of a suburb while providing the amenities of a big city.

Considering these points, it is safe to say that any business that wishes to become one of the top software-developing companies in Chicago can truly flourish here. This is because the city is not that expensive and will provide you with high-quality talent at a much lower cost. Although the weather is not the best, the level of knowledge and mutual understanding make up for everything, ensuring the project is smooth.

Why Choose Chicago for Software Development?

Keeps up With Trends

Chicago is one of the leading states for software development. Naturally, they are proactive about what the rest of the world needs and are upskilling themselves. If you’re a company looking to set up shop in Chicago, you can do so without any hesitation because the city has a wide pool of talent, all knowledgeable and well-versed in the latest trends. 

For example, Chicago-based software developers are more into mobile application development and AI to cater to the needs of their clients. 

Cost Effective 

Although more expensive than most top outsourced software development countries, like the Philippines and India, Chicago is less expensive than New York and Silicon Valley. As a software development company, you will be happy to know that you’ll get high-quality work at a reasonable price. 

Since the cost of living in Chicago is about 34.4% lower than living in New York City, the prices for software development assignments are also quite low. Some of the top software development companies in Chicago take on challenging tasks and deliver high-quality submissions at a fraction of the price. 

Target Market 

Software development in Chicago has reached new heights. Since the professionals here are in touch with global trends and operate in the city, they know the local, dominant industries. 

In fact, they have studied the market and have a unique insight, allowing them to create opportunities to help solve challenges. Their main goal is to reach a Chicago-based audience, which they are doing through mobile application development and more.

Knowledgeable Talent Pool 

With some of the top universities like Loyola University, DePaul University, and Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago is producing a pool of talented individuals every year. Some of the top software development companies in Chicago are hiring interns and full-time employees, helping shape their careers. 

Also, because of the booming tech industry and the low cost of living, many software developers are relocating to the city.

No Language Barrier or Time Difference

This is easily one of the top factors to hire a company for software development here. Individuals in Chicago are proficient in English and will almost work around the same time zone — give or take a few hours – making communication smooth. 

Exchanging ideas, giving feedback, and comprehending guidelines will be straightforward. This reduces the time taken to start a project and delivery time. That said, speaking the same language doesn’t necessarily guarantee hassle-free communication; that is something you have to be prepared for. 


Chicago, Illinois, is one of the top places to be if you’re an aspiring software developer or one of the top software development companies. With close to 30 Fortune 500 companies, ample startups, and a wide pool of talented individuals, you’ll find everything you need here for a successful project. 

Besides Chicago, smaller cities in Illinois, like Champaign, Springfield, and Peoria, are also up-and-coming places for individuals to have a lucrative career in IT. To top it all, living here is much cheaper, helping major companies significantly save money. 

Companies looking to outsource their projects here will be pleased to know that Chicago is well acquainted with Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning, Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud Computing, Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Low-Code/No-Code Development. So they can deliver high-quality projects with ease.

Not only that. The top software development companies in Chicago also keep up with trends, are knowledgeable about the target market, have a wide range of talented individuals, and speak the language, making it the ideal place for many.