My sense is that if you are going to go to the Bay area, and put up with those high high costs for everything, you need to make it pay. Spend your weekends doing unusual stuff that you can't do elsewhere. Take jobs that don't exist elsewhere. And if that doesn't sound like your thing, don't go there in the first place.
Lake Tahoe is also great for skiing compared to where I grew up, which had almost no hills and no ocean.
SF is great for clubbing and bars etc. I love that the people here are generally very chill and loving. The outdoor music festivals in CA are also fantastic if you're into that sort of thing.
For me at least, the rent is kind of just the cost of having an enjoyable life in the US. San Jose is crazy expensive for a suburb, but it's worth it for me because of all there is to do out here. The Valley is where tech happens, and as long as I'm in it as a career and as an interest, I'm happy to be at the epicenter. That it's in California, the place I grew up dreaming about, is the icing on the cake for me.
By contrast, where I currently live (Seattle) is 45 minutes from the Cascades which has fantastic hiking, backpacking, etc (better than the Sierra Nevada in some ways) and a much more pervasive boating culture than exists in the Bay Area thanks to the history and geography of the region. Living here has made a high-quality outdoor lifestyle much more viable than it ever was in the Bay Area because the logistics are so much easier.
The tech scene in the Bay Area is unparalleled, but if you removed that aspect, there isn't that much to recommend a suburb like San Jose from a lifestyle standpoint. The South Bay in particular also doesn't have the mild weather of the peninsula and San Francisco -- it is more Fresno than San Diego.
When I was a student at UW, there was a really nice hiking trail that started literally outside my house. I must have utilized it three, maybe four times over the six years I was there. It's like you wake up in the morning, look out the window and see its overcast (again) and lose all motivation to go outside.
 from Los Gatos, Castle rock is 10 minute drive if your used to black rock road otherwise 20 minutes up highway 9
Any line is somewhat arbitrary, of course, but I would put it between Mountain View and Sunnyvale.
At some point in many engineers' careers, the startup scene becomes a bit less appealing. This isn't just because of work-life balance or ageism -- it's because most startups only need a few senior-level employees. The majority of startup employees are young because startups need people to do entry-level work, and young people are willing to. If you want to do truly interesting, challenging, senior-level programming work, you are far more likely to find it at a large company than at a startup.
That's not to say that there isn't plenty of boring work at large companies, because there is a ton of it, but rather that large companies have more open positions for senior-level engineers doing interesting work than startups do. Their benefits are also quite good, which matters more when you have a family. Most of these large companies are in the south bay, and if you are going to work at one of those companies, you might as well live nearby and save yourself the aggravation of a long commute, whether it be by car, train, or Google bus.
I know plenty of people who live in SF, and frankly some of them end up going out in San Francisco less often than I do. Most of their weeknights consist of going home, eating dinner, and watching TV or reading a book, just like most people. The big difference is that they pay over $3k for their apartments, and I pay half that. If you're going to have a conventional, boring home life 5 days a week, you might as well save some money. I can go to San Francisco whenever I feel like it.
It's hard to agree on pricing though, San Jose has one of the most expensive prices per sq. foot in the country. According to certain charts even higher than SF. Which I never understood, the density is much lower and there seems to be more space but from what I understand it's because most properties are big(ger) houses on large lots that take up a lot of space.
I have to think the ranking would be a lot different if it was calculated on (or to account for) lot size.
I like the bay area; I lived there for 10 years, and I travel there regularly. But the myth that it has some unique access to the outdoors is absurd. At my house in town in New England, I can walk out my back door and ski in the winter, and the Appalachian Trail is about 5 miles away.
I used to live in New England. There were definitely parts I liked - I really miss the seasons, and I grew up 15 minutes away from the birthplace of the American Revolution, and there are some charming walks in the woods. But there are very few places that give you the combination of beaches, marsh flats, mountains, redwoods, urban attractions, and the weather to enjoy it all that the Bay Area has within an hour drive.
Exactly the same conditions? No, of course not. Functionally equivalent (better in some ways, worse in others)? Absolutely there are lots of other options. I don't have the ocean, but I have better mountains than the bay area, and wonderful rivers. That's a win in my book, but reasonable people may disagree.
I don't see anyone on this thread saying that the bay area is bad. As I said, I love the bay area, and I'll probably live there again. It just isn't a magical land that's better than anywhere else on earth.
But SF is unique in that you have a major, cosmopolitan city that's relatively close to a wide variety of terrain and environments, from beaches to forest to mountains, etc. SF is a compromise like any other option, but if you love the outdoors, it's one that gives you a hell of a lot of flexibility while still enjoying the benefits of a large city. It's not Jackson Hole, where the mountains are right there, but no one expects it to be.
Although I get one of the biggest appeals to SF besides the flexibility is the large tech industry, but you'd be surprised how many meetups, companies and stuff you can get to because of the close proximity to two major metropolitan cities, and Irvine (believe it or not) is huge in tech but just business in general here.
I'm not saying "don't come here" (like many Coloradoans do). Just do your research.
That $350k number probably includes Denver and the surrounding area - the "under $500k" (like $450-499) number is more appropriate for closer to downtown.
Edit: According to Zillow you are correct
The Denver Post says $400, but that's still not Seattle prices. http://www.denverpost.com/2016/06/03/denver-median-home-sold...
The Coast Ranges -- to which eastern seaboard mountain ranges might be loosely comparable -- are a lot closer to SV than 3.5 hours.
Now, if you are concerned about skiing, the limiting factor for SV is access to snow, not access to mountains.
Now I'm moving again a year later after I bought a house (rental options are terrible in small towns) mostly because my spouse has basically zero job prospects here despite some great credentials which meant an effective 30% pay cut on top of what I took to be a remote worker instead of onsite in a large metro area.
Don't move to Asheville specifically unless everyone in the house already has a job lined up or is really good at cooking or being a server.
That really surprises me, given the Contra Dance scene in Asheville.
I moved here for the tech scene. Beyond tech, it just doesn't compare favorably to many of the other places I've lived. I realize this puts me in the minority -- my San Franciscan friends never stop talking about how amazing SF is. I think this mantra helps them justify their rent check each month.
> For me at least, the rent is kind of just the cost of having an enjoyable life in the US.
That's really sad. Since you grew up in a place with "with snow about 6 months of the year" and with "almost no hills and no ocean," SV must seem pretty great by comparison. But the US is a very big place, with a lot of really great cities and towns. I hope you get a chance to discover how much more is out there.
tbh fatbiking is fun as shit in the snow.
My biggest issue with the nightlife? The people. I'm tired of being surrounded by loud, drunk techies talking about apps, tech companies, coworkers, Ivy League schools, and venture capital. Maybe I'm going to the wrong places, and this doesn't describe everyone in tech, obviously, but it's in high enough concentration to consistently be noticeable and unpleasant.
I never found the clubbing in SF to come close to any of the places in Asia (Tokyo, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Taipei). Similarly for bars Japan, at least for me, have SF beat by a long shot. You have your choice of quiet bars. Bars with 5 people. Bars for every type of drink. Themed bars. In SF all I found was extremely loud and crowded bars. Maybe it was just the bars my friend chose in SF the 7 years I lived there.
SF has tons of crime. Walk down any street in SOMA or the Mission and you'll see piles of glass from all the cars that were busted into in the few nights before.
Down in the south bay you lose any of the "city" benefits as it's all just suburbia. If you like suburbia (kids/family) that's great but it wasn't for me.
There are many 'no-go' areas at night in SF, try to find those in Singapore, Tokyo, etc.
In addition, you know in Asia that the likelyhood someone is pulling a gun on you is mighty low. (Not to trigger a gun discussion)
During that time I have been to several music festivals. In the main area they had chairs....chairs! This is a rock-concert what do you need chairs for? Hardly anyone was dancing. Compare that to festivals in Europe. It is not even close.
Napa and Tahoe are beautiful areas. But come with a price tag.
The trick is to work for a Valley firm, making Valley wages, and telecommuting; SAP is the only local shop that pays a decent wage.
In Seattle now and it's a great compromise. Similar wages to the Bay Area but similar geography and outdoor access as Vancouver. And even with the exchange rate housing is cheaper than Vancouver.
The bigger problem is the relatively low wage.
And on top of that everything is more expensive in Canada.
Seattle is definitely the economic sweet spot, and I would live there if it wasn't for the weather and the companies I can work for.
Until you put them behind the wheel of a car! I find Californians to be super friendly and welcoming in general... but I've also seen a fair share of Prius road ragers freaking out at pedestrians and cyclists!
Comparisons to other states they have lived in? Oregonians are way more mellow on the roads than Californians, bar none.
If you do a short experiment wherein you sort of tinder-hop - take a tinder profile from one city to another via GPS spoofing - you'll find that san fran is probably the worst place to find young dating women (ages 20-35).
This is backed up by the dating age male to female ratio and my own anecdotal evidence. The bars in the bay area are pretty bleak.
Dating is a big part of my life as a young guy, and the main reason I choose not to live in the bay area.
I'm american but I've been spoiled by europe. Both personality-wise and looks-wise, northern european countries have just been so much better for me.
As I work remotely, I travel back and fourth on a whim. I've stayed for months in various big american and canadian cities. Every stint has been pretty lonely :/
This is all dating via okcupid and later tinder when it became available. I didn't meet women through network so that isn't it.
Maybe the peninsula is worse, but it's all about what you compare it to. It's also true that dating taste is pretty personal, although I think people make too big of point about that. Most people agree on what is attractive but not to what degree.
If Los Angeles had 1/3rd the tech scene that you've here in the Bay Area. I'd move there in a heartbeat. By tech scene I mean a good mix of big tech co., an unicorn or two, and buzzing startups.
To me, California is where you go if you hate winter and like outdoorsy stuff. The unique Californy things are unbelievable, but the reality is most people are living in generic developments and driving to generic office parks, and doing very little else. You can do that in Toledo.
But that begets another questions - is it more about finding a passion that keeps you high spirited 24x7 anywhere or finding a place that is stimulating everytime?
Then you look at the swaths of tech workers who were there at the early stage. I've seen multiple large exits in startups. Places I've worked at or have had close friends. People who were there at the seed stage with barely a MVP, who built products, pulled all-nighters, and worked 7 days a week. Upon acquisition, the VCs made 10s of millions, the founders made 10s of millions and the employees got new car money (for 2 years of intense work getting paid well below market).
EDIT: Another interesting point that is a bit too off-topic and lengthy for this comment is that most startups simply don't realize the value of (5+)x engineers. I've worked with people that are astronomically more efficient than entry or mid-level engineers who make 100-130K, yet they make around the same amount. Its very worth it to find these people and pay them 2-3x market and retain them. I'm not talking about algorithms wizards (although these people tend to be decent algorists too), I'm speaking of engineers who can work on all levels of the stack and ship code that is simple and works. They understand business needs and don't get caught up in self-gratifying projects. They use a mix of new and old tools, selecting them for reliability and efficiency.
How do you measure "X", anyway? During the whiteboard interview process? We all regularly discuss how subjective and broken that process is. Do you measure it after the hire, by tracking the number of story and task tickets closed? Now you just have people gaming the system, with a sprint board full of bullshit.
Everyone wants more money. No one wants to work for less than a certain baseline. Everyone's pissed when they find out what their peers make. So if you're an employee who thinks you're underpaid, then test the market. And you're an employer who routinely offers great candidates many multiples of the market rate, then please let me know where I can send my resume.
By hiring. Or, rather, not hiring.
At every single company I worked for we had huge trouble finding new people skilled enough to understand our product/codebase and extend it. A task that took a new hire two weeks to do sloppily would take any of our engineers about two hours to do properly. Recently we had one guy build nine prototypes of a test jig over the span of two months and none of them worked reliably. I ended up drafting my version one evening out of boredom (it wasn't even my responsibility) and not only it worked - it ended up being the favorite of our test team.
Needless to say, we had to lay off that engineer. He simply wasn't producing the value we paid for him.
I'm not saying there are 10x programmers. Maybe there's just 1x and 0.1x. Maybe it's 3.33x and 0.33x. But the discrepancy is there, and it's disheartening.
The Lake Wobegon effect is prevalent in almost any self-assessed skill. Nobody wants to admit that they're below average.
Of course, that doesn't change the fact that there is an underlying distribution. Just because everyone thinks they're an above average driver doesn't mean there aren't some people who actually are.
Like revenue generated, or cost saved, or lines of code saved, or time needed to deliver work, based on current or previous work.
Is this bullshit for you?
I have no idea how many dollars of "revenue generated" or "cost saved" are attributable to me as individual. Or anyone else.
Using lines of code as a performance metric? Get ready to see a multi-line Javadoc on every local variable, or get ready to see some insane Perl-style one-liners, depending on how you're using the LOC number.
"Time needed to deliver work"? Again, what is "work"? If your data consists of JIRA tickets, then get ready for a culture of writing JIRA tickets at a contrived (and inefficient) micro level of granularity.
There's no good way to objectively measure your "value" at your CURRENT company. And what do I do when interviewing you to come here for your next job... just take your word for your measurements at the previous gig?
Out of curiosity, are you a programmer? Because subjectively making stuff up, while under the honest delusion that you're guided by objective numbers, is the single most "MBA" trait there is.
Hypothetical example. Your employer has 1 billion users. You create compression that cuts down storage costs by 4%. Run the math and you see how much you saved.
If you saved $0.01 per user, you saved $10m. If the average salary is 100K and you saved $10m, you performed at 100x.
I agree the potential for "X" performance is hard to spot or measure when one isn't in proximity to big problems.
Things are accomplished by teams, not individuals.
There was always a huge amount of players at work helping the upper execs and sales teams, from the devs to HR.
I guess OP's post was and the article itself are noting that working your ass off and making a big contribution in SV as an engineer can sometimes be a bad deal, especially when the engineer in question really is talented.
With a small experienced team and proper division of lager into vertical slices, that can be done.
In a modern environment, never have I been asked to solve a business problem with:
No internet access,
No configured editor,
With massive time pressure,
In a room full of strangers,
In my chicken scratch with a fat marker.
It's not that whiteboard interviews are bad. They're just severely outdated.
They stem from a previous time before it was cheap and easy to interview engineers on actual hardware.
We know that whiteboards are a bad metric. Dozens of scientific studies show that the most effective hiring practice is a general intelligence test coupled with a work sample test.
It's easy enough to create a coding problem as a work sample.
Why do we test a proxy for the work, rather than the work itself?
When I get offered one, I send back a quote to solve their problem, at my standard contracting rate.
Some companies do all day interviews or at least 3-4 hrs, what is really the difference between spending the day in an office or at least few hours versus at home with your tools and setup?
Are you less offended if I give you 2 hrs of problems to whiteboard while I watch?
There is no situation in which a company can not spend at least some time evaluating your skill set. For me the best would be to hire you based off your resume and see how it goes for 90 days. However, its often unfair to the employee - especially if they have a position currently.
Hiring is a skill for both parties. some people are good at the process naturally, other people put time into being good at it, the third group has no clue and has no interest in learning.
> “There is more opportunity for tech professionals in more places than ever before,”
> wrote Terence Chiu, vice president of Indeed Prime by email, citing cities such as
> Austin, Boston, Seattle, and New York City.
Seriously, in the age of the Internet, and of looong traffic jams on 101 and on the various Bay bridges, if an employer insists every programmer has to hang around in that area something is off in their thinking. As someone who did hang around there (during the dot com boom), at several companies and visiting many more as part of the job, it is overrated, especially for programmers. Sure it's better to be around the coworkers everything else being equal - but everything else is not equal. The costs of doing so (not just monetary) is very high.
It's a beautiful area alright, I lived in the Presidio at the end (that's the huge park right next to the Golden Gate bridge), perfect. But not all people can live in the same place... (PS: By the way, the East Bay has great places too! The Oakland hills near the top, for tens of miles, have some of the most beautifully located properties in the entire Bay Area. Plus endless parks and trails and horse riding, etc., not to mention the incredible views. And in Oakland visit Jack London Square and then walk downtown.)
Well, I worked at a place where most of the team was remote. It absolutely sucked. I barely knew what the coworkers were doing (sure, my boss had a better idea than I did, but I am certain even he would have preferred to have employees physically around him for routine interaction), what kind of people they were, and the reverse was true with respect to their knowledge of myself. The time zone difference only exacerbated the problem. This "lack of people knowledge" problem at remote workplaces causes everyone to under-invest in building long-term relationships with everyone else (because nobody really knows what everyone else is really like), and the culture nosedives. 
Now, clearly, remote employment can be necessary (consulting offers a typical pattern), but the common attitude that there's no reason at all for not just having everyone work remotely is incredibly annoying.
 Speaking of culture, remote workplaces offer a clear explanation via counterpoint of the vaunted but often misunderstood term "company culture"---culture is what you don't have when everyone is working remotely.
For example, I found it very valuable to already have a great relationship with everyone else. We kept the conferencing software going all day, the boss in it too, and it never felt like being watched, instead it felt like being connected to people I like. Whenever we had an issue we talked, voice or chat depending on the issue, just like in the office.
When you try the same in an environment where you already don't care much for one another - I'm not even talking about negative feelings! - the the same setup will only make it worse and lead to even less cooperation. When I'm not sure of someone then of course I use remote work as an excuse to interact with them even less.
But that's not a question of working remote or not - only that "remote" enhances dysfunction that's already there. Yes, when it doesn't work it works better on-site, which is not an argument against remote, but to fix the atmosphere and the relationships.
That's typical of situations when you aren't really collaborating with those people, and that's fine. In my case, I ought to have been collaborating, but the remoteness plus time difference (plus language difference!) exacerbated the communication problem.
IRL communication is incredibly high-bandwidth. If a person sits next to you and doesn't communicate with you much, you already know something about that person: that he or she does not enjoy chatting. When the absence of communication is due to remote location, you don't even know that.
The communication problem at remote workplaces causes everyone to underinvest in building long-term relationships with everyone else (because nobody really knows what everyone else is really like), and the culture nosedives.
You disregard the rest that I wrote, probably because of an unfortunate habit of mine to edit my initial two sentences again and again until I end up with 20 more sentences half an hour later... my commenting habits are more appropriate for chat.
In any case, my point is collaboration is not a question of distance. A lot of highly successful projects by distributed teams not least in the open source scene show that too. Even in my current pre-startup project I'm working with another programmer whom I only met once long after we had already done a lot of work together, very successfully and requiring a lot of cooperation. It is a people/personality issue though, thinking of all the programmers I can think of it's true the same thing would definitely not work with all of them. It's good you bring that issue up.
Not in my experience. I mean, if you never, ever talk to them despite sitting next to them, sure. But most people aren't that anti-social.
Even if you don't make an effort to talk to people around you, general office chatter (e.g. water cooler talk, conversations in the lunch room, etc.) should be sufficient for you to keep a finger on the pulse of everything, so to speak.
My experience has so far been that I never want to step foot into a real office again if I can avoid it.
Yeah, I think that one of the only potential issues with working remotely is that timezones may cause issues, but as long as meetings are planned well ahead of time and there's some kind of overlap with time so coworkers and bosses can communicate, working remotely makes more sense than working in an expensive place like the Bay Area. However, even with respect to timezones, companies such as Zapier have no issue with working remotely as far as Thailand (iirc) even though they're based in the Bay Area, so even that issue may be moot.
I find it more difficult to get work done in an office environment, so whatever downsides there are re: meetings, (and I'm not certain that most meetings deliver a lot of value) there are upsides in terms of personal productivity that outweigh them.
It makes _most_ locations doable, but I've had some far flung teammates with odd sleeping schedules to account for it.
So whether or not Silicon Valley is important to you has everything to do with what you value in life. As the article said, there is a big generation gap here. I'm an older coder who doesn't give a crap how many opportunities are around because I only need one at a time. And with remote work becoming ever more prevalent, I just don't foresee ever having a desire to move to SV.
I live where I can lead the life I want, not work the job I want.
I also don't see how being "NOT surrounded" by tech events could possibly be a good thing. If you're not interested, you don't have to go. It's not like tech is forced on everyone! But if you suddenly feel like going to an engaging talk—whether it's on a JS framework or on combinatorial game theory—you always have the option. You wouldn't have that choice otherwise.
The monoculture of "tech" is a grind after you visit other places. The Bay Area is a fine place if you get excited by networking events and like asking people at a bar about their deck, but I find it mind-numbing.
My tech employee friends in NYC, who work for respected names and are great at what they do, don't spend weekends at hackathons or weeknights running from tech office to tech office for free food at meetups. Here, it is okay and even normal to finish a work day and go experience art, culture, history, etc... things which all do exist in SF and are often great quality there, for sure, but which in certain employment circles seem to be pretty much ignored.
To each their own.
Outside of SV startups, many companies in the Bay have reasonable hours. There is definitely a workaholic expectation in NYC.
It's a perfectly diverse metropolitan area with tech as an addition, not as a replacement. That's strictly more than many other cities I've spent time in from Ottawa to Charlotte. Calling it a monoculture is simply not accurate or, if it is, so many cities don't have even that.
There exists things that aren't tech in SF, but the scale of which is much lower than other major cities like NYC. More importantly though, even in non-tech scenes, tech is always there. It's the guy at the party that seems to find you no matter how much you move around the room. I found it suffocating - no matter where you go you can never fully disengage from the industry.
The measure of a tech monoculture isn't (IMO) the existence of other things, it's whether or not tech tags along with all of these other things.
There are plenty of cultural events in SF not involving tech. Museums, art shows, live music, etc.
> I can drive to 8 national parks and monuments in half a day. I have a great place to raise my kids, and I am NOT surrounded by tech events and meetups... I am surrounded by people who like to spend our free time outside.
Literally all of this is true of the bay area, pretty much as soon as you stop living in the densest urban part of it (and even then, for some people: my cousins are raising a kid in the city and they love it, including the ability to drive to tons and tons of different state and national parks).
Sure job opportunityes are few, especially of the interesting kind, and pay is awful, but overall it's very hard to beat.
I don't really get the point of people pretending it's for the entartainment, especially if whatever you do starts with a three hours drove to get out of the urban area.
That doesn't really sound a high quality lifestyle, but to each their own.
To get out of the suburban sprawl..
But, Muir Woods is part of Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Point Reyes are not separate parks.
I'm thinking Seattle area is likely.
I'd love to live in Torrey and I'd move back to SLC if I could get a job in an industry that doesn't suck, but all things considered I'd take the bay area over anywhere in Utah.
Spending free time outside pretty much defines the bay area. We're here because it's always sunny and not too hot so we can spend our time outside.
I pay $1150 to lease a 1600 sqft house in Houston, and make more money than I'd make in the Bay, and control my stack instead of being a worker bee.
I will never draw a Bay Area salary. But I have a great house and a kid in a good private school for <50% of the cost to live in SFO.
That is far above average.
I don't know about the 400k specifically, but I hope you might want to change your attitude: you don't need to sell for what you believe is reasonable and can imagine; you want to be selling to people who have more money than sense.
I love Austin, but it's probably arguable that its "culture" (in the art/culture sense of the word) even approaches Houston's. "Houston is one of only five cities in the United States with permanent professional resident companies in all of the major performing arts disciplines: opera, ballet, symphony, and theater"
And Houston is cheaper than Austin, too... but I've found Austin's tech scene to be slightly up on Houston's (if only because Austin is more compact and so getting around to the nearest meetup is a bit easier... also, Austin has a much better VC scene, but Houston does have a surprisingly large tech scene, even given that Houston is probably going to become the country's third-largest city.) http://www.businessinsider.com/r-americas-city-rankings-set-...
But bdcraven is right... modern here tends to mean .NET or Java at most of the larger Fortune 100 companies based here (mostly oil and gas, medicine, and finance.)
You'll need a lot of air conditioning and maybe a swimming pool (or two) during the summer though.
The networking benefits are real, but is that worth the cost of living, commute, lack of options for housing?
Then why the hell do you? To make someone else rich? To help VCs get a few extra dollars? Slave away with 60 hours weeks for years only to see an exit that nets you less than what you could have made working for any of the big companies? So that you can experience wanting to move on after a few years but worrying about losing stock options? SO you can sit around wondering when the company is going to IPO and you can actually make some cash? (meanwhile the CEO cashed out years ago, and doesn't want to IPO ever)
Seriously though, I feel the tone and attitude you're satirizing are describing the startup culture pretty well.
The equity has never made up the loss of salary. As an employee your company has to become really, really big for it to be life changing and that's incredibly unlikely to happen for all but one or two startups every few years and there are many thousands of startups. As an employee working at a small startup can't be about the money, if it is then you are wasting your time.
If you're good, you can advance much more rapidly through startups and then parlay that experience into either a lucrative BigCo job or consulting gigs.
Personally, I love the geography in the Bay, but the money argument works out too. Especially when it comes to things that are practically fixed cost relative to where you live, like flying (often cheaper from big cities) or travelling, or many consumer goods.
Expenses are far more than double in the bay. Pay is barely any higher in Top employers... Plenty of senior devs in the bay work for 160k plus options that they might or might not be worth anything, and that they will not be able to afford to buy if they leave, and might not see a liquidity event in 5 years. So they get paid LESS and the job is only worth it if they chain themselves to an employer. Netflix offers a better deal... But then welcome to Netflix's culture.
The money argument just does not work at the top end. My current employer is based in the bay, but a large percentage of the senior talent is remote, precisely because the bay is a really shitty deal for what most tech companies pay.
Just look at mortgages: the difference is not 2x, it's 5x. California taxes are huge. I did the math. For me, it's not even close, and that's assuming Netflix compensation.
You're definitely an outlier.
Every time I've done salary comparisons, SV vastly exceeds every other area especially at the upper end. For most other metros, you have only a handful of employers who are even willing to consider paying a developer >$180k. In SV, you can get competitive auctions going >$300k.
That list excludes biotech, and Boston is one of the top biotech hubs, so I suspect that would boost it even higher.
1. Read https://breakoutlist.com/. If that argument matches your motivations, go to San Francisco.
2. Do you have a (relatively) niche interest, like VR/AR, machine learning, or blockchains? Go where those companies are: San Francisco and New York.
3. Do you want to experience a city where everything happens? Go to New York.
Otherwise, pick Austin. Maybe Seattle depending on weather preferences and distance from friends and family.
I would be hard-pressed to come up with names of 3 successful startups from Austin, and I think most people would be too.
Seems like Uber and Snapchat were the last game changing companies for how people interact with the world via tech on a large scale. IMO it's lack of media attention, excitement and companies that are very obvious lifestyle changers.
You might also find this other article interesting, posted to HN today: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12064083
I seem to recall the blog post being by a guy who moved to Tupelo or some place like that. This was about 5-6 years ago.
Uber? Was only founded 7 years ago, and took a few years before it really started to blow up.
Though I could be wrong.
One of the best parts about victories that large is that the benefit decouples from the original product. You don't have to buy an iPhone anymore, you can buy that $4 android touchscreen phone that is dirt cheap but only exists because the iPhone blazed various technical and cultural trails that turned something new and magical into a boring commodity, to the benefit of mankind.
Just as the premium $500 iPad leads to the $50 amazon fire, so too does the $150k tesla lead to the equivalent $20k toyota in a few years. That's a huge deal.
Well, you could say that about almost any other consumer product. The iPhone is a success orders of magnitude larger than the standard, IMO.
(Of course, being equally pedantic about other Silicon Valley companies - Facebook, Reddit, Dropbox, and YCombinator all "started" in Boston, and the critical events in both AirBnB & Twitter's history happened at SXSW in Austin.)
- Angry Birds, 2009 (Espoo, Finland)
- Kik, 2010 (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada)
- Spotify (US launch), 2011 (Stockholm, Sweden)
- Candy Crush Saga, 2012 (Stockholm, Sweden)
Indeed, Indeed seems to attract the kind of engineers most likely to give the kinds of responses seen in their survey, like preferring large established brands over startups.
This is less likely (in my opinion) to indicate a shift in engineer preferences than it is to reveal the skew of Indeed's userbase.
Disclaimer: I work at Hired, a direct competitor to Indeed Prime, and live/work in SF. (Also note that although our customers often use competitors, they typically cite Indeed Prime as less effective for startup talent than much smaller competitors).
The Bay Area is certainly losing its luster for "long-term living" given the current housing, transit, & public education situation.
I might add StackOverflow Careers to the list of effective job boards, especially outside SV. It was the only place I could find decent senior talent when I was hiring in Bangalore.