Given everything (rent, salary, being black and 30+, wanting children eventually, etc), would you still move to the Bay Area or would you prefer to live elsewhere?
What are other good locations to consider? Seattle, WA? North Carolina? Austin, TX?
If you're older and/or have a family then no freaking way. Adjusted for cost of living the Bay Area salries are lower than many places. Apparently Minneapolis and Atlanta pay Software Engineers the most money if you adjust for cost of living. I just moved away to the Midwest and I kept my salary (the company hiring me considered it a "raise" and they weren't wrong). Adjusted for cost of living I would be making over 250k in the Bay Area (according to Pay Scale's COLA calculator).
I often hear folks from the Bay Area say the rest of the country doesn't pay well, but from conversations I've had with other professionals I have had in my town and a perusal of Glassdoor tells a different story it's not hard to make 140k+ where I live.
Companies in the Midwest and Southeast know they are competing for talent with the Coastal centers and they have started to pony up.
You can't look at absolute dollars. If you make ~120k in the Bay you have to realize that's like making 75k every where else.
The best place to look IMO is the east bay, from Oakland to Berkeley. It's still a quick BART ride into downtown SF but prices are 50% cheaper than in the city. Other than that San Jose is decent but you will be forced to drive everywhere.
I don't know if it's worthwhile to go to the bay for purely financial reasons, but it definitely still seems like a good place to go for career reasons.
I'm sort of expecting to move back to the bay eventually, I'm just hoping that they get their head out of their ass and build some more housing.
Assuming all other factors are equal that means you need to save almost twice as much for a down payment in these areas. If you are making >100k/year CA income tax will further complicate matters.
Seattle home prices are about 1/2 SF. There is no state income tax, so add on 8% to your income. Salaries are slightly lower, but not by much.
If you don't care about culture and just want to make/save lots of money, this is the place to be.
I'd throw LA into the mix too, as it has a growing tech scene and a lot of things going for it. Seattle, Austin, and maybe Boulder if you can survive the cold.
Then evaluate your offer and calculate net savings in Bay Area.
For many (especially those currently located in low-paying areas such as Eastern Europe or some Asian countries) the net savings are greater with all things considered, therefore a move makes sense. For others the increase is marginal or non-existent, as high salaries exist elsewhere in the world, so they won't bother.
I found a very nice studio in Marina (pacific heights) for 2.5k, and it was pretty much first place I applied to, so finding place at least for me was super easy.
(I'm in Austin and am / was considering moving to Palo Alto or San Francisco.)
Many move from the Bay Area to Austin, Seattle, North Carolina, etc, especially when they're ready to buy a house. Unless something special is waiting for you, I'd say San Francisco will be a step down. I'd definitely recommend visiting first.
If you're moving for career reasons, then you should first see if the Bay Area company will allow remote working.
I used to pay $500 for a huge room in a flat shared with 2 other people :)