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I wouldn't be too quick to judge defense contractors. I have friends that work at some. These guys do professionalism with a capital-P. You will hear of the occassional disaster story about a project but most (and there are tons) fly under the radar on time, on budget and to spec.

Please remember, a lot of smart people got burned after the dot-bomb. It's not like that sat around for a few years waiting for work to pick up on the internet. A lot of engineers went into defense, unlike the bay area, they pay in cold, hard cash. You rarely ever hear of a defense company going under.

"You rarely ever hear of a defense company going under." -- 1. There is no real competition. The taxpayers have been footing the bill all along. 2. The DoD just canceled a bunch of projects and one of the reasons are "Project have been systematically late and the budget has spiraled out of control". http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2009/04/gates_budget....

Think about it, ALL startups in the silicon valley, COMBINED (even with Facebook's 15 billion evaluation), are not worth not even 10% of the 530 billion dollars a year that is the defense budget.

That's hardly a fair comparison.

You're comparing the valuations of software startups with the entire operating budget of the military? You first need to discount salary, equipment, maintenance, etc, all costs not relating directly to software.

A more realistic comparison would be comparing the defense budget to the entire economic output of the bay area. Even then it's apples and oranges.

there is a lot of defense work in the bay area.

I know several smart people who could do my job working for defense companies.

But I make more money than most of them. Like most jobs, there is always a tradeoff between stability and money.

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