- You're in the richest tech capital of the U.S. If you're an entrepreneur looking network or get investment, you'll have a much easier time there than other tech hubs.
- You can go to all the conferences that only happen in SF.
- You can do one of the countless high-end tech jobs that are not available for remote workers.
- You benefit from the resources and environment they're cultivating there, if police robots, rent-a-bikes, and hipster cafes entice you.
- There's plenty to do in Central/NorCal recreationally, from the diverse wilderness to theatre to conventions. More than places like Georgia, Texas, or Florida. You can surf, skate, and snowboard in the same day here in Cali 🤙
At the end of the day, it's all about the environment. And you're surrounding yourself with tech giants, as well as a sea of startups. It's an ecosystem where you'll have an easier time finding professional growth. You can trip and find another tech person in SV, versus other places where you're only interaction with like-minded people is online.
You have to decide if the opportunity outweighs the other factors (high cost rent, food, etc). If you'd rather sit at home all day and work remotely for a few companies that are kinda whatever, you can do that anywhere and save a lot of money. But if you want to accelerate your growth and you know you'll take advantage of the resources, Silicon Valley might be a move you need to make.
Personally I moved from Miami, Florida to Los Angeles, California and it changed my entire life. I was stuck in a shitty suburb in the most southern tip of Miami, I had to take 2 busses and a train for 2 hours to get to the "Design District" where the professionals were, and even then I had to struggle to find any work. It's a bit different now, a decade later, but it's still nothing compared to the availability of work here in California. I see jobs everywhere for positions like Senior Engineer at Blizzard, or Full-Stack Developer for a Santa Monica-based pet app. And that's not even San Fran, the jobs there are even better usually. I'm also able to go to way more conferences and meetups now, and network with even more people.
But I'm also the type of guy that's an entrepreneur, a risk-taker. I build my own businesses and brands, and develop networks in various industries. So I take my career very seriously.
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I moved out to the Bay Area from Illinois about 4 years ago. Since then I've been living here and working as a software engineer, and I love it.
Working out here definitely has advantages, but I would say that the magnitude of those advantages will diminish more and more over time as equilibrium sets in.
- Job density is probably the greatest advantage. I literally get 4–5 inquiries per week from recruiters. I've been laid off once, yet I had no fear about finding another position quickly. And because of the demand for engineers, employers have a greater incentives to attract and keep engineers.
- The variety of opportunities and the caliber of engineers out here is also great. Think of any tech company and they probably have a presence here. You've got two powerhouses in computer science in the area: UC Berkeley and Stanford.
- The pay is great. Most engineering positions in SF or the South Bay, even for junior positions, will be in the neighborhood of $100K or higher. As nice as that figure may sound, however, the cost of living is also high. Expect to pay >$3K/month for rent in the City and >$2K/month farther out like in the East or South Bay (that's for 1 bedroom). The cost of living is only rising too. With your pay, you'll be one of the people most likely to survive, but it's becoming more and more unsustainable. For example, my rent over 1 year went up by $300. I own a house now so I'm insulated from that, but it keeps going up for renters. Owning a home is not cheap either. $400,000 is low for just a 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom house far out in the East Bay. It only goes up the closer you get to SF or the Valley ($1 million for the same house is not unheard of).
- The fringe benefits are also great. You'll be treated like a rockstar out here. Silicon Valley leads the country in fostering "Silicon Valley" work culture.
- The weather is phenomenal. It's not humid, and it never snows. The sun will be out most days after the fog lifts. In the winter, the temperature will rarely dip below 40°F; in the summer not more than 90°F in SF (it does get hotter on the other side of the hills).
- The Bay Area is beautiful and not lacking in things to do. Pacific Ocean to the west. Sierra Nevadas, Lake Tahoe, and Yosemite to the east. Redwood forests to the north. Napa Valley to the northeast. Big Sur to the south. You could be skiing in the morning and surfing in the afternoon.
I suspect over the next several years as the housing market saturates, the cost of living becomes unsustainable, and companies seek less expensive avenues for engineers, newer tech hubs like Austin, Denver, and Salt Lake City will boast comparable advantages. Seattle is already there, followed by New York, but they already have the same disadvantages.
If you're considering working in the Bay Area, take a trip out here. Like @oscarthegrouch mentioned, there is so much to do out here. It's well worth a vacation all on its own.
To be honest, I think “Silicon Valley”, whatever made it beneficial at least - is still around today but in a very different place.
When I think of what made “Silicon Valley” great in the first place it's because half a century ago the people producing radio parts and integrated circuits all happened to be co-located in the same area in the US. If you were building software or businesses on top of those technologies, then being so close to them was a huge advantage and the cross-pollination of ideas sped up innovation.
Right now the co-location of tech business is still present in silicon valley, but the hardware doesn't seem to be. When I look around at the world right now to me it seems like “Silicon Valley” is Shenzhen, China. Right now that seems to be the global seat of production and hardware innovation, and so because of that I've heard similar stories about shared ideas and cross-pollination.
If you wanted to be part of whatever made Silicon Valley into “Silicon Valley” today I think you'd be heading to China!
- Tons of SWE openings
- Chances to work in some really exciting Startups / Legendary companies
- Highest density of VC
- Cost of housing
- Traffic / Commuting
- Brotopia [but that's not limited to Silicon Valley]
- Recruiting is hard [see #1, #2]
- Valley has boom/bust cycles and it's been booming for many years
If a location is very attractive you will find a higher density of good people. That's just a thesis and an subjective observation .
You can have similar effects in other places, it's mainly about the shine that's human nature, the downside is ... there are more good people so you have to work harder.
The Wall Street is not the only place where rich brokers gamble. The valley is not the only place where smart tech people gather.
The question is what do you want to achieve? Are you someone with a vision? if so, you don't need a specific place!
If you just want to be connected or found it could be beneficial. Still there is no right answer, that's the thing about life -> it's your decision. The question is do you want to go there? Or is it just passive calculation for a career?
Again active pursuing with dedication VS passive wanting a job.
At least to me that's what it boils down to.