back to article Why software engineers should ditch Silicon Valley for Austin

Software engineers should ditch their coveted Silicon Valley jobs and look for opportunities in Austin, San Diego or Seattle. That's according to recruitment company Hired, which looked at the salaries for 260,000 jobs in cities across the US and the world and accounted for the cost of living in those cities. So while people …

Anonymous Coward

Do not want

Sorry, but Austin is very very nice, they have the lovely Formula One track, they are weird, but they are in a the shithead state of Texas. No way I'm moving from a nice, profitable Blue State, to one nice town surrounded by gun-toting shit-for-brains. Even Nevada seems nicer by every comparison. Not a big tech state, unless you service slot machines, but much more realistic for a creative tech type who now can buy lots of lovely, legal, maryjane. So, keep trying, Texas. I am not looking for more rednecks, flooding, dust storms, guns, sad economy, regulation scoffing tornado town. I will come and visit that track though. Just not enough earthquakes and drought to scare me out of my home. Yeah, I'm good here, guy.

Seattle, yes. Portland, sure, why not? Again, anyplace other than New York, Washington State, Oregon, and California is a god damn mess. Okay, I forgot Colorado and Minnesota. Those guys are cool. That's about it though. It is known.

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Re: Do not want

Exactly that. Why the hell would I want to live amongst people that believe Trump is a good choice for President?

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GBE

Re: Do not want

"Sorry, but Austin is very very nice, they have the lovely Formula One track, they are weird, but they are in a the shithead state of Texas."

Yep. That's one of the reasons I never returned the calls of that Google recruiter from Austin. I don't think I could sleep at night surrounded by Texas.

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Bronze badge

Re: Do not want

What about New England and the like? I liked those.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Do not want

What on earth are you on about?

I worked in IT with a petrochemical firm in Houston for several years and travelled frequently up to Austin. I can safely say Texas is a great place and the people extremely friendly and NOT "surrounded by gun-toting shit-for-brains"...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Do not want YOU

If you're so smugly bigoted, Austin can manage just fine without you. Try visiting sometime before you arrogantly insult the whole population. People are very friendly there too, so you wouldn't fit in anyway.

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Re: Do not want

Please don't defend Texas. Texas is a terrible, terrible state and we would appreciate it if all of southern California would stay exactly where it is.

The locust from California have done enough damage already.

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Silver badge

Re: Do not want

Because he was a good choice versus the alternative...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Do not want

>Exactly that. Why the hell would I want to live amongst people that believe Trump is a good choice for President?<

Because they are Right?

The Sheeple learns slowly...

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ST
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Mushroom

Ummm ... have you ever spent a summer in Austin, TX?

I have.

See icon for a graphical description of average temps.

There's nothing wrong with Austin, TX as a city, otherwise. It's lovely, fun, quite liberal, UT is there, plenty of festivals and music and such, and you can almost forget it's actually in Texas.

But the summer temps make it off-limits for those who do not handle scorching humid heat well.

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Happy

Re: Ummm ... have you ever spent a summer in Austin, TX?

Austin is nothing compared to Houston. And as for raw heat, you might as well live in an oven as in Phoenix. But I'd take either of those places over SV.

They've tried to get me out in SV many times, but I always laugh at the recruiter and ask them if they can match my quality of life. Sure, there's a shot at making millions (I've had friends who've done that in SV), but the odds of that are low enough that it's not worth the pain of living in SV. Unless you're at a good startup you're not going to hit the lottery. Working for Google or Facebook in SV is a losing proposition unless you just want them on your resume, and for that you just want to get in and get out while you're young because those are no places to make a career.

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"Pee for Houston, pee for Austin. Pee for the state my heart got lost in. And shake twice for Texas." -- Dr. Sheldon Cooper

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Anonymous Coward

thanks, but I'll pass.

https://www.google.com/search?q=why+austin+is+ruined&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

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Serious question: why do US software developers get paid so much more than those here in Blighty? Someone with say >6 years of C++ experience would earn (outside of London) about $70K, a huge difference.

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Programmer's Pay

"Serious question: why do US software developers get paid so much more than those here in Blighty? "

You don't get paid $170K for 6 years' experience, they're just headline rates to make them sound attractive.You might find someone paid that much but they'd have to either have really special skills or they're job's just about to go away.

Many recruiters seem to have a very strange idea of what 'programming' as a job actually entails. Focusing on a programming language rather than wider design or engineering skills will just get you coders which won't produce very good product.

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Happy

Maybe the developers in Blighty should consider moving? No need to even learn a new language. Except if you move to Texas, that accent can be tricky.

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Anonymous Coward

why do US software developers get paid so much more than <other country>

i. US corporations are more profitable - overall they draw wealth away from other countries.

ii. We seem to put up with lower pay despite having a relatively high cost of living.

iii. To maintain world domination the US has to steal talented people from other countries, to the detriment of it's existing population. It's an effective, legitimate way to hinder other countries that might have the potential to surpass the US technologically.

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Pint

Britain doesn't value or pay technical people very well. You don't need to move as far as Texas or Australia to get a more sensible salary; places elsewhere in Europe like Germany and Switzerland both pay much better. Many international companies and universities in Continental Europe work in English these days too.

You'd better get used to lager and not Real Ale though... ->

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LDS
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Just don't come to Italy.... there's a good chance you'll be hired with the metal workers contract (the worst you can get here, with unions utterly ignoring IT workers), and unless you're very good at dealing, the pay will be no much better (and probably worse). Then Italy accuses everybody of its low productivity and lack of growth - but itself...

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re moving from Blighty

When I've worked in the states I've found hours more important than work attitude. People seemed to want to be in the office 7am till 7pm and often on Saturdays to be seen to be keen without actually working much - when there's another 40 hours left on the second week day there's no urgency. You can do more in a 60 hr week every now and then but when they are regular you get less done than in a 35hr week.

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Real Ale.

Hard to live without - not too hard to brew a reasonable pint yourself though. And Guinness is pretty universal and while not tasting quite the same has the calming effect on the drinker of real ale.

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Real Ale

The microbreweries across the pond do some pretty good brews these days.

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Anonymous Coward

In my experience - they value their technical teams, technical talent and staff more. In the firms I worked at the Java, C# and C++ developers and designers were well paid. The Chief Architect being paid as much as the main senior managers.

In the UK, my experience is the opposite - although you can get good rates as a contractor in a particular language or skill. Permanent development staff seem lower grades.

I'm at the most senior technical role in my firm at present but to go up to the next level it is more business and less technical (although I am doing both at present anyway).

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Anonymous Coward

"Britain doesn't value or pay technical people very well. You don't need to move as far as Texas or Australia to get a more sensible salary" -- Korev

Indeed. You don't have to move at all --- just into management. I don't know if it's the remnants of the class system but being, even nominally, in charge of others is, however, poorly you do it, rewarded disproportionately highly to actual specific expertise, however good you are.

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It's not quite the same as real ale, but San Diego at least has several excellent Microbreweries. Kark Strauss is an institution for Qualcommers ("Building K") and New English is excellent.

I'm told, but don't have personal experience, that there are great microbreweries throughout the state. The days when you could get Coors, Miller or Bud are long past, thank Trump.

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Silver badge

"Britain doesn't value or pay technical people very well."

Market value is usually more a question of supply versus demand. Unfortunately in the UK, we have to some degree devalued our IT sectors by making it ridiculously easy for third world outsourcing companies to replace indigenous employees by on shoring and off shoring their jobs with lower cost labour. The onshore resources they fly in can then apply for permanent residency after a few years...

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"Unfortunately in the UK, we have to some degree devalued our IT sectors by making it ridiculously easy for third world outsourcing companies to replace indigenous employees by on shoring and off shoring their jobs with lower cost labour.."

@TheVogon

That's exactly the same in the US...

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Silver badge

Would you rather make slightly less and have Google on your CV, or make a little more and have to explain why that coding job at Denver's...

You can have both; Google has an office in Denver. Also in Seattle. In fact, I think they do have one in Austin!

And by the way, Austin may be in Texas, but it's a blue town.

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Orv
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It's a blue town, but still subject to state law, sadly.

To people who can live there, more power to them; but it's no place for LGBTQ folks. My wife is transgender and there's a good chance it soon won't be legal for her to pee anywhere in Texas.

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Anonymous Coward

And this is a live problem for me. I'm actively looking to work in the US and had seriously considered Austin - I've lived in Yorkshire and used to work for EDS so I can cope with Texans - but being transgendered I really do need to be in a place where I can legally micturate.

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Anonymous Coward

@Orv; "My wife is transgender and there's a good chance it soon won't be legal for her to pee anywhere in Texas."

The question is, would she even *want* to p**s on Texas if it was on fire anyway?

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Anonymous Coward

Terrible Texas

Sitting or standing we would prefer that you and your "wife" keep peeing on California.

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"Would you rather make slightly less and have Google on your CV"

Why the hell would you want google on your CV ? Perhaps it's adds the final touch to the Microsoft israeli child killlers you worked for or that work you did in the 1980s in JoBurg ?

fuck me, I'd rather have Ratners on my CV that Google.

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Orv
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"...being transgendered I really do need to be in a place where I can legally micturate."

The stupid thing is, it wasn't really on anyone's radar in the US until a few years ago. As the governor of Kentucky recently noted, it's not really a problem that needs solving. But once religious conservatives realized they'd lost the fight against gay marriage, they needed a new vulnerable group to attack in order to rally their flock. And so suddenly transgender people using restrooms became a dire threat to the nation, in spite of the fact that they've been using restrooms for many years, mostly without incident.

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Silly Valley

Silly Valley and SF are grossly over priced and one can live quite well in many other cities in the US. The only reason to even go to Silly Valley is the cache of living there.

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work remote

Spent 10 years in seattle area. Got sick of it. Spent 5 years in bay area. Got sick of it. Last 18 months in bay area worked from home even though office was 1 mile away.

Now live in central valley in CA. Cost of housing less than half. Still close to bay area if I need to go (seems like a few days per month now, company pays for hotel etc).

I have one teammate who works from home in Australia. Another guy in spain. My senior director works from home in NY state. Another guy is hoping to move to NH and work from home there. Another guy semi on my team works from home in TX. Another in Kentucky. My director likes to endure his 2+hours of commute each day to and from the office in bay area but pretty much everyone else is remote.

I suppose if your a hippy and like the SF scene go for it. For everyone else, there's nothing in the bay area that justifies the cost of living. (Unless you are fortunate enough to make at least $200k/year)

Maybe I will get sick of where I am at some point. But I do not see myself returning to live in bay area or seattle (technically east side in bellevue i absolutely hated seattle itself) except as an absolutely last resort.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: work remote

"I suppose if your a hippy and like the SF scene go for it."

The only "hippies" rich enough to enjoy the traditional SF lifestyle today would likely be trust fund kids or sell-out baby boomers with piles of cash indulging themselves in their retirement.

Your actual old-school hippies would basically be reduced to being homeless bums in the prohibitively expensive modern SF.

Either one completely defeats the spirit and/or purpose of the exercise.

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Re: work remote

"I suppose if your a hippy and like the SF scene go for it."

you probably mean Hipster ?

Hippies arguably had some good ideas and helped shape some of the great liberal ideals some of us hold today.

Hipsters, on the other hand, are just cunts.

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Re: work remote

"...but pretty much everyone else is remote."

And that, is pretty much the nub of the matter. Many, many IT dev jobs can be done remotely. Not everyone works well from home, but most of these IT startups don't seem to eat their own dogfood. Set people up at home or even smaller out of town offices if you need a face to face team. Give them all three or four big screens, a decent 'net connection and any of the many video conferencing software apps that can be on permanently during working hours and it really doesn't matter where you live, even another continent.

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Anonymous Coward

Working in SF...

I currently work in San Francisco. There's a lot of group think in the city. James Hetfield said it best "They talk about how diverse they are, and things like that, and it’s fine if you’re diverse like them." They can't stand even considering having to listen to other points of view. Quality of life is a big reason people site for leaving the area. I use to work in San Carlos. I went to work at 5:30 AM. Traffic was light until a year or two ago and now it is crowded at that time. A friend of mine who owns his own home in Burlingame only goes to the grocery after 8 PM since it's crowded before then. A coworker of mine doesn't like taking BART since he sat in pee once and didn't relish repeating the experience. You could work at Google but half of their employees are contractors as I believe The Financial Times reported earlier this week. Good luck getting in. SF has reverted to a gold rush mentality. If you want Google on your resume come out here, get in, go back to Denver.

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Silver badge

Go back to Denver

Don't forget the Skiing is only just over an hour away and you can enjoy the white stuff until June most years.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Working in SF...

"James Hetfield said it best "They talk about how diverse they are, and things like that, and it’s fine if you’re diverse like them.""

That's possibly true, doesn't make him any better than them though.

As some people commented when the story about him moving from the "elitist" Bay Area to Vail, Colorado same out...

"Heh. The Bay Area doesn't have s**t on Vail with respect to snootyness. And in Colorado, you can't fence off hiking trails, fishing areas, etc. that may slice through your property (well...you can fence but you have to provide access through or over the fence).

If he wanted to be "with the mountains" away from shiat, he could have easily built a huge secluded place in South Park or North Park or San Luis or better yet, somewhere around Gunnison. Vail is where millionaires congregate away from "those" people. They want to be able to see mountains but still be able to buy $2000 shoes on a whim. They want a place where the only "poors" are those who drive in from what they consider a s**thole (like Leadville) to work the shops and gas stations."

and

"No kidding; almost the entire I-5 corridor and/or Cali coast along the west is "snooty" and "elitist" in one way or another so I have no beef with anyone claiming such, but he moved an entire time zone away just to find one of the few places that without question is MORE snooty and elitist."

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Replace Google with Oracle, SCO, Lucent, MySpace, all the failed YouTube and eBay competitors from SV I don't recall, Amazon/MS in WA, and see it's hard to guess in advance what will sound positive in ten years. Sure the VC money is in SV but real companies have offices everywhere, if you just want a recognizable name on your CV.

Lots of my colleagues moved from SV to RTP, NC for schools, yards, and affordable housing with mostly comparable weather. A handful have moved the other direction - generally, while young and single - for startup opportunities. May be unique to my industries as RTP has large second sites for most of the established NW and storage players, and many of the little ones.

And for you political snobs, the tech hubs throughout the States are mostly large cities, which by and large landslided Clinton. NC, amusingly, had the top few highest-percentage-registered-Democratic counties in the country*, though they are crazy rural so you'd not want to go into them - they probably have guns and wolves and stuff.

*Or at least I recall reading this a few years ago, I can't find any useful analysis now because the 2016 results are overwhelming my search. Several of the counties swing >2/3 D, and one is 75%, according to http://demography.cpc.unc.edu/2016/10/07/nc-in-focus-who-are-ncs-democratic-voters/ , but I can't find national comparisons today.

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Orv
Silver badge

Problem with NC is the large "NO HOMO" sign hung at the state border. (Figuratively speaking. I think.)

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North Carolina

No LGBT, especailly the 'T' and you'd better have your birth certificate with you to prove what gender you were born to.

There is a reason that people like Springsteen (and many others) won't play there.

(The same goes for OK)

My guess is that under the new Tweeter in the White House more southern states will pass similar laws.

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That governor did get voted out - but frankly that was the point of the aside. Not wanting to go somewhere because 'the state' is Democratic or Republican is just foolish - regardless of political labeling the urbanites are more urbane and the rural folks are less so. Every coastal state is composed of both. I'm not going to pretend the greater part of NC (or TX, getting back to the article) is a super place to be right now, but you can't judge SF by Barstow or NYC by upstate, either.

I've seen many local businesses with individual restrooms switched to all-gender signs post-HB2. I hope this is a trend nationwide; when I was in Santa Clara last month I didn't see anything similar, but maybe I just didn't go to the right places? While NC HB2 remains a travesty, the legislators from my district are working to kill it, the new governor will sign it into oblivion, and there will remain all-gender bathrooms all over the city and hopefully the rest of the country as well.

All that to say, I originally posted to address Kieren's observation about SV Google vs. the failed Denver startup - there are more failed startups in SV so taking that MS job in Redmond might be the right move for long term CV readability, though it will be easier to get new work when that SV-based "Facebook for suburban irreligious mothers with three children and one dog" fails to get a series B. We all have our different desires for careers and so it's silly to think any one path will fit everyone, or even any one person for their whole working life.

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Orv
Silver badge

That governor did get voted out"

Yes, and the Republican legislature responded by stripping the governor of most of his powers. Only Republicans are allowed to wield power in that part of the country; if the people vote any other way it's seen as an error to be corrected. It is in effect a one-party state, and now that the DoJ is no longer watching I'm sure vote suppression will ensure it stays that way.

"Not wanting to go somewhere because 'the state' is Democratic or Republican is just foolish - regardless of political labeling the urbanites are more urbane and the rural folks are less so."

The problem is, while the individual people may be friendlier, being in an urban area does not protect you from the state laws passed by people voted in by the rural folks. I lived in a liberal part of a socially conservative state for a while and there was a definite sense of always having to watch my back.

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Mushroom

A title is optional

I've visited Austin for NI Week (National Instruments.) I could get a job there fairly easily. Great town bikeable, decent craft beer scene, but so. fsking. hot. Looking at Chicago now...

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Re: A title is optional

Chicago is a great city. There is a lot of crime, but it is contained in certain neighborhoods. Schools in the city itself are not good.

Winter is a real PitA though. They don't call it "The Windy City" for nothing.

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I spent six years in Chicago going to UChicago. Put a glass of water on the window sill and it was frozen solid by morning. Had a waterbed to survive. One time 44 days the temp did not get above freezing.

Then taught math at UTSA in San Antonio, just south of Austin. The dash in my car melted in the school parking lot. Then there was tubing with excrement in the Guadalupe. Lots of bats under the bridge in Austin, though.

Moved to Silicon Valley to learn how to build computers. Not going back.

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