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Old 02-08-2009, 01:41 PM
 
4 posts, read 5,760 times
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Hello,

I am born and raised in Pittsburgh. I will be graduating from college in a few months with a BS in computer engineering. My skillset and experience focuses mainly on software development and this is the field I'd like to stay in. While I like Pittsburgh and all of my family and friends are here, I realize it is not the absolute best place for software jobs - opportunities exist, but mostly with smaller companies. I am interested in getting onboard with a bigger company that would have some type of tuition reimbursement program so I could go back to school for my master's without burying myself in too much more debt. Now, I am a northeastern guy - I don't like the beach, I am not very in-tune with the laid back atmosphere of certain west coast communities. However, I hate winter, and would love to move somewhere warm year round, and would like to try my hand at a very different area to see how it molds me and how I like it. For these reasons I am curious if any part of California would suit me, particularly SoCal due to the weather. I understand there are many difficulties such as taxes, job opportunities, and housing costs, but I figure if I ever want to do this, now, while I'm 22 and single, is the best time. I would appreciate any advice on whether this could be a wise decision or not.

Thanks!
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Old 02-08-2009, 01:56 PM
 
Location: STL, CA native
125 posts, read 391,170 times
Reputation: 68
Hmm, I'm not too sure on your job market outlook, but most of the bigger companies are in Northern California.

When I say bigger, I mean like Adobe, Sun Microsystems, Google, etc...
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Old 02-08-2009, 03:57 PM
 
1,020 posts, read 1,505,908 times
Reputation: 394
I agree if I had your skill set, I would be looking more at the bay area than Southern California - especially since you aren't that interested in hanging out at the beach.
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Old 02-08-2009, 05:06 PM
 
4 posts, read 5,760 times
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Yes that probably makes sense, I was just shooting for the drastic weather change and I figured tech jobs would exist around LA, too. Maybe not the best ones, though. I'm sure the weather in the Bay Area would still trump Pittsburgh, just be a little chillier than I'd like.

I guess not being a beach kind of person is actually part of my draw to SoCal: if I'm going to majorly relocate for work and further schooling, I am tempted by an area that is radically different than what I grew up in. To never give that type of environment a chance would be a little disappointing.
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Old 02-08-2009, 05:29 PM
 
1,020 posts, read 1,505,908 times
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There is a beach in northern California too. But because the water temperatures are much cooler, there aren't as many people hanging out at the beach. You can surf in northern California, but you will where a much thicker wet suit.

You can find tech jobs in southern California, but the wages for your type of skills will be higher in northern California. Culturally, California is going to be a change no matter where you go. But in terms of employment prospects for someone with your set of skills, the bay area is just a better fit. You might also prefer the area.
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Old 02-08-2009, 06:45 PM
 
Location: Southern California
15,087 posts, read 17,554,290 times
Reputation: 10299
Quote:
Originally Posted by archcommus View Post
Hello,

I am born and raised in Pittsburgh. I will be graduating from college in a few months with a BS in computer engineering. My skillset and experience focuses mainly on software development and this is the field I'd like to stay in. While I like Pittsburgh and all of my family and friends are here, I realize it is not the absolute best place for software jobs - opportunities exist, but mostly with smaller companies. I am interested in getting onboard with a bigger company that would have some type of tuition reimbursement program so I could go back to school for my master's without burying myself in too much more debt. Now, I am a northeastern guy - I don't like the beach, I am not very in-tune with the laid back atmosphere of certain west coast communities. However, I hate winter, and would love to move somewhere warm year round, and would like to try my hand at a very different area to see how it molds me and how I like it. For these reasons I am curious if any part of California would suit me, particularly SoCal due to the weather. I understand there are many difficulties such as taxes, job opportunities, and housing costs, but I figure if I ever want to do this, now, while I'm 22 and single, is the best time. I would appreciate any advice on whether this could be a wise decision or not.

Thanks!
This is interesting because my brother did the opposite. He went from Southern California to Madison, Wisconsin for his undergrad and then on to the University of Pittsburgh for his graduate degree. He basically told me on a visit here that he's "done with California" and never coming back. Mostly it was the weather (relatively never changing) and the dry, arid landscape (because of the weather).

I think you'll be in for a surprise out here. I didn't realize how significant the difference was until I visited my brother in Pittsburgh (oh, my...rivers with water in them ) and lush green everywhere. To my SoCal eyes that was quite the experience. Then we went to Niagara Falls - I don't think I've ever seen so much fresh water in my life. Sounds crazy, I know!!

With that said, there is a lot of sunshine here and it is warm most of the time. Cold, for me anyway, is around 50 degrees . If that's what you're looking for as a change of pace, you'll be happy, I think. I am inclined to agree with others that Northern California might be better for you professionally with your education background. And the climate there is wetter and the coastal areas greener. Interestingly, I have a couple of coworkers who say that the difference between SoCal and NorCal is like night and day weatherwise.

Anyhow, the Bay Area might be your ticket. Whatever you do, good luck.

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Old 02-08-2009, 07:24 PM
 
Location: Las Flores, Orange County, CA
26,346 posts, read 82,960,082 times
Reputation: 17507
How about India?

"The climate is warm, there's no shortage of exotic food, and the cost of living is rock bottom."

from

IBM Offers To Move Laid Off Workers To India -- InformationWeek

You might think about getting a job requiring a security clearance, otherwise you might have to worry about your job getting offshored to these dudes:

(image not protected by copyright)
http://www.shreeji-group.com/images/group_50_new.jpg (broken link)
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Old 02-08-2009, 08:10 PM
Status: "Enjoying the the beauty of the PNW" (set 1 day ago)
 
Location: Vancouver, WA
5,503 posts, read 12,351,445 times
Reputation: 5826
Yeah,

I work in Monterey for the DoD as a Senior SW engineer. We have Silicon Valley refugees driving to our Fort Ord facility. There have been a lot of Big layoffs lately there. Plus there is a Huge pool of recent grad talent from Stanford and Berkley mixed in with companies who have hiring freezes.

I think your original idea of SoCal is better. That is where I started and there is a lot work there. I did everything from dot coms to DoD there. DoD contracting is great if you want a company to invest in your education and future. The smaller companies want code monkeys to work long hours for lower pay and are very short sighted. They will probably dangle options in front of you to keep you working. LA is a good place to start and get the feel for CA. There is a lot of areospace work near the coast - El Segundo, Torrance, Carson, etc.... In this economy forget the dot coms. You can always play with that stuff later. Get a good foundation in SW engineering first from a solid Co like Northrop, Raytheon, Boeing, etc... That experience will speak volumes on your resume as well.

My 2c,

Derek
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Old 02-08-2009, 08:51 PM
 
4 posts, read 5,760 times
Reputation: 10
Thanks for all the input. Yeah, Pittsburgh is a nice area geographically, it will always be a home to me and I will miss it if I leave. But I am the type of person that likes to experience a lot of things, and seeing new areas and new people is always refreshing and exciting. Part of my draw to the west is weather for sure, so I'm not sure the Bay Area would offer the year-round warmth I'm looking for, however I would definitely consider it if the work opportunities were there. I also have a large fear of completely not fitting in around LA.

Derek, what you mention regarding DoD/Northrop/etc. work is exactly what I'm looking for: large, exciting corporations with lots of opportunities and things like education assistance. That is exactly the type of fast-paced environment I could see myself fitting into right now. I'm graduating in April and my experience includes 2 1/2 years of contract software development in addition to my coursework. Do you think that could be enough for an entry-level position at that type of place? If I could talk to you more about that over private message or something that would be very helpful.

Anyway, keep the comments coming! It's a big help.
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Old 02-08-2009, 09:09 PM
 
Location: Southern California
15,087 posts, read 17,554,290 times
Reputation: 10299
Quote:
Originally Posted by archcommus View Post
Thanks for all the input. Yeah, Pittsburgh is a nice area geographically, it will always be a home to me and I will miss it if I leave. But I am the type of person that likes to experience a lot of things, and seeing new areas and new people is always refreshing and exciting. Part of my draw to the west is weather for sure, so I'm not sure the Bay Area would offer the year-round warmth I'm looking for, however I would definitely consider it if the work opportunities were there. I also have a large fear of completely not fitting in around LA.

...
A lot of people in LA and the surrounding metro area are from somewhere else. I don't think there's anything to worry about.
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