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Thread summary:

IT opportunities: good university, job competition, pet friendly area, affordable living, distinct seasons, scenic parks

Old 10-01-2008, 08:01 PM
2 posts, read 2,584 times
Reputation: 10


I'm currently enrolled in a community college in Florida, and I still have at least a year until graduation, but I'm trying to do my research ahead of time so I'm not rushing in the end. I want to make an informed decision that I hopefully won't regret, but I need some help.

I'm a native Floridian and I've lived here most of my life, but I'm ready to leave. The long, hot summers are a pain, and prices everywhere are steadily rising. I'm just not sure where to head off to. After all, it's a big country with endless possibilities, so it's a little overwhelming.

I'm looking into the programming/web development/etc. field, so I'll need an area with lots of IT opportunities. It would also be nice to have a good university nearby when I go for my Bachelor's. (I'll just have an Associate's when I graduate, and I want to get a job and get settled before continuing my education). I know I'll stay in whichever city I choose for at least as long as it takes me to finish my schooling, so it would be nice to enjoy the city to some extent, even if I decide not to stay there permanently.

Currently, Raleigh and the surrounding areas are high on my list. The city looks nice, it's affordable, and it has a lot of colleges right nearby. However, I worry that because there are so many universities, there would be a lot of competition for jobs, making it very hard to nail one. So, I want to find a few cities around the country that I might like in order to keep my options open.

1. Pet-friendly
2. Affordable living (I'd like to get a nice apartment without feeling like I'm selling my soul to the landlord)
3. I want an area with 4 distinct seasons, something you just don't get in Florida. I don't need a lot of cold in the winter, but it would be nice to wake up to white lawns sometimes.
4. A few safe and scenic parks or trails nearby would be nice. Hopefully it would encourage me to stay outdoors more often.

1. HUGE cities. I'm trying to avoid the big metropolises such as Atlanta or NYC. I'm thinking a population of around 100-200 thousand would be ideal as long as there are still ample job opportunities.
2. I don't want to live in the midwest. I'm not really a beach person, but I think I would prefer a coastal state rather than somewhere that's totally landlocked.
3. My social life is nonexistent. I have no need or desire for any sort of nightclubs or those things that are typically associated with a young college kid.

Right now, some states I'm looking into are NC (my top choice at the moment), TN, VA, WA. I definitely want to avoid CA as it's just way too expensive.

Sorry if this post turned out long, but hopefully you guys can suggest some cities that maybe I hadn't considered before.
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Old 10-02-2008, 09:10 PM
Location: Blue Ridge Mountains
451 posts, read 1,388,314 times
Reputation: 299
Default to college student thinking ahead

I think it is great that you are thinking ahead and that you want to go further in your education. Keep looking at the different posts in the areas you are interested in. Come for a visit to different cities during vacations. Everything is so weird in the country right now so don't be in a hurry to do anything for a while except keep going to school. Even if you have to stay in Florida for another year or two, it wouldn't be the end of the world. My son also is in college in computer science and I am encouraging him to get his masters because there is a lot of competition in every field and in every town, right now. He is very fortunate that he has a scholarship and can continue if he decides. Experience means a lot also. While you are still in school, maybe you could start doing web pages for people for the experience or some other things on the side so you will have a heads up when you start to compete for jobs. I live in the mountains of N.C. but I read the post in other areas of N.C. like Raleigh because, like you, I want to see what is going on there. I have an apartment that a young man rented in the spring. He graduated with honors in the same field you are going to be in, and had a great job for several years in Greensboro. He had just been told that he could work out of his home and work anywhere. He wanted to be back in the mountains and so here he comes. He was here for one month, and the company laid him off, just like that. Hopefully, by the time you finish school next year, things will be better. Keep us posted on how you are doing, and keep reading the different posts. Good Luck
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Old 10-02-2008, 10:41 PM
Location: Denver, CO
5,608 posts, read 20,720,963 times
Reputation: 5347
Webdev2b, I think you definitely have your head on your shoulders. In fact, you think a lot like the way I do. You're pretty much in the same situation that I was in a year ago. Given your list of criteria of what you want in a city, though, something has got to give. My suggestion is that for at least the time being, you may have to live in a much bigger city than you consider ideal (that 100k-200k figure you quoted earlier). Okay, maybe you feel Atlanta is too big for you or not the ideal place, but you have absolutely got to consider metro areas that are 1, 2, or even 3 million people in size. I think Raleigh/ the triangle area of North Carolina actually would be right up your alley. I say if that's what you want, go for the goal and don't let anyone stop you! Out west, I would say look at Denver-- except for one thing-- it is really, really hard to find IT jobs in Denver right now, and it's practically hopeless for out of staters who aren't from Colorado and don't have highly demanded experience to get hired without moving first-- and even then it could still take months. North Carolina in general is probably a good place for you to start your search.
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Old 10-02-2008, 11:02 PM
Location: Sun Diego, CA
521 posts, read 1,491,544 times
Reputation: 325
Originally Posted by webdev2b View Post
1. HUGE cities. I'm trying to avoid the big metropolises such as Atlanta or NYC. I'm thinking a population of around 100-200 thousand would be ideal as long as there are still ample job opportunities.
Good for you kid. Im kinda surprised about the NO Big-City thing. People here try to make it sound that it should be every persons desire to live in a big city surrounded by skyscrapers and subways.

Im not too familiar with the schools down in the east. I would suggest you get on US NEWS first. They publish the national rankings for schools. You should start your search there. I know you can sign up online so you can conduct your search online. Its like $15 and it allows you search by various fields and it gives you the data on the schools, including the surrounding community. Its where I started my search for lawschools and it helped out a ton.
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Old 10-02-2008, 11:13 PM
Location: City of Thorns
536 posts, read 1,949,650 times
Reputation: 272
I would recommend Oregon. Portland has some good schools, alot to do, is sort of a big city but doesn't feel like it since there are forests and nature surrounding you no matter where you go. Eugene is smaller than Portland, but thats were University of Oregon is. Corvallis has Oregon State but the town is probably too small. Vancouver, WA is right across the river from Portland and seems to be a little more affordable. I had a apartment near downtown, not far from a three colleges and my rent was around $550. Goodluck. If you want a change i'd get out of the south.
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Old 10-03-2008, 12:05 AM
Location: Denver, CO
5,608 posts, read 20,720,963 times
Reputation: 5347
I just went back and reread the post. You're only getting an associate? What kind of jobs do you think you'll be able to get with only an associate? Especially in such a hyper competitive field. I think you're better off staying in Florida for another 2 years or so to finish a four year degree at a public university so you can get in-state tuition, and then have a bachelor's degree on your belt. If you move now, especially if you are under 23 years old, you may end up not meeting the requirements for in-state tuition in your next state and could actually get locked out of in-state tuition in both states-- getting royally screwed. UNLESS if you are able to pull off a scholarship to some out of state school. I say these hard cold facts because you say money is an issue (hence, concern over cost of living). If you were rich you could just pick and choose to go to whatever school in whatever location you desire, but because that doesn't appear to be the case it seems sensible to get your 4-year education done now while you're on a roll and can do it for cheap.
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Old 10-03-2008, 05:25 PM
Location: Arlington, VA and Washington, DC
23,642 posts, read 33,439,851 times
Reputation: 32362
Since you mentioned VA i recommend Norfolk or Richmond. Both cities are just the right size (Norfolk 250k Richmond 200k) and have great universities.
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