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Old 11-21-2013, 01:51 AM
 
Location: Seattle
337 posts, read 494,750 times
Reputation: 327

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I'm considering a move from Seattle to Phoenix, no particular time frame yet. I will say that I absolutely love Seattle. I've lived here for 14 years and moved from western Michigan. However, i've had it with the low-clouds and very grey skies which creep in this time of year and don't blow out until April. I've just freaking had it. It's also very expensive here to buy a home, I still don't own and i'm single so don't have a working partner whom can also help contribute. I have a friend who is a realtor here and he says that homes buyers are very competitive here because the commutes can be bad depending on where you live. The homes on the best commute routes are always hard to bid on. I'm renting in an area which is right smack dab in the middle of the entire metro area so I can easily (for the most part) move anywhere by bus. However, buying a home near where I live is damn expensive compared to similar areas in Phoenix.

I'm in a technical field because so many software and tech companies are headquartered up in Seattle - Microsoft, Amazon, Expedia are just a few. I've worked for all of them at some point. I've decided to do more project-based work and end up moving around to various companies in the area and always have a job waiting somewhere. My phone rings off the hook because there is a shortage of people doing what I do.

My concern is that if I move to Phoenix I won't have that stability. I'm a database/business intelligence developer and it's a skill which is in demand pretty much everywhere, however some cities seem to have higher demand than others. I'm wondering if there is anyone here who's in the computer/software biz and knows the market around Phoenix and can give me some insight as to what I might expect. I'm primarily oriented toward Microsoft products such as SQL Server, C#, etc.

One thing i've considered is buying a small place in Phoenix and living there part-time while I continue to rent, live and work in Seattle. That way I could maybe do project-based work in Phoenix and possibly Las Vegas or Los Angeles and get some sun. Most tech companies i've worked for up here allow remote work so that's an option as well, though there are varying degrees of it depending on the company and the team.

What's the technology market like there in Phoenix?

What can I expect regarding project/consulting/contracting or even full-time employment?

What are the big industries/professions there?

How does Phoenix compare to Seattle from a lifestyle perspective?

Again, I love it here, but damn the rainy season is starting to really get to me. I realize that i'm asking some basic questions but wondering if I can get some opinions.
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Old 11-21-2013, 08:16 AM
 
701 posts, read 1,096,969 times
Reputation: 897
What's the technology market like there in Phoenix?
It's very, very limited compared to Seattle, LA, or the Bay Area. I have been analyzing the job market here for two years (something one can't really do without actually moving, IMO,) and I'm been very unpleasantly surprised at how little innovation goes on here. Electrical Engineers who specialize in semiconductors do really well. Aerospace is big, though we just had a big loss of jobs at Lockheed recently. Those are obviously two very, very specialized fields, though, which require a highly specialized background. Of course, there is some IS/IT infrastructure support type work for those industries, I imagine. There is also some work, it seems, in e-commerce and infrastructures for call centers, health care, etc. I'm not sure where your background in SQL and C# falls into this. It is very odd though--Phoenix seems almost anti-innovation when it comes to technology. For instance, all the thinktank R&D type work at Intel isn't out here. It's in California. Microsoft supposedly shut down its larger facility here (they still have a small one,) a few years ago, as it didn't work out. And of course, there was the Fox Animation Studios thing. There is some activity in Biotech, but that's obviously a very small, specialized field. Some people, who don't fall into those highly specialized categories of the Phoenix tech job market end up giving up after a while and leaving. I think I'm going to become part of that group.

What can I expect regarding project/consulting/contracting or even full-time employment?
Expect a very low pay scale, even with the low cost of living here. At least, it seems, there is a higher percentage of full-time jobs out here, compared to consulting jobs.

What are the big industries/professions there?
See above. Though fortunately for you, your background should transfer to a lot of different industries, or so I'd think.

How does Phoenix compare to Seattle from a lifestyle perspective?
Don't know since I've never been to Seattle. I can tell you that if you're an outdoorsy type who can tolerate the heat, this is a great place to live! I just wish it were a great place to work too.

I'm not sure how Phoenix got to be in the position, though, and whether or not it will ever change. It is, after all, the 5th largest city in the US (well, nearly tied with Philadelphia.) It really seems like there should be a bit more diversity in the industries here. But overall, outside of semiconductors and aerospace, it seems like Industry considers Phoenix to be a source of cheap labor, instead of a place to innovate. I have to guess that this has a lot to do with the fact that it's still a very young city and needs time to grow. Also, our educational system doesn't help a whole lot. Not counting for-profit and trade schools, we have one university (ASU,) compared to 20 in Philadelphia.
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Old 11-21-2013, 02:08 PM
 
Location: Seattle
337 posts, read 494,750 times
Reputation: 327
I would like to thank everyone who has sent a PM to me and/or replied here on this thread. Some very useful information.

Based on the responses i've received, I think it's safe to say that my plan for the short-term should be to have a part-time property in which to land during the winter months. Working remotely for a tech company in Seattle other city a few weeks at a time should be the goal until I can get a better feel for Phoenix. I'll rent in Seattle, own in Phoenix. Weird, I know.

The other reason i've considered Phoenix is that the hang gliding is good year-round there. From now until about February, low-clouds and rain make it spotty to do much launching and flying in the Seattle area, and the sites are quite a distance. In Phoenix I could theoretically get up early, get up on launch and fly in the morning and then come back home to work. Sort of like surfing in southern California. That'll definitely be part of the plan if I end up there.
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Old 11-22-2013, 07:58 AM
 
701 posts, read 1,096,969 times
Reputation: 897
I would guess that the hang gliding here is incredible, between the drafts produced by the mountains and the thermals. Odd that I don't see more of it going on.

If you get to bring a job with you, either by working remotely or through transfer, you'll really get the best of both worlds. Most of the people I know here who have great jobs managed to bring them with them.
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Old 11-22-2013, 01:56 PM
 
Location: Arizona
255 posts, read 660,473 times
Reputation: 705
I moved from Phoenix to Seattle.

I can't offer you much advice for the employment aspect as we are in different fields of work.

Winter in Phoenix is similar to Summer in Seattle. The heat will most likely take a large adjustment period. Hell, I grew up in Arizona, and after returning for a visit after being away for a year, I couldn't believe what a wimp I was in the heat!

It's much easier IMO to adjust to the NW climate, than it is to go from the NW to SW. I'm assuming you've been to Phoenix before? Have you been during summer?
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Old 11-22-2013, 02:12 PM
 
Location: La Jolla, CA
7,284 posts, read 16,681,102 times
Reputation: 11675
Part time is the way to go. I've been doing it for many years, also work in technology. My permanent residence is in Arizona, and my part time residence in Wisconsin. I get the best of both and the worst of neither. I highly recommend it as a great lifestyle, but it has challenges. It gets to be a lot of money and effort to have 2 or 3 of everything (cars, clothes, etc). The other issue is that if you are single, finding a partner who is amenable to having a nomadic other half, can be tough.

The sun and winter weather out here can't be beat
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Old 11-22-2013, 02:32 PM
 
Location: Amongst the AZ Cactus
7,068 posts, read 6,467,054 times
Reputation: 7730
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisb19 View Post
It's much easier IMO to adjust to the NW climate, than it is to go from the NW to SW.
As you state, it's an opinion thing/it varies from person to person which is easier to adjust to. For me it was the opposite as I thrive in heat/can't stand the cool/cold/damp/gray thing.

Cranking the A/C for those who don't like the heat out here and planning outdoor actives late at night, early mornings, swimming, boating, weekend/day trips up to Flagstaff, San Diego, etc. are ways to make it all easier to tolerate the summer months for many though I have to say I haven't found a similar "cure" for those depressing/gray/damp conditions often encountered in the NW......though perhaps more sleep/closing the eyes and dreaming of sun/dry/warmth would work?
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Old 11-25-2013, 06:26 AM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
563 posts, read 1,787,278 times
Reputation: 534
The damp, gray weather is only depressing if you don't appreciate it Those that enjoy the PNW great outdoors during the winter, most likely enjoy the hiking, skiing, running, soccer, etc. in that kind of weather. Or, you appreciate so much the polite/friendly people, safe driving, environmentally conscience, green living, professional surroundings (corporate point of view) etc. that the weather/high cost of living doesn't phase you.

From a very long time Seattle native who now resides in PHX area, but still telecommutes back to Seattle, and is in IT field, and who is about to actively begin networking in the case i do lose my job, the IT field, according to LinkedIn, IT jobs seems to be much thinner than Seattle, full of staffing agencies. Not sure of the pay, but I have heavy SQL Server skillset, and there looks to be slim pickings, I'll know more when I actually get my resume updated/finished.

As for lifestyle perspective, since I am in Scottsdale area, which IMO is like living in a "bubble" compared to PHX, and most likely won't represent all of PHX area, it is definitely more social and "happy" down here. Wife and I were trying to figure out why that is, but from what I surmised, could be because there are more sales/customer service folks here (red/yellow) compared to seattle's tech (blue/green, if you know what I mean), could also be there are more retirees who are just living it up, etc. Who knows, those are just my guesses. But we found it much easier to strike up conversation with strangers here than in Seattle.
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Old 11-30-2013, 04:31 PM
 
Location: East Central Phoenix
8,042 posts, read 12,261,295 times
Reputation: 9835
Quote:
Originally Posted by Polymorphist View Post
I'm considering a move from Seattle to Phoenix, no particular time frame yet. I will say that I absolutely love Seattle. I've lived here for 14 years and moved from western Michigan. However, i've had it with the low-clouds and very grey skies which creep in this time of year and don't blow out until April. I've just freaking had it.
I can't say I blame you. The last time I was in Seattle was in November one year, and it rained every day I was there. It became very monotonous. I love rain, but not when it's consistent, or gloomy just about every day during the fall, winter, and spring. At the same time, Phoenix's weather can be monotonous on a different level: sun, sun, sun and long periods without rain lead to higher usages of water, more dust, more pollution, and drought. Even worse is the heat in the summer that is seemingly never ending from June through September. You have to consider the dramatic differences in the two climates, the adjustments you'll have to make, and the realization that even Phoenix's warm sunny climate can also be rather boring & depressing the longer you live here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polymorphist View Post
What's the technology market like there in Phoenix?

What can I expect regarding project/consulting/contracting or even full-time employment?

What are the big industries/professions there?
The tech market is mediocre ... likely not as much of a presence here as in Seattle or the Bay Area, but there are large firms that demand people with a technical/software background. GoDaddy is headquartered in Scottsdale, and Intel has a pretty large presence in Chandler. Honeywell and IBM are also large employers in the metro area ... but the problem is that there are no real significant corporate HQs for high tech firms like there are in Seattle or the Bay Area. I will say, however, that nowadays, practically every company needs people with technical skills ... especially the financial sector (which I'm with). I don't know of any large banking corporation that doesn't have some kind of tech support department in need of people with these kinds of skills.

Phoenix has a cheaper cost of living compared to Seattle & the Bay Area, but the overall wages are lower as well, so it's really a tradeoff. If you could do consulting on your own and develop a high client base, this will not be much of an issue because self employed people tend to earn more on average, so long as you are willing to put a great deal of time & effort into it.

The industries/professions that are big here are banking/finance, retail, real estate, and health care. One of the problems with our economy is that it's not diverse enough in that we don't have a great deal of skilled talent in various fields. Therefore, we are generally lacking in competitive jobs, which in turn contributes to why the pay scale is lower here than in many other large cities. Overall, Phoenix has its pros and cons, and is really not a bad place to live in the big picture, but just don't expect a great deal of jobs in your field compared to where you're from.
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Old 11-30-2013, 07:41 PM
 
252 posts, read 953,221 times
Reputation: 157
Born in Portland, grew up in Phoenix, back in Portland twenty five years. I STILL HATE the grey skies and drizzle. IF I could afford it I'd live part time in Phoenix in a frigging heartbeat. There are tons of things to do in the Valley. So many that I can't ever get them all done on vacations. Hiking, sporting events, attractions, nature, boating, mountain biking, off roading, horses, whatever your deal is, you can do it in Phoenix. Except skiing that is a two hour drive Loads of restaurants and bars, different neighborhoods have different vibes. Lots of easy day trips by car too. From Mexico to Vegas to LA not to mention all the natural wonders of the state. The weather is fantastic in reverse of Seattle. Fall,winter and spring are great. Summer, not so much especially after living in the PNW. One does physically get acclimated to heat so don't rush down to stay for a month during summer. Start in fall or winter.
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