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Old 11-26-2017, 09:51 AM
 
424 posts, read 1,396,639 times
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Early 40s, technology person (so finding something to do in the Bay Area wouldn’t be a problem).

Don’t need to worry about a good schooling district, just need a nice, little, safe place for wife and I.

How do the technology salaries compare between these areas and how much more should I make on the dollar to maintain the same standard of living (as in a DC suburb)? And is contracting work just as common in the valley as it is in the DC Metro?

I don’t like commuting (not one bit), and a primary purpose of the move it to live closer to (yet to be found) work, find it easy to switch jobs or contracts, continue to live closer to work and absorb the technological progress in the valley (miss the notion of start ups and exhilarating work in the DC Metro - not the easiest to find).

Would you recommend a relocation from the DC Metro to the Bay Area for someone like I at this point in my career? I’ve always wanted to live in the Silicon Valley but it just didn’t work out.

Last edited by vauser; 11-26-2017 at 10:22 AM..
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Old 11-26-2017, 10:10 AM
 
Location: California
5,773 posts, read 6,555,573 times
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I would highly recommend a long visit to the Bay Area before moving here. The Bay I moved to over 25 years ago no longer exists so pay attention. Since you don't like commuting, this is probably not the place for you as traffic going anywhere is a nightmare. See other posts discussing traffic.

Read the local newspaper, San Jose Mercury News to look at what is going on. Did you know homelessness is an ever growing problem here which puts a huge tax burden on the working people?

How do you feel about California politics?

Look at some of the homes for sale and check out the property taxes and prices.

Have you researched other areas of the country where there is tech activity that also allows you to enjoy life?

Many companies hire foreign contractors which saves them money. Check out Myvisajob.com to see who is hiring them because they claim they don't have Americans applying for jobs, then apply to them.
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Old 11-26-2017, 10:27 AM
 
424 posts, read 1,396,639 times
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Thanks Heidi60. I’ve done a fair amount of research and have a reasonable sense for the numbers but if history serves as any precedent, I’ve realized that no amount of research and quantifiable numbers comes anywhere close to what folks actually think and are nice enough to share (such as yourself), and that’s what I am hoping to get out of my post.

I love the DC Metro and mostly telecommute but it has become harder and while I have some clue about traffic in the Bay Area and 101, I don’t know how it compares to I-495 and I-66, that are quite bad to be honest (too me almost hours to get to Richmond the other day - a 120 mike drive).

If what I was looking for was interesting work that isn’t hard to find for a seasoned software engineer and doesn’t require much commute (30 minutes or less is okay), would it be prudent to make this move or would I possibly end up feeling like the “grass was greener on the other side” right after I move?
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Old 11-26-2017, 10:58 AM
 
Location: California
5,773 posts, read 6,555,573 times
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Many of the people I know work from home but even going to the grocery store here can be a challenge. There is one intersection in San Jose where within a two block area we have Whole Foods, Trader Joe, Costco and Bass...what a mess! The further up the peninsula you go the more dense the traffic . Just look at the traffic web cams for here and Santa Cruz. We do have CalTrain and light rail but that doesn't always fit. Just for the fun of it, check out what your car insurance rates would be for both areas. There is a reason many are leaving the Bay Area.

However, you are young and I understand the need to explore, so if you must, then do it now before you can't. I was 40 when I moved to the Bay Area but twenty years on, it isn't a good place to retire. Live with no regrets but do come for a visit as today it may not be the California Dream so many had.
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Old 11-26-2017, 11:31 AM
 
424 posts, read 1,396,639 times
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Thanks Heidi60. Very useful and valid points. Perhaps, a 2-week stay in the area might help me both understand and digest the dynamics. My first instinct was to pack the bags and move, and sort of behave irrationally (because a lot of times, that's the only way things seem to even work), but shortly thereafter, age and experience kicked in, and I started doing the research and it was a feeling of deja vu - "why I've always wanted to make the move, and why it never materialized".

Besides, despite the significantly higher cost of living, it doesn't appear that the Bay Area pays significantly more (if more at all). At least, compared to the DC Metro.
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Old 11-26-2017, 01:25 PM
 
2,952 posts, read 5,499,674 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vauser View Post
How do the technology salaries compare between these areas and how much more should I make on the dollar to maintain the same standard of living (as in a DC suburb)?
Probably at least double the salary since the cost of housing is extremely insane. Plan on paying around two million for the minimum livable house in an area with a convenient commute.

1.8 million with no lawn.

https://www.trulia.com/property/8527...yvale-CA-94087

2.5 million with a very small kitchen

https://www.trulia.com/property/5033...-Alto-CA-94306

An apartment like condo is 1.2 million

https://www.trulia.com/builder-commu...n-1/3270624806

Or try a house in Livermore for only $699k. Perfect if you do not mind scorching summers and a 2 hour one way commute to Silicon Valley.

https://www.trulia.com/property/5032...rmore-CA-94551
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Old 11-27-2017, 02:41 PM
 
Location: Paranoid State
13,044 posts, read 12,203,885 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vauser View Post
Early 40s, technology person...
"Technology Person" means different things to different people. For example, can you qualify for any of these:

Device interconnect/Modeling Engineer

SoC and DFX Architect

Senior Optical Transceiver Firmware Design Engineer

Software Apps Engineer

Wireless Standards/System Engineer

Last edited by SportyandMisty; 11-27-2017 at 02:52 PM..
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Old 11-27-2017, 04:09 PM
 
Location: San Jose, CA
1,318 posts, read 3,337,714 times
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You will find the developed areas in California tend to be surrounded by open space as opposed to DC area where they just build out more and more. As someone who actually grew up in Northern Virginia, it was all developments there, whereas when I lived on the peninsula, there were open space preserves all over the area, especially as you got close to 280. South Bay can feel a bit more isolated from such open space areas, but one thing I will say is that here in California with all the hills, you will find a lot of the land is actually public owned open space preserves by the city or county, or state in some cases. Whereas in FFX Co, Arlington Co, and Alexandria it was all development after cookie cutter development after another.

Both the peninsula and South Bay will be way way more expensive than FFX Co. Even San Jose is more expensive per sqft than most of Great Falls. If you're looking at suburbs they are way more affordable in NoVA. I live in downtown San Jose, which I was surprised to learn 2 years ago was actually more affordable than walkable areas in Arlington, or even Tysons Corner, so if you're looking at such areas, you may find something more comparable. But also commute patterns are not similar downtown San Jose requires a commute to places like Mountain View. Which is why I would only suggest it if you can get a job in the South Bay or East Bay, since the other areas are going to be crazy expensive.

Either way the costs now will just look ridiculous to you, > $500 sqft in San Jose, > $800 sqft in Mountain View.

Pay is probably better but contractor rates are all over the place, specialties help. But in comparison to DC it is much less stable, you're not going to find the same case where if you work for a defense contractor while having security clearance you're job is almost guaranteed in the DC area due to cost+ contracts. Here there is no such thing, and companies will replace you with an employee if they feel that is better.

You may find it harder to find a job in the South Bay if you work more on server/ app/ web services/ SaaS work instead of electronics, hardware etc. And a short commute to Menlo Park or Palo Alto will cost you a small fortune.

On the other hand you could find a not-so-glamorous job in Campbell that pays well, and rent a condo or apartment for significantly less than the $3000/mo it will cost in Mountain View.

If short commute is something you're looking for, keep a lookout for what city the job is in. But as a contractor keep in mind that after the 6 or 12 month contract is over you may not find another job nearby, and your next job may pay the same, but be off Page Mill Rd in Palo Alto, or Mission St in SF, or in San Mateo , where you will be hard pressed to find anything with a short commute in your budget.
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Old 11-28-2017, 05:32 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
3,683 posts, read 9,188,227 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by capoeira View Post
Probably at least double the salary since the cost of housing is extremely insane. Plan on paying around two million for the minimum livable house in an area with a convenient commute.
You pay a huge premium here for that convenient commute. If you can work it out so that living in south San Jose is feasible (employer is in downtown SJ, employer offers a private coach, public transportation, or telecommute several days a week), you can significantly lower your housing budget. You could probably find something decent for $1.4M (4br/2ba on something larger than a postage stamp sized lot) in south San Jose. Of course, anyone that looked at your house would say, "$1.4 million??? That looks like a $350k house, tops!"

You're in your early 40s? I'd say that if you can't land jobs that give you a household income of at least $300k, forget it.

A high-end income is needed to buy a house in the Bay Area
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Old 11-28-2017, 05:58 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
5,962 posts, read 7,323,065 times
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This thread was posted in the SF forum and got basically the same responses. If the OP has already decided to move (against the wise/common sense replies posted), I'm not sure why another thread is necessary.
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