Slightly OT: What metro areas are best for a software development career?

Leonard, Arah Arah.Leonard at
Mon Jan 21 17:58:38 CET 2013

> I am looking for a position as a software development engineer.  I'm currently learning to develop Android apps (, and I use
> Python for implementing Doppler Value Investing ( and for developing Swift Linux (  NOTE: Thanks
> to those of you who answered the questions I asked as I developed Doppler Value Investing.
> I currently live in Minnesota about 50 miles west of Minneapolis, and I am considering moving.  What are the best metro areas (Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, San Diego, 
> Chicago, Twin Cities, Boston, NYC, DC, etc.) for a software development career, how would you rank them, and why?
> The Twin Cities metro area has a technical community portal called .  Are there analogous technical community portals for other metro areas?

Well, for what it's worth, I've literally moved from coast to coast and from my experience, that really depends entirely on what kind of programming you want to do.  Nevada has lots of jobs for casino-style gaming software development.  Texas has a lot of industrial programming for oil rigs.  Washington (state) has a lot of Microsoft-related jobs.  Portland, Oregon has a lot of Intel-related jobs.  Etc.  (Pennsylvania just kind of sucked.)  In most cases it's about what major business is in the area.  So I'd say if you're not looking to be near your family or anything non-work related, then just ask yourself what you want to do, look up who does it best and where their main offices are located, and then apply for jobs there.  Even if you don't get the dream job on the get-go, just getting a job that helps you move into the area makes it that much easier to continue applying for your dream job over the years.

So you say that you're currently developing Android apps.  Google is Android, so I'd suggest looking more around the Mountain View, CA area.

(I wouldn't count on a Python-specific career anywhere though.  Those kinds of jobs are ones that you have to chase to the oddest ends of the Earth because they're so rare.)

Or, if you're just happy being a general programmer or switching things up a lot, then aim for the more heavily populated areas like Silicon Valley and prepare to be chewed up and spat out by random companies while you grow in experience.

Just make sure to look into the cost of living in and around the area that you want to move to, keeping various forms of commuting in mind, so that you can plan for how you'll pay the rent once you find a job you like.  ;)  Fortunately, most major metro areas have good forms of public transportation.  (Maybe not enjoyable, but dependable and affordable at least.)

That, and if you have any allergies or medical conditions, keep in mind the area.  Portland, OR was a lovely place to be my first year there, but my second spring there the pollen counts shot through the roof so I had to leave after a really bad bout of bronchitis.  So if you have any health issues, research the area well.  Even a whole year of living there isn't always enough to prove the area safe.

And good luck!

Arah Leonard

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