iToto's Blog

A Montreal based full-stack web developer who loves learning and trying out new things. This blog is my attempt to document my work as well as a place to discuss ideas or topics that I find interesting. Feel free to follow me on linked social networks.

Moving To California

Hey guys, so it's been a while since I've been active on here. I've been going through some changes in my life/career and thought I would take the opportunity to update everyone.

My girlfriend and I decided to take a jump forward in our careers and move to Silicon Valley. Both being software engineers, we knew that it would lead to very interesting opportunities and would help us grow our careers much quicker then we would be able to back home in Montreal.

We've been here now for several months, and I must say that it's been great! It was a little bit of a rough start, and we are still at the tail end of settling in our new place, but it's been a fun ride so far.

Rainbows and Unicorns

If you're in the tech industry, this place really is the mecca of the industry. The amount of opportunities around is almost overwhelming. I've heard from some that the average time for an engineer to find a job in the valley is roughly 20 min. While I'm not entirely sure how accurate that number is, I can say that it's not very difficult as the demand is very high.

That being said, this also means that the space here is very saturated and as a result, very competitive. While I had heard about it before moving, I must say it feels somewhat surreal to be sitting on the train or at a restaurant and hearing people nearby debating Java vs PHP or why they should move to cloud services. I mean, this just doesn't happen anywhere else - especially in Montreal. Don't get me wrong, Montreal has a great tech community and is really starting to grow as a tech hub. And there are plenty of other major tech hubs in North America (which I haven't yet been to) but I can't imagine the being close to what it's like here.

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Costs

I'm sure everyone by now knows about the insane costs the bay area incurs for housing. It was actually one of the biggest factors for us when we were debating whether to come here. I mean making more money doesn't mean anything if you have to spend most of it on living expenses. And we both decided that we did not want to sacrifice our quality of life just to live here. But, we found that with both of us working as engineers, we are able to make it worth our while.

Suggestions

To the readers who are thinking of making a similar move in your lives/careers, I will share with you a checklist that I used to know the difficulty level of the move:

  • Do you, or can you qualify for a Visa (TN is easiest, but there are other options)
  • Can you move in with someone to share living costs. A lot of people do this here in order to be more cost effective. You can essentially rent a room/bed/couch/floor – all depends what your comfortable with.
  • See where you stand as far as qualifications and estimate what your salary should be. (Good article here on hackernews on this)

After going through all that, you should have a better idea of what it would actually take for you to make the move. And for what it's worth, if it's a realistic move for you, then I would definitely suggest it. In the short time that my girlfriend and I have been here, I can't say we regret it at all.