I Need Advice on Sunny US Cities With Decent Tech Jobs and Urban Centers

+1 for the Bay Area. Bonus: loads of awesome Goodjers.

I live in San Carlos, about 30-40 minutes fom downtown SF. I get a ton of sun most of the year, which is important because I am solar powered. We used to live in the city, which was awesome, but summers can be surprisingly chilly and very foggy. But there are days of immense brilliance that make it very hard to beat.

We have tech jobs aplenty too. Cost of living though is high. But salaries tend to be adjusted (at least in tech.

Southern CA is awesome too and would be my second choice.

I work a lot with our Austin office, and so go there a couple of times a year. Great city, but summers can be outrageously hot. Cost of living is decent too.

MisterStatic wrote:

The Dalles? That's really giving it too much credit. Try Pasco or Kennwick, with no real hills, and dry riverbeds.

*peeks out the window at the Pasco landscape, then crawls back into bed.*

Also: Dry riverbeds?

BadMojo wrote:
DevilStick wrote:

I recently was debating a move to the Pacific Northwest from Raleigh-Durham. Partly because there are more tech companies (especially startups) in Seattle, San Francisco, San Jose, etc.

You were gonna leave us? :(

You will not get rid of me that easily.

I know it is a little less urban.... but, aside from the research triangle in North Carolina, Huntsville Alabama has the highest concentration of engineers per capita... something around 1 in 3. I heard although I have not found proof that it has the highest IQ for a city in the world... Nasa and Army researchers and stuff. Also someone mentioned Texas was cheap... HA... google the avg housing prices and compare it to here. So high salary and low cost of living with a very tech oriented economy and local mentaility...

It is a short drive to both Nashville and Birmingham and there are 12 or more flights a day to ATL to satisfy any connection needs. Of course it's the South so sweet tea is everywhere, but honestly what's wrong with your neighbor wanting to say hi?

I used to live in Akron Ohio which was a dreary and depressing place to live both weather wise and people wise.... its nice to live in a place that is still growing and is filled with generally happy people. Seriously businesses grow like weeds down here... I've never seen soo much construction so constantly and I moved here at the end of 2008 during the big crash. Still growing building happy...

So the question is what kind of tech are you looking for?

Not that there's anything wrong with Huntsville, but that would be some... culture shock coming from Portland.

clover wrote:

Not that there's anything wrong with Huntsville, but that would be some... culture shock coming from Portland.

I disagree... the main difference in culture here is the expectation of manners... Smile and say hi... be polite and you will blend right in.

It's not a bunch of people cooking racoon stew on the front porch... It is literally a bunch of doctors and engineers that all ended up here from around the country. There is a large military presence, and the state is conservative... but aside from that its the same as any other tech heavy area in personality.

You should check out San Diego or Orange County.

I can vouch for charlotte and the triangle. both have tons of tech jobs a beautiful temperate weather. North carolina is geographically a forest so it is wet but its also sunnier than the northwest(which I have visted several times, love portalnd and seattle). Charlotte is one of the best places to live in the country. Your close to the mountains, beaches, and skiing (beach,sugar, and a little further snowshoe). You live in the 2nd largest financial sector of the country with Bank of America Headquarters (formely NCNB). Downtown charlotte is incredibly vibrant after the push in the 90's to have a thriving residential area within downtown. Microsoft has one of its 3 premiere campus sites in Charlotte.

http://www.denverinfill.com/images/s...

Yes there is plenty of urban - suburban sprawl and it is very family friendly, one of the best school systems in the country. The city nightlife is very vibrant. Also Asheville is a couple hours down the road and is a hippie mecca with tons of music festivals, some of the best appalachian bluegrass you'll ever hear, and festivals like Moogfest.

http://www.exploreasheville.com/thin...

If you have ever seen a J.B. Hunt truck think about the fact that James B. Hunt was a trucking mogul and our govenor for 26 and fought for every government road dollar they ever put in front of the states and as a result N.C. has one of the best road systems in the country.

I have lived in Alaska, New Mexico, Florida, and New York, and North Carolina is my home, its a great state.

Oh and by the way i hate denver, its broken hills, dry, dusty, laid out poorly, horrible roads, I could go on. There are alot of nice places in colorado but the overall climate is really wonky, just like New Mexico. Its kind of a hybrid plains/high desert area. Extremly dry weather can be a problem during summer, people set themselves on fire at gas stations because of all the static electricity in the air and failing to ground themselves. If you going to move somewhere in Colorado make sure you visit first and factor in the alititude as well it can really mess with your skin.

Note I have eaten raccoon stew in huntsville. Uncle made it in his driveway so you are still technically correct.

manta173 wrote:
clover wrote:

Not that there's anything wrong with Huntsville, but that would be some... culture shock coming from Portland.

I disagree... the main difference in culture here is the expectation of manners... Smile and say hi... be polite and you will blend right in.

It's not a bunch of people cooking racoon stew on the front porch... It is literally a bunch of doctors and engineers that all ended up here from around the country. There is a large military presence, and the state is conservative... but aside from that its the same as any other tech heavy area in personality.

It's a very nice place to settle down and raise a family. Very cheap, very good economy now and for the forseeable future. I suspect it's going to end up being the largest city in Alabama in another twenty years. Once you get outside of the sprawl, there's a lot of really neat natural features in the area. Little River Canyon, for instance. It's a lot different culturally than the rest of Alabama. It's still Alabama, mind you, but it's a little less crazy pants than, say, Cullman, or even Birmingham.

But:

The downtown area is all of four bars and a lot of law firms. There are like three actual restaurants in the area and a lot of Red Lobsters. The vast majority of the city looks like the exterior scenes from Office Space. Also, there are very few quirky, local businesses in Huntsville; everything is a franchise. You have to drive about half an hour to go anywhere, and the newer shopping complexes are opening up further and further away from the city center.

I grew up skinny-dipping after hours in Monte Sano Pool, climbing up the fire station, buying booze from Sleezy's (every city has a Sleezy's), playing football for Huntsville High and annihilating club soccer teams from around the region. I went to Space Camp. It's a spectacular place to grow up. But if you don't have kids, and you have any proclivity for nightlife, I would never suggest it as a first choice.

boogle wrote:

Note I have eaten raccoon stew in huntsville. Uncle made it in his driveway so you are still technically correct.

I have never eaten raccoon stew in Huntsville, but I can definitely introduce you to some folks who would be willing to serve it up. All of them engineers and doctors.

HedgeWizard wrote:

+1 for the Bay Area. Bonus: loads of awesome Goodjers.

I live in San Carlos, about 30-40 minutes fom downtown SF. I get a ton of sun most of the year, which is important because I am solar powered. We used to live in the city, which was awesome, but summers can be surprisingly chilly and very foggy. But there are days of immense brilliance that make it very hard to beat.

We have tech jobs aplenty too. Cost of living though is high.

+2. South and western Silicon Valley seems particularly nice because it's close enough to the coast (and the bay) to have slightly more temperate weather but far enough away that it's not covered in fog. Having lived all around the bay in the past N years, this is definitely the best place weather-wise.

What kind of work do you do? Maybe you could couple this move with referrals from the appropriate Goodjers?

I'm not saying racoon stew ain't around... just that it's not the main dish...

And in the last few years there has been a lot of growth... Madison has some decent places to hang out and a few good ones too.

The stores are a lot of chain places but there are a fair number that aren't now... as I said before... not as urban, but as far as tech jobs go... basically a wide open field if you want to find one.

Portland to anywhere in the south would be SEVERE culture shock.

This Forbes article may be somewhat helpful. Forbes did a ranking of best cities for technology jobs. You can pick out the ones with good weather.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/joelkotk...

Edit:

Similarly, here's an article that will get you some rankings on biotech/life science markets, in case that is relevant.

http://wraltechwire.com/business/tec...

One last post relative to Raleigh-Durham - the two largest clusters of tech employers are in the Research Triangle Park (RTP) and NC State's Centennial Campus. Links and lists of employers below.

http://www.rtp.org/about-rtp/rtp-com...

http://centennial.ncsu.edu/partners-...

http://centennial.ncsu.edu/technolog...

DevilStick wrote:

This Forbes article may be somewhat helpful. Forbes did a ranking of best cities for technology jobs. You can pick out the ones with good weather.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/joelkotk...

Since a couple of those had me scratching my head (ok, I admit it was New Orleans but it's only been 4 years since I left and a lack of tech jobs was a big reason), here's the list of industries that qualify as "high tech".

TechAmerica and the TechAmerica Foundation utilize the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) to define the high-tech industry.
Below are the 49 NAICS codes it uses to define high tech:
HIGH-TECH MANUFACTURING

Computer & Peripheral Equipment
334111 Electronic Computers
334112 Computer Storage Devices
334113 Computer Terminals
334119 Other Computer Peripheral Equipment
Communications Equipment
334210 Telephone Apparatus
334220 Radio & TV Broadcasting & Wireless Communications Equipment
334290 Other Communications Equipment
335921 Fiber Optic Cables
Consumer Electronics
334310 Audio & Video Equipment
Electronic Components
334411 Electron Tubes
334412 Bare Printed Circuit Boards
334414 Electronic Capacitors
334415 Electronic Resistors
334416 Electronic Coils, Transformers, & other Inductors
334417 Electronic Connectors
334418 Printed Circuit Assembly
334419 Other Electronic Components
Semiconductors
334413 Semiconductor & Related Devices
333295 Semiconductor Machinery
Defense Electronics
334511 Search, Detection, Navigation, Guidance, Aeronautical, and Nautical Systems and Instruments
Measuring & Control Instruments
334512 Automatic Environmental Controls
334513 Industrial Process Control Instruments
334514 Totalizing Fluid Meter & Counting Devices
334515 Electricity Measuring & Testing Equipment
334516 Analytical Laboratory Instruments
334519 Other Measuring & Controlling Instruments
Electromedical Equipment
334510 Electromedical & Electrotherapeutic Apparatus
334517 Irradiation Apparatus
Photonics
333314 Optical Instrument & Lens
333315 Photographic & Photocopying Equipment
COMMUNICATIONS SERVICES

Telecommunications Services
517110 Wired Telecommunications Carriers
517211 Paging Services
517212 Cellular & Other Wireless Telecommunications
517310 Telecommunications Resellers
517410 Satellite Telecommunications
517510 Cable & Other Program Distribution
517910 Other Telecommunications
Internet Services
518111 Internet Service Providers
518112 Web Search Portals
518210 Data Processing, Hosting, & Related Services
SOFTWARE SERVICES

Software Publishers
511210 Software Publishers
Computer Systems Design & Related Services
541511 Custom Computer Programming
541512 Computer Systems Design
541513 Computer Facilities Management
541519 Other Computer Related Services
ENGINEERING AND TECH SERVICES

Engineering Services
541330 Engineering Services
R&D & Testing Labs
541710 Research & Development in the Physical, Engineering, & Life Sciences
541380 Testing Laboratories
Computer Training
611420 Computer Training

from the Forbes article:

Our definition of high tech industries is based on the one used by TechAmerica, the industry’s largest trade association.

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with the list but it's quite broad. Somewhere that is strong in, for example, Telecommunications or high-tech Manufacturing (e.g. Bare Printed Circuit Boards) might not necessarily be as attractive if you're more interested in Social Media development.

That is quite possibly the dumbest list ever. I know when I think of "high tech", I think of Jacksonville instead of San Jose!

Grumpicus wrote:

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with the list

Well, I am. It's stoopid. Not DevilStick's fault - better should be expected from Forbes.

Forbes article wrote:

Despite the Valley’s remarkable concentration of tech jobs — roughly six times the national average — it ranked a modest No. 17 in our survey. This relatively low ranking reflects the little known fact that, even with the recent last dot-com craze sparking over 5% growth over the past two years, the Valley remains the “biggest loser” among the nation’s tech regions, surrendering roughly one quarter of its high -tech jobs — about 80,000 — in the past decade.

The way I read the article, some smaller tech markets fared better ranking-wise in this Forbes list than traditional tech hubs (e.g., San Jose) simply because they lost fewer jobs or grew slightly. I think "best" in this list means "growing/adding jobs". I don't think that means the city has one of the larger tech sectors.

Per my note earlier in the thread, I have debated moving to a city with a larger tech sector than Raleigh, despite Raleigh's #4 ranking in this list.

Late to the party, but let me throw in my two cents.

+1 to the full spectrum light. They are expensive, but fantastic for getting the right sun in the winter. Especially if you're in a windowless office all day

I lived in Nashville for 6 years, and it has some fantastic cultures that has nothing to do with country music. Country music is business there, but beyond that there is some amazing music to be heard -- funk, rock, indie, house, you name it. Culinarily it's fantastic, and the weather is great if not a bit soupy during the summer. Great city, and I'd recommend it, as I would RTP and Austin.

After living in Houston, TX for a while, I moved to Huntsville. The area has progressed since kazooka's experience here -- the restaurant scene is growing well beyond chains, with many originals. The economy is great, lots of sun, and there are tons of outdoors stuff to do. Moreover, it's very cheap to live here, but the salaries don't reflect that. Having said all that, I don't recommend moving here unless you're raising kids or have a job you love waiting here. It's an amazing place to race a family, but if I were childless, I'd moved on by now.

Nice to know there are some other GWJ'rs here in the Huntsville area.

We looked into full spectrum lights this weekend. Most of what we saw were special light bulbs. Like $30 a pop. Is that what you guys were talking about?

Yes. And you can also get dedicated lamps for that too.

http://www.amazon.com/Verilux-VT05FW...

We just bought this one at Costco since it's battery powered, I can take it to work and use it overnight while Clover uses it during the day charging.

http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product...

Gumbie wrote:

Portland to anywhere in the south would be SEVERE culture shock.

I think Asheville would be an easy transition for Portlanders, of course, there are not tons of tech jobs here.

An update: We got the apartment. 8th Story of a 23 story high-rise in downtown Portland. A few blocks off of NW 23rd and literally 5 blocks from 3 grocery stores and less than a mile from dozens of restaurants. We're excited. Hopefully our cats don't hate us for going from 1000 square feet with a yard to 1000 square feet with no yard, but life is too short. Being able to walk to movies, grocery stores, work, etc. will be really really nice. I've never lived in a downtown before, but I really love being in them. NYC, New Orleans, Brussels, whatever. I prefer to be in the city so it's been strange for 2 DINKs to be in the burbs. Hopefully our cats adjust and the house gets rented soon.

Awesome DS! I hope it continues to go well. I look forward to a 3 month report as well.

Stilgar Black wrote:

Awesome DS! I hope it continues to go well. I look forward to a 3 month report as well.

Ditto. I have to admit, I'm jealous. Once the kids are out of the house, moving (closer to but hopefully in) downtown is top of my list.

Grumpicus wrote:
Stilgar Black wrote:

Awesome DS! I hope it continues to go well. I look forward to a 3 month report as well.

Ditto. I have to admit, I'm jealous. Once the kids are out of the house, moving (closer to but hopefully in) downtown is top of my list.

Well, we kind of had that situation with the cats. Not on the same scale, but that's our only hesitation. Moving 4 cats from having outdoor access (only 2 used it, but still...) to being in a high rise. They're all ages 11-12. So Hopefully they're getting old enough that they don't hate us or act out for lack of space. The place is bigger, but it's the lack of lawn. The alternative was wait until we were in our 40s...

I had ice on my windshield this morning. You don't want to come to California. And I had to put tarps over my avocado trees last night. Did I mention there was ice on my windshield yesterday too. COLD.

PS I am wearing my jacket right now.

I work in city planning and have heard great things about Portland as a livable city.

We looked into full spectrum lights this weekend. Most of what we saw were special light bulbs. Like $30 a pop. Is that what you guys were talking about?

Yes, but you don't have to spend that much anymore. Here's a pack of six CF bulbs for $75. Those are 125-watt equivalents. 60-watt equivalents are $35 for six.