Advice for an about to be graduate in CS (iOS experience)
February 28, 2012 1:51 PM   Subscribe

What is the best place to go for a new computer science graduate in mobile development? General advice?

I am about to graduate from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a degree in computer science. I have been involved in mobile development (iOS) through a startup and internship. I was wondering what the best places to move are in terms of a balance between having a social life and high success rate in career development. I am willing/looking to explore new environments but am apprehensive about being thrown into a new city without any connections/social support. What are the job opportunities like for a mobile/iOS engineer and what are the best cities for this? Any advice for a new graduate?

I am graduating with a degree in two weeks but my lease doesn't end until August, what would you say are the best things to do while I still have the opportunity to figure things out?
posted by nathanm to Work & Money (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Dallas has the Telecom Corridor -- I am in mobile development and there are a ton of jobs in Dallas. Cost of living is great. Food is great. Weather is nice 80% of the year. Unemployment rate for software engineers is ~2% last I heard.
posted by LeanGreen at 3:09 PM on February 28, 2012

First of all, make sure to live it up this summer, since it's hard to get a big chunk of time to hang out and explore the world while you're employed full-time. You can pretty much only get it full time. There are no month-long breaks like in college scheduled in the next 40 years of your life unless you claw them out yourself.

Fortunately, you have a skillset that's very valuable these days, so you shouldn't have too much trouble finding a job. My friend (with a CS degree and strong internship/research experience) just left got back from two years in Namibia in the Peace Corps, and rolled into San Francisco and found a job with a six-figure salary within 2 weeks.

If you're moving to a new city and making new social connections, you'll probably want to be able to live near people of a similar age group and set of interests.

My first job out of school was in suburban San Diego. It was a decent job but pretty much all jobs there are in office parks way outside of the city center, so you'll either live around a lot of older people and families or have a long freeway commute in traffic. Most of the youth culture was very beach-oriented and bro-ey, which wasn't my thing at all. My neighborhood was the home of old rich people (like Mitt Romney) so I had trouble meeting folks other than my roommates (who I knew from school) and co-workers. It'd probably be a similar situation to San Luis Obispo, so you'd already know whether or not you'd like something like that.

There are approximately 10 billion jobs for you in San Francisco & Silicon Valley. You'll probably know at least some people from school around the Bay Area. Social opportunities will probably be much better in San Francisco, as young people (at least those of the non-male persuasion) generally live more in SF/Oakland than the South Bay. The Bay Area is expensive because there are lots of people making tons of money in tech bidding up the limited housing supply.

There are also lots of opportunities in New York City. You probably won't know many people from school here, but there will be lots of young sociable people inside and outside of work. It is likewise expensive, but a lot of fun. I live here now and enjoy it a lot more than San Diego.
posted by akgerber at 7:09 PM on February 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

You can roll out of bed and get a job in SF. Between your coworkers and various tech meetups you'll have a built in social group. Since very few people are from SF, everyone is in the same boat when it comes to "connections/social support", so it's really easy to connect with people.

I agree wtih akgerber, live it up while you can. After you have, the best thing you could do as a new grad would be to get some of your code up on GitHub. After that, maybe read up on tech interviews so you don't go in ice cold.

MeMail me if you want more specific advice/leads.
posted by outlaw of averages at 10:22 PM on February 28, 2012

Response by poster: How does the tech scene compare from NYC to SF? What would you say are the best places to live in the bay area for a young professional taking into account living expenses/social life? Best balance? Ideal situation? If SF, best districts to be in?

In regards to career, I want to avoid having a desk job for the rest of my life...are there any other short/long term career decisions I should consider? I realize that with a computer science degree my options may be limited, but what other avenues are realistically possible?
posted by nathanm at 1:58 AM on February 29, 2012

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