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Photo By: Monica Bourgeau
You need to go where the jobs are.
This is a mantra for many college graduates and the bane for many small towns that watch their youth leave in droves to pursue the careers characterized by their college degrees. For computer science graduates, there are jobs almost everywhere for software developers as long as it’s at least a small-ish metropolitan area.
Note: There are jobs almost everywhere; this doesn’t mean that there are good jobs almost everywhere. Many of the companies hiring local talent in these smaller areas simply don’t have the same amount of revenue to offer similar compensation packages as the companies located in larger metro/tech-hubs. There may be better benefits at these companies such as a better work-life balance, a shorter commute, and a lower cost-of-living. These are things to consider when evaluating a move from a quieter region to one of the areas that most graduates flock to after graduation. However, some companies, realizing the limited options of technology workers who may tethered to that location for whatever reason, will use it to their advantage by both over-working and under-paying their employees, unfortunately.
Another caveat to consider as a software developer is the ability to work remotely. These positions are often reserved for experienced developers and/or developers who have had a prior working relationships with the company and thus have already developed the trust necessary to facilitate a remote work relationship. For many, remote work is a way to secure the same or similar competitive pay for their position while also enjoying the low cost-of-living of their local area and possibly close proximity to family. But remote work can be tough. You need to be a self-starter, self-motivated, understanding of the necessity of documenting your completed work, the ability to communicate clearly and thoroughly, and the ability to maintain your functional role on a distributed team. You also need to be able to set strict barriers in your home working space to avoid distractions that could potentially endanger your productivity. Another lesser known negative aspect of remote work is the psychological impact of limited to no physical interactions; a problem that has resulted in the popularity of co-working spaces.
Going forward in future posts, I’ll look at some common locations often mentioned by technology workers and address location-specific comments, pros & cons, general nature of the job market there, typical salary, and other metrics.
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