Compared to California, is New York a good city for an IT professional to work in?

I'm thinking about evaluating in terms of

  • avg. compensation package
  • cost of living
  • Job opportunities available (in case one choose to switch jobs)
  • avg. working hours per day (or do people tend to work overtime)
  • overall "happiness"

(Feel free to add more evaluation criteria.)

I'd like to have your opinion on this.

  • 2
    Correct me if I'm wrong. My opinion is NO. NY seems to offer bigger compensation packages, but the city also has a higher cost of living. Therefore the margin (income-cost) is lower than California. California wins on "job opportunities available" because it has several major IT companies. California may lose on the working hours because I heard people there tend to work long hours. In terms of "happiness", I think California wins because it has a large population of IT professionals. An IT professional would feel happier surrounded by other IT professionals. – Emma Jan 23 at 7:23
  • but it is the non IT literate that provides the business... – Solar Mike Jan 23 at 8:49
  • @SolarMike Thanks for the comment. Can you clarify a little bit on what the non IT literate is? – Emma Jan 23 at 9:00
  • that depends on what you mean by an IT professional. – Solar Mike Jan 23 at 9:05
  • 1
    one point @Emma "avg. working hours per day" the whole notion of programmers working "incredibly long hours" (the sort of "geeky" era) is long gone. It is seen as "bad" if you work more than a normal (or indeed short) day. You're a "bad programmer" if you work long hours; you're an unprofessional hacky cowgirl. If a company went for the "long hours" approach like decade ago, it would just signal they are completely incompetent, do not have modern architecture and systems, and have useless "hacker" staff. That era is long gone. Programming has a "scientific" or "corporate" look now. – Fattie Jan 23 at 19:04

The answer is simply "No", you might as well ask

  • "Is it better to live in Hollywood or Ohio if I am in the film industry"


  • "Is it better to live in Wall St or Maine if I am in the financial industry"


  • "Is it better to live in Nevada or Colorado if I make gambling equipment"

Do note though that these days, there is no reason to not work "remotely". NY is a shithole, it was cool in the 70s maybe. It is as exciting as living in a downmarket mall. California is a huge and varied state but it would be utterly pointless to live in one of the hyper-high rent areas.

What possible reason would one have to not work remote?

(Indeed at first I assumed the question meant "work for" a Cali/EastCoast company, while of course living anywhere you want, Sudan, Tennessee, Belgium, whatever.)

  • 3
    100% agree. I've worked in both SF and NYC, and hands down in SF you meet more people in your industry, and find more places to talk shop, than NYC. NYC is great if you are in IB or finance generally. Working in IT in banking in NYC is not cool though - you're not a revenue maker, you're an ops person. – bharal Jan 23 at 18:59
  • indeed, you've hit the nail on the head @bharal – Fattie Jan 23 at 19:05
  • Thanks Fattie@ for the answer and bharal@ for sharing the opinion. What you wrote are exactly what I'd like to know. And I agree working remotely is definitely the best choice. But not all employer offers such opportunities. – Emma Jan 24 at 1:39

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