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Archive: March - 2014 (3)

  • Where to Live in Silicon Valley’s Booming Tech Market

    Article by Scott Purcell, Dan Urbaniack and Jason Cooper, Division Manager and Practice Managers in Jobspring Silicon Valley

    If you were to ask the average American what they picture when they hear Silicon Valley, they’d probably say the big names like Google in Mountain View, Apple in Cupertino, and the Stanford/Palo Alto lifestyle they saw in The Social Network.  While these may be the landmarks people outside of California have come to know as the epicenter of technology, Silicon Valley has become a sprawling and growing landscape represented across the bay area. With Google and Apple buying up office space left and right in their respective cities, and companies like Palantir seemingly doing the same in Palo Alto, tech startups are often forced to find other cities to call home. 

    But let’s say you want to move to the Silicon Valley; where do you start? Which areas were popular in the past and where is it hot spot now? Where will you be most profitable? Where are the startups and the big name companies located? Being in the tech recruiting space, we have all had ample experience in this market. Hopefully, with our knowledge, you’ll be able to find your perfect location to get the most out of Silicon Valley.

    Many people consider the Silicon Valley to be the technologically-savvy region ranging from San Mateo, California to San Jose. As Scott stated in a previous post, the area is booming and salaries are higher than ever. However, there is a serious concern throughout the Valley-- where do people live? How does anyone outside of the top dog execs or the plain lucky afford to live a comfortable life when an average one bedroom apartment goes for $2,100 a month?  Where do the folks working the lower-salary tech jobs go?

    Since the recession in 2010 things have slowly begun to change. A blazing hot startup and IPO market pushed salaries to record level highs, and with that market, housing prices have also risen. It has become incredibly difficult to purchase a home in the region. The local real estate market is selling faster than ever, thus driving rental prices higher and making it difficult for those not making the top bucks to live comfortably within their means.

    Surprisingly, Downtown San Jose housing seems to be plateauing at a reasonable price through this real estate resurgence. There are multiple new apartments, offices, and entertainment spaces being built in the area, and there seems to be a lot of room to expand; which begs the question, how will all of this growth affect the cost of living and the economy of the region as a whole?

    The Palo Alto area has had the largest growth in the Bay Area between the Summer of 2012 to Summer of 2013; while over the last three years, Santa Clara County has become the second fastest-growing county in California. One of the major reasons for the rapid population growth is the above average regional job growth.

    Let’s look at some of the local players within 5 miles of Palo Alto:

    1. Apple, located in Cupertino: whose stock over the last three years has grown from $422/share to $580/share, while hitting a high of +$700/share during that time period
    2. Google, Mountain View: 2010 – $610/share, 2013 - $1105/share (high-water mark)
    3. Tesla, Palo Alto: 2010 - $22/share, 2013 -$150/share, with a high +/- $200/share  
    4. HortonWorks, Palo Alto: Founded in 2011 and still pre-IPO has received almost $100 million in funding.

    So why are those numbers so important? They are directly correlated with opportunity. The common dominator for the candidates that we speak to everyday are: stability, cutting-edge technology, and an opportunity for growth. Silicon Valley is the 21st century’s American Dream- the combination of professional growth, premier technology companies, mild winters and gorgeous summers makes the region, and specifically Palo Alto, an ideal place to begin or jump start your career. Not to mention salaries that are reminiscent of the “.Com Era”.

    However, this rapid expansion has created a predictable but not-so-easy to solve problem: where can we put everyone? Forget about office space or commercial real estate issues for a minute and let’s just look at living situations. On November 5th, the voters of Palo Alto overturned a council approval for the development of 60 apartments and 12 single-family homes. The approved plan allowed housing developers to exceed zoning regulations for public benefit. The constituents of Palo Alto don’t see it this way. They think the area is overpopulated, extremely dense, and parking is a nightmare. Check out this quote from a commenter on a recent article about Measure D, the aforementioned Palo Alto proposal-

    “The damage is done and maneuvering downtown with wall-to-wall people and cars is disgusting. I’m so disappointed in this city and walk around frustrated every day I walk out my front door. I can’t drive down my street to get to my house between 3pm – 6pm, we can’t park in front of our house because all of the downtown employees, I sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic, and riding our bikes through all of this traffic is getting more dangerous…

    -Downtown Palo Alto Resident - Link

    The Peninsula has become an attractive place to set up shop. Available homes and office spaces in areas like Redwood City, San Mateo, Belmont, and San Bruno are popular choices. The rent in this region of the Bay Area is comparable and cheaper than many of the other surrounding areas. It’s no secret that there is a shortage of qualified engineering talent out there. By living in the Peninsula, more transportation options, including public, becomes a possibility. The location is fairly central to people commuting from all directions.  For example, the growing populace of tech work in Redwood City and San Francisco is just a short Cal-Train ride away. Want to go south? Taking the 280 to San Mateo or San Jose is a much more attractive option to avoid the bumper-to-bumper traffic found on one the most highly congested freeways in America.

    For many of the same reasons, in addition to the number of bridges, certain cities in the east bay, like Fremont, are also becoming more popular. Granted, Palo Alto does have a certain associated appeal, but there are many so many advantages to moving 7-10 miles up the Peninsula that they just cannot be ignored.

     

    Which Bay Area location sparked your interest? Did you find any insight to the area where you already live? Leave your comments and questions below!

  • The Orange County Vibe

    Article by Brian Moriarty, Practice Manager of Jobspring Orange County.

    Hello Everyone! Let me first introduce myself. My name is Brian Moriarty and I am one of the Practice Managers over at Jobspring Partners in Newport Beach. I recently boxed up my life in New York City and made the move out west to beautiful, sunny SoCal. A world filled with fish tacos and newly waxed surf boards that are covered in trendy decals that usually read, “Dude, where’s my wave?” Orange County certainly lends itself to a life unlike any other! However, a world lies beneath the paradise that is often overlooked.

    The technology community in Orange County has been overshadowed by the start-up centric cities of Los Angeles and San Diego. These cities are running rampant with companies utilizing Python, Ruby, and of course the ever popular Node.js, all trying to climb to the top. Perhaps the dog-friendly office policies almost make up for the sleepless nights. Most of them are backed by a VC or some investor that is looking to get a significant return in three to five years. All of that just seems tiresome and stressful! Alternatively, the culture in Orange County is a little less cavalier and much more established.

    The OC vibe is defined by a growing, hungry community of technical professionals who are mostly just looking for a good topic to spitball. The area is dominated by well-established software corporations and enterprise companies that have been rooted here for years. Companies such an Amazon, Google, Oracle, Broadcom, Tyco, and SONY are just the few that decorate the skyline (which is not that high!) Many engineers in these offices have been architecting solutions for decades and have a deep understanding of technology that exceeds most. Now, I’m not claiming these companies in OC have a bunch of engineers rolling around on wheelchairs, but I would certainly label them as wise. The definition of wise is having the ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting. I figured I would throw that in there for the journalism majors and to make my blog post seem smarter.

    To be clear, the war for talent is certainly no less competitive than anywhere else in the country, but some things are more important in OC. For example, benefits play a major factor in people considering changing employers. When I was in NYC, cash was king, but out here it’s who has the best 401k. The idea of equity, which has essentially become meaningless unless it’s a significant number, is nonexistent in Orange County. There are “startups” in the area but they are well known among everyone. The open source world just does not rule this land. A good amount of companies in Orange County are using Java and .Net for their backend language and thus having the most difficultly finding top talent. In addition, there is a large population of embedded engineers because of the vast amount of medical device and semiconductor companies.

    The companies in Orange County have been setting the precedent for technology for years and will continue to do so. It is a wonderful place to find a good, stable, and long-lasting career. There is more emphasis on the work-life balance, but definitely a higher level of innovation occurring than in some other cities. It’s a diverse tech culture that puts an emphasis on the career rather than intriguing projects. Orange County has more to offer for the tech world than just a good tan and automobile eye candy. Are you thinking about moving yet?

    For more information or interest in getting involved in the tech community, please check out my Meetup Tech in Motion: OC!

  • The Issue with COBOL

    Article by Casey Popkins and Matt Sottile, recruiters in Jobspring Boston 

    In the world of startups and software engineering, there are a slew of programing languages to choose from for cool, new software. How many IT pros are choosing COBOL? Better yet, how many of them have ever even seen COBOL?

    COBOL, which was developed in 1959, is an acronym for Common Business-Oriented Language, defining its primary domain in business, finance, and administrative systems for companies and governments. This language is still responsible for more than 70 percent of the world’s business transactions, according to a report in FCW, despite the growing prevalence of modern programming languages such as C++, .NET and Java. If the rest of the world is adopting newer languages, why is COBOL still hanging around?

    With new and more exciting ways to control and understand finances, one would assume that the language would evolve just as greatly as the technologies that are being used today. There is of course the concern of safety-- despite the defects that occur in the older code, it actually performs faster and is more secure compared to the other modern languages, such as Java. The growing concern however, is that the language is just not as popular, and as a result, only 20% of schools are requiring this language for their degree. While one would assume that with lack of developers for the code, there would eventually be a necessity to evolve with those who are in the field, instead, there is a concern for how these companies will be run without having the knowledge of this seemingly “uncool” language.

    In our opinion, the biggest issue with COBOL is that the newest generation of software engineers are taught to be sponges and pushed to learn as much new technology as possible. It is less about what one person can do with one language and more about knowing as many languages as possible to figure out which will be best in a given situation. Languages are built upon languages and grouped into libraries or frameworks, so that engineers can quickly utilize a function without having to rewrite multiple lines of code. COBOL is not a language that is conducive to such functionality, compared to something like JavaScript.

    The shortage of developers without the knowledge of this code could affect many companies, the US government being one of the biggest examples. The coming shortage of COBOL programmers will affect the government’s legacy IT systems and core databases, which suck up approximately 70 percent of the government’s $82 billion IT budget, leaving only 30 percent to spend on innovative technologies.

    So what does the future hold for COBOL? Well, at the moment, it could be sticking around for some time. As agencies begin to try to modernize their IT systems, the decision to keep or repurpose the code can be a difficult one to make. The longer organizations continue to use COBOL it becomes harder and more costly to switch to a modern language.

    There could possibly be incentives given to colleges to reintroduce more COBOL training to their students in order to prepare the workforce that we’ll need. COBOL is like Latin, it provides the building blocks for the “newer” romance languages, and we know there are better ways to communicate. What COBOL-reliant companies will do to continue to find solid engineers remains a mystery. One thing this does accomplish is ensure that anyone using COBOL will more than likely have a job in that “niche” market for years to come.

    The question that remains about this code and other older codes, is at what point does a system become outdated? Is it possible to create something that is timeless, or is it better to keep changing along with the newer, more innovative technologies that are being created every day? 

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