Let's talk about being an analog engineer in America. And by analog engineer, I refer to circuit design engineer, IC design engineer, or perhaps applications engineer. For circuit design engineer, of course there are a lot of sub-categories: could be a power supply engineer, bio-medical engineer, mixed signal processing engineer… You know who you are.
Assuming you're looking around for either a better job or perhaps simply any job, you probably think, “I should move to Silicon Valley” or “I should move to Austin/Dallas.” I have some experience that may help guide you in this regard.
In both my last job and this one, I got to visit the Silicon Valley regularly. It is a peculiar area. The Valley itself feels rather like a hybrid of a giant strip mall combined with a giant office complex. It doesn't give off much of a home vibe. The weather, of course, is delightful, and taking a trip to nearby San Francisco is also a delight that should not be missed.
However, if you actually wanted to live out there, you probably couldn't afford it. Unless your idea of suitable accommodations includes living in a cardboard box under a bridge.
I've been to Austin several times. Housing there is a bit more affordable, although that's changing quickly. And it's a treat to be there from October to April. The other half of a year, you pretty much have to stay inside. And don't expect to water your lawn or wash your car — water availability is sort of iffy. (And if you venture outside of Austin, you'll find that Texas suffers from another problem: Texans!)
All this analysis caused me to look around elsewhere at the job market. Naturally, I looked at the area in which I live, which is Northeast Ohio. All this was done purely as an intellectual exercise. It does seem the area surrounding Cleveland is a decent place to live — housing costs are a bargain, water is never a problem with Lake Erie nearby, there's always stuff to do whether it's art, music, biking, skiing, restaurants… And the job scene looks decent, especially if you happen to be a biomedical engineer or in a related design field.
But, I figured I'd keep all this to myself. I was obviously biased, having lived here for a number of years. But then last month, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but an article in Slate titled “Move Silicon Valley to Cleveland” by Matthew Yglesias.
He makes some good points about the economics related to a city and its population. He considers living around San Francisco and about tech companies drawing from a pool of skilled workers. On that basis, Cleveland should look pretty good to companies wanting to move their headquarters here.
Yglesias had some additional thoughts on the matter. If you want to see how he came up with his choice of Cleveland, read “Some Further Thoughts on Moving Silicon Valley to Cleveland.”
You've probably considered changing jobs. For whom would you want to work? Where would you want to live if money were no object? Now, where, if money actually did matter? And what do you think of making Cleveland a high-tech center?