The tech job market can vary quite a bit from city to city. If you're mobile and open to relocating to another area of the country, you're also open to more opportunities to advance your management career.
According to a study by LinkedIn and Zillow, Seattle, Austin, and Pittsburgh are good value cities because lower housing costs allow tech workers to make — and save— the most money. When pure earning potential was considered, the San Francisco Bay area, Seattle, and Boston were ranked highest in a 2017 Paysa study.
In terms of job satisfaction, CIOs ranked Miami, Boston and Des Moines, Iowa highly, according to a survey done by Robert Half Technology. Women in tech ranked Washington DC, Kansas City, and Baltimore as the best cities for job satisfaction in a SmartAsset survey.
As always, there are more factors to consider when relocating. Here are six other tips:
1. Research the company and the new area you're considering
This one is pretty obvious, but during this process, you should keep in mind that you are researching your ability to be happy in a new area, as well as a new company. Some of the area characteristics to look at are climate, the cost of housing, the quality of education and healthcare (especially if you have a family), and what the area offers in the form of activities that you enjoy doing, like sports and the arts.
2. Check in with your spouse or significant other
Often, dual careers must be considered. What if one of you gets a job in the new location, but the other one doesn't, or can't move right away? This happened to our family, and my husband and I ended up living in different places for six months while we wrapped up affairs in the old location. It wasn't easy, but we were committed and we made the transition.
3. Get your employment offer in writing
It would seem that getting your job offer in writing is a no-brainer, but I recently counseled a new manager who was ready to jump on board with a new company and quit his old company without a formal, written offer in hand. He was afraid he would alienate the new company if he insisted on a written offer (apparently, the new company was backed up in its HR paperwork). I advised him to insist on a formal written offer, and he eventually received it from the new company. If you are moving across country to a new organization, you want every detail of your new offer spelled out in writing before you serve notice to the employer you are are leaving.
4. Make sure your new company covers relocation costs
Relocation is expensive. Any relocation package offered by a company should cover the moving of your belongings, and also temporary lodging in the new locale until you can find a place. Relo services might also include realtors who help you house hunt. If a company isn't willing to extend to you a reasonable relocation package that meets your family's needs, pass on it.
5. Take time to tour the new area you are considering
Before you accept an offer, ask the new company to bring you out a second time to meet your staff, your peers in the organization, and also to give you and your family a little time to tour the area you will move to. If you are a manager they really want onboard, the company will do this. Before I relocated to a new management job, I spent one day at the target company meeting with persons who would be my peers and staff. I spent a second and third day touring the area and looking at real estate to get a better sense of the community. I never came across a company that wasn't willing to afford me this extra trip before I accepted an offer. They also invited my family. Everyone wanted to make sure that the new arrangement would be a good fit.
6. Don't cut the strings to your old company too soon
Never give notice to your old employer until you have a written offer and have had a chance (with your family) to evaluate the new area you are moving to. Then when you do cut the strings, do it in the right way. Managers on delicate projects and in highly responsible positions don't just give two weeks notice. They typically give the employers they are leaving three to four weeks notice so they can effect an orderly transition of work and staff.
- Why Facebook could be where you find your next tech job (TechRepublic)
- Google for Jobs is ready to get you hired (TechRepublic)
- Charlotte, Atlanta top list of 10 cities where tech salaries go the furthest (TechRepublic)
- 10 tips to help new IT leaders to hit the ground running (TechRepublic)
Mary E. Shacklett is president of Transworld Data, a technology research and market development firm. Prior to founding the company, Mary was Senior Vice President of Marketing and Technology at TCCU, Inc., a financial services firm; Vice President of Product Research and Software Development for Summit Information Systems, a computer software company; and Vice President of Strategic Planning and Technology at FSI International, a multinational manufacturing company in the semiconductor industry. Mary is a keynote speaker and has more than 1,000 articles, research studies, and technology publications in print.