Silicon Valley Jobs

anonymous asked:

I have to apologize for another "job in the industry" question. I've been in the tech industry for about a decade though my focus is on distributed systems and security (crypto). I have a stable and well paid Silicon Valley job but it's not in the game industry. If I were to ask you if I should try for a game dev job what reasons would you give me for absolutely NOT working in the game dev? And is there a reason to join other than the love of games?

Why shouldn’t you work in the gaming industry? There are plenty of reasons.

1. You get paid much less than other industries

Part of the problem of a “cool” job is that developers (especially engineers) get paid a lot less than another software engineer of equivalent experience doing enterprise software. There’s one engineer I know who left my dev team to work on casino games and his salary was practically tripled. This isn’t a problem for most fresh-faced bushy-tailed newcomers to the industry, but if you’ve already got things like a mortgage, a family, and commitments, this might not be the career for you.

2. You may have to work a lot of hours

Crunch is very real. Due to the waxing and waning need of people for AAA development specifically, there will be times where you spend 10, 12, or even more hours at the office each day. Working weekends will be expected. Again, not a huge problem for newcomers, but very taxing on those with families and friends. After crunching for months on a project and finally shipping it, I once had to relearn how to cook for myself since I hadn’t done so for so long.

3. Volatility sucks

Most studios don’t plan more than a couple of years out at a time. Layoffs could hit after any project, even if the project does well.  There will always be a new project spinning up, and another one crashing and burning. As such, you may need to be on the lookout for a new job or a new opportunity. I was very recently updating my resume and I realized that I’ve shipped ten games with nearly as many studios. This is a bit above the norm, but really not as far removed as it should be. There are some industries and employers where you can plan to work for your employer until retirement. Video games is generally not one of those.

4. You won’t get to work on your own ideas for years unless you go indie

Unless you somehow climb the ranks at a meteoric pace, you probably won’t get the opportunity to write your own ticket for years. Any game developer needs to spend years earning experience, proving competence, and increasing the scope of his or her responsibilities. Only a very exclusive number of developers will ever be able to make his or her own ideas a reality. Most of the time, it’s being assigned tasks by the producers and doing them. Unless you decide to give up AAA development and work on an indie title, you’ll be working for them for years.

5. Somebody will always hate what you do

Games are public-facing. No matter what game it is or how good it is, there’s going to be a very loud group of people that will hate it. They will happily let you know as well - any decision you make to improve the game will be second-guessed and dismissed into oblivion. And they will park themselves firmly in your game’s official social media channels and continue to shout at you for as long as the game continues to be maintained. 99% of the time, they won’t know anything about the actual circumstances of things, but that won’t matter to them. Not that you’re allowed to talk to them anyway.

There’s a lot of practical reasons why someone wouldn’t want to work in games. It’s a nice idea, but reality is a harsh mistress. For many, the lower pay and the regular crunch are the primary factors in leaving the industry. It definitely takes a lot of dedication and passion to stay with game development as a career. There’s always a lot of people who want to get in, but the intersection of both passion and competence is not a very big number. Of those who might fit, the above reasons tend to drive many of them out as well. Game development is often thankless and draining. It certainly isn’t for everyone.

Every night for the past year or so, Adriana and Omar Chavez have slept in an RV parked in East Palo Alto, a downtrodden community in Silicon Valley.

On a recent morning before sunrise, they emerged on to the empty street. Omar showed his phone to his wife: 7.07am. “Shall I wake up the girls?” he said, his breath visible in the freezing air.

He headed inside to rouse their three daughters, huddled together in the low-ceilinged bed just above the driver’s cab, and ready them for school.

In most places, the Chavez family would be an exception. But in the school district that includes East Palo Alto, located amid the extraordinary wealth generated by the tech industry, their plight is not uncommon.

Remarkably, slightly more than one-third of students – or 1,147 children – are defined as homeless here, mostly sharing homes with other families because their parents cannot afford one of their own, and also living in RVs and shelters. The district is being squeezed from every side: teachers, administrative staff and even principals have housing woes of their own.


The Best Big Cities For Jobs 2015

Topping our annual ranking of the best big cities for jobs are the main metro areas of Silicon Valley: the San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco Metropolitan Division, followed by San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, swapping their positions from last year.

I know this is off topic, but yesterday me and the kiddo went to see Spider Man, and the character of Iron Man or Tony Stark or whatever is super interesting to me. The first Iron Man movie came out in 2008, obviously the idea of a weapons supplier war profiteer turning into a tech-savvy philanthropist (who still solves problems through violence) appeals to our “progressive” society. But he is meant to be a cool, sexy Steve Jobs right? Bill Gates a little in there too? All these tech celebrities that came before 2008 - he is their hollywood avatar, with bonus super powers.

Post-2008, the tech industry continues to boom. iphones come out, and silicon valley thrives. Thrives so much in fact - and in california where everyone knows we’re progressive as hell - that other tech guys emerge into a pseudocelebrity status. Mark Zuckerburg, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, etc - all these moguls (some more tech than others) maintain this Tony Stark air about them. This tech-is-saving-the-world kinda aura. People are citing these evil men as some kind of noble philosopher king class that will lead us all into a techtopia we’ve only ever dreamed of.

And I guess I can’t help but wonder if the iron man franchise didn’t do anything to help paint this picture. this superhero saving the world and being cute and quipy while he does so - did this kind of propaganda blind us to the evils that the tech industry and silicon valley in general perpetuate?

Are you ready to upgrade your old, outmoded Pearl? Palo Alto Peridot is here!

She isn’t dug out of gross rocks or clams or whatever. She’s 3D printed.


The Highest-Paying Cities For Tech Jobs

Silicon Valley is on top yet again. For 10 years Dice, a 24-year-old site that specializes in technology jobs, has rated the metro area that stretches from San Jose to San Francisco as the top-paying spot in the country for tech jobs. The average salary: $112,600, up 3.7% from the year before. That’s some $23,000 more than the nationwide average of $89,450. Across the country, tech salaries are up 2% over the previous year.

See our slideshow for the top ten cities with the highest salaries.

“One of the things we biographers realize is that we distort history a little bit. We make it sound like there’s some great individual in a garage or a garret who has a light-bulb moment and all of a sudden innovation happens. But when you look at innovation, especially in this day and age, it happens in teams — creativity is a collaborative effort in the digital age. I wanted to get away from writing about the singular individual.”

- Walter Isaacson

Isaacson is the author of the 2011 Steve Jobs biography. His new book is The Innovators:  How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution

He joined Fresh Air to tell us how a 19th century English countess, women mathematicians and programmers of the 1930s and some Silicon Valley hippies changed our world. 

Read more / listen: How The Cold War And George Orwell Helped Make The Internet What It Is

Photo: “U.S. Army Photo”, number 163-12-62. Left: Patsy Simmers, holding ENIAC board. Next: Mrs. Gail Taylor, holding EDVAC board. Next: Mrs. Milly Beck, holding ORDVAC board. Right: Mrs. Norma Stec, holding BRLESC-I board.


The Beginning of the End of Government Suits?

Despite my advice in yesterday’s post, sometimes you can wear whatever the hell you want to a job interview. Wired calls attention to a the White House’s attempt to recruit IT talent to its new U.S. Digital Service—a project led by ex-Google engineer Mikey Dickerson. A point this video returns to over and over is the government’s accommodation of coders’ traditionally lax dress code: Dickerson seems to favor nondescript, untucked cotton button downs and khakis, while most of the President’s men are all suit all the time. In one segment Dickerson is wearing a jacket and tie—he jokes that it’s only because the President is in the room; Dickerson’s dress shirt appears to be made of denim.

The often-stereotyped uniform of the computer programmer/IT guy/coder is really the politician’s “can’t look like I care too much” uniform taken a step further: politicians won’t wear clothes that might be perceived as flashy because they could signify vanity, conspicuous wealth, or a lack of seriousness. They want you to know they have more important things to worry about. The Silicon Valley aesthetic’s rejection of, uh, aesthetics is more about, as Jesse put it, creating the facade of meritocracy: “Whoever hacks best wins.” Politicians want the approval of everyone, or at least 51% of everyone, and enough people still believe that SERIOUS BUSINESS requires a suit and tie to justify them. Tech guys’ attitude is a rejection of needing any approval at all. “This is what I feel like wearing. You need me. Take it or leave it.”

The implication of the video is great: that the government is worried its missing the opportunity to hire the best people for the job because those people wouldn’t even consider taking a job where they’d have to wear a suit.