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Computer Programmers

Would you recommend working in New York or New Jersey as a Computer Programmer?

Thank you comment icon Question is a bit unclear. are you saying it as in "would you work in the greater New York City area, including parts of New Jersey, as opposed to California or somewhere else?" or are you asking "Between NYC and New Jersey, where would you work"? Fred Rosenberger
Thank you comment icon Sorry for the confusion but to clarify my question I am asking between NY and NJ where would you recommend working as a Computer Programmer? Hope
Thank you comment icon No worries. Asking a clear question is much harder than most people realize. Fred Rosenberger

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Randy’s Answer

Hi Hope,

I'm glad to see that you're interested in being a computer programmer — as a developer myself, I can say that I've had an awesome time in this role since it's full of opportunities for growth.

While I don't live on the east coast, I can help you frame your question around a few items to consider, as you search for where to work.

PROBLEMS TO SOLVE
What problems are you interested in solving, in the world? This is something to think about as you choose where to work. Are you interested in solving problems in education, healthcare, financial, sports, community, etc. Once you have an area of interest, then you can figure out which companies are directly involved solving these issues.

ORGANIZATIONS
As a programmer, I can tell you that there'll be many places for you to work — so many companies need experts that know how to build software. Still, it's always helpful to work for an organization that you're passionate about helping. We all know that some cities have more companies than others, but find the company that you care about helping... and see where they're based out of.

COST OF LIVING
Again, since I don't live in the region, I can't speak to the cost of living and salary expectations. However, this is something for you to think about as well. Do some research on software developer salaries across NJ and NY, and pair that with research on the cost of living in the cities you want to consider.

DO BOTH
Why can't you do both? Spend some time in one state for a few years, then at some point, switch to living in the other. As someone who has had years of experience in tech, I can tell you that I'm currently living in my 4th city since becoming a software developer, and it's probably not my last. Life creates opportunities and people oftentimes move, so don't limit yourself. Allow yourself to experience both options if you care to.

WORK FROM ANYWHERE
In a dream situation, maybe you can find a company large enough that has offices in both NY and NJ? That way it's up to you to work from both, depending on where you end up living. Or, even better, maybe you find a company that supports remote work and allows you to work from anywhere? That's always an interesting option for people who prefer that flexibility.

Remember, you have many choices and options when it comes to choosing where to work, and selecting the right state is just one of the factors. Give yourself permission to gravitate towards companies that work for you, that have interesting projects, and that are flexible with you. Continue to research the differences between NY and NJ.

And lastly, remember that you can shape your career — you really can. It all depends on how much you're willing to work for your goals.


Best of luck!

Thank you comment icon Thank you, I really appreciate your advice! I will most definitely look into doing some more research as my senior year in high school ends later this month. Personally, I favor possibly living in NJ but commuting to NY work as it is expensive to live in NY. However, that may or may not change but I do love the idea of flexibility. Hope
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Douglas’s Answer

The question about which is better New York or New Jersey is older than 300 years. There is no easy answer, it's a very personal decision.
Perhaps a better question is: where do you want to live, eventually? With the covid lockdowns it became very clear that programmers
could and did work offsite (from home, or anywhere with a wifi signal). For me my life and time were better spent when I worked from
home (or away from the office).

Another important question is how much money do you want to save on rent and utilities ? There can be huge differences in budget depending on where you live.
How much time do you want to spend on a commute? (if any?)

Lastly, it is not only where you work - it is who you work for and with. During an interview, ask questions about how you will fit with
the group?
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Jean Noel’s Answer

Hi Hope,

In terms of getting technology jobs, many have been told that NYC is the place to go. It now ranks high as a place for example for technology companies to set foot in. The outlook as a place to attract more and more technology companies and startups and jobs by extension is impressive. Google, Facebook, and Amazon have been opening offices here recently, startups appearing on the scene, providing more technology jobs. For my case as a New Yorker having lived here all my life, it’s been a dream place as a contractor and even a full time permanent always landing jobs as a programmer once one job ends. Living in New Jersey I can imagine one can have very limited opportunities unless one can commute well to NYC. Hope that helps.
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Ben’s Answer

Hello and good question.

I think the first thing to consider is do you live in NY or NJ and do you not mind commuting from one area to the other? Is your question pertaining to the commute or do you want to know which region has more jobs and the difference in pay? NYC generally has higher paying jobs than NJ. However, I live in NJ and would prefer to work in NJ as I always have. I know I could make more in my field if I went to work in NYC, but I always avoided it because I didn't want to do the daily commute.

NYC does currently have an abundance of tech jobs so there should be more opportunities there. if you do a google search on tech jobs in NYC you'll see various articles describing the current demand.

But as a student, I think you should probably take the first good offer you receive regardless of where it is just to get some experience. After a year or 2 in that job, you'll have more options and can be picker. Also, in todays post covid world, you may be able to work remote so you wouldn't be limited to NY or NJ so you may have more options as well.
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