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Hi, first time poster here.

Moving: Why, Where, How

Later in May I plan to move to San Francisco for a change in community and job opportunity. I’ve lived in the same area my whole life, and worked only in the family labor business. That occupation has never felt right to me, and I feel the need for a fresh start elsewhere. This country boy (so wrong, but technically true) would appreciate some sincere advice about preparation and the challenges ahead.

My Quick Thoughts

I have no vehicle, and the cheapest flight or train appear to be about the same cost. Baggage changes that. I have just over 150 lbs of things (mostly small) that I wish to bring, but some could be sent separately, or sold. I believe I have just enough money to get myself started, but even my realistic view of costs in SF maybe short-sighted. Even if my funds would allow it, I don’t think I’ll be picky about a cheap place to live (rent). CA/SF laws I should read up on, especially relating to new residents/movers/renters?

Since I don’t plan on continuing my trade, I’m realistic that any stable job is a blessing. The main reason I’ve chosen SF is for the opportunity to work in the tech industry, more specifically for my passion, video games. Getting there? Exciting and nerve racking. How would I go about securing a job in the area, being ¾ a country away with my limited professional skills (grad HS, some college)?

Something I wouldn’t know otherwise how to find out about: Programs or non-profits in the area to help people new (or not) get on their feet? I don’t know what I’m asking because I’ve never really had to ask for help before, but I think this is a good reason to start.

Thanks for listening, and please leave a comment if you can. I don't mind if you're brutally honest!
-Matt
 

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Can you work online in your preferred field and/or further your education before making the move? IOW, keep your day job you have now till you're really in a position to move and not live in poverty in one of the most expensive cities in the US. Take online classes in your free time to prepare for the competition you'll face from people with more experience and education than you have now.

You can rent a car to get where you're going and bring your stuff, maybe. I don't know how that would compare to flying somewhere and then shipping things.

If you haven't, look at some rentals online and be sure to check the Google street view to get a better idea what type of neighborhoods you can afford to live in there. Then check for crime stats in that area.

Don't forget about first month's rent, last month's rent, and security deposit when you're figuring your costs. And realize everything is going to cost more than you think, so be sure you have a slush fund for things you don't think of or don't realize you'll need.
 

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I used to live in CA and worked a couple of decades in the high-tech / electronics industry. Hubby still does. We purposely left CA because it is so expensive.

A few thoughts in no particular order:
~ A good way (practically the only way) to get a job is through a temp agency. Almost no one hires directly anymore. As a matter of fact, many companies will list openings then when they hire you they insist that you work through a temp agency for the first 6 months first, then you get hired by the company and go through a 90-day probation period.
~ If you're on unemployment now, talk to your unemployment office in your state to see about getting your benefits transferred to a new state. The same applies to any other benefits such as food stamps that you might be receiving.
~ Moving across country is expensive. Trust me, we just moved from the Pacific Northwest to the Southeast and it wasn't cheap no matter how much we downsized.
~ I can't imagine living in CA - and especially looking for a job there - without a car. Public transportation is not really that good. You could get easily knocked out of lots of job opportunities by not having a car.
~ Unemployment is still high in CA. If you try to get into high tech without a college degree and virtually no experience, you'll be competing against tons of people with degrees (some advanced degrees) and lots of experience.
~ San Francisco really isn't the place for video game programming. Seattle is the first place that comes to mind. And San Francisco really isn't "Silicon Valley" - Santa Clara County (San Jose, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Milpitas and all up the east bay) is the place. Again, you'll need a car. Commutes are regularly 60 minutes or more.
~ "Cheap housing" may be less liveable than you imagine. We're talking about gangs, gun fights, vandalism, theft, cockroaches and so much you can't imagine. You'd be lucky to pay $700 a month to rent a bedroom in a bad neighborhood - with a shared bathroom and no kitchen privileges. Utilities are extra. An apartment by yourself? Expect to pay around $2000 a month - plus first, last and a security deposit that can be up to and equal to one month in rent.
~ Programs? There are a few but none that come to mind immediately. And remember, you're competing with people who have been living in the state for a while. Money in these programs runs out quickly. Most likely you'd just be told to "go home".
~ Probably the best way to move to California (if CA is the goal, no matter exactly where) is as a student. CA has an awesome community college (2 year) and state college/university system. Out of state tuition will be much higher but there are grant programs and loans. You could look into getting a high-tech certificate through a state school (DO NOT use a private school of any kind - No Phoenix University or DeVry) which might give you access to more services than if you just move out there alone with nothing.

Keep in mind that you're setting yourself up for a lot of stress in an already stressful time in your life. Being unemployed and making a long distance move alone to an area where you haven't been before and know no one is a HUGE. It becomes less of an adventure and more of a battle for survival really quickly. Instead, I recommend that you try to land a job in a slightly larger community near where you already live. Once you establish yourself in a job away from the family business, take a few night classes in an area that interests you, and get used to living on your own, then travel to the area where you want to make a move. Develop connections in that area and get to know the place better. Once you feel confident about the relocation - and maybe even line up a job there - then move.
 

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I think Cookie paints a realistic picture. Research more, visit the area specifically to check out jobs and housing THEN line those things up to be in place before you move. Compare the options in SF to Seattle or other areas where the industry has hot spots. You may decide to plan stepping stones as you grow and flourish in your career that will afford you better skill development and opportunities.
 

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San Francisco really isn't the place for video game programming. Seattle is the first place that comes to mind. And San Francisco really isn't "Silicon Valley" - Santa Clara County (San Jose, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Milpitas and all up the east bay) is the place. Again, you'll need a car. Commutes are regularly 60 minutes or more.
CookieLee gave really good advice, but I just want to highlight this one part. All other considerations aside, SF-proper (where you can get by just fine without a car) isn't the place to move to to get this kind of job. There are many more tech-industry jobs in the South Bay (where you simply cannot get by without a car). Both SF itself, and the South Bay have extremely high costs of living.

The tech industry is flourishing here, and companies are hiring, but they are hiring from a very large pool of experienced and educated people. The competition for jobs is fierce.

None of this means that it isn't possible to do what you are planning, but it will be very, very difficult.

Kara
 

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This sounds like a recipe for disaster. Move to an extremely expensive area with little education and no experience and expect to get a high tech job??? Really?
 

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with only 'some college' you might have a difficult time competing with college educated people who are competing for jobs as well.

Unless you have an endless pool of money to draw from - moving to SF is probably not a good idea. Unless you want to work as a bus boy. or waiter while you complete your education. Most people in large cities (at least where I'm from) have a college/technical education in the computer fields.
 

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They won't give your resume a second glance without a degree in game programming, and those jobs are crazy hard to get even if you have a degree. My brother has been programming professionally with major companies for years, and game companies won't hire him because he doesn't have a degree specifically for game programming. I would keep your job and get a programming degree online, if you could.

And I agree with everyone else, SF is crazy expensive. There are no 'cheap' places to live, really. I grew up in the Bay Area.

Somewhere like Raleigh-Durham is a big tech area, and much cheaper to live and get jobs. But jobs are pretty scarce everywhere, even if you have all the degrees and certifications.
 

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i still say go for it....follow your dream...get a restuarant job of some sort and live your dream out....ya only live once! dont let anyone get you down...do what is best for you....

sorry fellow fv/ers...i just think everyone should give stuff a try...one can never know unless they try....and try again..and maybe again...it will hopefully work out fabulously...one can never say unless they have stood up to bat...always step up to that plate....it may just be that homerun.
 

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I was just hearing on the news tonight that some software companies are moving out of CA to Detroit. Sounds like some research might be in order.
 

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sorry fellow fv/ers...i just think everyone should give stuff a try...one can never know unless they try....and try again..and maybe again...it will hopefully work out fabulously...one can never say unless they have stood up to bat...always step up to that plate....it may just be that homerun.
I've stood up to that bat many times, as I'm sure others in this thread have. Without preparation, I failed. Not only that, but those failures are extremely painful and generally set me back a lot more time and money than it would have cost me to take the hard route the first time. I only succeeded when I put in the work ahead of time to make it possible. Those I know that "made it" too fast didn't appreciate it, or couldn't hack it for long. Baseball players don't "step up to the plate" on the big field without years of practice and playing on the smaller fields.

There's nothing wrong with waiting a couple years while going to school. Get that training that makes employers want to fight over you. Master your craft. If anything, it shows you had the perseverance and love for the profession. I went to school online for my master's, while working full-time, and it was the best thing I ever did. It wasn't really that hard or expensive, either.

In programming, I would also recommend starting portfolio projects, something you can show to employers, like apps, web-based games, software, etc. Even with that, programming and design jobs are really hard to find, and very competitive. Many times they will pick people who have done cool stuff already.

Practically, I wouldn't recommend Devry, they really screwed over a lot of people I know. I went to Western Governor's, not in CIS, but I know they have it. It was cheap and I was very impressed. State colleges are probably going to be cheaper as well.
 

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Welcome to California. San Francisco is a great opportunity to live. Rent is very expensive. I'm not sure about job opportunity, but look maybe before you move. San Jose or Mt. View is your best bet because Intel, Google, Oracle and many more are in this area. My son works at Intel and makes good money, but his rent is $700 a month for a little room and not much house privilege. I don't know if they are all like this or not. Well, good luck in what ever you set out to do.
 
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