Average programmer salary in California

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by fernandovalente, Oct 16, 2010.

  1. fernandovalente macrumors 6502

    fernandovalente

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    Third world **** hole, I mean, Brazil
    #1
    Hey,

    I'm a Mac, iOS and web developer and I got plans to move to California. What's the average salary for this job in CA? Is it hard to a developer to get a job in CA?
     
  2. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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  3. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #3
    Are you a US citizen? If not, yes- it is relatively hard to get a job in the US.
     
  4. jknight8907 macrumors 6502a

    jknight8907

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    #5
    So, your plan is to come to a country with substantial unemployment and attempt to get a green card and find a job in a competitive technical field with no formal education in that field? Sorry to bust your bubble, but that's a pretty poor plan.
     
  5. fernandovalente thread starter macrumors 6502

    fernandovalente

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    #6
    I'd not go anywhere without getting a job first.
     
  6. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #7
    If you are good at your job, you may get a visa sponsor to hire you. Without a college degree, however, it's nearly impossible.
     
  7. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    Oct 9, 2006
    #8
    Short answer is if you can find a job the pay will be crap. No degree no job. Not US citizen no job. Most comapanies only look for non US citizen in that field if they can not find them locally and in that case they better have a degree and more than likely at least a Masters
     
  8. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    #9
    Good luck.
     
  9. leomac08 macrumors 68020

    leomac08

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    Jul 12, 2009
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    Los Angeles, CA
    #10
    As a resident of California <Los Angeles>

    Unemployment is currently around 12% and varies per county

    For instance Riverside County is a whopping 26%

    Job Hunting is competitive

    A college degree is now the equivalent of a high school degree

    An M.A or Ph.D would be ideal

    But even getting a higher degree cost money!:eek:

    Good Luck!
     
  10. Hisdem macrumors 6502a

    Hisdem

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    #11
    Did you actually expect to leave this country without even a college degree? I know it sucks here, but it will suck out there too if you can't mantain yourself. What do you do here in Brazil? Or are the apps your only income source? I doubt they are. BTW, it's also a good idea to take an english course here. Not for the sake of having a diploma, but if you're going to live in the USA and work there, correct grammar is always appreciated. (Imagine a customer reading an App of yours and he finds spelling errors :eek:)
     
  11. fernandovalente thread starter macrumors 6502

    fernandovalente

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    #12
    Apps are not my main income source. I get a lot of freelances. I hate typos, but they occur very often. I need to practice more :)
     
  12. BigQid macrumors regular

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    Feb 23, 2010
    #13
    I was hoping someone would answer the question out of sheer curiosity though.
     
  13. fcortese macrumors demi-god

    fcortese

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    Big Sky country
    #14
    And after this weekend's 60 Minutes piece, getting a job in CA may be even more of a challenge. It's a supply and demand issue, the supply of US, college or higher computer people especially in Silicon Valley seems quite high.
     
  14. 63dot macrumors 603

    63dot

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    norcal
    #15
    You have to first define what you mean by California.

    I have been in high tech for 11 years on and off, and lived here for over four times as long.

    Over here in Silicon Valley, there are many programmers with and without college degrees. High tech stars/movers/shakers here (whether born here or transplants or with a strong company presence) are mavericks and like Jobs, Woz during the Apple days, Fanning, Gates, Allen, Dell, and Ellison. These names are at the top of high tech here, but I have met many programmers who do very well (a VP at Creative, a top financial apps programmer CEO, an IBM whiz kid retired now and not yet 30, a top gaming programmer, and others) without the college degree. And then there are startup business geniuses who do it here without a degree. The first list of founders/rich people didn't have degrees when they became rich. Woz later got a degree and became a school teacher here.

    I want to tell you outside Silicon Valley, the safe plan is to have a degree in computer science and that's the hard part. The easy part is outside of our jungle here, you only need that and can be mediocre. Outsiders who did well elsewhere as programmers come here and get their butt kicked out on the next bus ticket.

    Within Silicon Valley, they only want talent (as evidenced by Apple's founders), and all the degrees in the world don't mean a thing if you are not the best of the best. Think of this as akin to American professional baseball if you are talking about being a programmer anywhere near San Jose. This is the big leagues for programmers and the rest are the minors.

    Remember that a lot of big companies here in the valley send off programming work to China and India, and within those two large countries, a US company can find many good programmers (even if those good programmers represent a small slice of China and India's population).

    When I lived outside of Silicon Valley, I met people who did better than average as programmers, but again, only had to have a degree.

    If you are not that good and only "above" average at best, then I say get that degree (or two along with certifications) and compete in an area that is not San Jose. But if you are really good, and you probably know where you stack up right now, then come here. It won't take long to find out how you rate against the competition.

    The reason college trained programmers don't fare well here (but well elsewhere) is that the world's super geeks who live and breathe programming and have logged in more hours of coding before age 14 than a master's degree holder all come to the valley. Only those who started very early and are obsessed with coding get the good jobs here doing programming.

    And in this recession, there is even more of an incentive for Silicon Valley companies to outsource to China and India.

    I don't mean to sound negative, but the good part is that the ball is in your court and San Jose is the only market I can think of where they don't care about a piece of paper on your wall, the color of your skin, your accent, or who you know. The whole world of the best geeks from every culture come here to join the insider's club that is Silicon Valley and this is what makes this otherwise boring flatland unique in the world.

    I know that while many think I am very good at "computers", and I have a couple of degrees, I have the common sense to know that some young kid who is not old enough to vote but lives on the top of the programmer's food chain as far as hours logged coding in their life, got to where he/she was because of pure talent, perspiration, skill, and often lack of a social life (the type of person 99% percent don't want to be or can't be) if we are to get work in San Jose and retain a job through all the rounds of layoffs.
     
  15. fernandovalente thread starter macrumors 6502

    fernandovalente

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    #16
    Thank you so much man! Your answer is great. I started programming when I was 12 and I'm obsessed with coding. And well, I must say I do a better job than many other guys with a college degree. So I think I have a chance. :D

    And by California, I mean San Francisco bay area, which (I think) includes San Jose. So anywhere in the Silicon Valley is fine :D
     
  16. 63dot macrumors 603

    63dot

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    norcal
    #17

    Then come over to Silicon Valley. If you want a degree and/or technical certifications after that, we have plenty of colleges and trade schools here.

    Merely good, certified, or degreed means absolutely nothing in our little universe of Silicon Valley here. The only ones who get and keep a job here in programming are those who are obsessed. No area in the world is like this area and that can either be good or bad.

    When you come here, you will be able to spot the real programmers here and who are the predatory suits (IT managers, MBAs, venture capitalists, etc) and if you are who you say you are, you will know to avoid them if you want any dialogue with the real programmers and techies here.
     
  17. fernandovalente thread starter macrumors 6502

    fernandovalente

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    #18
    I have no plans to have a college degree. I'd rather read books, pratice, watch screencasts, read documentation, talk to other programmers, ask on forums or take a class at Big Nerd Ranch :)

    In fact, I'd like to move to SF, work on a TI company, then start my own in the Silicon Valley.
     
  18. 63dot macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #19
    You have the plan that I have heard from the majority of high tech success stories in San Jose. When I was your age, a man and frequent customer named Dave came into Ace Hardware where I worked and said, "Only work for yourself, don't work for anybody else long as you are only making them money. I started my own business in a garage." His name was David Packard.

    I say keep a plan A (your plan) and a solid backup plan B (college or trade school or even a different field) and be flexible and true to yourself.

    Another rich man once told me, live your career life on three questions:

    1) Where am I now?
    2) Where do I want to be?
    3) How can I get there?
     
  19. fernandovalente thread starter macrumors 6502

    fernandovalente

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    #20
    You think just like me. And a guy I talked to few days ago who works for Tapulous told me the same thing about college degrees :)

    Thanks for the answers/advices. You really look like a nice guy :)
     
  20. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

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    Location:
    UK
    #21
    I know a few non-US citizens who have tech companies almost fighting over them, they do however all have at least computer science degrees. I imagine they'll only hire a foreign national if they have skills that are particularly difficult to obtain in the states.
     
  21. peapody macrumors 68040

    peapody

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    baltimore, md
    #22
    But I am sure that people with a college degree have more exposure to the breadth of advancements out there. That is where they would probably win over you. Haha and how do you know you do better? Very confident in that I see.....:rolleyes:
     
  22. akapaul macrumors member

    akapaul

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    Chicago, IL
    #23
    In today's times they are outsourcing everything they can, programming being in the list, since it doesn't require you to be business facing, having people skills, and you can do it from a space shuttle.
     
  23. fernandovalente thread starter macrumors 6502

    fernandovalente

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    #24
    I met many guys who have a college degree and they are worse than me at programming. And I've met guys who have a college degree who are better than me. So I'm pretty sure this "college degree" stuff doesn't mean good or bad.
     
  24. 63dot macrumors 603

    63dot

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    Jun 12, 2006
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    norcal
    #25

    I think you said it perfectly.

    Let's look at a simple statement below:

    He/she has their own business and that person has a four year business degree....

    *from that statement one can perhaps say and will likely say that, well, they have a business probably because they learned about business and how to survive from their business professors

    but then I add more information to the statement

    ...They added another business after they tacked on graduate business school...

    *from that somebody may think that the business owner expanded because they furthered their formal education

    and then I add yet more information

    ...But they had their successful business three years before they got their first degree and five years before they got their second degree and made the most money in the years before they had a degree...

    *and when you see more of the picture then it negates the college degree argument

    Anyway, this hypothetical person is me and there are many friends I have who attended college and picked up little pieces of paper and sometimes they did better financially and other times they did worse.

    Other friends of mine don't have college behind them and sometimes they fared well here and sometimes they didn't. But college was not a factor if we are talking your case of programming (and many high tech fields) and starting your own high tech business. The most successful software company near my house was founded by a gas station owner and a math teacher and they sell gas pump software.

    If college were the key, then Apple would have never started. But what was a bigger factor, especially here in tech-heavy Silicon Valley, was if a business owner offered a service or product that was appreciated. I admit we are probably very unique in the world as it relates to high-tech and looking for talent only, but that's why we are Silicon Valley and we go by our own rules and thus the young millionaires and billionaires.

    Other areas have people who get further in a company because of their education, age, and experience and the CEOs are largely older people. When I think CEO around me, it's Stanford dropout Jerry Yang, or dropout Shawn Fanning, or Jobs or Woz, or Mr. Gates. I don't know who the CEOs are of the big auto makers are or who the CEOs are of the east coast investment banks and I don't really care. Most people who live here and work around high tech are concerned about who is hiring locally and it's likely Microsoft's campus in Mountain View, Apple in Cupertino, Oracle in Redwood City, or some new startup. My first job was as a Dell warranty tech.

    From what I can see, what I am saying relates to the area you plan to move to. The others on this thread mean well but they are coming either from a different field than high tech or are not in Silicon Valley.

    Now if you were wanting to come to the US and work in Podunkville, Anywhere, USA, then I would say arm yourself with as much college as you can get before you come here. We are in a recession right now. But you mentioned the Bay Area and high tech and we are doing fine. The local news pretty much reports besides the depression favorite of alcohol sales being good, there are always positive reports in the tech sector in the valley. While we are not booming like dot.com at its height, the world's technology needs still look to San Jose and surrounding cities for answers. Just like Hollywood, Bollywood, and Toronto are big when it comes to film making, Silicon Valley is the heart of high tech.

    So while we do things differently here, and are merit based vs. being concerned about age, suits, and degrees like the rest of the country, it's an exciting but often stressful rollercoaster of a ride. Yes, you can make a lot of money, but it can be a headache, too. You sound like a rebel/pirate/maverick type of person, and that's why a person like Steve Jobs or Larry Ellison do well here. In another country or even another city, people wouldn't give them the time of day had someone that young and "inexperienced" shown their business plan to anybody. Youth and innovation rule the day here, but don't make the mistake of thinking anywhere else it the world is like my neighborhood.
     

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