Author Topic: Tech workers in the Boston area  (Read 4333 times)

littlebird

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Tech workers in the Boston area
« on: April 23, 2015, 02:05:35 PM »
My husband and I are both software developers, him with ~10 years of experience and me brand new. We're going to be making a move to the Boston area this fall, so I'm starting to look into the housing situation to figure out where we'll rent. Ideally we'll both have jobs before we decide where to rent, but just in case that doesn't happen I have a question for people who work in the area. Neither of us are really interested in working for a start up, but we're open to small companies all the way up through the tech giants. Would you say that the majority of the jobs are in the Cambridge/downtown Boston area or are there way more jobs out in the suburbs (Burlington, Lexington, etc)? I see that there's a fair number of companies in both but it's hard to get a feel for the actual hiring market from far away. I've read some articles indicating that some companies are moving to the city, do you think the suburban office parks are dieing out?

velocistar237

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Re: Tech workers in the Boston area
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2015, 06:44:23 AM »
There are some areas like Cambridge that are building out a lot, especially near MIT (e.g., Google just expanded, and there's Akamai, Microsoft, and a few others), but there's not enough space for everyone. Companies are spread out all over the place. If you don't have offers, consider that jobs will be generally more concentrated in the city.

Being in town means more expensive housing but less need for a car. You can find affordable housing, but you'll be getting a lot less space than you would further out, and the conditions might not be great. Check out these rent maps. Quite a few MMM folks live in the blue areas in Somerville and Medford. Some of the other blue areas are isolated from the rest of the city by the harbor, which can make for slow transit.

I'm not in software development, but hopefully a few others from the area will chime in.

aneel

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Re: Tech workers in the Boston area
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2015, 07:18:19 AM »
I would suggest you stay somewhere north of the Charles river.  There are many companies growing in the Cambridge area, but I also see many similar job listings in Waltham, Arlington, and Lexington.  I wish you luck in the move and the search!

mskyle

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Re: Tech workers in the Boston area
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2015, 07:48:25 AM »
Based on my vague impressions, I would say the areas with the highest densities of software/tech companies are downtown/Fort Point, Cambridge, the Waltham area, and the Burlington/Woburn area. There are also of course software jobs at non-software companies and those are even more widely distributed. There are a lot of new companies opening up in Fort Point/downtown, but there are still a lot of jobs in the suburbs. My boyfriend and I are both developers, him at a startup downtown and me at a small company in Cambridge.

I agree with aneel's recommendation for shoot for staying north of the Charles. Somerville/Medford (my territory) is a good bet - bike commuting is easy to all of Cambridge, pretty good to downtown (a bit of a stretch in winter) and even possible out to more office-park-y places like Waltham and Woburn (again, more of a stretch). Watertown is another option. Watch out for the Mystic River - it makes places like Everett and Chelsea much more inconvenient to downtown/Cambridge than you would expect them to be based on as-the-bird-flies mileage (also, they're on the tough side).

littlebird

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Re: Tech workers in the Boston area
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2015, 12:53:00 PM »
Thanks for the advice everyone! Trying to avoid long car commutes complicates this in ways that many non-Mustachians don't understand.

cynthia1848

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Re: Tech workers in the Boston area
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2015, 06:23:48 AM »
Agreed with mskyle - but be aware that if one of you works in Cambridge/downtown and the other in Waltham or Burlington, you will need a car for the person who works in the suburbs.  If you both found jobs in Ft Point then you could live in Southie.  In general, if you try to get as close to the red line as you can you will be in good shape. 

Also, be aware that there is a HUGE Sept 1 housing influx with all the students.  If you are moving in the fall, try to get in with that wave or the availability will be much less. 

Finally, watch out for Alpha Mgmt and the other landlords in this series:  http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/05/05/landlord-anwar-faisal-has-thousands-student-rentals-and-many-complaints-part-shadow-campus-globe-spotlight-investigation/6QCwDxN1WTIGI4edPOvjoN/story.html

mskyle

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Re: Tech workers in the Boston area
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2015, 01:15:28 PM »
Thanks for the advice everyone! Trying to avoid long car commutes complicates this in ways that many non-Mustachians don't understand.

I think a lot of people understand trying to avoid long car commutes in Boston, actually, just because traffic is so atrocious! It can easily take 40 minutes to go six or seven miles during rush hour. That's not on a bad day, that's just on a weekday.

littlebird

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Re: Tech workers in the Boston area
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2015, 04:12:28 PM »
I'm from the DC area where traffic also sucks big time and I know tons of people who've bought houses that sign them up for 90+ minute one-way commutes on a good day. I figured people in Boston were the same way, but I'm glad to hear that perhaps the people there are different.

vhalros

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Re: Tech workers in the Boston area
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2015, 07:03:58 PM »
Some of the companies out on 128 share a shuttle service that leaves from Alewife station; I don't know exactly which ones or how much it costs, or how convenient it is, but it might be worth looking into if one of you works out there and you want to avoid owning a car.

I live in Medford and have yet to find any reason to own one myself. As mskyle suggests, driving around here is something to be avoided as much as possible, for peace of mind if not for monetary savings.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2015, 07:13:55 PM by vhalros »

Able was I ERE

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Re: Tech workers in the Boston area
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2015, 11:15:03 PM »
Boston software developer here, with a similar amount of experience as your husband.   The market is hot here (as evidenced by my recruiter email folder), so you will probably have little trouble finding jobs.  My general impression is that the majority of the jobs are concentrated in Cambridge / Boston, but with plenty in the surrounding suburbs.  I used a recruiter for my last job search and found them helpful for finding companies in my target location that I might otherwise not have found.

The suburban office parks are not dying out.   Some people do a "reverse commute" to the suburbs by transit or bike.  For example, Burlington via Bus 350 from Alewife; Lexington/Bedford via the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway; Waltham via commuter rail or bus.  Personally, I've previously done both a suburb-to-suburb (via car or bike) and a commuter rail commute from a suburb to Downtown.   If I were to leave my comfortable suburban home and remote job and work in "Boston", I'd probably move to Somerville or Medford and commute by bike to Cambridge, or move to Jamaica Plain and commute by Orange Line or bike to Downtown/Fort Point.

To find apartments within commuting range (transit, walk, bike, etc), use Walk Score Apartments.

Happy to answer any more questions (including via PM).

littlebird

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Re: Tech workers in the Boston area
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2015, 10:33:08 AM »
Thanks Able was I ERE! I may take you up on the PM offer as we get closer to moving and things start to come together.

Mr. Frugalwoods

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Re: Tech workers in the Boston area
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2015, 02:43:43 PM »
Just chiming in as another Cambridge software developer (or these days, manager of developers).  I'd second what's already been said, though with the current job market I can't see why anyone would work in one of the 128 office parks if they didn't want to. 

The market for good developers is white-hot in Cambridge proper, so if you want to live within walking distance of where you work that shouldn't be hard.

For quality of life, good commutes, and decent-ish rents... I'd lean towards Davis Square in Somerville.  It's on the Red Line if you happen to get a job downtown, but otherwise it's an easy bike ride to all of Cambridge.  Beacon St / Hampshire St. is a engineer-cycling-highway during rush hour with everyone who lives in Somerville and works in Kendall Sq.

Don't hesitate to PM or email me with questions on the area.  I'm happy to help!