Should we move to Bay/ New York from Chicago?

New / Data BdXv72
Jul 11 29 Comments

Hi all,

We are a couple working in Chicago. I’m a principal data scientist in a tech startup firm. My husband is a quant in a prop trading firm. Both of us have been working full time for 6+ years now.

As a family, we are making $400k+ total last year in Chicago. Last year is not a particular good year for my husband’s firm so his bonus was thin...

We own an downtown condo 2b2b 1400 sqft with views of sears tower and Willis tower.

However I’m not sure if we should look around for opportunities in other cities for the potential ‘career/ money upside’? If so, where should we move to? SF/ NY?

Thank you for your advice

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TOP 29 Comments
  • Apple powerlines
    So you are principal data scientist with 6 yoe?
    Ahh these startups and titles
    Jul 11 0
  • Google Blame Ruth
    Stay in Chicago and retire early. CoL in Bay Area more than makes up for the salary difference.
    Jul 11 3
    • New / Data BdXv72
      OP
      Yeah the salary diff between sf and chi , and the potential comps upside is where my head is. Too much unicorn stories
      Jul 12
    • Google / Eng L A R R Y
      Unicorns are called that for a reason. The chance that you get in one early enough for it to make a big difference is pretty small.
      Jul 12
    • New / Data BdXv72
      OP
      Haha thanks Larry. You are right. But even if you get in there early it also has to do with the ‘luck’. I am currently in a startup and one of the founding members of the team but after 1.5 years here I decided to bounce off.
      Jul 12
  • American Express vista133
    Asking strangers to guide your life decisions is weird... especially if you don't mention your goals. .maybe it's a private discussion to figure it out with man? Maybe ...
    Jul 11 0
  • Amazon / Eng
    Chai1

    Amazon Eng

    PRE
    Aon, Accenture, HCL Technologies
    BIO
    Developer
    Chai1more
    Why do you want to stay in a state which is dying
    Jul 11 4
    • New / Data BdXv72
      OP
      Yeah true and hence the question ;)
      Jul 11
    • Google Blame Ruth
      In what sense is IL dying? GDP is up over the last 5 years.
      Jul 11
    • Amazon / Eng
      Chai1

      Amazon Eng

      PRE
      Aon, Accenture, HCL Technologies
      BIO
      Developer
      Chai1more
      I was in Chicago for 10 years miss it a lot. Love the city, but other then the city, nothing much to do.
      Plus if u want to remin in tech, not much action going on. You will have to join some startup or maybe some consulting firm.
      Last imagine 30 years will it be another Detroit, will yours kids want too even stay there. Move West or even South to Texas if house matters
      Jul 11
    • New / Data BdXv72
      OP
      Thanks for reply Chai1. Im currently in a startup but nothing much is going on here as well. How much we can contribute is really like how big the pie/platform is.
      Jul 12
  • I’d stay put. I’m in Chicago and nearly in the same boat as you. That’s a comparable salary to what you’ll pull in SF with a much lower cost of living.

    The school thing does play a factor, but maybe cross that bridge when you get there.
    Jul 11 1
    • New / Data BdXv72
      OP
      Yeah. Cannot say I’m unhappy about Chicago. But it’s kinda plain... and too Caucasian centric imo.

      Also if you lived in Chicago you get it how low the living cost is. Also 10 mins walk to work... that’s hard to defeat :)
      Jul 11
  • Bloomberg FlightRisk
    Yes, Chicago sucks big time. The Midwest is a strictly fly-over zone. Two words: cold and crime. Go now.
    Jul 11 1
    • Google Blame Ruth
      Chicago is warm.

      Source: am Minnesotan
      Jul 11
  • Google 3lineguy
    Quants also transition into data science roles. I've seen a few at Google
    Jul 11 1
    • New / Data BdXv72
      OP
      What is the ds comps in google if you don’t mind to share?:)
      Jul 11
  • New / Data BdXv72
    OP
    Thanks for everyone’s insight. We are very open for moving away from Chicago, but we are not very familiar with what’s out there.

    And again, for who is skeptical about my title... titles are free, comp is real ;)
    Jul 11 1
    • Google Blame Ruth
      For a step in the other direction, consider Pittsburgh. Good tech scene lately, cost of living (especially housing) is still low, city is thriving.
      Jul 11
  • Intel gifkapa
    All of them are going to implode in the next 20 years from their debts.
    Jul 11 0
  • Cisco 7ssuucckks
    Stay put
    Jul 11 0
  • Apple / Eng Marijuana
    SF but might have to rent a year or so before you buy. Western part of the city has fairly good public schools.

    NY: same deal pretty much, Upper East Side and parts of Brooklyn have good public schools.

    Unless you plan to be definitely childfree.
    Jul 11 3
    • New / Data BdXv72
      OP
      Thanks for the response. We currently live in river north. A place where public school is basically a nightmare... we currently are child-free but plan to have in the future.

      Another question, going to sf for me is like a no-brainer; Bunch of DS jobs over there. Dunno if there are some trading firms that pay well in SF?
      Jul 11
    • Apple / Eng Marijuana
      Most big trading firms have a presence here. Also look at Voleon in Berkeley which pays very well.

      Edit: oh he's a quant. Thought he was an HFT guy. Not too sure about quant, perhaps BlackRock? Not my area of expertise.

      NYC might perhaps be a better option.
      Jul 11
    • New / Data BdXv72
      OP
      He’s a prop trading guy so you can thinking of him as a hft guy.;)
      Jul 13
  • Google / Eng L A R R Y
    I presume from your YOE that you're mid-late-20s. Do you have kids?

    If not (and if you're planning on staying child-free), do yourself a favor and spend a weekend with a retirement calculator and looking into the FIRE (financial independence / retire early) movement.

    If you stay somewhere with low cost of living, you can probably retire by 40 and enjoy a retirement 3-4x longer than what most people can expect.

    If you move to the Bay Area, yeah maybe you get extremely lucky getting in the early stages of a unicorn, but it's just as likely you end up still renting into your 30s and spending 4-5k/month paying your landlord instead of building equity.

    I would plug in realistic numbers for TC and cost of living into some different FIRE calculators and see which option leads you to retire the soonest with the lifestyle you want.

    Also consider other second-tier tech cities with low cost of living, like Austin, Boulder, Pittsburgh, Atlanta. Plenty of opportunities at all of these places if it's Chicago specifically that you're less a fan of.
    Jul 12 0
  • Susquehanna International / Eng Kristaps11
    Quant opportunities will be much more abundant in New York but your husband can probably transition into research role or into software at a tech company anyway in SF if you really prefer the weather there.

    You shouldn’t worry about lack of data science opportunities in either city.
    Jul 11 0
  • New / Data BdXv72
    OP
    Wow thanks everyone for the response :) keep the discussion going. Also one of the reason why we think of moving is cuz Chicago’s pay scale... we heard about lots of ‘stories’ in bay/ New York and hence was thinking what’s out there.
    Jul 11 0
  • New / Data BdXv72
    OP
    Thanks for the response. We currently live in river north. A place where public school is basically a nightmare... we currently are child-free but plan to have in the future.

    Another question, going to sf for me is like a no-brainer; Bunch of DS jobs over there. Dunno if there are some trading firms that pay well in SF?
    Jul 11 0