Five Reasons to be and not be a developer in New York in 2014

Jan 2, 2014
3 minute read

The Good

1. You can’t just get funding for any old idea.

Being the financial capital world means that people are wary of giving money to stupid ideas. Ok, ok, less wary, but it still happens. But New York is very grounded with respect to technology, and that gives me [some] confidence in the ideas that are being funded here.

2. It’s New York City.

It’s really hard to beat New York City, if urban life is your thing. For me, it’s really hard to beat. There’s a neighborhood for every kind of personality. I’ve lived in Queens, the Lower East Side and Upper East Side. I’ve worked in the Financial District, Flatiron, and Meatpacking. Heck, if Brooklyn is your kind of scene, the start up community is pretty big over in Dumbo. Cough, cough, Etsy.

3. It’s easy to find work.**

There’s a shortage of developers. No question about it. Every company I’ve been at, and many I’ve been around gone on about how difficult it is to find developers, especially in mobile. Really hard even, so much so that people move their companies out to SF to find them.

4. Winter.

Snow. It’s really pretty. I’ve heard people out in the bay say they miss seasons, and I can say there’s nothing like watching the leaves change color down the streets you walk every day. If you’re a fan of seasons, New York has them, sometimes even three or four in one day.

5. It’s a quickly growing community.

Over the last few years, I’ve watched the tech community grow from the same few people at most meetups, to hundreds of meetups with just a few familiar faces at each.

The Bad

1. You can’t just get funding for any old idea.

If you’re an entrepreneur who wants to take a shot in the dark on some wild idea, it’s probably going to be harder money early on.

2. It’s New York City.

You might not like the city. Or you might like SF more. Or you might just hate gentrification, Bill de Blasio (it’s ok, some New Yorkers do too), and something else that makes New York, New York. I can respect that, it’s not an easy city to live in if it’s not the kind of lifestyle you’re looking

3. It’s easy to find work.

The corollary to this is that getting people to stick around will be harder. Developer mobility is high because they know they’re in demand. In SF, where there is a lot of supply, it’s not as big a problem, but in NYC, I’ve seen replacing a developer (or worse, developers) basically shutdown companies.

4. Winter.

It’s 20 degrees as I write this, and I don’t want to leave my house… Ever.

Edit: it’s now 9 degrees, end my misery…

5. It’s still growing.

Sometimes you’ll find people who just want to be in there because it’s the hot thing. Sometimes you want a kindred spirit, someone who understands when to use a b-tree, and when to use a map, not just a pixel pusher (as an ex-coworker once angrily described GUI development).

Joe Fabisevich is an indie developer creating software at Red Panda Club Inc. while writing about design, development, and building a company. Formerly an iOS developer working on societal issues @Twitter.

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