Avoiding, for the moment, the topic of living in a Southern state while not being, emotionally, a Southerner, Virginia is a nice place to live if you want to sit on your front porch sipping lemonade and watching absolutely nothing change. Ever. But I work in IT, and this place isn’t all that into IT.
It’s not just that we really only have one large private employer of IT folks (CapitalOne). That sucks, but it isn’t the worst thing. It’s that no one around here really does what I do. I’m a UX person, and here in Virginia if you say “UX” they think you’re talking about a former girlfriend. “User Experience” is an afterthought here, if there’s time after the product is finished. No one really cares if their website or application is easy to use. All they care about is that it’s out there.
California, on the other hand, gets UX. There, UX is the product. And there are twenty times more UX jobs in California. We just have to get there.
Sure, there are some on the east coast as well. New York has some good UX jobs. But the numbers just aren’t there yet, and so far most of my interviews have been with companies in California.
Which leads to the next uncomfortable part of the conversation. Although California has more UX jobs, I don’t have one of them yet. We’re still planning to move, we just don’t have a job work when we arrive. Although that’s not completely unheard of, it’s not the way things work in Richmond, where most people never travel more than 50 miles from the place they were born. There’s no safety net. Not optimal, and I sure hope to get a job before we leave, but if we wait around until it’s 100% safe, we won’t have enough money to move. And then we’ll be living in cardboard boxes in the lovely Commonwealth of Virginia wondering why no one comes by anymore.