My First Year in Silicon Valley

After spending the previous six years of my life in a tiny town for college and a Midwestern city for work, I moved to take a Software Engineering job at a large Bay Area tech company. Here are my takeaways, one year in.

Bay Area Belletrist


The temperature ranges maybe 20ºF year-round. While that wasn’t the highlight of the last year, it was up there.

I’m not entirely sure what I expected moving here. I’m not sure I expected much of anything, truth be told.

The questions that swirled around in my head for so many years were less “what’s it like to work at a big tech company?” and more along the lines of “what would be the coolest unicorn to work for”. In retrospect, that was pretty silly. I was so certain that I wanted to work here that I don’t think I ever thought too much about the important things. Things like company culture or how my coworkers might differ from what I’m used to.

So, this piece is intended for anyone that has not worked for a major tech company in the past. As I noticed things over the last year I scribbled them down as notes to my old self. Here are the answers to the questions I (mostly) never asked ☺️

The format below will be what my old self should/would have been curious about. Previously, I’ve worked at small, medium, and large companies, none of which are known at all/known for being strong technically.

How are your coworkers different at a major tech company?

Coworker A is still on the waiting list for his AirPods Pro

Oh my, there are just so many obviously talented engineers. So many! Of course, that’s not to say that all of the coworkers I’ve had in the past weren’t talented. But I am so consistently blown away by the skills of the people I interact with on a daily basis now that it’s like a dream world. ☁️

You know how sometimes you’ll try to figure out how to do something and you end up on Stack Overflow? And then the accepted response not only provides the answer you’re looking for, but then offers like four paragraphs of valuable background info? That’s what it feels like when I ask questions now.



Bay Area Belletrist — DM me on Twitter if you have any questions on anything, iOS or otherwise. I’m no industry vet but I’ll help if I can :)