This post is the second in a series of posts about managing a programmer job hunt (including hunting for a job in another city). You might be interested in the other parts:

Part 1 (the initial research)

After the initial research

  • We needed to save up to move. We knew that because we were moving such a long distance away, we should save up a pretty sizeable moving fund (because long distance moves are freaking expensive)
  • We saved for an interview trip for me – I was going to have to land a job somehow, and phone interviews are a good foot in the door, but they’re not going to close the deal
  • By a stroke of genius we decided “Hey – we should actually go for a week sometime way before we start the process and actually make sure we really want to go there”. This turned out to be awesome.
  • I kept an eye on the job market (and compared to the local job market) by subscribing to Dice’s RSS feeds. Again, for a rough comparison I used the keyword “C#” for both job markets and just watched how many jobs accrued each week in each market. I was able to see that Atlanta consistently had 3-4 times as many jobs offered in a week as Phoenix did. Every week. For the entire year leading up to the move. This gave me incredible confidence when actually starting the application process.
  • I was very open with my work as soon as we started targeting Atlanta. Not everyone’s work environment is the same. I had been working with a company that was very good to me for 8 years. I felt they deserved to know what my family’s plans were, so I kept them in the loop. I even lobbied to be able to work from home (in Atlanta) prior to starting the job seeking process (but that didn’t work out). In the end, I had incredible peace of mind leaving the company, knowing that I had effectively given them months and months of notice.

The first trip out

We created research packets for 5 cities around the metro area that we knew we wanted to target.
These packets included a ’target house’ on Zillow

Within a 10 mile radius of the house, we found:

  • Local schools
  • Public library
  • Grocery stores (Costco, etc)
  • Gyms
  • Churches
  • Parks
  • Restaurants

After we arrived, we used Yelp on our mobile phones to find highly rated local restaurants to visit to get a sense of ’local flavor'.

This ‘scouting trip’ gave my wife and I a good sense of what was in each of the cities surrounding metro Atlanta, and was vital to our sanity during the move.