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Moving to the mountains

Moving to the mountains

Old Oct 2nd 2012, 10:05 am
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Default Moving to the mountains

My wife and I are looking to move to Colorado in the next couple of years. We’re both obsessive snowboarders and the dream would be to have mountains a car ride away. She’s American and I’m British and she’s not far off having dual nationality. She is pretty confident that she can get a similar job to what she does now quickly.

I’m not so confident however and reading some of the posts on here hasn’t helped my confidence. I’m an IT Systems Engineer, with only a couple of years under my belt and have the whole foreign thing working against me! Currently in London if I throw my CV up on Jobsite, I get harassed by recruiters until I hide my CV. IT Jobs in London are just everywhere it seems.

Some people have recommended suburbs of Denver so we can be near the mountains and near the IT opportunities. Golden was mentioned as the sort of place we could look at.

Few questions I have:

Am I likely to be able to keep working within IT out in the US? And can I expect a depressing, long job hunt?

Is living near the mountains a realistic goal? We don’t need to be able to sleepwalk to a ski-lift but an hour or 2 drive would be a dream come true!

Does anybody have nice things to say about Colorado or know some good places for some snowboard obsessed 20-somethings could call home?

Sorry for the long post - have even edited it down!
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Old Oct 2nd 2012, 12:39 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the mountains

Well you're more than halfway to having the right visas....

Try looking at somewhere like Fort Collins instead of Denver (it's about an hour north). I've spent a couple of weeks there for work - it's a really nice city - "human size", walkable, micro-breweries, cycle friendly, skiing and snowboarding runs in the mountains are less than a couple hours drive away (depending which ones you want) and it's got some major employers like the University, Hewlett Packard & Kodak.

I don't know the IT job market all I'm afraid, hopefully there will be someone who does along shortly....
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Old Oct 2nd 2012, 12:41 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the mountains

Originally Posted by Steeb View Post
Am I likely to be able to keep working within IT out in the US?
Yes.


And can I expect a depressing, long job hunt?
In all honesty... most likely, yes. Frankly, IT systems engineers are a dime a dozen here - and you don't have much experience. Do you have a university degree? Most here will have at least a Bachelor's and many have a Master's. Most also have some sort of additional certification, such as MCSE.


Is living near the mountains a realistic goal?
Yes, but it'll be expensive!


Does anybody have nice things to say about Colorado...
Overall, Colorado is beautiful.


... know some good places for some snowboard obsessed 20-somethings could call home?
While they're certainly not the Rockies, the Appalachians are closer to the east coast - and may offer a less expensive alternative.

Ian
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Old Oct 2nd 2012, 1:00 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the mountains

Fort Collins sounds good, I'll take a better look tonight with the wife. We both love craft beer which is a bonus lol.

I have a BSc in computer science, but never got further than an MCP since then, employers I came across in the UK seemed to care very little for the Microsoft certs, and more about what you were using day to day. I suppose getting as much certification in as possible before the move is a good idea.

Thanks for the replies!
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Old Oct 2nd 2012, 1:07 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the mountains

Originally Posted by Steeb View Post
I suppose getting as much certification in as possible before the move is a good idea.
You might also want to consider the RHCE... quite popular here also.

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Old Oct 2nd 2012, 1:48 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the mountains

RHCE? Zero experience there and no servers to mess about with! Suppose I've got a couple of years to brush up though.

Finding a job worries me more than homesickness/fitting in/not being able to go to Waitrose etc. Best keep reading nice things about Colorado to keep myself motivated to learn outside of office hours!
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Old Oct 2nd 2012, 2:18 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the mountains

With a reasonable amount of experience, 5+ years, in the right areas - think line of business applications and supporting architecture - IT in Denver is pretty hot right now. Degree and certs mostly irrelevant. Get your resume into the hands of some recruiters and as long as you have experience and interview well your job search shouldn't take more than a month or two. This all assumes you are local and are willing to show up to an in-person interview with a day or so's notice.

5 years experience with MS servers, Cisco networking or enterprise class block level or cifs storage should generally net you somewhere in the $65k - 75k range. This assumes that your experience is fairly broad and you have personal hands on experience - more than just maintaining something already in place.
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Old Oct 2nd 2012, 2:25 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the mountains

By the time I get there I'll be looking at 6 years experience with Server support, storage, VMWare, Citrix etc and I've been offered a job at every interview I've ever attended so over here I'm very confident! People love managed services and brokers on the ole CV too.

Sadly we have a comms team here so I'll need to go out of my way to get Cisco experience, but I ought to do that anyway! Cheers Scotta!
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Old Oct 2nd 2012, 2:36 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the mountains

Colorado is a beautiful place to live. Boulder is very expensive but offers a great lifestyle if you like the outdoors, or music, or beer. It's easy to get to anywhere from here. Louisville, is a smaller town about 12 miles south east and is a fantastic place to live, especially you have, or are thinking of having, children. Not quite as expensive but getting up there. Fort Collins, as someone else mentioned, is also a nice town but with a smaller town feel. And there are some great areas in Denver. Old Highlands is a stones throw from I-25/I-70 and very lively.

I-70 is the interstate that goes to the mountain resorts and can be nightmarish during ski season because of the heavy traffic. If you ski Loveland, you don't have to mess with the Eisenhower Tunnel which is where the traffic always backs up. You can get there a bit earlier and leave before the traffic builds up and it offers excellent skiing for any level. They also have a really good deal on a seasons pass. Once you get to the other side of the tunnel, Copper, Vail, Aspen etc, you are talking big money for a lift ticket. Seasons pass is the only way to go.

Job wise - I've been out of IT for some time now since being laid off from GE Access but I still have a couple of friends who work in the industry and they have always had jobs. Some have been laid off more than once but they just move from one company to another it seems. The job market hasn't been as bad here as it has been in other parts of the country. We've been hit, obviously, but just not to the extent that others have been. Or maybe I just live in my own little bubble.

I've lived in Boulder for 21 years and it is not the same place I moved to. It's grown immensely. The saying used to be - "Peoples Republic of Boulder - 3 square miles surrounded by reality" but I'm afraid we've become part of the reality and there's no way we fit into 3 square miles any more. However, it is still a great place to live and the hiking, biking, running trail systems are fantastic. There is something for everyone here.

I travel around CO for work and it is breathtakingly beautiful to the west of I-25. East is, well, worse than flat.

Weather - summer's are hot - dry but the sun is intense. Winter's are cold but sunny. Spring and fall are short but the best weather for being outside. It may snow a couple of feet over 24 hours in town but then the sun comes out and it is gone in a couple of days. We'll have several good snowfalls a year. They get a lot more up in the high country and they are already making snow for the 2012/13 ski season. It rained here (quite rare these days) last week and I saw that there was snow on the peaks. We'll see snow in town before the end of the month probably although it's been in the upper 70's this week. It can be 80 in the morning and snowing by dinner time.

Hope that gives you a little glimpse. Not very helpful about jobs but if/when you get closer to making your decision, I will happily ask around and see what's really going on.
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Old Oct 2nd 2012, 3:02 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the mountains

Denver might be a good stepping stone for you, but you're not going to want to stay there if you're serious about the snowboarding.
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Old Oct 2nd 2012, 3:15 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the mountains

Lots of info there Cardienscarf, thanks! The Londoner in me wants to buy the people that help me a beer! Other than the job front it sounds great - it's much harder for a company to get rid of people here I guess. Beer, snowboarding, space for a family and job opportunities ticks all our boxes!

Yep AdobePinon, it may well be a stepping stone. At least we wont need to choose between a family and the shred! With prices of getting to the alps and cost of living in London we'd never get to ride much here once kids are part of the equation!
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Old Oct 2nd 2012, 3:33 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the mountains

Have a think about other places as well as Denver. There are loads of mountains around the US, some with shorter seasons than others, and might have different/better job opportunities. For example, Big Bear near me is popular, no idea what it's like though, and you wouldn't be far from LA jobs (and it's true, surfing in the morning, skiing in the afternoon is very possible!).

You can buy beer gift cards!
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Old Oct 2nd 2012, 3:59 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the mountains

Originally Posted by Steeb View Post
People love managed services and brokers on the ole CV too.
And don't forget to edit that CV into a resume, US style! Sites such as Monster offer examples. Good luck!
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Old Oct 2nd 2012, 4:38 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the mountains

Originally Posted by Steeb View Post
I’m not so confident however and reading some of the posts on here hasn’t helped my confidence. I’m an IT Systems Engineer, with only a couple of years under my belt and have the whole foreign thing working against me! Currently in London if I throw my CV up on Jobsite, I get harassed by recruiters until I hide my CV. IT Jobs in London are just everywhere it seems.
Yes but those recruiters are largely full of s--t imx, I get harrassed all the time by people looking for people who don't do what I do but they're too thick when it comes to IT to understand I don't have the skills they're looking for.

Anyway I deal with people in the Denver area all the time, a lot of data centres are based there because of network latency (i.e. Colorado is in the middle of the country).

If working for or in a data centre appeals to you, you should be able to get a job eventually. Bit hard at the moment because the economy is in the toilet.
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Old Oct 2nd 2012, 6:36 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the mountains

You might consider Idaho. Not many people do! (Americans or Expats). I've been in Boise 10 years mainly for the opportunity for outdoor pursuits, including winter stuff. It's a City of 200,000 although feels more like a town of 20,000 if you ignore the 'burbs. Within 2 hours of Boise you have several ski resorts (Brundage, Tamarack - if it's still open - Sun Valley - ski with some celebs that don't like to go to Aspen. Bogus Basin ski resort is 45 minute drive up the hill and you can see it from town. None of these places are going to be as big as Vail etc, but as previously mentioned, you won't have to deal with traffic and steep lift prices. I think Bogus is about $45 a day or $200 for the season. Outside of winter there's tons to do. Great mountain bike trails on the edge of town that go all the way up to Bogus Basin (4000' feet above town), world class whitewater rafting within 1.5 hours drive, fishing, camping, wilderness hiking in the Sawtooth mountains 3 hours away (amazing place - more spectactular than Colorado rockies in my opinion).

No idea about the job market for you. The two big hi tec employers are HP and Micron, but I believe there are quite a few small companies that are doing well and always looking for IT people (companies like Keynetics). Boise is dirt cheap. 3 bed house for less than $150k right now. Life is easy and cheap here. I've never been in a traffic jam in 10 years here. Easy and quick flights to Portland and Seattle for big city fixes. Idaho is very conservative, but Boise is pretty progressive. I've only met about 3 other Brits in my time here - not sure if you need an expat community around.

Anyway, just another idea for you. Sounds like you have a good adventure available to you - have fun working it all out!
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