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by SS at 12:22 am on Tuesday 19th November

Three weeks have again flown by since my last update. Currently (to give you some context, since life is all about context) I'm sitting in a coffee shop come bakery - "Speciality's" - in Santa Clara. This afternoon was a final round interview at a great startup. Running through my head for the last few weeks has been a series of elaborate decision making processes as I try to determine what job offer to accept and which to reject.

As I've mentioned earlier, I knew job offers would come more easily to a software engineer in Silicon Valley. In particular, my strategy of selecting employers whose product I know and love and primarily applying to smaller employers has paid off.

As a brief segue, current students looking for graduate entry jobs seem to apply to the big name companies. This makes their job hunt harder since these employers have their pick of graduates and can be more selective. Additionally, I'm skeptical that new engineers in these companies have much leeway to work on projects that interest them.

My friends who know me well know that I have been planning to come study a Master's (in the US) since my last year at Cambridge. While the decisions that I've made since regarding employment, living arrangements and significant others have been made to this objective, I now face a growing amount of uncertainty. There is no obvious next goal and I have several potential routes to achieving the various things that are high up on my list of life ambitions.

My options are: work for an established company, work for a startup, start my own company. The latter of which is the riskiest and brings with it the most financial uncertainty. It is also the most exciting. Within the first two categories, I need to pin down several decisions: whether to work for a consumer or enterprise technology company, whether to work on a product or a service, and whether to work in South Bay or in San Francisco.

Overwhelmingly it feels as if the more exciting consumer focussed companies are in San Francisco - while the enterprise companies are based in South Bay (i.e. Silicon Valley). I love living in Berkeley and working in San Francisco would make it possible to commute in from Berkeley. Working in South Bay would mean I would have to live in South Bay (or commute in from San Francisco). Besides rent being cheaper in Berkeley, it is surrounded by beautiful scenery, I have many friends there and, despite being fairly city-like, it remains very peaceful.

On the other hand, the harder computer science problems seem to be with those companies in South Bay. Working on an actual tech product/problems is something that I've often tried to do in a professional context in the past but struggled to find. Building services in Java often felt like virtual plumbing - taking one library and piping its output into another library or database.

There are a number of sub-decisions to be made here and I need to pick carefully since it's going to affect my life for the near to medium term!

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"Our thoughts define our reality." - Anon.