NY vs SF for Digital Girls


While the Bay Area has been the main tech hub of the US for decades, New York city’s tech scene has been gaining momentum, becoming a formidable player in the technology landscape. For Digital Girls torn between launching their careers in tech on the East or West coast here a few key points to consider.


While the San Francisco tech scene can be heavy on “bro culture” a factor that can be intimidating to most women entering the field, the New York scene is all about the bottom line – revenue. Wall Street has long reigned supreme, and that influence certainly affects the city’s tech scene. New York is definitely a haven for the high intensity Type A personality so if that describes you fitting in will be a cinch.


The city’s other top industries are fashion and media, and that definitely informs the kind of work available. While you may find a wide range of startups and tech companies in the Bay Area, if you were hoping to add a particular edge to your work in tech, New York is the best place for blending interest in digital with work in the city’s other popular fields. Noted fashion-tech companies include Gilt Groupe, Moda Operandi, Rent the Runway and Fashinvest, all with New York headquarters.

Talent Recruitment

San Francisco is still THE PLACE to find engineers and top talent thanks to the educational institutions and array of tech-focused startups that help young engineers refine their skills. If you are thinking about starting a new company in New York, consider the pool of engineers will be smaller at least for the next few years. Some of the city’s leading institutions are investing in expanding their computer engineering programs, particularly Cornell, which is building a whole new school dedicated to the science on Manhattan’s Roosevelt Island. And in any case the opportunities cross-industry tech recruiting are boundless – popular fields such as  journalism, real estate, tourism or food to name a few, have roots in the Big Apple.

Cost of Living

If you thought New York’s real estate market was ridiculous, you have yet to go apartment hunting in San Francisco. The cost of housing can be as high as 41% more expensive than in NY! When you factor in average salaries in each city the real cost of living becomes more comparable, but you are pretty much screwed either way. Considering other quality of life factors may help you make up your mind, like the proximity of amazing beaches on the West Coast vs the experience of busy, bustling New York City life.

Choose carefully but don’t sweat it too much. There are far tougher decisions than choosing to work in one of the hottest industries between two amazing cities.

Malikah Kelly is an e-commerce and digital communications pro and Digital Girls Club contributer currently based in Milan, Italy.