Valley vs. Alley

Going back to Cali? In an Empire State of Mind?

Today at RezScore, we explore the classic rivalry between San Francisco and New York City, particularly through the lens of each city’s mighty tech industry.

To start off, we pulled a random sample of resumes from within 50 miles of each city. We started by automatically tagging each resume to its industry concentration.  Our results were roughly consistent with what we’d expect for the two cities, a good indication we were on the right track:

New York plays host to a wider variety of industries.  Finance and tech are huge, but the Big Apple also contains a critical mass of talent in such wide-ranging sectors as politics, media, defense, healthcare, biotech, consulting, healthcare, marketing and telecom.  San Francisco is far more concentrated, with two thirds of its talent focused on the city’s core sectors of biotech, internet technology, and gaming.

One of our favorite tests is to run the “term frequency inverse document frequency” on a series of documents, a statistical method that picks out words or phrases that appear with abnormal frequency in a set of documents.  We can’t release the entire list (privacy concerns), but here’s some notable patterns we identified:

  • Gaming Mainstreaming: Popular terms in San Francisco resumes include “gameplay” (30), “PS3″ (65), “XBox” (96), “XBox 360″ (146), and “IGN” (147), all of which are terms familiar to gamers.  These terms didn’t crack the top 1000 in New York.  In general, San Francisco workers are keener on new-fangled gizmos, registering statistical significance on terms like “Android” (101), “tablet” (141), “app” (148) and “iPad” (160).
  • Global City: New Yorkers are 2.5x more likely to tout foreign language experience than their San Francisco counterparts.  Within the top hundred terms, people touted their work experience in Hong Kong, Ukraine, China,  Ireland, Venezuela, Iran, Singapore, Indonesia, Russia, Australia and India.  In San Francisco, the only foreign countries to crack the top hundred were China and the United Arab Emirates.
  • The Write Stuff: Both cities saw niche printing terms crack the top hundred.  New York has Lithography (76) and San Francisco has Typography (56).  If a NY and SF entrepreneurs teamed up, they could revolutionize the stagnant cuneiform industry.

The World's Oldest Resume, belonging to one Mr. John McCain

Other assorted findings:

New York San Francisco
Top Language Chinese (Mandarin) Hindi
Greenest Interest Wind Power Sustainability
Favorite Leisure Activity Soccer Climbing

Finally, we restricted our search to technical skills within tech resumes.  We wanted to get the best possible sense of the particular flavor of Silicon Valley vs. Silicon Alley.  Here’s the top five terms that popped out for each city:

New York San Francisco
GNU Apex
compatibility Visualforce
PyMOL merchant
authentication web-services
Java integrations

New York’s list doesn’t give us much to go on.  GNU and Java are a popular operating system and programming language.  Generic terms compatibility and authentication also crack the top ten in San Francisco’s list.   The most interesting facet is the emergence of PyMOL, an open source molecular modeling library.  San Francisco has a far stronger biotech scene than New York, so it’s odd to see a piece of bioinformatic software listed so highly.

Top terms in San Francisco, “Apex” and “Visualforce”, were a bit of a surprise.  Both are programming extensions of the SalesForce CRM.  Despite the San Francisco hype about trendy social media business solutions, it’s heartening to learn that the city’s foundation is actually the good, reliable sales department.  Nowadays, you’d be forgiven for thinking SF stands for SalesForce, not San Francisco.

Whatever city you hang your hat in, make sure you start your job hunt at  Grade your resume, receive tips on improvement, and receive curated job alerts by email, always for free.

Comments are closed.