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Moving to the Valley

February 24, 2016

I haven’t talked much about my research work on this blog recently. That’s because I’ve been busy writing my thesis and wrapping things up. The good news is that I’ve had my thesis defense two weeks ago, and I’ve completed the requirements to get my PhD. It feels a little surreal to have finally reached this goal, after six and a half years. The next step, for me, is a transition to working in the industry. I considered doing a postdoc after my PhD, but it’s become fairly clear to me that although I do enjoy research, I can’t stand the way academia operates, and the focus on minimum publishable units.

At the moment, I’m in the process of selling, giving away and packing up my things in Montreal. I signed a job offer with Apple. I chose to work with them in large part because their recruitment process was very smooth and human, for lack of a better word. The people I interviewed with seemed relaxed, and like they genuinely enjoyed their work. I know from experience that this is not the case everywhere. I’ve had interviews at tech companies which run giant cubicle farms with people running everywhere, interviewers who look nervous and overcaffeinated. Apple is quite secretive, and I don’t think I’m allowed to say much about my job description, but I will be working on compiler technology, and developing my skills in this area further, which is what I wanted.

I will be moving to the bay area in early March. It pains me to leave behind Montreal, the city where I was born and raised, as well as all of my friends here, but It’s also exciting to be moving to Silicon Valley, the Holy Mecca of the technological world, and to get a chance to work on cutting edge technology. It will be nice to be able to meet more people who share similar interests on a regular basis. As someone who gets a bit emotionally down during the Canadian winter, it’s also uplifting to contemplate living in California, where there is plenty of sunlight and fresh produce all year long.

One of the decisions I have to make is where I’m going to live. Apple is based in Cupertino, which is about 45 miles from San Francisco. They have a shuttle which goes to the city, but that means two or more hours of commuting every weekday. I’ve lived in the city all my life, and I know that San Francisco is way more hopping than the bay area suburbs, but I find myself thinking that I should probably make my home closer to the Apple offices. If I live in the suburbs, I could probably bike to work every morning, a net positive for my health (whereas two hours of sitting in a bus would be a net negative). The suburbs also have slightly less insane rents than San Francisco, which means I could afford to have my own sweet 700 square feet of living space.

For those wondering, I do plan to keep on running this blog. I don’t know how much free time I can realistically expect to have, and how much energy I’ll be able to dedicate to coding after work hours, but I will try to keep advancing on my personal projects, and keep using this blog to discuss various topics I find interesting.

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4 Comments
  1. Mike S. permalink

    Congratulations on the job! I’m a free software fanatic, so I consider Apple to be an enemy. But I pay my mortgage working on proprietary software, so I can’t throw rocks from my glass house. Their products are technologically and aesthetically top notch, I just don’t like the inherent obstacles to user freedom and privacy. I hope you get to do cool and interesting work for them, and maybe even open source some of it.

    Good luck with the position, the housing, and the commute.

  2. Kurt permalink

    Congratulations. I interviewed out there at places like NeXT and HP. Didn’t make it, I ended up in Boston. I have always thought one of the most beautiful areas near Silicon Valley is the redwoods in the mountains. I would usually go to Redwood City and take 84 west to 35 in the mountains. I would south first, but you can head any direction from the 84/35 intersection. South is back to San Jose. West is the coast/ocean. North is San Francisco.

    I would first rent something small, then after getting the lay of the land buy something like a Condo. I would love a house among the redwoods, but they are expensive, or the commutes are real bad.

    -Kurt

  3. Way to go Maxime! Im loving me some Swift since they ported it to Linux!

  4. Jon permalink

    Congrats!

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