Finding the Right City to Live and Work Can Enhance Your Career

I had the pleasure of speaking with Fred Shilmover, the CEO of InsightSquared, an impressive cloud-based company based in Cambridge, MA specializing in cloud-based business analytics.

Our discussion centered on why the Boston Massachusetts area is an ideal location for cloud-based software startups and a great place for the technologists staffing these startups to live and work. I asked Fred why he thought Boston was such a great location. He said the city has the right mix of: • Brilliant local technologists to hire • Great universities, their faculty, research, and recent graduates looking to start their careers • Access to seed and venture capital • A supportive business environment • A core of large, medium, and small technology companies from which to draw talent and/or form business alliances

Regarding the technologists who are starting and staffing these firms, it’s a great place to live and work for of all the reasons previously listed, plus: • Boston gives you the ability to advance your education at some of the best universities in the world • It has an active community of technical professionals, who are always hosting events, classes and discussions, allowing you to build your network and continue to enhance your career • You’re provided with the opportunity to join newly formed startups or a more established and impressive high tech companies. • It’s a true center of culture and the arts

We then widened our conversation beyond Boston and began to discuss what techies living around the world should look for when trying to find the right location that will advance their careers. Fred began by saying that people should certainly look for as many of the previously listed items as possible. Additionally from a personal perspective, it must be a place where you feel comfortable living and that meets your needs economically, culturally, and socially.

Professionally, he said to look for a location that has a “density” of the people, technologies, and type of companies where you would like to work. By “density”, he means a large amount of activity in a specific technical area. For example, if you are interested in developing social media based applications, find a location that has a number of startups developing social media apps, a local nationally-known college faculty specializing in social media related topics, and successfully established companies either in social media or supporting it via related products, services and technologies.

Lastly, I asked Fred what advice he would like to give technologists related to enhancing their careers. He said that you must know more than just your primary technical specialty. You should widen your technical knowledge to include technologies related to your specific specialty and, most importantly, learn the business side of your company and your industry. The combination of technical and business knowledge is hard to beat.

Fred Shilmover and InsightSquared can be found at

If you have any questions about your career in IT, please email me at or find me on Twitter at @EricPBloom and @MgrMechanics or at

Until next time, work hard, work smart, and continue to build your professional brand.

Read more of Eric Bloom's Your IT Career blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Eric on Twitter at @EricPBloom. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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