Hacker News' “Who is Hiring?” thread, part 2, remote and locations

This is the second part of the series of posts about Hacker News' "Who is Hiring" thread. If you are not familiar with this entity, check the first part about programming languages and a short history of the series.

This time, the intention is to try and focus on the location aspect of the jobs, including remote ones. As you might have guessed, yes, I went through every job post created inside the thread yet again to find out their location on the map.


Disclaimer: You are looking at only one source - The "Who is Hiring" thread from Hacker News. While the thread in itself is a pretty good source of information, it tends to focus mostly on the Startup part of the entire IT industry. Attempts to extrapolate the trends presented here to the industry as a whole can be slightly misleading.

the rise of the remote

When the thread started back in 2011, only 10% of the jobs were tagged as remote. Fast forward 5 years, now more than 20% of the positions there are open remote work! Also, if the steady growth of this trend is anything to go by, it definitely looks like there is going to be a consistent growth in the number of remote jobs.

There could be many plausible reasons for this situation. Few ideas off the top of my head are:

  • High-speed Internet. According to the Akamai report, connections that can carry video and audio are getting extremely accessible in many places around the world.

  • The drain of local STEM talents in popular Engineering hubs. Workforce shortage in California can reach 1.5 mln in 2025. With unsolved US VISA problems for STEM workers, IT companies might have to get creative to hire potential employees. Going remote could be a part of the solution.

  • English language is getting globally popular. Some countries, like the post-soviet ones, have made huge progress in learning English, thereby extending the pool of available talents. In the top 20 countries of EF English Proficiency Index report we can find Slovenia, Estonia, Poland, Romania and Czech Republic. It is worthwhile noting that before the 90s, all these countries had The Russian language as an inevitable requirement.

  • The Cool Aid of working remotely. Looking at HN comments it looks like many young talents are greatly impressed by the possibility of remote work. This one is extremely subjective, I know.

Whether the reasons mentioned above are accurate or not, one thing is for sure - Remote work is here to stay.

major locations

Meanwhile, as much as we see a growth in the number of remote work openings, it doesn't look like there is any lack of physical office spaces either. Let's look at the most popular locations.

Unsurprisingly, San Francisco, and the Silicon Valley is right at the top. An interesting observation is that among top 20 cities, we only get to see very few non-US ones. From Europe London at the 3rd place, Berlin 10th, Amsterdam 13th and Toronto and Vancouver from Canada at 9th & 19th place respectively.

Silicon Valley is huge

Let's combine all Silicon Vally cities plus San Francisco to see how really big the disproportion is.

See that? Jobs coming from Silicon Valley constitute a whopping 33% of all the job posts posted on Hacker News!

US locations

Before getting into the cities outside of the US, let's list all major cities within its borders.

Non-US locations

Next Silicon Valley?

If we were to consider Hacker News as an infallible oracle, any of the top 20 cities listed above would be the apt contenders for the "Next Silicon Valley" title. London & Berlin being the representatives for European cities along with New York, Boston & Seattle being the top 3 US ones. However, in reality, none of them even come close to the current Silicon Valley.

Having said that, I must say we should not consider Hacker News as an infallible oracle and hence, reaching an inference from just analyzing the "Who is hiring" thread is not good enough. Suffice to say that the question of the "Next Silicon Valley", still remains largely unanswered.

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