A few years ago I visited San Francisco for the first time. After soaking up the atmosphere and exploring the city, I realized that I wanted to move there permanently. Although by no means easy, six months ago I made that happen. Today as I look back, I realize that moving to this city was one of the best decisions I've ever made.
I used to live in London and, while I did like the city, many things pale in comparison to SF. For example, take my commute. It used to take me an hour each way from home to work on a cramped and stuffy underground train. Contrast that to San Francisco, where I literally walk two blocks in sunshine every morning to work. This sort of commute isn't unusual, as SF is a particularly small and walkable city.
Although the weather in San Francisco seems to get a bad rap by the locals, it's actually extremely good. You can pretty much wear the same clothes the entire year round, and the climate is generally warm and sunny. Certainly better than England.
The opportunities out here in terms of technology are unsurpassed. Some of the most interesting jobs, challenges and possibilities. The streets are alive with talk of startups, tech and investment.
You'll also find some of the best people in the industry out here. People who you've read about, used their libraries or seen present at conferences. These people are now your colleagues, there for you to bounce ideas off and learn from.
I've also found that most startups are quite willing to sponsor H1Bs, as demonstrated by the huge amount of foreign talent in the city. Your background doesn't matter, just your potential.
Last, but not least, is the quality of life. Not only are the salaries good, but the perks are excellent too. Most startups cater breakfast lunch and dinner, have flexible vacation policies (even unlimited) and awesome work places. Airbnb have re-created some of their top ten properties inside their offices, GitHub have air-hockey tables and a war room whilst Monkey Inferno's offices look like an incredible steam-punk lair.
Outside the office you have the whole of San Francisco to explore, whether it's checking out a different restaurent every evening, or lazying away an afternoon in Dolores park. The city is so diverse and cultural there's something for everyone.
So, if you're a developer in Europe (or elsewhere) looking for something new, then I urge you to consider San Francisco. If your experiences are anything like mine, you'll love the place.