Wall Street v.s Silicon Valley


Work on Wall Street as investment banker or tech entrepreneur in Silicon Valley?


The most reasonable comparison is Silicon Valley Tech (working as a developer, data scientist, business development manager, marketer, analyst etc) v New York City Finance (working as an investment banker, sales and trader, equity or debt analyst, investment researcher etc)

Being a successful entrepreneur is much harder and requires a much more advanced set of skills than the entry level roles required in any of the above industries.

The most natural way to decide what to do is to consider your core competencies. Is it math and statistics? Is it computer science? Is it your personable character which let’s you persuade people (sales and business development).

Technology (working for a firm in tech) is the lowest risk of the above options with the highest baseline pay. Finance is slightly riskier with starting compensation usually being lower but potential upside is higher. Entrepreneurship is highest risk, highest reward


I tend to agree with Jamie here. The reasons I chose to apply to Stanford over many of the eastern schools were numerous, but largely because of the strong focus on technology, and the proximity to Silicon Valley.

For me, my interests lay in code, startups and entrepreneurship. I’d say it’s a lot easier to start a technology company than to start a company in the Finance Sector, too.

You should work out exactly what’s important to you. Are you interesting in programming and setting up a technology company. Jamie rightly pointed out that the most fair comparison is definitely working as a developer at an established technology firm, and working as an investment banker. If you want to start your own company, Silicon Valley is an easier (albeit still exceptionally challenging) place to do so.

If you’re planning to go to University in America, one of the great abilities this gives you is to take courses that lead into both fields - and then decide on one after your first year. That’ll give you a great insight into which you really enjoy more (finance/economics, or CS and electrical engineering etc.). You can probably also achieve this by doing a conjoint degree elsewhere.

If you’re looking for an answer to guide what University to apply to (with respect to what you want to do in the future), then definitely ask yourself if you enjoy subjects like economics at school, or if you spend your spare time programming and desiging software. It’s a very personal question.

Hope that’s useful!