If you want an A+ career in technology, move to the Bay Area.

I wince as I post this because I know it will invite controversy and the occasional nasty remark about how they are super successful in <insert city>. Let me make this clear from the very beginning. Yes, there are exceptions — lots of them. Maybe you’re one of them. But the exceptions don’t disprove the rule.

If you want an A+ career in technology, you should move to the San Francisco Bay Area. The same argument can probably be made of finance and New York. It’s not that you can’t do it in another city, but your odds are just much better in your industry’s hub. So if you want an A+ career and your industry has a clear hub, go there.

I spent the first four years of my career in Seattle. I loved my time there, and built some fantastic friendships. Years ago, I probably would have advocated for Seattle being a fantastic tech city: enough tech companies, but way cheaper.

Now that I’ve moved to the Bay Area, I realize that Seattle just doesn’t compare. (Sorry.) You can argue about the advantages and disadvantages of the Bay Area’s culture, but the biggest thing is the numbers. The Bay Area has far more tech companies of all sizes and niches.

When your criteria are broad enough (e.g., {coder + cool startup}), these alternative tech hubs may be good enough. As people get more experience though, they start to refine their filters. Now it’s {short commute + security space + under 20 developers + consumer space + product management}. Your options have now dwindled down to zero — or one or two, but then you’re rejected from those. Oops.

So you relax some of your constraints. What choice do you have? You wind up at the company that’s a A- match, rather than the A+. It’s not growing as fast, or it doesn’t leverage your background, or it’s not really the right culture. You’re on the A- career path now.

Moreover, because you only have A- options, you’re more likely to maintain the status quo. You don’t get yanked out when the A+ opportunity comes along, because it doesn’t. Instead you stay at your current “good enough” job.

And that’s totally, absolutely fine. You don’t need an A+ career. You can easily build an A- career in these alternative hubs — and often live much more affordably, too.

A close friend made just that choice and is happier for it. He has a B+ career, but that’s good enough. He finds his career fulfilling, but he doesn’t work too hard. Seattle’s comparatively affordable, so he can actually afford a nice apartment (unlike his San Francisco peers). He spends lots of time with his family and friends. He knew what he wanted, and he got it. Good for him.

But, notably, most of my highly career-driven friends have left Seattle. Those in tech have moved to the Bay Area, those in finance have moved to New York, and others have scattered across the country. I of course moved to the Bay Area, and the difference in opportunities has been remarkable. I just couldn’t have achieved the same things in Seattle.

Not all in the industry hub will reach this A+ career, and some who stayed back in the “lesser” hubs will. But if an A+ career is truly important to you, come to the Bay Area or wherever your industry’s hub is. It’s just a matter of probabilities.