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Listener Question: Johannes Asks About Getting Hired in the United States

Published 1/23/2017

In today's episode, I answer Johannes question about his dream of working in a small agency in the states after graduating.

Today's episode is sponsored by Headspace. Headspace offers you guided meditation that you can take with you, and does so in a beautifully made native app experience. Headspace is also hiring! Head over to https://headspace.com/join-us to learn more about the openings.

Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Hey everyone, I'm going to come to Developer Tea. My name is Jonathan Cutrell and in today's episode I'm answering a question from listener Johannes. Before I get to Johannes's question, I wanted to remind everyone that it is still JavaScript January, which really that means that I'm studying JavaScript. A lot of people in the Developer Tea community are also studying JavaScript, learning a little bit more. JavaScript theme episodes, but also there is a code pin JavaScript January contest. All you have to do to enter is create a pen that relies primarily on JavaScript and then tag it JavaScript January and Developer Teawhere you can use JS January as well. You're going to want to be in our spec Slack community if you decide to enter. That's where we're going to announce the winner on February 5th. So go and check that out. Again, the winners will be the ones with the most hearts on code pins. So make sure you share that pin with the people that know you and on your social networks and all of those different places. Of course, you're welcome to talk about your pins on the spec Slack community as well. Go and check that out again. It's spec out of them. Slash Slack and code pin.io. The winners will receive a year of code pin pro. It's worth about 75 bucks. So go and check that out as well. If you want to learn more about code pin pro, code pin.io slash pro, think it again to code pin for providing some of those some of those winner prizes. Six people will win this contest, by the way. So it's still wide open. We have some some high end contestants already in the ranks, but you are certainly not too late to enter into this contest. Shifting gears, let's go ahead and jump into Johannes's question. I'm going to try to keep today's episode a little bit short. We have some long episodes coming up in the near future. I interviewed Khalid Azad and it was one of the longer interviews that we've done on Developer Tea. You all know that I like to keep the interviews as short as or the episodes rather as short as possible. Of course, interviews end up going a little bit longer. So that may be a two or three part episode. We haven't done the editing on that one yet. So I want to keep this one short so that you can have the mental capacity and energy to listen to those longer ones later on in the upcoming week or two. So let's jump straight into Johannes's question. Johannes says, hey, Jonathan, I'm a long time listener of your show. I wanted to say thank you for all the great content you provided over the last two years. Whenever I started to lose faith in career path, I've chosen your podcast reminds me of why I've chosen web development as my career. And it brings me back on track when I struggle. I'm a computer science student from Germany. For the last four years, I've worked in two companies and did some freelancing. I'll get my bachelor's degree at the end of the year. I've been dreaming about moving to one of America's bigger cities and working with like-minded people in a small and young company on tech stuff, mostly web-based applications. As much as I would love to book my flight right now, I know there is still a lot of work left to do. For example, finishing my degree. How can I use the next year to prepare myself to reach my goal? How would I approach my cross-globe job hunt? Do you even think my idea is valid? I feel kind of lost. Don't even know where to start. And I would love to hear some advice from you. Best regards, Johannes. PS, I was happy to hear about your baby announcement and wish both of you the best. The questions like these are one of the big reasons why I continue to do this podcast and why I feel so fondly about the people who listen to Developer Tea. People like Johannes, especially people who are at the early parts of their careers, I'm so thankful that I can provide you with some sense of inspiration and help you stick to this career path. It really is a rewarding and long road if you take it. And it's not always the easiest road to travel down as Johannes is obviously finding out. And hopefully I'm pronouncing Johannes's name right by the way. It may be Johannes. Hopefully one of these pronunciations will be right. But the questions like these are so encouraging for me. And I hope that I can provide the same level of encouragement back to you. There are people who are in your situation and there are people who are getting ready to be in your situation and there are people who have already been through what you are going through Johannes. So I want to encourage you. Number one, your idea is not crazy. I'm answering this one first because we have to get this out of the way. Your idea of moving to a different country and working for a company. This is really kind of a fundamental thing that humans have done for many, many hundreds if not thousands of years. We migrate and then we work. This is a normal human pattern of thinking and exploration. And I've known many people personally who have done this and hopefully you have met some who have done a similar thing. So to consider whether or not it's crazy, it certainly is not crazy. It certainly is not impossible. Something that would be crazy is assuming like that you could build yourself a pair of wings and fly over here. That's not going to happen anytime soon at least. But having the idea of coming over to the United States and working in a city like Los Angeles or San Francisco or New York or there are thousands and millions of people who come to the United States with that exact plan in mind. So certainly not a problem or out of reach. Now does that mean that it will be easy? It will not be easy. Hopefully everything you approach from here on out, you just go ahead and assume that everything takes hard work. That's a very important aspect of what you're going to be going through. As you get your degree, you move into the workforce. The world is different than it ever has been. Because tech is more important than it ever has been. So there are jobs in this industry, but it doesn't make it easier than it ever has been. So we're going to talk a little bit more about what you could do in the upcoming year or so to prepare yourself for this long road that you have in front of you. But first I want to take a second and talk about how you can maintain sanity in the face of hard work and how you can maintain sanity in the face of the world. You have an extremely busy schedule. Your mental health is more important than maybe even you realize. This is something that is unfortunately largely ignored or at least a smaller story than it really needs to be. Your brain is perhaps the most important tool you have as a developer. Mental health is one of the things that you should be willing to invest in. Our sponsor today is headspace, and I don't mean to over blow this idea of mental health, but mental health is important. And it's important that you recognize some of the ways that you can take care of your brain. So meditation is a great way to improve your mental clarity, your focus, your creativity. There are studies that show that it helps people with depression and anxiety. It can help all sorts of things with relation to your health, not just your mental health, but also things such as stress and sleep and balance. Headspace has made meditation perhaps more accessible than it's ever been before with their incredible iPhone and Android applications. It's an app that helps you build a meditation practice, a daily meditation practice. You can start very small, you have clear instructions, it's guided meditation, and it will change the way you see these different topics, these topics of stress and sleep and balance. Headspace, the company is also growing fast. They have over 10 million downloads worldwide, and they're building a world-class engineering team with offices in San Francisco and LA. If you're interested in joining for a company that's working to improve the health and happiness of the world, you should definitely go out and apply. This is an exact example of a company that would be willing to hire someone with the right experience, someone with the right balance of characteristics that they're looking for. There are certainly people who are looking, once again, tech is hiring, and it's not going to slow down anytime soon. I want to address some of your questions and talk about them more directly and give you some practical advice. How can you use the next year to prepare yourself to reach your goal? The other question is how would I approach my cross-globe job hunt? These are two very good questions they really have the same answer. Obviously over the next year, your job hunt begins today, it begins last week, hopefully. We've already started doing some research into the types of companies that you would like to work at. Of course, if you haven't listened to the developer career road map series on Developer Tea, I'd recommend going back and listening to those. Some of those things are certainly going to, in fact, all of those things will apply to your situation in one way or another. Some of the things that I recommend in that, obviously number one, is start thinking about where you would like to end up. Starting a goal in mind is a good idea. Having some of your personal values determined is a good idea. These are ways that you're going to steer your efforts. Start thinking about the types of companies that you want to work at. I would recommend that you start early at looking at what citizenship means in the United States. If you are looking to come here for the long term, then it's probably a worthwhile investment to learn a little bit about what the citizenship process is. To be honest with you, I don't have hardly any education on this particular subject, but there are certainly tons of resources online that could help you out in learning a little bit more about what that process looks like. There are things like work visas. Once again, out of my element, I don't really know a lot about some of those things. I recommend that you do a little bit of research on those way in advance, that way, if there is a time-related thing that you can't really add energy to to speed it up, that really it's more like a restriction of the system or something like that, that you don't end up losing a job opportunity because of those types of restrictions. I would also recommend that if you haven't already to immediately start building small projects in whatever language you choose, my guess is if you're looking to build web out of applications, you have some kind of background in a back end language and some kind of background in a front end language for the sake of the time period that I received this question. If you haven't learned much of JavaScript, then it's probably a decent bet to go ahead and learn something about JavaScript that just happens to go with our JavaScript January theme here. But a lot of companies are hiring for JavaScript jobs. If you time it right and once you get your degree, it could very likely still be the case that JavaScript is a void to be filled both in the United States and worldwide. Another thing I would recommend for you to do, Jon, is I would recommend that you seek a short term or even like a middle term, like a six month, maybe a nine month engagement with a company as some kind of internship style agreement. If you have the flexibility to do something like this, basically what you're going to do is sign an agreement with a firm in the United States that says that you're going to start working for them and perhaps you can start remotely first and develop a little bit of a relationship with the firm. Start looking for firms and then develop a relationship with a firm from a remote contract perspective. And then do a fixed term internship. What this does is it limits the liabilities for the company. It limits them being in a situation where they've moved you or where you are now in a full time position with the expectation of staying indefinitely. So they have the opportunity to opt out and so do you. This is what is so great about internships. I recommend that everybody who hasn't had an internship find a way to have an internship style agreement, which is a fixed term and the stakes are relatively low. You may end up being paid a significant lower amount for that internship, but usually the value that you get in an internship isn't the pay anyway. It's the relationship building. It's the time and experience that you have. And in this case, it's you getting a chance to move to the United States and start building relationships with people in the United States during that internship. So to me, that seems like the most logical route from where you are to having a job in the United States. It's very likely that you need to take a stair step approach rather than trying to go all out and get the position you want right out of college. Now, Johannes, the funny thing is these are the same steps that I would recommend to anyone else in your position, regardless of if they were moving overseas or not. The next year for you is about developing relationships and transitioning from a learning career to an executing career where you are still learning, but your primary job is to execute. And you have to develop relationships with other people and convince them that you're going to be able to execute for them, that you're going to be valuable for them. So whether you move from where you are or stay where you are, it doesn't really make a huge difference. The only difference for you is that cross-globe trek that you have to make. So the one-time plane ticket, you may want to start saving up for some of those costs, right? It could be a $5,000 moving expense depending on what that move looks like. It may be that you need to find a cheap apartment or you need to start looking into those kinds of things, but all in all, it's going to be relatively the same type of experience as if you were to stay in whatever city that you are currently in, in Germany. I hope this has been at least inspiring and hopefully also informative. Once again, make sure you check out the developer career roadmap episodes of Developer Tea. All those can be found in any podcasting app that you use as well as onspec.fm. Thank you again to today's awesome sponsor, Headspace. If you need to find a piece in clarity, go and download the Headspace app. Of course, you can also learn more about what Headspace has to offer in terms of jobs. We have a link, a special link, spec.fm slash Headspace that will take you directly to the hiring page where you can go directly to headspace.com slash join dash us, headspace.com slash join dash us. Those links can be found in the show notes at spec.fm. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode of Developer Tea. Don't forget about the JavaScript January contest. We won't go over those rules again. They've been in a couple of episodes now. I won't keep you any longer. Thank you so much for listening and until next time, enjoy your tea.