Author Topic: Need advice from Software/Computer Engineers!  (Read 5081 times)

ypsilon

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 13
Need advice from Software/Computer Engineers!
« on: October 26, 2013, 05:37:03 AM »
Hi everyone!

I am a fellow Spanish mustachian who just finished his studies on Computer Engineering. I've been reading the blog since last April, when a friend of mine shared the Washington Post article on Facebook. From the first minute I realized that all these ideas reflected somehow the way that I had always thought, but this blog helped me organize and "materialize" all these thoughts.

I wanted to ask you for some advice, since I'm thinking about making an internship in the USA (where most of you live), and I know that there are a lot of Software Engineers in this community. To make this internship, I would have to find first a company there willing to accept me, and then an organization here in Spain would get me a J-1 visa. I am mainly a Java engineer, and I have worked with Android development and web development (Spring framework and GWT, JPA/Hibernate, etc), but I have worked too with C and embedded systems (which I love). So I would like to ask some questions:

- What state or states would you recommend me?
- What is the best website to look for IT jobs?
- Do you know any company that could be accepting me?
- Any aditional advice is welcomed!

Thank you very much!
« Last Edit: October 27, 2013, 04:27:32 AM by ypsilon »

FIPurpose

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1047
  • Location: WA
    • FI With Purpose
Re: Need advice from Computer Engineers!
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2013, 05:42:20 PM »
Your options are really limitless. The big tech giants reside around California and Washington, but there are going to be opportunities in any state for a programmer. I'm in my last semester of college with a degree in Computer Science. I've done a year internship in Alabama at a medium sized communications company doing embedded systems. I have a job offer that I'm considering in Missouri, waiting on a response from a big tech company in Washington, and I have been recently been contacted by someone in North Dakota. You literally go anywhere you want to in the United States in the tech field.

I got these through attending a career fair/ going to the company website and just applying. The only disadvantage that you would have is that you aren't eligible for government contractors which make up a large portion of programming careers.

Like I said any private tech company will consider a foreign candidate, people like Microsoft (and many other tech giants) actually look to hire people from other countries; they see it as being advantageous to diversify their employees.

ypsilon

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 13
Re: Need advice from Computer Engineers!
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2013, 05:54:56 PM »
Thanks flyingcircle, yes, I know that there are infinite possibilities, that's my problem. I'm trying to narrow them to two or three states, because if I start searching the whole country, it's going to be neverending. Of course, I would love to go to California, but I somehow think that It companies there only hire geniuses, and I'm not one, although I know that there must be a lot of companies there. I will maybe try to look for something there.

dragoncar

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8772
  • Registered member
Re: Need advice from Computer Engineers!
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2013, 06:04:26 PM »
No, SF is so desperate for any coding talent right now, you probably wouldn't have trouble getting a job.  Now, the housing situation is a different story (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/off-topic/bay-area-rental-prices-an-explitive-filled-rant/)

capital

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 451
Re: Need advice from Computer Engineers!
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2013, 06:08:57 PM »
In the US, computer engineering generally refers to hardware/embedded work, while software engineering is used to refer to web work. You should probably pick which to target-- there are opportunities in both.

The SF Bay Area definitely has the biggest opportunities in both fields.  But there are other clusters in both areas like Seattle and Boston and Austin, and significant software opportunities in NYC.

The Bay Area has the most Spain-like weather, but housing has gotten incredibly expensive there of late. You will likely be able to afford it as a single young person with a high salary, but staying long-term is harder. Silicon Valley is an endless suburb, and it can be difficult to commute from San Francisco, which could be bad for your social life. Salaries are generally highest there, and you don't need to be a genius to get a job there, though some specific companies have very high standards.

Seattle is cool and rainy for much of the year, though never cold, with big mountains nearby.

NYC is a big city with a high-quality public transportation, and is closer to Spain if you want to visit home. The weather is hotter in the summer and colder in the winter but perfectly manageable. It is very vibrant and has many social opportunities. More of the work is in web/mobile and consumer fields. The salaries are also very high. The cost of living can be high in hipper neighborhoods, but there are also more affordable options within reach of 24-hour public transportation. The Bay Area is apparently much worse in that department.

Boston is a smaller, colder, academically-oriented city.

Oftentimes bigger companies are the most experience with visas.

I would probably pick either the Bay Area or NYC, research the biggest employers as well as interesting startups, and start sending out a few applications. Maybe also get in touch with a recruiter.

dailycycle

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 27
  • Location: Silicon Valley
Re: Need advice from Computer Engineers!
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2013, 06:16:12 PM »
Just a note - if you've already graduated, you won't be eligible for some internship programs.  But they will consider hiring you for a job instead.  Find jobs on indeed.com or on the websites of specific companies.

Roland of Gilead

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1847
Re: Need advice from Computer Engineers!
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2013, 06:33:18 PM »
I live in Seattle and it is very nice, but not the Spain climate.  The cost of living here is lower than California though, we have no income tax, and well, it isn't California, so that is a positive. 

We like coffee.

Oh, my wife is a software engineer here.  They hire quite a few devs on visa..,mostly from India though.

Paul der Krake

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4611
  • Age: 11
  • Location: USA
Re: Need advice from Computer Engineers!
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2013, 07:10:57 PM »
Just a note - if you've already graduated, you won't be eligible for some internship programs.  But they will consider hiring you for a job instead.  Find jobs on indeed.com or on the websites of specific companies.
For J-1 visas, you are eligible to start your internship up to 12 months after graduation.

OP, I would recommend finding a city where you can get by without a car. It will make your life a LOT easier.

Jamesqf

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4047
Re: Need advice from Computer Engineers!
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2013, 12:27:16 AM »
OP, I would recommend finding a city where you can get by without a car. It will make your life a LOT easier.

You can actually get by quite well without a car in many parts of the Bay Area, especially as an intern.  When I worked there, I would drive in Sunday night, park the car, and hardly ever touch it until I left on Friday afternoon.

For the OP, have you considered graduate school?  A lot of the really top internships go to grad students.  You don't have to be a genius, but you do have to be pretty good.  It also helps if you are already working on something related to a project that the company does.  The people I know who did internships at places like Google & IBM Research were actively recruited because of their graduate work.

ypsilon

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 13
Re: Need advice from Computer Engineers!
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2013, 04:16:22 AM »
Wow! So many answers from day to day, I was sleeping in the meantime:

No, SF is so desperate for any coding talent right now, you probably wouldn't have trouble getting a job.  Now, the housing situation is a different story (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/off-topic/bay-area-rental-prices-an-explitive-filled-rant/)

Ok, now that's ridiculous... I'm living in London right now, and it sounds even worse than here. Anyway I wouldn't have any problem adapting to it, it would be ok to live in some town outside San Francisco.

In the US, computer engineering generally refers to hardware/embedded work, while software engineering is used to refer to web work. You should probably pick which to target-- there are opportunities in both.

My studies in Spain were actually 5 years long, and it's not strange to finish them in 6 or 7 years (I did it in 6 studying for a year out in Berlin), so I had time to study both disciplines... Now I will have to choose I guess.

I would probably pick either the Bay Area or NYC, research the biggest employers as well as interesting startups, and start sending out a few applications. Maybe also get in touch with a recruiter.

I think that's a good idea. Because of the weather, as you said, I would probably choose somewhere near San Francisco, since I'm from the south of Spain (it's really warm down there), but I can adapt to the cold without any problem.

OP, I would recommend finding a city where you can get by without a car. It will make your life a LOT easier.

I don't want to have nothing to do with cars actually! I have a driver's licence, but I got it like 5 years ago, and barely have touched a wheel since then, so I have lost all the practice. In my city (Seville) I lived close to the center, so that was not a problem. I know that in the States things are different, like a lot of people use a lot of cars, but I don't even know if I could get one, so...

For the OP, have you considered graduate school?  A lot of the really top internships go to grad students.  You don't have to be a genius, but you do have to be pretty good.  It also helps if you are already working on something related to a project that the company does.  The people I know who did internships at places like Google & IBM Research were actively recruited because of their graduate work.

I have thought about it, but after 6 years of studying for just my degree, it's almost like if I had a master's degree (in fact, many Spanish people here in London write that in their resumes). I just want to work now.

Thank you very much to all for your help, this is such a great community!

maryofdoom

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 221
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Southwestern PA
  • Jeopardy! loser since 2010
Re: Need advice from Software/Computer Engineers!
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2013, 09:42:54 AM »
For you (and for any other software engineers reading this thread), may I suggest you look at the jobs board of my employer, Carnegie Mellon University?

I can't post links to individual jobs, because it's a Taleo-based site and kind of sucks, but here is the main link: http://www.cmu.edu/jobs/index.html

Most jobs are in Pittsburgh, PA, but some are in Australia; Doha, Qatar; and some are in El Segundo, CA.

Pittsburgh is reasonably cheap and is getting more bike-friendly, and if you do end up at CMU proper, you get a free bus pass as part of your employment.

I hope this helps!

capital

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 451
Re: Need advice from Computer Engineers!
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2013, 03:47:26 PM »
Living car free and having a social life in the Bay Area means living in San Francisco and paying high rents, or maybe living in Berkeley/Oakland, but that rules out carfree commuting to Silicon Valley. It is possible to live in Silicon Valley without a car, but there's not that much to do, rents are still high, and the Caltrain is more for commuters than people who want to go to SF for recreation.

So I'd suggest looking at jobs in either NYC or SF (the city proper) as your initial target. SF proper often is relatively cool and foggy, being surrounded by the ocean and bay. Berkeley/Oakland are warmer.

Many companies have recruiting bonuses in today's markets, so pretty much any US software engineer you know would be glad to refer you for a job.

Pittsburgh is a nice town (I went to CMU) but there are fewer employers, and I believe salaries can be a bit lower. Housing is very cheap but when you just need a room that's not as big of a factor. Living carfree is doable but tricky.

dragoncar

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8772
  • Registered member
Re: Need advice from Computer Engineers!
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2013, 09:04:08 PM »
Living car free and having a social life in the Bay Area means living in San Francisco and paying high rents, or maybe living in Berkeley/Oakland, but that rules out carfree commuting to Silicon Valley. It is possible to live in Silicon Valley without a car, but there's not that much to do, rents are still high, and the Caltrain is more for commuters than people who want to go to SF for recreation.

So I'd suggest looking at jobs in either NYC or SF (the city proper) as your initial target. SF proper often is relatively cool and foggy, being surrounded by the ocean and bay. Berkeley/Oakland are warmer.

Many companies have recruiting bonuses in today's markets, so pretty much any US software engineer you know would be glad to refer you for a job.

Pittsburgh is a nice town (I went to CMU) but there are fewer employers, and I believe salaries can be a bit lower. Housing is very cheap but when you just need a room that's not as big of a factor. Living carfree is doable but tricky.

Some companies may have a shuttle bus from Berkeley or Oakland, too. 

P.S.  You should start a CMU thread... I swear I've seen at least a few people who went there

Jamesqf

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4047
Re: Need advice from Computer Engineers!
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2013, 09:55:24 PM »
Living car free and having a social life in the Bay Area means living in San Francisco and paying high rents...

This depends on what your ideas of "social life" and "recreation" include.  If it includes a lot of bar-hopping and/or "clubbing", I've no recent personal experience (grew out of that sort of thing a long time ago), but casual observation suggests that there is a good bit in San Jose, Mountain View, Palo Alto, etc.  For outdoor recreation, there's quite a bit of decent biking - it's perfectly possible to ride from San Jose over to Santa Cruz - a number of good parks for hiking &c.