Blog: How to find a software Engineering job abroad – by Volkan Yazici

One of our Software Engineers, Volkan Yazici recently posted a blog on jobbatical to advice other software engineers for a job abroad. Originally from Turkey, he managed to land a job in Utrecht 2 years ago, after a very thorough and long process of research.

“On the way back to the Netherlands from my PhD defence in Turkey, I wanted to share a couple of my personal experiences for those who are in the pursuit of finding a software engineering job abroad. I will proceed in a Q&A form; feel free to continue reading from whichever part you wish.”

Who am I?

I migrated from Turkey to the Netherlands for a software engineering position at bol.com — the biggest e-commerce platform in the Netherlands and Belgium. I have a BS in mathematics, and an MS and PhD in computer engineering. That being said, I had several job experiences in various part- and full-time positions in parallel to my education. Right now, I work as a full-time software engineer and my daily programming routine constitutes of a blend of Java, Scala, and SQL kung-fu.

How did I search for a job?

I followed a path composed of two major steps.

  • Over the years, I had a certain idea about software companies that I met through Hacker News, Proggit, Stack Overflow, DZone, or similar programming-related news channels. And I enriched this set through similar companies via LinkedIn as well. Note that I was not looking for a ticket out of the country, but a decent company that can help me to improve my technical skills. (Though I must admit that the Turkish political atmosphere with an increasing tendency towards an Islamic dictatorship had its own contribution on making up my mind too.) In more concrete terms, I did not want to keep on earning my life by implementing yet another web service, but by figuring out what it takes to write a web service that handles millions of requests per second in a real-world market.
  • Next, I tried to make connections (via Twitter, FreeNode, business links, etc.) to several people who already work in these companies as a software engineer. Then, I scheduled meetings with these people (through various channels; Skype, e-mail, IRC) to learn more about their personal experiences and recommendations. In a nutshell, I talked with around 40 people around the world through Skype.

Here I need to note that the country was my second concern, while the job itself was the first.”

read more about his journey and the Q&A here.