How I moved to Berlin to be a better Software Developer – The Plan

After 7 years as software developer and a whole life in a 3k people village.

Recently talking with a friend of mine who made my same choice I realised how planned and technical was my migration for moving where I am at the moment.

I’ve lived all my life until the late 29 in a 3k souls village in north Italy responding to the name of Cunardo.

Here: https://goo.gl/3Qbwj9

Trust me, if you are into stuff like climbing, hiking and any kind of adventure in the nature, that’s a location I would totally recommend you.

Not the part of Italy for finding amazing food but still somewhere deserving a visit.

Anyway, the point is that at a certain moment of my not so abroad oriented life I’ve just felt the desire to take my stuff and move my butt to somewhere else.

The best and more safe way for doing this was to find another job and considering my attitude to planning and to seek safety, I didn’t wanted to move without having a safe landing spot on the other side of the jump.

That meant finding another job in the new place before moving there which of course, in my redneck mind, meant planning and preparation of the mind state.

I think the way I’ve done everything could be interesting to someone, for sure to my friend of before, so here it is.

 

The Planning.

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Developers

My decision came in November 2015 and became stronger and stronger after the Christmas celebration with my family in the same year, I think you may know what I mean.

The defined target was to find a job in time for being able to move at earliest at July 2016 and at latest at December.

Having a strong goal helped me to keep the focus on the thing and to not lose that strong desire to move.

I planned a first preparation phase without sending any application in order to prepare myself, improve my online presence and acquiring more confidence for the future technical interviews.

Updated my CV

Obviously the first and most important part to attract some possible recruiter is to present yourself with a rich and interesting CV.

Mine was just terrible.

The English grammar was at retarded elementary student level and the contents was barely more than the first working year experience.

After a good job of polishing I’ve reached and interesting and rich 2 pages CV, after 7 years in the same company and 4 main project shifting my experience was interesting and wide enough to overfill it so I’ve just put less emphasis on the less interesting experiences simply based on what I wanted to do (2 years of C# were enough to understand that I don’t want to work in the Microsoft ecosystem).

About the format you can find a quantity of websites explaining how to write your best CV so I will just skip this part.

My conclusion on this is that is not much important the shape or the colours, the content and the emphasis on what is important are the real players in a CV.

Updated my LinkedIn profile

I think LinkedIn is still one of the best platform for finding a job in IT because it’s simply the social network with the most strong “professional aura”.

It’s simply full of swarms of IT recruiters, Tech Talent Acquisition Experts and Whatever Engineer looking for some potential interesting profile so, at least in IT, it’s quite easy to receive some offer and occasion to talk with someone and probably even find a job.

Saying this, I’ve just felt mandatory to me to update my LinkedIn profile in the same way I’ve updated my CV with the different goal of reaching a good visibility point.

At the end it’s mostly about that.

Updated my Github profile

I tended to keep the bigger part of my personal project, big and small ones, in private repositories because I just didn’t felt the need to make them available to the world.

But well, if you have to expose your skills to make you attractive as software developer, this is not the best way to do it.

So I’ve changed the most interesting private repositories to public and wrote a minimal documentation for each one of them.

Hearing some stories of recruiters checking on Github for potential candidates also this seemed something useful to me.

Created a StackOverflow profile

If Github is the best source for checking out how a developer works, StackOverflow is the best for checking how a developer communicates, personal blog excluded.

I think communication is one of the most important skill for a software developer and that’s why I opened my account and started checking out regularly questions and answers.

I can’t say to have contributed very much to the community (while I’m writing this my StackOverflow score is 119, not much but it’s something) but at least I’ve figured out a personal weakness regarding communication and this is still very very valuable.

In addition to the profile on StackOverflow I’ve created a developer story in StackOverflow Jobs, same way as LinkedIn, another way to increase my visibility and the possibility of finding an interesting job.

Created a personal website

Soon I found out how many developers have their own space to present themselves and to aggregate all their internet profiles.

Looking back today to traffic stats of my website this has been for sure the less useful thing of all but at least I’ve created a personal space on which putting my CV and all the referrals to my public profiles.

I thought would be cool to have a simple and easy to remember url so I bought http://about.marcopolita.net for almost nothing.

Easy isn’t? Enough to being able to put Foundation in my CV.

Restudied the basics.

Algorithms complexity and search algorithms, SQL (which is the base for most of us but wasn’t for me), design patterns, SOLID, code smells.

All the kind of stuff that any dev tends to forget once he or she starts working on something economically interesting.

I’ve come back to these stuff because are the basics of the common language for any dev and for this reason a good starting point to quickly evaluate dev’s skills.

“How do you measure the quality of your code?”

“With SOLID!”

“Can you explain me the O in SOLID?”

“Object Oriented!”

“Thank you”

I’ve also needed to redevelop a study methodology and to create good habits to keep the pace of a regular study.

To me writing everything and resuming the book I’ve read during the day helped a lot to develop good behaviours, maybe it’s not the same for everyone but to me just worked perfectly!

So the advice here: go back to study regularly because you are trying to sell you skill and your mind and they work the best when continuously stimulated.

Conclusions:

So far this is everything I did for the planing phase of my migration.

In the next post I will tell you on how I started my interview phase and how I developed a feedback circle to keep learning from every interview.

I’ll close this post with an advice on the book that helped me during all the phases of my job search, Soft Skills: The software developer’s life manual, simply the best inspirational book I’ve read so far, useful not only for developers.

Salutissimi!

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