How I moved to Berlin to be a better software developer – The Execution

After the initial period of preparation of which I’ve wrote here, I’ve started with the real juicy part: finding companies offering interesting job positions and apply for them.

For starting the search I’ve defined criteria:

  • Android or Ruby developer
  • Agile environment
  • Placed in Berlin or Amsterdam

And expectations:

  • Over 50k € yearly gross for Berlin and over 60k € for Amsterdam (based on the average salary and the cost of life)
  • Space for self improvement, like conferences budget, study material, “study attitude”, hackatons and all those kind of stuff that we dev use to look smarter.
  • New technologies with which get my hands dirty.

Having these points clear in my mind and on my papers I could be able to do a first filtering and saving time for the first search.

For the search I’ve used mainly LinkedIn and StackOverflow Jobs, wasn’t deluded by them as I found a huge amount of offers all the time from which choose both as Ruby and Android developer.

In order to arrive prepared and with confidence to the interview, I used to have a pre-interview phase during which I’ve retrieved some info about the company.

Info like:

  • Size
  • Age
  • HQ position
  • Benefits
  • Technologies used
  • Developed products
  • Who works there (same with technical blogs and also Twitter accounts)

Discovering this kind of information is super useful for some reasons:

I can easily understand if the environment offers a big space for learning new stuff.

By the size and the age I can infer the stability of the company (Not interested in the 300 employees in 1.5 years startup environment, stable as the family christmas party with the violent alcoholic uncle who promised to not drink anymore).

IMG_20170717_204831
Some notes taken during an interview, and yep, that’s an olive oil stain. #Italy

I can prepare some specific questions to pose to the interviewer to show interest in the company and some other more generic to understand what kind of benefit they offer.

Over preparing the paper about the company, I’ve also prepared paper about me using the mind-map diagram.

IMG_20170717_205256
My super secret mind map for replying to the “Tell me something about you” question

This in order to have an ordered, easy to read, mind flow to use when the interviewer asked me the question “tell me something about you”.

I don’t know you guys, but the “tell me something about you” question was freaking me out all the time.

This part has the same exact way of structuring a CV, you have to skip the less interesting parts, focus on the important, be ready to explain all your career shifts and at the same time impress with personal considerations.

At the end my “Interview desk” was composed by the personal mind-map on the left of the computer and the company sheet on the right.

These small habits saved me from the most stressful situations, especially the first ones.

These kind of personal interviews are what I call the “Madness discoverers” because I think there are only two reasons for which someone can be discarded: The interviewer is not really interested or the interviewed is mindfucked.

Well, by keeping away my mindfuckness I’ve always managed to get to the code challenge or to the technical interview.

I don’t have much to say about the technical interviews and code challenge, sometimes I got lucky to be interviewed by someone who knows the jobs for real, asking real question like “how would you solve this problem?” or “Can you implement this rails/android project for me?” some other I’ve been asked for the classical algorithmic solutions to absurd problems to be solved without using language constructs and with a fist in your mouth.

For the first kind you just have to resume your shit very well because the bases are something that get lost over time and for the second, well, Google is always the best friend here.

The important is to always ask for feedback at the end of the interview or code challenge because that will be the gasoline for pushing your job seeking machine to unexpected altitudes.

Stay away from something that seems to easy because if a specific company could look too eager to propose you a contract and making you sign it something suspicious could be going on there.

One time I’ve smelled the “desperate startup with money to give away” when after a catastrophic code interview I’ve received an offer for 60k euro.

The feeling was correct as that company was (and still is) risking to explode in a spectacular way.

After about 6 months and about 10 interviews I’ve managed to find a job here in Berlin as Senior Backend Ruby Developer.

It’s not exactly the kind of job I’ve always dreamed but for someone like me, who comes from a 3k souls place and from a job where everything seemed too easy and not that stimulant, the simple step of moving out and finding something else on my own has been the thing I needed to push myself forward, both as professional and as person.

Salutissimi!

 

 

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