Offshore Developer’s Roadmap to US Projects – Part 1

Yinso:
Okay. Today this is not going to be a software from the grownup session, but we’re just going to talk about… Whatever we feel like talking about.

Mikhail:
There is an very interesting topic. Something I have always wanted to talk about is that the challenges developers are facing in terms of finding opportunities, finding jobs, finding projects to work on. And I think that it is partially related to language challenges and language is a part of it. But I sometimes feel that developers don’t have the right approach or attitude towards getting those jobs.

Yinso:
Before we go too much further lets just clarify here that we’re not talking about Arabic developers, right. We’re talking about very specific group of developers here, developers that you personally know and you personally work with. So now what would you… How would you categorize them? There are foreign developers, I mean non US developers, whatever.

Mikhail:
Yes, I would say it’s mostly people who live in developing countries and they work as programmers, as developers and at least they are thinking, or maybe they actively pursuing this idea of going overseas maybe to US, Europe, Japan to find a job, to find some business opportunities, to work on more projects. And I think based on even my experience and probably that’s why I would like to ask you about your experiences and your thoughts on this subject. Because I think there is quite a lot of… How can I say, there are a lot of illusions people often call about.

Yinso:
Illusions, I like that word.

Mikhail:
It’s just that sometimes I feel they live in a dream world, you know, they’re going into one direction, but actually they need to go in a completely different one.

Yinso:
I see.

Mikhail:
I’m not actually blaming them for doing it. But I just feel that maybe sometimes they just need a bit of advice or direction from people who actually work in this industry.

Yinso:
Right. What are some of the things that you see them do?

Mikhail:
Yeah, so I know it is… I mean obviously language is a big part of it because we’re a non-native speakers. And if you ask me for example, my experience and also my professional experience, I can tell you that once you start using English for other projects that you are actively involved in every day, I think it should take only a few months for you to actually to start feeling confident about it. And there would be absolutely… I mean, obviously everyone learns English. If it’s not your native language, you will learn it forever basically. But the important part is actually to get to a certain level of confidence as quickly as possible, because simply you don’t have much time. You can’t take like 20 years and 30 years to learn.

Yinso:
Right.

Mikhail:
How to do it quickly? My answer to this question would be, we definitely need to use it in context, because if there is no context, if we are just doing exercises, like language exercises, listening to podcasts, it’s kind of cool, it’s a hobby, it’s nice. It’s great. But it doesn’t really bring you to any point where you start feeling confident.

Yinso:
It’s kind of like how I learned Japanese, right? I learned Japanese by just trying to watch animations here and there, but that’s okay for me because I’m not using Japanese professionally, right?

Mikhail:
Yeah, yeah. And that brings me to the next point. So I was talking about language, but now I’m going to talk about something even more important than language, which is professional skills and communication skills. Because it’s obvious that to be able to participate in software projects you’ve got to be at a certain level of communication skills. If you not, it simply means you will have complete misunderstanding with every business partner, with your boss, like they will ask you to do one thing and you don’t hear what they ask you to do. You don’t know how to ask questions, you don’t know how to reply to emails, you don’t… That’s the challenging part, but again as I mentioned you’ve got to keep doing that and you’ve got to keep improving yourself. I see so many people actually doing and improving and get them to a very, very good level without actually leaving their native country. They don’t have to be in Europe or US. They don’t have to have a lot of friends over there, they just keep using language in the context of the actual projects that we are doing.

Yinso:
Yeah. I mean, clients… Working with clients, working with customers is so much more powerful than if you just try and just say, I need to make a friend, in US or something. Your friends are never going to put pressure on you for you to have to Excel to a particular level. Right? It’s like forging basically. You know, in order to forge steel, you got to have hot fire.

Mikhail:
Yes.

Yinso:
Right? And this fire is what’s going to be missing in things like language exchange, ignoring just like, say pen pals. Your pen pal is never going to put out fire to you the way that your customers that’ll be demanding you to deliver. You kind of understand, if you don’t understand, you might lose your job, you might lose your contract, whatever. Right? It’s just different level of pressure. And unfortunately, we humans kind of need to have that pressure to grow. [Crosstalk 00:00:06:26] As much as I like a non-pressure situation, and everybody is all happy, we can just do whatever we want and we can all be growing, but not really. It doesn’t really work that way.

Mikhail:
Yeah.

Yinso:
Yeah, I’m not surprised that you’re seeing things like that, but this is more of a situation of the blind leading the blind though. You know, basically people don’t know where they’re going, so the’re just simply trying to figure out where they could figure out basically. And this is not to say that some of them will also see. Some of these blinds… There’s a group of people that… What’s the term auto, [inaudible 00:07:13] whatever you pronounced that people who self-learn.

Mikhail:
Yeah, yeah.

Yinso:
There is a group of people out there who are very capable. As a matter of fact, they prefer to learn this way that they want to fumble around themselves. There’s some fumbling around then figure out. I’ll say, okay, are they towards the right duration? I’ll head towards the right direction. And they like that more than if someone was trying to lead them. They don’t like it that much. So it’s possible for someone to fumble their way through this and become successful. On the other hand, for example, startups, right? A lot of startups are basically just fumblings even the ones that have startup accelerators working with them. At the end of the day, it’s still going to be a guess game. You still have to try to guess whether your customers are going to be delayed, what you are trying to build?

Mikhail:
It’s a bit of a dream, I would say less. So going back to dreaming start. Absolutely.

Yinso:
But somehow dreams do succeed and it’s the confirmation bias, basically. For people who’s dreams succeeded, then they go like, okay, this can work. And then everyone else see them successful. So they say, this can work as well. This can work for me, and I’m going to try that. So, yeah, am not surprised. But what do you see these developers do? What do they try to do in this dream of theirs? What do they try to accomplish?

Mikhail:
It’s pretty obvious. I mean, this is the experience that I get every day but I’m just watching people to make connections and also trying to talk to each other in order to improve their English. So that’s the idea. Now even though I naturally support this and the nature of the would say yes, of course. I mean the more people you talk to, the more situations you have, the more context you have, it’s fantastic. I mean, ideally you should be doing that all the time, every day. Right. But sometimes I feel that these conversations may simply lack context because even if I get on Skype with people I know, and people I sort of… I mean they’re my friends, but unless we have a topic or unless we have some kind of project to work on, it would be very difficult to just talk about stuff, you know, what exactly should we talk about? And uh…yeah.

Yinso:
Some people are very good at that by the way, some people are very good at small talks. I know that I am not.

Mikhail:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.It could be fun. I’m not denying that it could be fun because sometimes even a simple conversation with person of a different culture, it actually adds to your understanding of how the culture works. But eventually we’ll have to figure out some topics, especially if you want to talk to them like tomorrow, next day and so on, because otherwise it builds on both sides.

Yinso:
That’s True.

Mikhail:
Yeah. And it’s still better way compared to English lessons, because this one, I would definitely separate from what we’re talking about because English lessons are simply just ways to embed some vocabulary or grammar into your head and then the traditional style of English lessons. And it doesn’t work at all in my experience. I was learning English for so many years and I had absolutely no progress on communication skills until I actually started to… Then first, first thing that I understood is that there is a huge difference between learning the language and communication skills of that language, using that language. And once you switch from learning to using it, then obviously you’ll start making progress, but to do so, you have to find the context because if there is no context, that just becomes very difficult to make that progress.

Yinso:
That’s very true. I think that is true. So I mean, this is what we’re doing, right? We’re doing software from the ground up.

Mikhail:
Mm-hmm(affirmative)

Yinso:
Not to pat our own backs here but you know, perhaps your… The friends that you know, would consider joining our group and by joining our group, then they can now have a chance to actually have a context in which that they can practice English and not just English, but how so basically professional.

Mikhail:
Yeah, communication skills.
Communication skills, Right?

Leave a Reply