Orginally posted in Spanish on Pulso Social. See the original article here.
Written by Daniel Felipe López, Backend Developer at AllTheRooms.
The internet has drastically changed the way we interact with the world, changing dynamics not only in our personal and professional life, but also in the ways of creating new businesses.
My career path changed radically with the boom of foreign technology startups. The boom of emerging digital companies expanded opportunities overseas and in my case, I had the great opportunity to join a company that works internationally.
I would like to tell you a bit more about my story, how I made the leap to the world of global startups, what I have learned as part of one of them and the advice I could give to those who want to become international programmers.
My story as a programmer
I was born in Medellin, Colombia but I consider myself a citizen of the world. I like to travel and to learn about different cultures. I’m passionate about programming because it allows me to solve problems, just like I do when I travel to an unknown place.
I completed I technical education in Analysis and Development of Information Systems before beginning my professional studies in Systems Engineering. Contrary to my expectations, the academy limited my creativity and its educational system did not contribute enough, so I decided to stop studying at my university and continue my learning in a self-taught way.
After leaving University, I started working full time in a web development company. At the time, I was very interested in Node.js and had a personal project that allowed me to learn that coding language.
The experience of working a startup
Today, I have been working for AllTheRooms for more than 3 years, a travel startup that is positioned as the most complete web hosting meta-search. When I joined the project, I was quite impressed with the idea of organizing information from every hosting site in the world into a single website; it is a task that involves many interesting challenges and allows me to create an impact not only in my home of Medellin, but all over the world.
Working for a startup, you are so involved in the process of developing the company, that you feel as though the company is your own. Because of this, you are more enthusiastic in your work and you feel proud to be a pioneer of something that is going far. It’s like being in a video game that as the difficulty increases, so does the satisfaction of advancing several levels, even though there is still so much more to play
Being an international programmer
Although I think it should not be generalized, I think the skill that is of most value to international startups is the ability to solve problems. In my experience, most software companies in Colombia focus only on your academic qualifications and your personal experience, basing your salary and responsibilities on those two factors. I think the best job option for any developer is in a company that, whether Colombian or foreign, values your skills and abilities and provides opportunities for professional and personal growth.
The question then, is how to become an international developer? Based on my experience and learning, I made a list of a few tips that I hope will be useful:
Tips for being an international programmer:
1. Improve your English
English is a global language, it is your connection with the world. Perfecting your English is the first step to enter the international market and be a competent international professional.
2. Create a great profile on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the platform where you show who you are at a professional level and where you can connect with other professionals and companies around the world. Having an up-to-date profile in English and being easy to find is a fundamental requirement to become part of the international labor force.
3. Create a profile in AngelList and use it to look for jobs
AngelList is a website created for startups to create connections with other companies, investors, and professionals. Create a profile in AngelList and use it to apply to job postings published there.
4. Join a network of programmers
There are several websites that allow you to connect with other programmers in the world and work with them on different projects. Stack Overflow is a website that not only allows you to create networks, but also helps you build your online reputation and share knowledge with other professionals.
5. Contribute to other projects
Join other open source projects through websites like GitHub or launch your own project to receive feedback. It is important that you also share your work on platforms like CodePen, this will help you create a portfolio that will show your work.
7. Define your differentiating factor
Define what makes you different from others and trust yourself and your abilities. Some programmers reject offers from great startups and large companies just because they do not feel capable of taking on new challenges, even when they have all the capabilities to do so.