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Juan G.

Tabarez 1

Working abroad as a computer science graduate

We always assume something is normal because it always been that way, or at least for us.

Sometimes we don’t even realize the different ways the world works outside the US, and a way

to realize about this thing and get a new perspective of the world is to work abroad. Working

abroad can be beneficial to someone as a person, it can open to better working possibilities,

broaden your experience and learn about different cultures as you go through new experiences.

Working abroad might seem a big scary sometimes, and it can be in the beginning because we

are afraid of what we don't know, but the downsides of working aboard can easily be

overweighed by the benefits.

The Unites States has strong economy, with great job opportunities in the most powerful

companies in the world with cutting-edge technology, so why should someone consider leave the

U.S.? You may ask, the answer isn’t as straightforward as you might think. However beneficial

to the growth of an individual, the concept of “moving to a new world” may not be suitable for

everyone. Only people willing to make sacrifices, will see the wonders other places have to offer,

and with a good research done before and some understanding on what you are getting into,

going outside your home might not seem as scary as many people might think.

One of the benefits of going to work abroad is that you develop communication skills, which

is something some people in computer science field lack. We spend most of our time behind a

screen working on our project and coding, and sometimes even communication with our colleges

might be a struggle for us. Whether is to study abroad or work abroad we are forced to get out of

our comfort zone, either to ask for information on where the nearest bank is or how to use a

subway line, by doing so we create links with people, which helps us develop as person and

adjust to a new country and environment. As Laura Fernandez mention in her experience
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working abroad in Paris, France, “Living and working helped to really improve my French skills

and surprisingly my English as I had to communicate every day with people from a number of

backgrounds. Learning more about language and culture is very important in the world today as

we are now more connected than ever.” Learning those basic skills increase your productivity at

work and overall makes you a better candidate to take on new job opportunities. In their journal

“Preparing Tomorrow’s Engineers” Rick Vaz, James O. Bryant Jr., H.W. Flood and Thomas M.

Akins said that “This world needs engineers who will be responsible professionals, aware of

their impact if their work on others, and engaged citizens, bringing their knowledge to bear on

improving the quality of life in local and global communities”. This can only be accomplished if

the person has is effective in communication his or her ideas, which is a key skill every

successful engineer should have.

Another good thing about going to work to another country is that you get to learn about

another country’s culture. We are surrounded by a lot of false stereotypes which sometimes we

assume they are true. A common example of this is Japan. People usually think of that country as

weird, with all their citizen loving anime, eating ramen every day, and having weird celebrations,

and although they have very different traditions than us, they aren't weird or out of this world as

many social media pictures. In his article “5 Things Nobody Tells You About Living in Japan,”

Charlie Jones mentions how he had to use a fax machine, which is thought to be obsolete

nowadays in the US, to send work invoice, then he explains that “Over a fourth of the population

is over 60, and they're in no particular hurry to adopt new technology ... Institutions like banks,

the postal service and government offices still keep all of their records on paper, maintained and

filed by superfluous personnel who could easily be replaced by an old Soviet computer.” This

shows that Japan although it is technologically advance, doesn’t always apply that technology in
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their daily life, and if you are looking for a job relating computer science, it is advanced to do

your research beforehand in order to have an idea on what you are getting into.

Learning a second language increases the prospects of getting hired when applying to jobs

and earning more than the average employee. What a better way to learn a new language and put

into practice than moving to a country where they speak it. I can tell you with experience that

what you learn in the classroom only takes you so far. I took some English classes before moving

to the US, but I only fully learned the language after I started thinking, speaking, reading and

writing in English in my daily routine. Rugile Antanaviciute shared her experience working

abroad in the webpage Europe Language Jobs and mentioned that “I always had a goal to learn

Spanish, because to my ears it sounds very welcoming and I knew that I will be forced to reach

my goal if I will surround myself with Spanish people.” This only shows that practicing a new

language makes you fully learn the language, which will have great benefits in the long-term.

Also, if you are required to use a second language in your job, you'll earn form 5 to 20 percent

more than the base rate. Another benefit of being bilingual according to NYTimes.com is that

“Being bilingual, it turns out, makes you smarter. It can have a profound effect on your brain,

improving cognitive skills not related to language and even shielding against dementia in old

age.” Some of those skills obtained while learning a new language can often be used in the

professional setting of a computer science major because we are often required to learn knew

coding languages or update our self because the coding languages are always advancing and

improving, and although it is different than to speak a new langue, coding languages are often

similar , and one of the best ways to learn a coding language, is the same as learning another

dialect, and that is to practice.


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When it comes to looking for working options outside the US, there is plenty of countries that

have many jobs for programmers, and some countries even have job opening for program

languages the US doesn’t offer. One of these programming languages that the US doesn’t offer is

Pearl, in which the highest demand for this language is in Japan, China and India. This is a great

opportunity when people want to learn new coding languages other than the mainstream

programing languages such as java and python among others. Also, the median salary for some

jobs is higher in other countries than the us, such as Switzerland, which offer a pay of $86,746

dollars to a java developer, compared to $72,936 in the US. Another example is Denmark, which

pays $73,687 to a front-end developer compared to $67,456 that the US offer. In the other hand,

other countries don’t pay as much as the US such as India which pays a data scientist only

$9,210 compared to a $92,082 in the US, which almost pays ten times more than India. You

should always do research and compare, and not only look at raw numbers because you also

need to have in mind the cost of living in each country as well as taxes, services, medical

expenses among others. You must do some research before thinking about going to another

country to work or study, because as I said, things are different and for you it might be

completely new.

There are also some downsides of working outside the US. One if them is that you might feel

like an outsider, and in fact you are. Charlie Jones says in his post about living in Japan that

“Japan is one of the most homogenous nations on Earth -- roughly 98 percent of the population is

ethnically Japanese. No matter what you do to try and fit in, you will always stick out like a sore

thumb in a room full of people who have had their thumbs removed by rototillers.” Also another

downside is that they might have different tradition or things that are common for them that you

aren't used to, Jones also stated that hospital are close on evenings and weekends, which means
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that if you get injured or have an emergency you'll have to wait till next Monday, and even then

you need to be early because outpatients are only admitted in the morning. Americans might

find this quite disconcerting because in the US we always have access to medical attention, and

even at night the emergency room is ready to take in whoever needs assistance. Another

downside of being out of the country is that you might miss your family and friends. In my

personal experience, I often miss my relatives and friends back in Mexico, but I know I’ve

grown as a person thanks to my experience of moving to another county, plus the reunions

always feel good and leave me with a smile in my face.

I also need to address the gender equality. Michael A. Fletcher mention in her article “Women

Continue to be Underrepresented in STEM Industries” that “Roughly three in four STEM

professionals are men, the Census Bureau reports.” This shows that women aren’t as present in

the STEM field, some people think it this is due to the idea that men are naturally better at math

and women are better in areas using language skills, and although men do outscore women in the

SAT, this doesn’t prove why the lack of women in the STEM field. In the same article Fletcher

also says that “More needs to be done to encourage women along the way even when they

pursue technical careers. They say women who go into STEM careers often encounter obstacles-

often subtle- ranging from being overlooked by professors, to being overlooked by bosses, or at

meeting, or when it comes for promotions, that leave them discouraged.” This could be caused

by male chauvinist that sometimes is present in our society but depending on the country the

levels of male chauvinist might be greater or smaller, for example in countries like Yemen,

Pakistan and Syria showed a poor index of gender equality, while countries like Iceland, Norway

and Finland showed a good gender equality index. In the same article, Fletcher mention that

"University of Pennsylvania researchers have found that professors ignored request form women
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and minorities at a higher rate than requests from white males. The report found a 25-percent-

point gap in the response rate to Caucasian makes versus women and minorities". To reduce this

institution, need to implement ways to address this and increase the gender equality. In the US

the gender gap has decreased over the years but it's still a concern among many women. A

woman programmer should always do some research about the country she plans to go to work

or study to avoid encountering with unpleasant situations. Also, in other countries is quite

dangerous to be an outsider.

People shouldn’t fear what is outside their borders, in the opposite, they should see it as a new

adventure waiting for them. Working abroad isn't for everyone, there is always benefits and

downsides to going out of your country. If you are interested in broadening your horizons you

should always do some research beforehand and always compare between places and evaluate

the benefits, the negatives and other factors that might change your lifestyle. You can always

lookup for post about people sharing their experience, because now more than ever people are

more connected, and business are global, and you can always get an idea of what it is to work in

certain country and for certain company.


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References

“Life Working Abroad: People’s Experiences.” Europe Language Jobs.

www.europelanguagejobs.com/blog/work-abroad-experiences.

Accessed March 07, 2019.

Rasch, Ronald H., and Henry L. Tosi. “Factors Affecting Software Developers' Performance:

An Integrated Approach.” MIS Quarterly, vol. 16, no. 3, 1992, pp. 395–413. JSTOR,

www.jstor.org/stable/249535.

Fletcher, Michael A. “WOMEN CONTINUE TO BE UNDERREPRESENTED IN STEM

INDUSTRIES.” Women of Color Magazine, vol. 14, no. 1, 2015, pp. 22–24. JSTOR,

www.jstor.org/stable/43769519.

Vaz, Rick, et al. “Preparing Tomorrow's Engineers.” ASEE Prism, vol. 13, no. 1, 2003, pp.

8–9. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/24160866.

“5 Things Nobody Tells You About Living in Japan.” Cracked. Charlie Jones, November 2012

http://www.cracked.com/article_20118_5-things-nobody-tells-you-about-living-in-

japan.html

Accessed March 07, 2019.

“Can Speaking Two Languages Increase Your Job Prospects?” UEI College

www.uei.edu/blog/can-

speaking-two-languages-increase-your-job-prospects. Accessed March 07, 2019


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“Best Countries for Software Engineers and Developers to Work.” Hackearth Blog. Arpit

Mishra,

March 2017. www.hackerearth.com/blog/competitive-programming/best-countries-

software

-engineers-developers-work-2017/. Accessed March 07, 2019.