American Millenial Expat: I need a job in 12 weeks

@john1 Hey! Interviews and Chingu, as well as deciding what we’ll be doing for the next year or two within the next couple weeks has been the major theme this last week.

Week #10
I finished my take-home test and sent that on Monday to the design studio, but haven’t heard back yet. My girlfriend wants me to follow-up, but I’m going to wait the weekend.

I was able to push up and had a Github-repo test for the cats-in-office company. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get past the Docker/Python setup required to even start :sweat_smile:.

I had an interview this week which was a technical interview. That went so-so. Dialogue and culture-wise, it would work, but the majority of the questions I wasn’t prepared for. Things like, “What’s the difference between a promise and a callback? What’s the benefit of using Mongoose? What’s the difference between noSQL and SQL databases?” I was able to take a crack at these, but surely wasn’t giving the “right” answer so to speak.

I’m working on a take-home test right now. This one seems more up my alley.

Chingu projects are rounding out their first week. My project is using a swath of new technologies for me, so I’m doing my best to balance time with interviews, take home tests, and figuring out the next two weeks. Ideally I will come out of this with real experience and knowledge of using Git (pull requests, branches, issues, etc), a shiny project for my portfolio, and experience working with a lot of unfamiliar technologies at once.

Projects worked on:

Things learned:

  • Initial look at using GitHub issues and projects
  • Started studying JavaScript interview questions lists, in case I run into any more interviews like that last one


  • Worst case scenario, can’t land a HK job and I’m moving back to the US. Worst case only because my girlfriend signed a 1 year contract already for China. In reality, the US is the best fit, I think, as far as culture, salary, and job opportunities.

Goals for the week:

  • Start working on Chingu MVP for 1st week
  • Finish take-home test
  • Start applying in more earnest to US jobs (more than 1-click)


Take home test, interviews, and side projects. As well, I’m finishing up my teaching contract the next couple weeks. Most classes grades will be finalized by this time next week, the other few still have finals to do.

Moving in the next couple weeks as well. My girlfriend to a new apartment in Shenzhen, me to either a tiny studio for during the week in Hong Kong, or back to the US.

Still staying active, playing football (soccer) ~6 hours/week.


Keep it going player. You’ll get your right fitting job soon I know it. Keep up the hard work.

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Week #11
@psychometry great advice to join Chingu, I would recommend it to any aspiring developer at any stage in their learning. I said in our community chat, but when it’s just you and you’re making your own project idea…it’s really easy to just come up with something that you are comfortable with. With this project I’m doing so much that I would have never tried on my own. For example, I’ve (foolishly) avoided user sign-up pages, authorization, etc. in every one of my previous projects and it’s such a ubiquitous part of the internet. In this project we’re adding a sign-up form.

The design studio got back to me. In a nutshell, they said that they weren’t 100% satisfied, but saw potential, and want to see more. Instead of doing another take-home for free, they’re going to pay me as a freelancer and give me more guidance.

And so, I’ve got a plane ticket for the US June 24th. The idea is to live with family in LA first. Then, either look for jobs there, or find a temporary room-for-rent on craigslist/bnb in Denver and (after a couple weeks of visiting family and adjusting to life back in the US) move there to look for jobs.

Projects worked on:

  • ClimateSpy (chingu)

Things learned:

  • Github branching, pull requests, etc - one of the questions in my technical interview was, “How familiar are you with using Github?” If I encounter that question again, thanks a lot to @willjw3, I’ll have a lot more to say.
  • Just in general collaborating with someone else and reading/understanding their code
  • using eslint


  • Ideally I would find a job in Denver, because that’s the place my girlfriend and I agree on most. However, do I need to move there to find a job (req. paying rent while unemployed), or can I find a job in Denver while living with family in LA temporarily rent-free (~2 months)?

Goals for the week:

  • We used AliPay to get my Skype number…and I think there was an issue with making an out-of-country payment, because it’s pending (TIC problems). So I’m a bit behind on applying for jobs. Get the US phone number, use a different pay method if needed - don’t wait for the pending to fall-off.
  • Apply to 7 jobs/day (make up for lost time)
  • git commit daily (probably all Chingu project)
  • Finish 2 algorithms on CodeWars
  • Study JS interview questions for >1 hour

In a way, this thread has been a success. If the title had been, “I need a job offer in 12 weeks”, then it would be done. I got the initial startup company offer (declined) and now I’ve got a freelance “job” offer. I think next week will be my last update as after that, it’s off to the US to try my luck there.

Although I have about 12 months expenses saved for life in the US, I hope I can find a job within 3 months of landing. I’ve set some SMART goals for the next month, and will continue to do so each month as it really helps me narrow my focus and avoid getting overwhelmed.

Thank you so much to everyone on here for all the support on this thread and elsewhere. When I go back and read my first post, I’m amazed at how much of a change this thread made in my focus and progress. I feel like I’m actually a candidate now that companies should take seriously. I have so much more to learn, of course, and I still feel like a huge amateur, but I really believe there is the right company out there, with the right team and culture, that’s going to help me grow and, in turn, I will be able to give back to once up to speed.


great, you seem like you know quite a lot. Well you can go to Udemy and take a course, but you will practice these things by really working with other developers. If you would take a junior job, you would be probably OK, still the pay wont be that high. If you wanted to take senior job, i think you would have to persuade the managers, you are a fast learner and you somehow already study these things and you are more or less able to get to a decent level.
That is all I have…
Best of luck :wink:

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@SimonB87 Good advice. This Chingu deal has really helped me a lot so far, and it’s only the first week of actually coding. I’m not sure what my first pay will look like. I’m pretty frugal, so I can make it with anything really. More important to me is that I’m on a team, I have other developers I can work alongside and learn from.

I got a Skype number today. Denver area code. I also updated all my resumes, social media, etc to say Denver, CO. Just getting and testing that Skype number made everything feel so real today!

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Your story sounds pretty similar to me (Japan though), and I’m hoping to make the same career transition and move to Denver/Boulder. Currently 7 weeks in to full-time study. I read elsewhere that the local Denver area code and/or address is especially useful there because of high local demand. Keep at it!


This morning I got a job offer for Chicago. I will start next Wednesday. This is pretty exciting and still a little surreal right now. It’s hard to imagine that next week I’ll be coding in a professional environment as a salaried employee.

It does mean the next several days are going to be really busy. In addition to packing, finding a place to stay, and buying a plane ticket, I also have a project due by Monday. It’s a ~15 page website for a company in Hong Kong. The first draft is due Monday, but ideally the first draft won’t require too many revisions. It is only front-end, but this company’s design challenged by CSS/HTML skills last time and this one probably will as well.


Congratulations!! I’ve been thinking about moving back to Chicago. Apartment People is a good resource to find apartments there. They have a lot of properties.

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You’re a hardworking, talented developer; you deserve it.

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Thanks! I’m going to get a room-share off craigslist to start out. I’ve got a girlfriend and cats living abroad right now, so for the first few months I’m okay to bum it out as I get to know the city.

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Thanks (again :wink:) Will! Means a lot coming from you!

Now the hard-work begins.

Keep us updated and congratulations on Chicago.

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Congratulations! You’re a good example for all of us.

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Excellent news! Well done!

Week 11 - Skype Number! NOOOOOOOooooooo! They are so expensive! I ditched Skype numbers years ago and found a VoIP number provider for much, much less. You can use the numbers with softphones and hardware phones.

I want to get out of the teaching English rut. I’m in China, too, At least in a US tech company you may have more career options.
I’ll be staying in China, got a family and house here, but I wouldn’t want to work for a Chinese dev company purely because labour in China is so cheap. Unless English-speaking devs are in high demand in China, I can’t imagine it would match my current salary.

I’ll probably freelance after if/when I get my green card, and not have a boss to answer to. Well, other than the clients of course.

Well done to you, and I hope you do well.

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Thank you @Joke and @WhisperPntr. I just followed most of the advice I found here and from friends. Plus a little luck I’m sure. The type of interview I got made a huge difference I think, since it was not technical.

@leebut I actually just dropped my Skype number. The price wasn’t bad…the problem for me was that just having a Skype number meant I could return calls and receives texts, but I had to add-on charges if I wanted to call anyone back or text them. As well, the Skype number wouldn’t work for some online authentications since apparently they can detect that it isn’t a landline.

Yes, exactly. That’s one of the many reasons why I latched on to coding was because of the lack of options I had teaching abroad. As far as I could see, my career future would just be more teaching classes. There were options occasionally for going into business and opening a school/training center with locals, though.

I was able to get interviews with companies in Hong Kong, and several of those were open with remote work. I also had options to interview with companies in China (Shenzhen), but that required much better Chinese skills. As well, I signed up on Fiver a couple weeks ago, but there were a couple bugs in posting a gig so I never finished that.

But you’re right about the salary. Hong Kong starting salary was around 18,000HKD. I also got offered 8000 RMB for a Chinese start-up. But that’s a 40 hours/week, which, as a teacher, I was working a lot less. From my experience, you may want to try reaching out to companies with owners/managers who studied abroad previously. Or be/work towards fluency in Chinese.

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Thanks for sharing your story, @ethanvernon. :smiley: I’m on the same boat!

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Heck ya, of course. I’ve been journaling online (finance, though) for the last 3-4 years or something. But journaled here the last few months since there’s a much relevant community to my short-term goals at the time. Wish you the best @robertalage, you got this and good luck!

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Hey @ethanvernon , how much are you getting paid for that job in Chicago?

Thank you for the words! @ethanvernon:smiley:

@remimarcelle I’m getting paid just over 60k USD/year. For reference, I’m coming from teaching English abroad where I was grossing around ~22k USD/year albeit on much less hours.

For me it’s nearly tripled my income/year in addition to advancing many personal/financial/professional goals. I never imagined I would get hired within 1 month of getting back to the US and applying for jobs. I was digging in for at least 6 months of applications and continuing education/practice!