Special case for starting a career

Hello!!!

First of all I am 41 years old, from a country with bad economy, I have a degree in electronic engineering & computer engineering, and the most important detail: I am deaf, and therefore I have a particular difficulty in direct communication (such as viper or skype for example).

When I got my degree, I had found a job with an 18-month contract, then for a while with a colleague creating various sites. Unfortunately, this was not enough, and I was putting a lot of pressure on my finances, and despite my constant effort I could not find a job, as a result of which I was forced to retire after 5 years (because i’m deaf).

Since until now I have not worked again. Meanwhile I got married and recently added to my family a second child. So I feel a need to go back to the job market, to improve our finances and have a decent life. Unfortunately the economy in my country is so bad that I doubt I will find anything here in the local community, and also immigration is not in my plans for many reasons.

My question is, is there any chance for a remote job, to work at home for a foreign company? If so, what can I do to increase that chance? Is my age an obstacle as well as a lack of experience?

Informatively, although I am “inactive” for many years, I have knowledge from html to c ++, my only drawback is the experience, but I have a lot of appetite for a lot of reading to remember everything. As a hobby I have solved 48 problems in the project euler, so far. Besides, at school I could not listen to the teachers, I learned everything only from reading, essentially as a self-taught person.

I would really appreciate a valuable piece of advice, to know what to do, I NEED a mentor. I do not have a portfolio unfortunately, do I have to start making stuff? If so, in what area? data analysis; web development; Who has more demand to focus there?

Thank you very much!

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Hello. I’m no expert, but these are my thoughts…

If I’m being honest, I think being deaf is going to make tough. Developers like being able to talk over video chat, and do things like standup meetings verbally. I don’t know, that’s been my experience. Having someone who cannot hear would disrupt that workflow so there would probably be some (even subconscious) resistance to that. There may be teams that never communicate except in writing. And there may be jobs where you are kind of siloed and doing your own thing so it is less critical, but it does limit your options a bit.

Working from home, remotely? That is more and more a possibility, especially with the current plague. And I think you are a member of the EU so that makes a lot of those jobs more possible for you. But it’s tough to get hired for a remote job as a “first” job. Another possibility is trying to pick up freelance work - though it doesn’t pay as much, especially in the beginning.

Your tech stack? HTML and C++? I hope you have some other stuff in there, too. If you’re trying for web dev, then C++ won’t help much. I think you need to figure out what kind of a job you want to do.

I do not have a portfolio unfortunately, do I have to start making stuff? If so, in what area? data analysis; web development; Who has more demand to focus there?

I think they both have demand. At which are you more skilled, have the most experience? I think you need to pick something, and work hard at it, build some sample projects, and get them out there.

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Unfortunately, I think you are probably correct, but in a perfect world, being deaf should not have any bearing on whether you are hired as a developer. With all the technology available to us today there really is no reason why a deaf person could not succeed in this line of work, either individually or as part of a team.

@kevinSmith, I just want to make it clear that I am not accusing you of discrimination. I know that this type of discrimination occurs all the time and you were just telling it like it is. Being a developer, and being part of a development team does not/should not require that someone be able to hear. I can think of plenty of jobs where hearing is essential, but this isn’t one of them. Possibly having to modify the way you communicate as a team in order to accommodate a deaf person definitely does not make it essential. Again, if my rant comes across in the least as attacking you I apologize as that certainly is not my intent.

@giannhs, I say apply for any jobs you feel you want and are qualified for. Obviously the fact that you are deaf is going to come up when they want to interview you. I’m sure you know of many options available to help with this. That would be the time to show a potential employer that being deaf isn’t going to be an obstacle for you. Not that the burden needs to be completely on you, but every little bit helps. And if you do feel you are being discriminated against perhaps there are organizations in your area that can help you pursue action against the company if it comes to that.

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No, I 100% get it. It was awkward to write it, but I was just trying to be realistic.

And just to be clear, just because there will be some discrimination does not mean that someone can’t be hired - just that they might have fewer options.

Being a developer, and being part of a development team does not/should not require that someone be able to hear.

Well, that is a matter of opinion. I happen to mostly agree with it, but others might not. I worked for a guy that was completely convinced that the only way to communicate was in face to face meetings - he just would not allow remote meetings. Was he right? From his perspective he was and he was the boss.

Possibly having to modify the way you communicate as a team …

Yeah, that is where my concern is. If you go into a place and say, “OK, you have to completely change how you do things now, to accommodate me”. In the US we have the concept of “reasonable accommodation”. I don’t know if everyone would agree that “completely overhauling the teams existing and working work flow” is reasonable expectation. I think that reasonable accommodations are small things that affect mainly the handicapped person, not things that change how the entire team does its thing. Many people prize verbal communication and the interaction that takes place in a DSM. They may consider that integral to their work flow. Communication is an important part of dev work and for some people that means verbal communication. This is not like adding in a ramp or getting someone a special keyboard - that is a major overhaul of a fundamental part of how they do things. I think that might be a tough sell. I think it would be easier on a smaller team.

But again, I’m not saying there aren’t jobs out there for the OP. There are an amazing variety of job situations and approaches. Remember, @giannhs, you don’t have to get every job, you just have to get one job. It doesn’t matter how many there are that might not work for you or even that might discriminate - the important thing is that that you find one job that works.

This is kind of a specialized question. I might look around and see what is out there. A google search popped this up. I might also look for forums that specifically deal with programmers with disabilities and see if there is some more informed advice there. I assume there are also forums for deaf people too - maybe there are some programmers there. You can’t be the first and only deaf programmer.

And please don’t give up. The most important thing here is persistence. Somewhere, there is some job for you. You just need to find it before you give up.

And now that I think about it, I have a friend that works on a team that only communicates by text. And I had a friend that told me that they had a programmer with really bad Turrets - they just have her an office off to the side and she was the only one working on that module so she rarely had to talk with anyone. There are situations that might work - you just have to find one of them.

Again, please don’t let me get you down. I’m trying to be “realistic” here, but also keep in mind that this is a lot of speculation.

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Thank you very much for your answers, helped me a lot.

@kevinsmith, I liked your answer. Υou were honest and straightforward. So more or less I was thinking about the situation of the labor market.

@bbsmooth you are right too, first of all I have to fix my profile a bit, and I will look for the interviews when the time comes.

Of course I do not put it down, after all in my life I had encountered many difficulties due to my deafness but I always found the way and I managed in the end. As you said, patience and perseverance.

For a start, obviously I have to make a small portfolio first.

  1. Maybe I should finish the whole freecodecamp and get the certifications, I think it will not take me long as I already have the knowledge (almost).

  2. In the freecodecamp, there will be projects to make and I will upload these somewhere online as portfolio.

Maybe I will start first with web developing which is probably easier to find a job, (for example wordpress development? I do not know )

  1. Maybe it would help to have a blog (or write here!) to record my path, to motivate me, and you give me useful tips on various points of my journey.

  2. Maybe do I have to bild my Linkedin profile and refer that I am deaf? I will make some project first of course.

Thank really for your response (and your time!)!!!

Maybe I should finish the whole freecodecamp and get the certifications, I think it will not take me long as I already have the knowledge (almost).

That is always an option. If you have a strong background you could probably do it in months. I had a slight background and got it done in 4.5 months (this was before Python was there), putting in prob 10-20 hours per week. #ymmv

In the freecodecamp, there will be projects to make and I will upload these somewhere online as portfolio.

Right. Most of the FCC projects are not great portfolio projects. Some of the later stuff might work. I mean, it’s better than nothing, but in my (limited) experience, you’re going to want to keep building after FCC, using those ideas and building more complex apps.

Maybe I will start first with web developing which is probably easier to find a job, (for example wordpress development? I do not know )

WordPress development is a different kettle for fish. A lot of the skills you learn on FCC would help, but you’d also have to learn php and it is a different world, imho.

Maybe it would help to have a blog (or write here!) to record my path, to motivate me, and you give me useful tips on various points of my journey.

Sure, that can be a good thing. It increases visibility and makes you look like more of a “player”. You might get the attention of a potential employer and you may get the attention of someone who dealt with similar problems.

Maybe do I have to bild my Linkedin profile and refer that I am deaf? I will make some project first of course.

I think linkin would be a good thing. I don’t know if I would mention the deafness. I don’t mean to hide it per se, but I don’t know if I’d want to put it in everyone’s face. I don’t know - like I said, you should try to find a deaf coders forum or something like that - they may have better advice.

But ultimately, don’t give up until you find it. It’s out there somewhere.