Does IT/programming facilitate an international lifestyle?

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Re: Does IT/programming facilitate an international lifestyle?

Postby PeterMollenburg » Fri Apr 08, 2016 10:24 pm

Xmmm wrote:"The [false] conclusion is ... that programming is somehow fabulously easier to learn than anything else"

Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years:http://norvig.com/21-days.html


And again this is what I need to be aware of, cheers.
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Re: Does IT/programming facilitate an international lifestyle?

Postby dampingwire » Fri Apr 08, 2016 10:34 pm

PeterMollenburg wrote:With my 40s not far off the prospect of age discrimination doesn't sound so fantastic, but of course there are plenty of positives from what you say from your experience as well. Is freelancing from home (wherever one might be) a realistic possibility in the field? I'm thinking if your work is quality and you're not 40 years old+ in plain sight you could potentially work around that issue.


"Programming" is a bit like "medicine" in that there are lots of different types of programmer. Are you planning to work on websites, embedded systems, billing systems? I've worked in networking and embedded systems and thoroughly enjoyed it. I can tell you, however, that at least in the companies I've worked in, you aren't likely to get a foot in the door without some experience. I would say "unless you are a graduate", but having interviewed graduates too, I can say that we look for and get graduates who have shown some interest. By that I mean that they've written some real code they can show us and talk about. 30 years ago that would have been different but these days everyone has a computer in their pocket. There's really no excuse for not having written an app or two or whatever by the time you've finished uni. So even if you are willing to accept a graduate salary, you still face some stiff competition.

PeterMollenburg wrote:One large reservation is I could be swapping one career I'm not entirely satisfied with for another (if I was passionate I probably would be a programmer already- but you never know)... so if I took to it and enjoyed it, the effort and time would have to show almost definite promise eventually in terms of lifestyle change. Of course I can only be the judge of that for my personal situation, but handy insights from those in the field definitely help in the decision making process.


This is where you fail the interview for me :-) You've shown no interest so far but the next guy has. Maybe the guy after him doesn't seem as enthusiastic, but he's got 10 years of experience, so there's at least a chance that he can program ...

As for working from home, we do let people do that, but no-one in the office (that I know of) works from home more than 2 days a week on a regular basis. Other places may be much more flexible, but I'd expect that to happen only once you have proven yourself capable in the first place.

I certainly don't mean to put you off programming: give it a go, see if you like it. The (free) tools are out there for you to learn about programming and systems management and networking and so on. I find being able to write brief throwaway scripts incredibly helpful for odd little data conversion jobs that crop up in language learning ("how do I get these 2,000 lines of data from a spreadsheet into Anki but with this tweak"?) and you may do to. Or you may not. But turning it into a new career is going to require time and effort, so far as I can see.
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Re: Does IT/programming facilitate an international lifestyle?

Postby PeterMollenburg » Fri Apr 08, 2016 10:56 pm

Montmorency wrote:
PeterMollenburg wrote:I want to ask a question related to IT work.

It appears to me that those who work in IT are able to live and work in other countries with relative ease. In particular there are are a lot of programmers here on the forum. I'd like to ask the following...

...In your experience (particularly if you have IT or programming experience) is it a correct observation that those with IT/programming as their main source of income are quite able to find work in other countries?

I am curious as I am "trying it in for size" ie Would re-training in IT or even specifically programming open foreign doors? Naturally, like many people here, the possibility of working overseas is an attractive one- but are my (crude) observations of the IT field a little rediculous? If I could work in a position that is more free to cross borders (and learn languages of course) it would be potentially a career changing decision for me.

My profession is sold as being a rather mobile profession. Not the case for non-English speaking countries. The time it takes to reach B2-C1, have training and experience 'assessed', pass nursing exams, do conversion courses/retrain and find work although not impossible is full of hurdles that prevent one from simply finding a job and getting into the culture much sooner. Plenty of nurses come here and work and do what it takes so where there's a will there's a way, but it is a very valid statement to say that are not going from Australia to France in which the rules are very different. I don't think the IT field suffers from the same cumbersome and sometimes very valid rules as nursing.

I have NO IT experience.

PM



I've been out of the IT world professionally for quite a few years now, so bear that in mind when reading what follows:

Generally speaking, people don't learn "programming", they learn one or more programming languages or systems. However, if one really knows nothing about IT, then it might pay to start reading about IT systems in general. While a lot obviously changed in my 3 decades + in the business, certain principles haven't changed, and it's worth finding out what those are.

At this stage, I wouldn't spend money on expensive courses (maybe do that later when you have a better idea what you want to do), but it would be worth investing in a few books. The O'Reilly series comes to mind. If you have any friends in the IT world, it might be worth asking around for suggestions.

In many ways, the most important thing about being a programmer is not so much writing code, but in being able to see the big picture, and being able to see how your code module(s) fit into the total system. If you advance far enough it may be you designing and building that system from parts built by other programmers which you specified. You have to be both detail-oriented, but also able to "zoom out". This becomes even more important when things start to go wrong and you have to debug the system. All systems have bugs...

While in many ways, I preferred the smaller, simpler IT world that I "grew up in", the advantage of today's world is that it's pretty easy to learn to program from scratch in the comfort of one's own home. (I started on punched-card machines in large draughty noisy machine-rooms :) ).

Perhaps you could think of some task you want to perform - it could be language-related - prepare a parallel-text perhaps? Count the number of times a particular verb or noun appears in a book in your TL? Maybe develop that into a word-frequency list?

The above, like a lot of tasks that seem to come the programmer's way are about text-processing of course (and that's all got a bit more complicated since "my" day with much more awareness of national/international character sets). When I was still at work, PERL was all the rage for this kind of thing. Python was also around, but it seems to be talked about a bit more now. Well, those and other programming languages and text editors depend on something called "regular expressions" which is a fascinating subject in itself, and a book I'd like to recommend is Mastering Regular Expressions by Jeffrey Friedl. It's now in its 3rd edition. I have the 1st and 2nd, but the 1st edition would be fine for getting an idea of what it's all about. What you learn in there would help in Python, Perl, several other languages, and several text editors.

Well, anyway, however exactly you choose to go about it, I'd get a little programming experience in the comfort of your own home, as it were, and see if you like it. In the meantime, talk to any friends you may have in the business; try to find out what they do (and if they like the work!).


Hi Montmorency,

Ok, so this is becoming a side project of sorts- to 'mess about' with the idea of doing programming and these books sound like a good start. I'm coming to the realisation I anticipated I would arrive at- that I need to be close to or completely passionate about programming (or IT) for this to be worth putting in the effort in order that success be a stronger possibility. So some reading and trying on some basic programming. If I'm realistic in my analysis of myself I simply don't like hard work unless it's something I passionately enjoy- and that essentially comes down to three areas- languages, sport and health/nutrition (definitely not mainstream health/nutrition)... so in the end I would not be surprised if IT doesn't 'grab me' but I will only know if I try it on for size at some point.

Thank you kindly for your advice Montmorency :)
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Re: Does IT/programming facilitate an international lifestyle?

Postby PeterMollenburg » Fri Apr 08, 2016 11:17 pm

dampingwire wrote:
PeterMollenburg wrote:With my 40s not far off the prospect of age discrimination doesn't sound so fantastic, but of course there are plenty of positives from what you say from your experience as well. Is freelancing from home (wherever one might be) a realistic possibility in the field? I'm thinking if your work is quality and you're not 40 years old+ in plain sight you could potentially work around that issue.


"Programming" is a bit like "medicine" in that there are lots of different types of programmer. Are you planning to work on websites, embedded systems, billing systems? I've worked in networking and embedded systems and thoroughly enjoyed it. I can tell you, however, that at least in the companies I've worked in, you aren't likely to get a foot in the door without some experience. I would say "unless you are a graduate", but having interviewed graduates too, I can say that we look for and get graduates who have shown some interest. By that I mean that they've written some real code they can show us and talk about. 30 years ago that would have been different but these days everyone has a computer in their pocket. There's really no excuse for not having written an app or two or whatever by the time you've finished uni. So even if you are willing to accept a graduate salary, you still face some stiff competition.

PeterMollenburg wrote:One large reservation is I could be swapping one career I'm not entirely satisfied with for another (if I was passionate I probably would be a programmer already- but you never know)... so if I took to it and enjoyed it, the effort and time would have to show almost definite promise eventually in terms of lifestyle change. Of course I can only be the judge of that for my personal situation, but handy insights from those in the field definitely help in the decision making process.


This is where you fail the interview for me :-) You've shown no interest so far but the next guy has. Maybe the guy after him doesn't seem as enthusiastic, but he's got 10 years of experience, so there's at least a chance that he can program ...

As for working from home, we do let people do that, but no-one in the office (that I know of) works from home more than 2 days a week on a regular basis. Other places may be much more flexible, but I'd expect that to happen only once you have proven yourself capable in the first place.

I certainly don't mean to put you off programming: give it a go, see if you like it. The (free) tools are out there for you to learn about programming and systems management and networking and so on. I find being able to write brief throwaway scripts incredibly helpful for odd little data conversion jobs that crop up in language learning ("how do I get these 2,000 lines of data from a spreadsheet into Anki but with this tweak"?) and you may do to. Or you may not. But turning it into a new career is going to require time and effort, so far as I can see.


Hi damping wire,

I think you are seeing holes in my potential new career and I don't disagree. It seems I must be passionate about this and I don't actually know if I am yet without trying it but like I said and you said as well, you'd think I would've had some kind of initiative to pursue this avenue already and at least produced something in the field already. But perhaps not, perhaps I'm just an odd ball (can say that again!) and perhaps it will become a passion (hmmm) , but I am doubtful (notice the 'hmmm' that I placed in parenthesis just a little above this sentence). Still I wanted to hear from people first hand whether it was a decent mobile job to aspire to have, what effort is required and so on. And of course I've gathered a good collection of honest replies here. I don't think I was naive in what answers to expect but I was and still am naive about the workings of the industry, so this insight from others in the know is certainly useful.

I guess what frustrates me at times to the point of being angry about it at times, is the fact that part of the sales pitch that I got sucked into becoming a nurse (don't get me wrong the profession does have it's perks and positives for sure) is that you can travel with the profession. Bullshit, utter bullshit. Yes, I grant you that I could work in the United States, Canada, UK and Ireland and potentially a Middle Eastern country or two, but not without ticking a LOT of boxes (entry exams, visa's, age appropriate, qualification assessments etc).

The thing is the countries that interest me are those in which English is not the mother tongue of the vast majority of the population, thus (and rightly so) you must pass a B2-C1 language exam to have a chance of working in that country- which I have no reservations about and encourage such a process for a country to protect it's culture. Thing is it's not just to protect it's culture it's to protect the health of patients, because many other industries couldn't give two hoots (or care less) about one's language capabilities, and in fact my conclusion is that globalisation and as a result loss of culture is almost encouraged. Still the language requirements (tests) still are not that great of an issue, BUT when you add to that the cumbersome processes of having one's qualifications assessed, doing further exams and potential retraining (trust me in some cases it's much more complicated than this) it's all like - "what the f*** I thought this profession was one in which I could travel and one in which they are crying out for nurses, but it's made incredibly difficult in many of these countries". What makes it trickier is the fact I'm Australian (trained) meaning the EU has stricter laws. I do hold an EU passport though. In my country we welcome nurses from Europe (French- no problem), but if I want to go to France apparently I must be some kind of f****g alien, because the processes are just rediculous (ahem- where's the reciprocal agreement??) and not to mention the working conditions/pay are pretty ordinary and looking at statistics on foreign employed nurses from outside the EU working in France, the stats are very very very low which makes it appear that the French system simply does NOT employ nurses from outside the EU (even inside in many cases), simple as that.

.... so then I think what other career could I take on that my be more mobile. Why not explore that option a little because nursing is beginning to look like I'm on trial for murder if I want to enter France. But I'm thinking IT is not necessarily going to help this late in the game with this little amount of passion...
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Re: Does IT/programming facilitate an international lifestyle?

Postby Tomás » Fri Apr 08, 2016 11:57 pm

When I was a kid, US Embassies always employed at least one nurse, usually an American national. Does your country have similar positions?
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Re: Does IT/programming facilitate an international lifestyle?

Postby PeterMollenburg » Sat Apr 09, 2016 1:46 am

Tomás wrote:When I was a kid, US Embassies always employed at least one nurse, usually an American national. Does your country have similar positions?


Hmmm very interesting. I've never heard of this. I must find out.
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Re: Does IT/programming facilitate an international lifestyle?

Postby Tomás » Sat Apr 09, 2016 2:06 am

PeterMollenburg wrote:
Tomás wrote:When I was a kid, US Embassies always employed at least one nurse, usually an American national. Does your country have similar positions?


Hmmm very interesting. I've never heard of this. I must find out.


There is also the military. Then there are NGOs such as Red Cross, Doctors without Borders, etc. These wouldn't get you to France, but they could get you to French-speaking developing countries.
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Re: Does IT/programming facilitate an international lifestyle?

Postby PeterMollenburg » Sat Apr 09, 2016 3:17 am

Tomás wrote:
PeterMollenburg wrote:
Tomás wrote:When I was a kid, US Embassies always employed at least one nurse, usually an American national. Does your country have similar positions?


Hmmm very interesting. I've never heard of this. I must find out.


There is also the military. Then there are NGOs such as Red Cross, Doctors without Borders, etc. These wouldn't get you to France, but they could get you to French-speaking developing countries.


In short, good suggestion, thanks Tomás, but not applicable to me and my family, thank you all the same. emk mentioned this some time ago as well - Doctors without Borders etc. The goal is France or as close to France as we can get (geographically), west/north Africa and any other distant (from Europe) French speaking areas are not realistic options for a family who already lives confortably and is really looking for a second realistic base in or as close to France as possible. Those destinations interest me but more from an adventure/holiday perspective, not for living. Mind you, I did a good degree of reading pages upon pages of various English and French forums of nursing in French locations such as New Caledonia, Tahiti, Guyana and the like. That route looks tougher (more uncertain) than going to France, and in all honesty I"m much more likely to be able to get work in those exotic locations after working in France.

The other options are Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands (I'm a passport holder) or the UK/Ireland (desperation avenue there- prefer not), and they all ultimately lead to France in the end. The reason one of these countries is basically required as work-around's on the way to France is the fact that the French nursing system is incredibly difficult to enter (from an Australian degree/work background) without going first to another EU country, and perhaps even more so to where I hold my citizenship (NL) so that only then France can say (and this is a rule in their fine print)- yep you've worked in another EU country- preferably of where you hold your passport (this part is not exactly clear), so now you are much more likely to be able to work in France without a problem.

Oh and Québec is a possibility but as it's not EU it's almost a distraction and other things come into play (visa's etc). I've discussed and researched much of this stuff before and so to avoid the risk of boring other's to death and going over old ground I'd prefer not to go down that discussion path.

The thing is I don't like my job that much, so changing professions for one in which red-tape is not as... well... red, and umm, tape-like seems like a valid possibility, but I'm hesitant for genuine reasons about venturing into a different field I have little experience and potentially little passion for. In the end though I believe for the most part (80-90%) I should still try to soldier through those hurdles and roundabouts to nurse in Europe/France while collecting further info on other possibilities (eg. IT/programming). Otherwise I need to suck it up and accept this is how it is.

So, it does put the Netherlands back on the cards for me. We'll see. Once again everyone has been fantastic in sharing information and providing some key points, particularly on IT/programming this time round- and a very honest perspective thank you indeed... and sought to provide plenty of suggestions.
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Re: Does IT/programming facilitate an international lifestyle?

Postby Xmmm » Sat Apr 09, 2016 4:00 am

The other options are Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands (I'm a passport holder) or the UK/Ireland (desperation avenue there- prefer not), and they all ultimately lead to France in the end.


http://www.geneva.info/trips/

Annecy (beautiful French town) is 40 minutes by car from Geneva. And French is the predominant language spoken in Geneva.

Your current strategy:

Obsess to develop the perfect plan that allows you and your family to parachute into Paris. This is virtually impossible, so develop all kinds of alternative plans (increasingly outlandish). Reject all alternative plans as less than perfect and put them in the discard pile, but don't discard. Wait a month, shuffle them and begin again. In the meantime, continue to live in Australia and practice your French using books and mp3 files while everyone in your family gets a little older and a little more settled in Australia.

Very simple alternate strategy:

Pack bags and move to Geneva. Spend weekends in France. Talk to locals about how to get the paperwork so you can work in France. Practice your French daily with French speakers.


But ... I know ... Geneva is not France! And it's definitely not Paris. Waiting for the next installment. :D
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Re: Does IT/programming facilitate an international lifestyle?

Postby PeterMollenburg » Sat Apr 09, 2016 4:25 am

Xmmm wrote:
The other options are Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands (I'm a passport holder) or the UK/Ireland (desperation avenue there- prefer not), and they all ultimately lead to France in the end.


http://www.geneva.info/trips/

Annecy (beautiful French town) is 40 minutes by car from Geneva. And French is the predominant language spoken in Geneva.

Your current strategy:

Obsess to develop the perfect plan that allows you and your family to parachute into Paris. This is virtually impossible, so develop all kinds of alternative plans (increasingly outlandish). Reject all alternative plans as less than perfect and put them in the discard pile, but don't discard. Wait a month, shuffle them and begin again. In the meantime, continue to live in Australia and practice your French using books and mp3 files while everyone in your family gets a little older and a little more settled in Australia.

Very simple alternate strategy:

Pack bags and move to Geneva. Spend weekends in France. Talk to locals about how to get the paperwork so you can work in France. Practice your French daily with French speakers.


But ... I know ... Geneva is not France! And it's definitely not Paris. Waiting for the next installment. :D


Okay so Paris may have been mentioned half in jest... but... it doesn't interest me nevertheless. Fine to visit in a way for whatever reason, but it's not entirely my cup of tea, that I'm sure of. The real France ;) is what interests me (and my family).

You hit the bulls eye with Annecy- I have definitely put this town near the top of my short list, and I've definitely looked into it and researched it and decided it is a good option while commuting to Geneva. I agree with all your obervations in fact.

As for obessing over a perfect plan you are definitely correct. There are reasons (and you know I'm going to justify my 'obsession') this is occuring is in part my personality I absolutely admit that (how large a part may depend on one's perception) and in part my wife's. She did not like our last experience in the Netherlands for whatever reason (ironically is now a little open to even returning there lately). So we have a young child now and little capital behind us (newish house here in Aus. since leaving Europe last time) so i've needed to take the time to ensure than my language skills are up to par (B2-C1) in order to land a potential job- we're not moving anywhere without a job, that is certain and for valid reasons.

Hence I've had time to learn French (obsessively) and research plans while being very frustrated with my current position at times. You are right I've explored and mulled things over and go around in circles. I'm not the only hurdle though. I've suggested Annecy/Swiss commute to my wife and she is hesitant. We had a big discussion a month or few back where I basically said- 'what's going on here, any option I point out is met with hurdles, do you actually want to go to Europe?' To which the reply was very honest- 'I have strong reservations - I absolutely want to go, but I don't want the experience to be like last time'. So strengthening one's language skills is a MUST. I was prevented from acquiring work last time (as was she) simply because we could not pass a B2 language exam in Dutch. This time that won't happen. Despite my wife being offered a very good job in Rotterdam she couldn't take it (last time again). They wanted to employ her but due to not being an EU national she had to pass the... you guessed it... B2 Dutch language exam.

So it's been a long journey and we want to make the move work- so we've had a financial plan in place which takes time to build. If we up and left now we would downright struggle, so I have time to learn and I believe my French is now at the B2 level. I'm considering brining my Dutch back up and past the prior level to where my French is now. This would potentially open other doors if required.

Back to Switzerland. These may very well be mental road blocks but they are hurdles nontheless. Hurdle 1: Qualification assessment, fine, that can be done. Hurdle 2: Swiss employers have brought in quota's on foreign workers and border crossing employees are not as openly sought after. Hurdle 3: Get a job there. Hurdle 4: It's highly likely I would have to do extra training (conversion course) to be deemed fit for the Swiss nursing work force. This extra training is spread out over months. You cannot work as a nurse while you do this training= catch 22 - ie how does one live on no income while trying to 'qualify' for work. They say you can get work as a carer during this process but many employers knock back potential employees if they again don't have this 'right to work' such and such green light go ahead. It's not a cheap part of the world (even on the French side) to be stuffing around waiting for qualifications to be given the green light while my wife and child need an income. That takes some planning to deal with. Hurdle 722: Working in Switzerland may/may not give me the right to work in France. According the offical body website of nurses in France coming from 3rd national countries but with the right to work in the EU (dual citizen for example) you have to work in your country of citizenship first before working in France for the nursing board there to be accepting of the right to work there. So I technically would have to work in the Netherlands. Ie would Switzerland even count? The rule is not clear, it's ambiguous. If taken literally I need to work in NL first, if taken from the perspective of some other EU/schengen/Swiss country counts then well that's ok
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