N 1, 28.02.2001


The advices of a Tatar programmer, already working for a foreign software company.

Perhaps, I was just lucky. I'm twenty two and I haven't solely graduated from the physics faculty of the Novosibirsk University, but I've even got a good job. For the last two years the “Akademgorodok” (a place in Novosibirsk where many scientists live and work in their institutes) has been being “terrorized” by foreign companies – they started opening their offices and employing former scientists and graduate students.

But this didn't happen just so. At first, a few companies (for example “Novosoft”, about which the NTV has made some reports) got to know about Novosibirsk. Our guys would take up the “jackal” work the foreign companies wouldn't take. In the very beginning the foreigners were not willingly giving work to the unknown Siberia, but later (after many successful projects) they were queueing to get works of hight quality for low prices. The situation in the USA and in the Western Europe is so adverse that they are ready to employ programmers from anywhere. You can send your resume to Microsoft if you have a higher (technical) education and a little experience of working with real projects. After a phone interview (in English, naturally), after an interview in Moscow you can get right to Redmond (that's where the headquarters of Microsoft are located). You'll get an H1-B visa, accomodation, free health care and so on (the salary is about $ 50.000 per year).

I know five men who left for the USA with the help of this company. There have been 200.000 visas reserved for programmers in the USA for the next year. Even Germany has opened such a programme, they call it “Green Card”. Still there is a lack of programmers. That's why the so called “distant work-out” is so popular now (for example, I know that a person living in the South Africa takes part in designing the “Opera” site).

There are different way of organizing it all. For example, I have signed a contract and I'm a legal employee of my company. Nevertheless, there is a variant when the client doesn't know who the programmer is, the former transfers the money and the latter makes the job. There are some groups of “free programmers”, who seek for projects on the net and then they work them out (that same Novosoft is a large group of this type, it has about 500 programmers). Usually the foreign companies pay from $10 to $40 per hour. It is not easy to find a project, but still possible (try www.elance.com).

For today, the most demand is for the people who are experienced in:

  • 1) Java (Graphic User Interface);
  • 2) Java + HTML + JSP + SQL + RDBMS(Oracle/MS SQL/MySQL/Postgres);
  • 3) Perl + HTML + SQL + RDBMS;
  • 4) C++ + COM + ATL (Windows);
  • 5) C/C++ (UNIX/Linux).

In general, it is not difficult to find a job for a good programmer, you only have to want it. Only the ones who can really do something can get a good job in the IT (Information Technology), otherwise, the project will be ruined in a few weeks. Your acquaintances, friends can only help you to come out to the employer, they can't guarantee your job. That's why I advise the guys, who have chosen to be programmers and haven't found a decent job yet:

  • 1. This is not a pleasant work, it requires a certain way of thinking (sure, you can become a good specialist if you really want to). That's why you should settle to the idea that it will take a lot of time and much effort.
  • 2. Don't try to get everything at once. The main thing is to set your objective and pursue it faithfully and relentlessly. Changing a job is an ordinary thing, you just have to try not to make it a hobby. At every stage you have to gain experience and knowledge, and if your current position doesn't give you an opportunity to develope, it's an excuse to look for a new employer.
  • 3. Should keep on expanding the boundaries of your professional communication apart from getting professional skills. That will help you to keep up to date and will help your career.
  • 4. Read the news, books, documents, read, read and read.
  • 5. Don't hesitate to find out what you're to do if you're looking for a job, perhaps you shouldn't even pay attention to the advertisement.

These were general arguments, assuming that the reader can easily change his job, and for that reason you have to make a resume and pass an interview.


Here are the main rules of making a resume. A resume usually consists of a few parts: contact information, experience (if you have any), education, projects (if there are any), personal information. That's a site on the net where you can learn to write perfect resumes: http://job.rbc.ru/idres.shtml.

You can also add the certificates you already have (for example http://www.brainbench.com is a free site to measure your skills, it's very useful. There are also some certificate programmes by Microsoft and Oracle, but you have to pay for them). The resume must take one page, two at the most. The work experience would be in reversed order (that is you first name, your current position and then the previous and so on). The order is the same for your education. You shouldn't name too much technologies which you supposedly know (that makes the employer suspicious). It will be enough if you point out 1-3 technologies as the main (and mention that you know them very well, of course, if it's true) you should hardly name the others and say that your knowledge on them is basic. Remember, if you get the job, it will be you who's going to work.

An example:


  • 1. C language - strong;
  • 2. Unix programming - strong;
  • 3. Pearl basics;
  • 4. HTML basics;
  • 5. bash/awk/sed basics.

That was for a system programmer, the web-programmers should write as follows:

  • 1. PHP - strong;
  • 2. HTML - strong;
  • 3. Apache administration - medium;
  • 4. C basics;
  • 5. Pearl basics;
  • 6. Linux administration basics.

The first three points demonstrate that you could be employed as a web-programmer, the others demonstrate that you are able to be educated and you won't lose your courage if the project changes. The personal information should be very scarce: your age, your hobbies.

The Interview.

There are two kinds of interviews: technical and personal. They check your knowledge of the subject at the technical interview, and the personal interview is supposed to verify the information given in your resume and to form an opinion about the candidate. The first impression is usually the last. Thus you should come to the interview neatly dressed, your behaviour should be modest, relaxed and business-like. Many people get flustered even after easy questions, don't get nervous – this is not the last interview. Take it easy, the others don't know all the answers either, and the main idea is not to know everything but to know more than the others do, anyone can do that.

You should regard the technical interview not as a verification of your formal knowledge but rather as a conversation with interesting people on your favorite topic (for which, you should nevertheless be prepared). Everything will be just fine in this case.

E-mail: irek@moris.ru