How hard is a tech job really

Working in Silicon Valley: It really is

What is it like to live and work in Silicon Valley? The (supposed) answers serve us mainly Hollywood comedies or TV documentaries by Claus Kleber. In the online community Reddit now has a German programmer chatted out of the sewing box. The Munich native worked in California for six months - and brought this wealth of experience with him ...

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Working in Silicon Valley: A dream?

Conquering the world from California - many Germans also dream that dream. A young man from Munich has it Jump into Silicon Valley done - at least for half a year.

From April to September 2016 he worked as an intern in a tech company for six months and gained valuable experience. Now the IT student is back and reports on his experiences.

In the online community Reddit, he answered questions from users under the acronym svfma. Career bible summarizes the experience report for all Valley fans ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

How did you apply

Advertised online and I was very lucky because the position exactly suited me, ”writes the Munich resident on Reddit. It is generally difficult for Europeans, but one should try somehow to get references or to contact recruiters directly, for example via LinkedIn. “In addition, you shouldn't expect to be successful with your first application, you can do that 20 to 30 applications until the first interview. "

And the job interview itself? “The interviews depend on the company, with me it was just a telephone interview, with other companies you have to in Google Docs solve a problem and others might even fly you in. "

What do employers expect?

“In general, it is expected that you will work independently can. ”Nobody expects miracles from a junior or intern, but as a programmer you have to master the basics, that goes without saying. Overall, he found that he as an intern In a tech company by no means at the back of the feeding trough it says: “You will like a full time employee treated. "

Programming languagesthat you should master in order to succeed as a coder in Silicon Valley: C, C ++, Objective-C, Swift, Rust, Java, C #, Python, PHP, Assembler, ARM. “As soon as you have mastered a certain basic amount of languages, you learn more very quickly,” he writes. "The absolute minimum is C, Python and a statically typed object-oriented programming language (Java, C #). "

What does everyday work look like?

The typical German working day lasted eight to ten hours. Advantage: Overtime was remunerated - quite generously. “I was treated like a normal employee, so pretty well. My manager was excellent and there were also some internship events, ”he writes.

"Writing code was only a very small part of my work," says the Munich resident. Often he has to work out concepts or features and present in meetings must, including extensive feedback. “I've worked on several projects, so I've always focused on the project with the next deadline. Depending on the project, there were more or fewer meetings to clarify questions and make decisions. "

All in all: “I'm right Worked a lot, but at the weekend I was often out with friends. "

How important is networking?

“Relatively important,” he said. "On the one hand it helps you a lot to get interviews, on the other hand, to you every now and then to compare and see where you stand compared to people whose skills are you assess quite well can."

How big is the difference between the USA and Germany?

“The difference was less than expected, of course there were numerous small differences, but it wasn't that I radically turned my life upside down, ”says the Munich resident.

Basically noticeable: The Americans are leaving more risks one, because on the one hand the budgets are bigger, but also the mindset be another. “In addition, the whole thing Talent just moves therewhere existing talent is located - and that is not Germany, but the USA. "

But come Berlin Not very close to that as a startup metropolis? “Spontaneously I would say that there (note: USA) clearly more capital and talent is present, moreover is really almost everything focused on tech"Berlin is very mixed there."

How much did you earn?

According to his own statement, the merit of the German was included around $ 50,000, of which 30 percent went for taxes. "That was for almost half a year, extrapolated over the year it would be approx. $ 110,000 - and that as an intern, not as a full-time employee, otherwise it would be even more. ”Another plus: His fixed costs were only 600 euros per month, he reports. "The apartment was paid for by the employer and dinner was free, so it was very cheap."

Disadvantage: “The Rents are abnormal“, Says the coder. “Depending on the location, you pay for a one-room apartment $ 2,000 to $ 3,500.“

How did you learn to code?

By his own admission, he has with 14 years started teaching myself app programming. “It quickly became clear that I would also like to study something in that direction. Before I started I had insane self-doubt, but that went away when I saw that only normal people work there, ”he says. “I learned very unstructured, that made it difficult. As soon as I knew the basics, it was pretty easy. ”Up until his first simple app, I did Took around six months, meanwhile it goes much faster - in a few days or weeks.

He already has a bachelor's degree at a university of applied sciences and is now working towards his master's degree. In the second semester, he took a semester off to do the Internship in Silicon Valley to be able to complete. “Towards the end of the bachelor's or master's is a good time, I would say,” is his tip for potential imitators.

What advice do you have for other students?

For all computer scientists he still has this advice: "Do projects, projects, projects". “I would also recommend deviating from the run-of-the-mill stuff. JavaScript can be learned by anyone at Codecademy these days, but learning something exotic is an indicator that you are not only on the shortest or most convenient path, but very interested in the technology are. "

And one more note: not necessarily business Informatics to study. "If you program later want, I would advise against it ”, so his assessment. “I just don't see any advantage in this over someone, the one technical background Has. If you only want to work on the economic side later, it can work, but the few lectures on Java are simply not enough to develop the technical understanding. "

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[Photo credit: Pozdeyev Vitaly by]