Career transition

It's been almost 7 months since I left my first company in order to seek new overseas opportunities and the result wasn't as I expected. This seems to be the toughest decision I've ever made as I must live on my savings and no income during such a long time. My plan, however, was totally collapsed not only because of the language barrier but because of my technical skills also. Even when I spent 6 months learning English and 2 months reviewing algorithms, data structures, and coding challenges, it's likely not enough as these skills usually require years of continual learning and practice to be at an advanced level.

Although everything wasn't as I had planned for, I've learned hundreds of valuable lessons along the way. Many people suppose that English is fairly easy to learn, but I believe that those who think English is easy are not really good at it and using it correctly and naturally. This is the reason why I decided to continue my learning after I could find a new job here in Vietnam. As for job finding experiences, I applied to several product-companies in Japan, Singapore, and Vietnam, and as such, I had golden chances to talk with great people in the industry as well as receiving lots of advice from these people.

Dedicating yourself to a startup for a long time (usually greater than 3 years) has its pros and cons. The advantage is that you're able to get your hands dirty in many aspects of the company like marketing, UX/UI designs, building company culture, and recruitment. In short, you'll learn how to build a product, how you communicate with different departments efficiently, and if you want to be a leader, you'll also learn how to lead a team to archive the company's vision. The problem is that what if the product you're working on isn't as successful as everyone in your organization is looking for. You'll be in between 2 options: stay or leave. In my case, since I'd been working in my first company for more than 4 years, I was curious about what big companies are doing and what their development process is, and my decision was to "leave." If you were me, what would you do next? You may probably find a new job in large enterprises or companies that the size is higher than 100, and this is where I found the problem when transitioning from a start-up to a large corporation.

In such organizations, they require you to have in-depth knowledge of the position you're applying for. Take Line Japan and Axon Vietnam for example, these companies not only need you to have exceptional coding skills but also demand you to have a deep understanding of how "things" work. The questions like how HTTP/2 works; differences between thread and process, non-blocking I/O and blocking I/O and asynchronous I/O; how MySQL Index works; how to add/delete a new node to/from a B-Tree are frequently asked in interviews. I believe that many of you are familiar with the term "Get shit done" or "JFDI" because it's the principle of almost all startups in order to roll out new features to adapt to the fast-changing market or to test users' reactions. Being in a start-up environment for a long time, I am of course in this style of thinking. My ultimate goal is always to build something that can be used by users by combining different tools without too much worry about how it is built and how it works. My performance, therefore, at interviews was not so good.

Don't get me wrong. I don't mean that it's not a good option when working for a startup. Instead, I'd recommend you to choose startups to start your career as you would be able to switch between interests until you find the one that suits you well and it's okay to make mistakes. Being in a startup environment allows you to see a big picture of turning ideas into actual products and difficulties on the way to becoming a whale in the ocean, but you need to set yourselves a goal when it's the time, ideally after 2 years, to focus on what you think you're good at.

People usually say "when one door closes, another opens," and the door that opens to me is Inspectorio, where culture and hands-on experience speak highly of. The recruitment process is similar to other US companies except for the opportunity to talk with the company's CEO. Even when its size is now greater than 150, he himself wants to make sure that the candidate fits the culture he created, and you must agree with me that no one is better than the CEO when it comes to the company's vision.

And it's been exactly a week since I started my job here. I'm satisfied with what the company has given me so far from onboarding program to benefits, from collaboration among departments to technologies they're using through job shadowing. All of this helped me quickly catch up with my teammates and understand how the whole system operates. In addition, this place has a lot of native speakers, so there will be more chances for me to expose myself to English.

My welcoming package

Every week, we have a Happy Friday where everyone has chances to show their interests to the company, along with team updates, and party at the end
Here's the party where you can have a beer and chat with your coworkers

Even though the plan didn't work out, I had time to focus on myself to clarify what I want to be, what I need to work on. More importantly, my English has shifted to a higher level.


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