Finding A Software Engineering Job Abroad

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Hi everyone, it’s Takuya! Today I sat down to chat with Takahiro Morita, a graduate of Code Chrysalis’ 4th Immersive cohort. Nowadays, Taka has an international career traveling around the world, from Australia and New Zealand to Signapore, Canada, and more as an engineer at MightyHive, a startup headquartered in San Francisco.

In this interview, we talked about what Taka learned at Code Chrysalis. Enjoy!

What did you do before joining Code Chrysalis?

For the past 3 years I was in Thailand, working in a primarily front-end capacity. My former company worked with sales, real estate, and other clients in regard to business requests, user journeys, API implementation, and general system design. I was also involved in communication between the team and our clients.

But on the technical side I was involved in website performance improvements, like SEO, Node.js development, and so on. At the time that I was hired, the company was struggling to work with Japanese clients as they had no Japanese employees.

So even though I had no prior experience as an engineer they hired me, and I picked up technical skills on the job while improving the company’s communication with Japanese clients.

How did you learn about Code Chrysalis?

Software engineering in Thailand isn’t really competitive on the international level, but while I was living there I realized I wanted to increase my programming skills and pursue a career overseas. However, my programming and English skills were both kind of low, and no matter how many times I sent my resume out to Canada, Germany, New Zealand, and so on, I only received rejections.

Thinking about my future, and what to do going forward, I ended up connecting with some engineers whose blog I read. One of them would frequently post about Code Chrysalis on Twitter, so I learned about the program from them.

What ultimately led you to enroll in Code Chrysalis?

I had no idea that this kind of school existed in Japan! So when I heard that engineer say “If you graduate from this school, you’ll definitely become a software engineer” when talking about Code Chrysalis, I became really interested.

But what ultimately decided it was actually meeting Kani (the CEO) and Yan (the CTO), seeing how comprehensive the syllabus was, and seeing how friendly and supportive the school environment was. So I decided to enroll, and quit my company.

I really liked that at Code Chrysalis I could study coding in English while working alongside diverse classmates, and learn in a truly international environment.

What was the Immersive course like?

The Immersive was a very intense course, and we studied new things everyday— we never went over the same content twice. It was especially difficult for me, because I felt like it took me longer to comprehend what we were learning than my classmates, and I struggled especially hard with asynchronous programming. What took the other students just 1 day ended up taking me more than 1 week of study, where I stayed past 6:00pm everyday.

I can still remember how difficult it was, but I finally got it. Thanks to that, I was even able to choose asynchronous programming as the theme of my Meetup!

Other than that, I really had to polish my communication skills to be able to work with my team at school and solve the problems we were working on. If I’m totally honest, it was 3 months of hell.

But looking back on it now, I can unequivocally say that this course is an extremely good way to acquire technical and soft skills and become a professional software engineer in a short period of time.

What was the most difficult part of the Immersive?

Changing myself. Up until then, I had no self-confidence, and I was totally unable to express my opinion. When it came time to talk, I would totally fail to get my meaning across.

In this course we had a lot of pair programming, where — kind of like a driving test — one student would be the navigator and the other would be the driver, and we’d write code with separate responsibilities. You have to be able to either express your ideas clearly to your partner, or comprehend and logically implement what your partner is telling you.

So communication is really important, and given my poor soft skills at the time, it was really difficult.

My view of software engineers totally changed after attending this course. Before, I thought that programmers just worked alone at a computer screen, tapping away at their keyboards. But what I learned and experienced at Code Chrysalis proved that totally wrong — you have to constantly communicate with your partner to be able to achieve your goals.

If you can’t express your thoughts to your partner, development comes to a halt. So, again, it was really hard for me at the time.

Code Chrysalis’ motto is “Being Comfortable in Uncomfortable Situations.” I really experienced this.

How did you change after the Immersive course?

I became confident in myself! I managed to grow and succeed through a really intense intensive program. Until the Immersive, I had actually wanted to be a software engineer because I thought it would allow me to work alone and not have to improve my communication skills. However, somewhere along the road that dream became really unappealing to me.

I thought that if I wanted to change myself, I just had to work really hard, and I didn’t think about any details further than that. However, during my time at Code Chrysalis, as I learned how to communicate technical topics to partners and talk in front of people, I realized that I wanted to grow even more as a person and an engineer. And I did.

I feel like I’ve gotten one step closer to becoming who I want to be.

Do you have any advice for people interested in the Immersive program?

If you’re not sure, just enroll. If you are willing to put in the effort to improve your skills as a developer and grow, Code Chrysalis’ team will fully support you. The effort you put in will have results.

Code Chrysalis is a Tokyo-based 🗼 coding school providing a full-time and part-time programming courses in English and Japanese. Join us in-person or take our classes remotely. See why we are an industry leader in technical education in Japan 🗾.

We also put on free workshops and events for the community, so follow us for the latest!

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