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new to USA

zackmaxzackmax Member Posts: 61 ■■□□□□□□□□
hey guys,

A friend's uncle just immigrated to US.
He was a CTO of a midsize firm back in Mongolia.
Guy is in early 50's. Having hell of a time finding a job.
He stopped looking for management and just looking for regular dev/admin work and no luck.

He's quite disheartened. I meet him often and he actually wept last time I talked to him.
There's a slight communication issue. His english is good but not great.

Any advice?

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    UnixGuyUnixGuy Mod Posts: 4,566 Mod
    I'm not in the US but I can several factors working against him.

    1) His experience is in management but he has no contacts in the US and no local experience. Would be challenging for him to get a management position.

    2) His English is not great. This will also work against him.

    3) He's looking for dev/admin jobs but when was the last time he did that sort of work? Again lack of relevant experience is against him.


    I don't know what to say, but he is not in the best of situations. Perhaps a non-IT job should be an option. I wish him the best of luck!
    Certs: GSTRT, GPEN, GCFA, CISM, CRISC, RHCE

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    networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    Tough situation. Not going to get much management opportunities with a communication barrier and as UnixGuy pointed out if he hasn't been on the tech side in a while that's going to be tough as well. I think working on communication will be the key for your friend.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
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    markulousmarkulous Member Posts: 2,394 ■■■■■■■■□□
    If he still has good technical skills on the dev side of things, I'd say maybe he can try creating a portfolio showing off what he can do. If he can get someone to see that he isn't too rusty, then they may be willing to take a chance with him.
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    nisti2nisti2 Member Posts: 503 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Hello,

    I moved to Canada and having the same problem for IT jobs, any recomendation really appreciate.
    2020 Year goals:
    Already passed: Oracle Cloud, AZ-900
    Taking AZ-104 in December.

    "Certs... is all about IT certs!"
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    mbarrettmbarrett Member Posts: 397 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I'm wondering if lack of substantial skills/familiarity that hiring managers are looking for (depending where he is looking) are hurting him more than the fact he's from another country. There might be some kind of vocational rehab program he can make contact with, to focus his job search and tailor his expectations.
    Also, where in the US? The US is not a contiguous bloc where everyone is treated the same no matter where you go. Even people who are originally from here have to be ready to move to another town or state to advance in their profession (or in this case, to get a break.) It could be tougher depending on which market he's in, for a bunch of reasons (age, language, skills, culture, etc etc...)
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    gkcagkca Member Posts: 243 ■■■□□□□□□□
    nisti2 wrote: »
    Hello,

    I moved to Canada and having the same problem for IT jobs, any recomendation really appreciate.
    If you're in GTA - pm me as we have a sysadmin job opening right now.
    "I needed a password with eight characters so I picked Snow White and the Seven Dwarves." (c) Nick Helm
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    KrekenKreken Member Posts: 284
    Perhaps his admin/dev skills are lacking? How good is his resume? Does he go to interviews? Or there not even calls?
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    beadsbeads Member Posts: 1,531 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Was that inner or outer Mongolia? Either way adding Mongolia sounds scary enough unto itself. Might as well say "Elbonia". Downplay the less than tech savvy sounding origin first of all. The problem for a potential employer is how much time and energy do I invest in vetting someone from half way across the planet from a country I doubt most readers here could point to on a map without it labeled? Hmmmm? Be honest before you hit Google on this one. Does Mongolia have modern computers? I don't know what IT looks like there but doubtful its much like the US if your familiar with Chinese IT. Cultural barriers not to mention technology gaps still exist. Management would clearly be out of the question as the two styles are vastly different as well and we are awash with mediocre management wannabes as well.

    Dev experience can be portfolio-ed (sp?) by way of development boot camp where students are crammed through a course where they can show real work and coding skills to a potential organization.

    Administration skills would need the traditional MCSE, Linux, CCNA route with certification(s) to show current skill. Through in some free administration work at a not for profit combined with prior verifiable experience and he should be able to recover nicely.

    Tough nut to crack. Good luck.

    - b/eads
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    gkcagkca Member Posts: 243 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I agree with beads that some volunteering work combined with current certification could help the guy to gain some references and filler material for the resume as well as some insight into local office culture, etc.

    And speaking of communication issue, I would highly recommend the following program American Accent Training to Learn English Pronunciation – Pronunciation Workshop as well as attending meet ups to help overcome the language barrier.

    HTH
    "I needed a password with eight characters so I picked Snow White and the Seven Dwarves." (c) Nick Helm
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    gespensterngespenstern Member Posts: 1,243 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I arrived in the US from Russia when I was 38. It was 3 and a half years ago. In Russia was a manager/architect. I didn't even look for management jobs as I knew it will be pointless. If this guy did that I'd say he slightly deluded himself thus his disappointment. I had MCSA:Security at the time for old windows server 2003. I immediately passed two additional exams I lacked to get MCSE:Security. It was 2013 and these exams were about to retire, but I had a plan to take a transitional single exam to migrate the skills to windows 2008.

    My English was bad. My written English was decent as I had tons of experience in your typical corporate email exchange, but my spoken English sucked. Also, I didn't quite understand English speech especially spoken by Hindu people as I had to deal with lots of them. These are the recruiting type of folks that should call him everyday if he does things right.

    Hunting for a job is a full-time job. I was at a computer early in the morning and worked on my employment from dawn till dusk. I've read tons of articles on resume crafting skills. Was spending a few minutes each day changing and honing my resume bit by bit. It also helps getting it to the top on resume web-sites, each time you upload a new version or change using their own resume building -- it gets updated and ends up on top among the freshly uploaded ones and people look at them. I hope he knows that he should post on indeed, monster, careerbuilder, linkedin, etc.

    I started getting tons of calls from Hindu folks, like 50 calls a day. With this volume it takes only a couple of days to get used to their accent and learn typical recruiting convo lines. It shouldn't be hard to sell yourself to some staffing agency for $15-25/hour depending on your luck and negotiation skills to do grunt admin work. I hope he's looking for jobs across all the US and ready to move to even Alaska if the offer is right. If not -- tough luck, he has to agree on almost anything to get his foot in the door. It also helps to use good headphones with your phone (not earbuds type) to recognize speech better.

    I landed my first job in Kentucky for $29/hour no bennies and moved there after 4 months of a full-time everyday job search and I'd say >1000 applications and huge amounts of interviews. When I needed to show up for a face-2-face interviews I drove several hours one-way trips to other cities in Midwest. Columbus, OH, Cincinatti, Chicago, Louisville -- I drove there in rented cars that I rented for 1 day with my Russian international driver license. It was costly, I've paid more than $100 for 1 day rent each time because of no local driver license, no insurance, etc. So it was a windows admin grunt work. Tickets, client support, troubleshooting windows issues. Keep in mind that I have two kids and a stay at home wife. I did have some savings to stay afloat for just a few months. Kentucky was an additional challenge because everybody was talking this redneck accent which is really hard to grasp.

    I also had to deal with schools and healthcare for kids as my wife didn't speak English at all.

    I didn't have a car and used public transportation buses for commute. It was taking me >1 hour to commute one-way. Sometimes a bus wouldn't show and I had to wait about an hour on a bus station for the next one. I used this time to educate myself and prepare for exams using used books I bought on amazon and downloaded to my laggy MS Surface tablet. In the next year I passed MCITP:EA, transitioned to MCSA: 2008, transitioned to MCSA: 2012. I was hired permanent and in two years promoted to senior with $76k/year.

    Then I passed my CISSP, CEH, CISSP-ISSAP. I was doing security back in Russia so it wasn't that hard. Meanwhile I left this job for more lucrative contract gigs and moved here and there with my family living in apartments, bought a used car.

    Now I'm a permanent architect making very good base salary, bonuses and bennies under 200k. Bought a nice car for my wife and pay for her college. I also study in WGU in their BS: IT security program as nobody cares about my education from Russian Siberia town in the middle of nowhere nobody ever heard of (BTW we had -50 F during winters over there). I imagine myself getting OSCP this year (I'm already into the program), ISSMP/ISSEP next year and breaking quarter million in base salary in next 3 years. Let's see how it plays out.

    Also, it helped that some major US companies were hacked by the Russians in recent years. I have pretty good malware containment and analysis skills and familiar with Russian cybercrime first hand, I know what's inside of these guys heads and it helps a lot in my career here. I'm not a convert though as I always played on the side of the good guys, I'm a family guy with a pretty conservative outlook, don't like taking criminal risks, but I know how lucrative (and dangerous) it could be if I went to the dark side and stayed in Russia.

    I have to admit that the first 4 months were extremely tough. I didn't cry but it was tough. I wouldn't say that my wife was very supportive, there was some share of blame here as the argument was if we didn't move we wouldn't have to deal with all of this nightmare and why don't we get back to Russia. So I had to deal with unstable marriage as well. Now, after Russian currency collapsed and I have a good job it is not an issue anymore, lol. Having a burden of a family that totally depends on your success is a major driver to get things done. You either succeed or just become homeless. Don't forget that as foreigners we had no rights for any government welfare support. My option was to become homeless with my wife, kids got taken from us by government juvenile security agencies, etc.

    Also, I went to a local church. It helped a lot emotionally. I'm not really a believer, but used to go to church back in Russia and know the Bible pretty well and can talk about religious things. So I enrolled into a bible study class and went to one protestant church as I would have protestant views if I really was a believer. The folks there were very supportive and it helped me a lot.

    Also, having an account here on TE also helps in building an IT career. What people think, how much do they get, what is hot, what is not, what works and what not -- everything is here.

    BTW, I also have a fair share of north asian blood in my veins as this guy from Mongolia most likely has.

    Wish him luck and not to give up.
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    gkcagkca Member Posts: 243 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Great write up, Leo!

    Btw, I was wondering if being an immigrant and especially from Russia is a career limiting factor in security field as it's probably impossible to get a security clearance and overcome suspicions of disloyalty and so on. Though it looks like you're doing just fine :)
    "I needed a password with eight characters so I picked Snow White and the Seven Dwarves." (c) Nick Helm
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    gespensterngespenstern Member Posts: 1,243 ■■■■■■■■□□
    It's always hard to say why you get rejected, nobody tells you why, was it because you are Russian or not. For a clean experiment I'd have to repeat all of that not saying that I'm from Russia but claiming something else, Germany for example.

    I imagine that some people could be suspicious and rightfully so. I wouldn't trust Russians myself.

    On there other hand if a company gets breached and nobody knows what to do and you recognize a pattern of a known malware to you and show up on this huge meeting with all the managers and vice presidents brain-storming on what to do and insist that you know what to do and then they they finally agree to listen and someone finally skeptically says let's give it a try and you are catching it in ten minutes -- it makes an impression.

    When this happens -- nothing matters, how old are you, what color your skin has, are you rude or polite, are you mad or sane -- what matters is you can and they cannot.

    It's similar to what House MD said when was asked why he became a doctor. When a patient is dying and nobody knows why -- it's better when everybody listens to someone who really knows what to do no matter what caste they are from. It is a moment of pure skill and knowledge and everything else is just irrelevant. No politics, no smooth talking, no brown nosing, no nepotism -- you either know or don't know.

    So when this happens my Russian background helps. For office politics -- quite the opposite, so I don't imagine myself pursuing management track anytime soon.

    And yeah, because of that it's not likely that I will ever get that clearance and a chance to work on lucrative government contracts that I know my peers do and earn more than I do. So I have to stick to a private sector and compete with outsourcing to India which isn't always easy, but it's easier on a higher level than on a grunt level...
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    KrekenKreken Member Posts: 284
    gkca wrote: »
    Great write up, Leo!


    Btw, I was wondering if being an immigrant and especially from Russia is a career limiting factor in security field as it's probably impossible to get a security clearance and overcome suspicions of disloyalty and so on. Though it looks like you're doing just fine

    I enlisted in USAF with just a green card and my job required to get a security clearance. The biggest obstacle was citizenship status as it was prior to Bush changing requirements from three years of service to one. Background investigation was no issue. But you are definitely being monitored. Two weeks after my grandparents came to the US, I was called in by FBI for a couple of hours to chat about my values as an American citizen.

    Overall, in the military I felt there was no real career limitations based on the fact that I am Russian. My commander and the first sergeant wanted to send me to OTS and sometimes I regret for not going. I would probably be a LtCol or pretty close by now and could retire in three years.

    In the civilian world, it is just like Leon says, you just don't know because there is no way to find out why exactly you were rejected. In my experience though, once you are on the job, the level of trust depends on your proved skill level.

    One thing I don't agree with Leon is about his last paragraph.
    And yeah, because of that it's not likely that I will ever get that clearance and a chance to work on lucrative government contracts that I know my peers do and earn more than I do. So I have to stick to a private sector and compete with outsourcing to India which isn't always easy, but it's easier on a higher level than on a grunt level...

    My previous job, I did network security and engineering for NYC's 911 network. Now I am a consultant for another big NYC public entity redesigning and securing their network. My next contract starting January, will be for another gov't entity with a very strict access control. There are a lot of government contracts that you don't need a security clearance for, just the citizenship. Once you get your citizenship, I don't think it would be much of a problem to get a clearance if necessary.
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    gespensterngespenstern Member Posts: 1,243 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Kreken wrote: »
    Once you get your citizenship, I don't think it would be much of a problem to get a clearance if necessary.

    From what I've read foreign citizenship has to be forfeited. Did you do that to get your clearance? Also, your USAF experience helps I would guess because it is perceived as if they have kind of vetted you. If someone went through military forces then he can be trusted to a certain degree which is likely to be higher than the level of trust towards a fresh immigrant.
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    KrekenKreken Member Posts: 284
    At the time I was going through it, I had no Russian citizenship so honestly wouldn't know about dual citizenship effect on a clearance process.

    The point I am trying to make is at local/state gov't level, it's very rare for them to ask for a clearance unless it is DoD/NSA related. Most of the time, the only requirement besides the skills is to be a citizen and I honestly don't remember anybody asking me if I had dual citizenships. Once you go to VA/DC area, than it's a different ball game.
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    chmodchmod Member Posts: 360 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Many factor against him:

    Age is a factor in many countries i would say almost everywhere unless is for high level management like a CEO.

    Does not speak good english.

    No contacts nor friends in the industry.

    Was not educated in the US.

    I don't want to offend anyone here, but If he is a dark skinned/brown mongolian with por english he will find it even harder as USA has to be one of the most racist countries in this part of the world.

    So many thing against him, he could make it but is not going to be easy and might have to start from scratch.
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