My Journey to Getting a Software Job in the UK from India
In the last two (this & this) articles, I mentioned how and why I looked for a job outside India. In this article, let me walk you through my journey getting a job in the UK from India: The process that I followed, how I prepared, how I applied, how many interviews I have attended, how many I have been successful, etc.
First, let me tell you a little about myself and my skill set as a software engineer. I am mentioning this because I think it really helps the reader with the same skill set looking for jobs in the UK.
I got my master's degree in Computer Applications from NIT Durgapur, West Bengal, India. Now, don’t think that oh! he graduated from NIT so he must be a hard worker, a talented guy, and blablabla. You know what, Don’t ever give a damn about where somebody graduates from. If I tell you the way of my education in my college, you will ROFL. In a week we had only one or two classes. Sometimes they also used to get canceled. But thankfully, it is a lot better now, and more systematic is what I hear from my sub juniors. Okay, my point is, don’t form the opinions of where somebody has studied, where somebody worked and etc.
Don’t give a damn about where somebody graduates from. Don’t form the opinions of what you see and hear.
Okay. Now let me tell you about my skill set. Let me be very simple here. Otherwise, I will end up dumping all my resume and cover letter here with all those Keywords like Hands-on Experience on …, Excellent Knowledge in … and etc. Okay, here we go.
I am a Java Developer with average problem-solving skills, a little bit of knowledge in Devops, a little bit of knowledge about Docker & Kubernetes, and some touch in AWS. That’s all I know. This is the skill set that I started my job searching with.
So with this skill set, I started my job search. I was searching here and there. I registered with every job site that I know of and applied for every damn job that I saw. No calls. Frustrated. Out of this frustration, I thought of applying for MSc in USA or UK. I was leaning more towards the UK because Masters in the UK is only 1 year and after the course completion we can apply for a PSW- The Post Study Work Visa which is valid for two years and we are eligible to work full time. I spent quite a bit of time researching the universities, part-time jobs, freelancing, etc and etc in the UK. My strategy behind this was that once I get into any university, I can do some part-time jobs or freelancing and earn some money that will keep me going, and also meanwhile I can search for a permanent job if my luck favors.
The thing with the mind is when you are desperate of doing something the mind plays its own games. In my case, it played the game of doing MSc and roamed around the UK universities. But it was my wife who threw some light on it and put me in the right direction. What her thought process was, why again waste money by joining universities. An above-average university in the UK charges 13K to 17K pounds which is 13 Lakhs to 17 Lakhs in Indian rupees, quite a big money for a middle-class Indian family. Instead, she suggested I try harder for a job for 6 months. This is what she exactly suggested. “Whatever the hard work that you put in studying masters, put the same hard work in getting the job. Also, keep on working in the current job, and accumulate some money which will come in handy when you need to migrate to the UK with the job”. A perfect suggestion that gave me absolute clarity. I couldn’t thank her enough and approached a consultancy. They charged me Rs. 50000/- and gave me a ton of frustration as I mentioned in the other article.
The consultancy guys gave me a resume format which is not really that good but the content was good. Then I modified that resume according to my skill set and made three versions out of it. And I used them alternatively in applying for the jobs based on the job description. And I gave the same version to the consultancy guys. They applied for over 700 job applications on my behalf. But three of them turned up. Out of these three, two were pathetic. They took the first round asked non-technical questions and never turned up. The other one is a Betting Exchange Company that offered me 35000 GBP and I rejected it.
I was losing my confidence because no recruiter from the UK was turning up. As I was searching helplessly, I got an interview invitation from a gaming company in Abu Dhabi, UAE. It was a very good opportunity. 27000 AED per month the salary was. But I failed in the interview. Because I made a mistake. My core skill was Java, but I agreed to work on NodeJS & TypeScipt as I have also got knowledge of them. But the interview went in-depth. And I failed. But after 1 month, the same HR contacted me for a Java role and the interview went well and offered me a salary of 22500 AED which is good. And I accepted it but kept it aside by telling them the notice period was of 3 months. And I gave them a tentative joining date. I was not really interested in relocating to UAE considering my kids’ education and future lifestyle.
Then, I thought I was relying on this consultancy too much and I started concentrating more on LinkedIn. Changed my LinkedIn profile to look decent, updated the technologies, and put a visa sponsorship job alert for the UK. Meanwhile, I also prepared for a Kubernetes Administration certification. Slowly I was regaining my confidence back. I modified my resume so that all my skillset will be on the first page and used the same first page as a cover letter with some modifications.
I was very very active on LinkedIn and applied for close to 300 jobs out of which only a few are the visa sponsors. And they turned up. I was so happy. Because at that time, all I need is an interview call. I was very confident that I will crack the interview. After that, I got a few calls from different companies.
And finally, I got offers from the three jobs, with a good package, but not really that good. But I was satisfied and did not want to lose the opportunity just for 5K pounds.
Why didn’t I try for USA?
Lottery man. Yes, I already lost 1 lakh rupees of money applying for an H1B visa in the past. Now I don’t want to do the same again. Because it depends on the lottery. I didn’t want to test my luck again. I knew what will happen. I would end up losing one more lakh.
Why not Canada or Australia?
Because of the complicated PR process. You have to give your English Test — The IELTS. I know about my English. And I didn’t have that much time even to prepare for IELTS.
The process is very simple for the UK. You will get a PR if you reside in the UK for 5 years. All you need is to get a job in a sponsoring company. That is the only hardest part of the whole process. Once that is done, it is a very streamlined process. The English test is also needed. If at all it is needed you only have to pass at B2 Level which is very easy. Instead of an English test, they will ask for only two certificates.
- Proof of English medium from University, and
- University Transcript
I will write a separate article for the whole process and how it went.
What are the key takeaways?
- Just take a leap of faith. Everything falls in line if you start with faith. Just do it now. Just don’t sit and think that after I prepare well I will apply for the jobs. Doesn’t work out. You will never prepare well. Just do both in parallel.
- LinkedIn, LinkedIn, LinkedIn: Don’t approach consultancies. They drink with your money. LinkedIn is your god. Just be active on LinkedIn. Active means not posting non-sense things but just searching the jobs. Identify what the companies are asking.
- Proper Resume and Cover Letter: If you are not getting the calls, it means something fishy with your resume and something fishy with the first call with your recruiter.
- Never ever give up: I have already mentioned this in the other article. Patience and Perseverance matter a lot. You will never know from which corner you will get the job.
- Be Simple and Be yourself: Just be simple. Also, you don’t have to be a super start in algorithms and problem solving, you don’t have to be a superman in Java or NodeJS in another language. Just stick to the basics.
- Don’t think low of yourself and Don’t be a dick: Don’t think low of yourself that you lack some technical stuff. If you look at my profile I started with a very average profile and got the job. If I can do it you can also do it. At the same time don’t be a dick. Recruiters don’t prefer such people. They don’t need less talkative people either. Be with a stable and proactive attitude.
I hope this article gave you some idea of what one goes through in applying for the jobs. This may not be the same case with everyone. You may have good knowledge and can get the job easier than me without much struggle. But all you need to start right now.
I will not put this article under Medium Meter otherwise it misses reaching the people who are in need. I will also take out similar articles from Medium Meter. Because I don't want money for writing this article. But a comment that it helped is enough for me.
Hope this helps. Thanks for being an awesome reader. Jai Hind.
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