The Complete Guide to Moving to the US and Getting your Dream Job in Tech

For designers and engineers who want a tech career in the US.

Why move to the US?

1. Opportunities

Left: San Francisco. Right: Silicon Valley. Big bubbles are headquarters, and small bubbles are regular offices.

It’s easier to find a job in Silicon Valley than in your home country.

2. Money

“If you want to make money, go where the money is.”

1,315 companies willing to pay 6 figures for software engineers.

But what about the rent?

Quality of life (vertical) vs cost of living (horizontal)

Other cities to consider

How to do it?

Important — Work Visa

  1. Prepare your resume
  2. Brush up your online presence
  3. Travel to the US
  4. Apply for jobs
  5. Interview, receive and accept an offer
  6. Apply for a work visa
  7. Move to the US

1. Prepare your resume

2. Brush up your online presence

3. Travel to the US

4. Job search

  • Dice, Indeed, Jobspring, and Monster. These are your generic employment sites. They don’t know much about tech, but they are always good to try.
  • Then you have the more tech-focused sites such as AngelList and Product Hunt. These are the most popular in Silicon Valley. They also have much better search filters.
  • Hired has an interesting model where companies fight to hire you, instead of the opposite. They ask for your desired salary upfront (remember: 6 figures). Recruiters can’t even contact you unless they commit to paying you that much.
  • I’m sure you can find a lot more options on Google.

5. Interview, receive and accept an offer

6. Apply for a work visa

What if I don’t get the visa?

Canadians: go for the TN-1.

  • First, the TN is only awarded to candidates who match the qualifying job list. Designers and engineers are covered, but product managers and marketers aren’t.
  • Second, you apply for the visa at the airport just before flying to the US. Careful — not every airport provides visas. For example, the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport in Montreal does, but the Jean-Lesage Airport in Quebec city doesn’t. Make sure you’re flying from the correct airport. You can phone call the airport to ask them if they provide visas.
  • Get to the airport at least 4 hours before your flight because the application process can take some time. You’ll need some documents, which your immigration lawyer will provide. When crossing the customs, tell the officer you’re applying for a TN visa. They’ll take you to another room where you’ll do a visa interview. Careful, there are some trick questions. For example, don’t say you want to become a US citizen. Read more about these here.
  • Finally, it’s harder to apply for a Green Card while on the TN. If you plan to become a US citizen, the usual process is TN > H1B > Green Card. This is great because you get 3+ years to try your luck at the H1B lottery.

7. Move to the US

Working in the US

1. Should I join a big company or a startup?

2. Language Barrier

“What if my English sucks?”

3. Healthcare

“Does the US even has health care?”

4. Culture

“Do you worry about getting shot?”

Foreigners tend to have a negative stereotypical image of the average American.
The US electoral map. Democrat (left-wing) states are blue, while Republican (right-wing) states are red.

A note on Silicon Valley

5. Work Culture

Work hard, play hard.

Conclusion

The major league of tech

How Google Works talks about the Smart Creative. Netflix talks about the Stunning Colleague.

Get out of Loserville

“If you run the 100-yard dash with people who aren’t as fast as you. You will win hands down.

However, if you run with people who are faster than you, you might come in last every single time.

But your time will be better.”

“Great cities attract ambitious people. You can sense it when you walk around one. In a hundred subtle ways, the city sends you a message: you could do more; you should try harder.”

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