Ilya: Hello everyone. And welcome to another VanHack podcast success case interview. I’m super excited to be interviewing Marcus who is a VanHacker that got hired three and a half years ago or almost four years ago, but you moved to Canada three and a half years ago and has been enjoying life in Kitchener-Waterloo since then. Great to have you here, Marcus, and congratulations.
Marcus: Thanks, and yeah, I really appreciate your help on that.
Ilya: My pleasure, my pleasure. So let’s get right into it. So who are you? Where are you from? What’s your professional background?
Marcus: Yeah, I’m from Brazil, and I was mainly in Brazil a embedded software developer, and I got hired by Thalmic here in Canada almost four years ago, as you mentioned, to work on smart glasses and I just didn’t know at the time, which was pretty cool. And recently I moved and I’m more like a mobile developer. I still working on C++, but I’m a mobile developer now. I work for DeX now in the calling team. And yeah, I think that’s it for me.
Marcus: And I’m a software engineer. I was actually graduated in computer engineering. I always loved embedded software, but then life happened and I’m a mobile developer now, which is pretty cool to finally work with OS that everyone knows. It’s different.
Ilya: Cool. Nice, nice. Congratulations on the career change and progression, but let’s go back in time to a few years ago before you moved to Canada. What made you want to relocate in general? What was the origin of this idea?
Marcus: Yeah, so in 2008 I spent a summer in New Zealand and it was kind of an awesome experience. And since then I wanted to relocate to better place because I’m from Brazil. So it’s kind of, I’m from a good region, but it’s not as good as New Zealand or Canada. So I wanted to relocate because I got the feeling of living in a first world country with lots of, kind of cool things and safety.
Marcus: And also after I met my wife, girlfriend at the time, or wife at the time? Either way, we wanted to have kind of a family and to have a family in Brazil is very expensive. It’s difficult. So Canada would provide a better environment for the kid and for ourselves. And kind of to have a family in Brazil, I know we would have, me and my wife, we would have to work too much and we probably wouldn’t have as much time to spend with the family. So here it’s kind of just perfect. Then now the company just moved to work kind of completely remote, so I got to spend a lot of time with my wife and my dogs and my kid now. He’s one year old. That was the main reason. Kind of safety, kind of better place to live and raise a family.
Ilya: Makes sense. Makes total sense. I’m sure a lot of people listening to this have had the similar motivations. And then what was the process like before VanHack? So let’s say you’re looking for a job on your own, back in 2016, how was that process?
Marcus: Yeah, so before VanHack, I think I decided to move to Canada in 2015 and then we started kind of looking to kind of immigration. We were divided between Australia and Canada until we realized the weather in Canada is better. So let’s move there. And-
Ilya: Hold on. The weather in Canada is better than Australia? Do you mean it’s colder? Because it’s not warmer.
Marcus: Yeah, it’s colder. We like the cold weather-
Ilya: Which is good, right? Okay.
Marcus: Yeah, yeah. Have four seasons and have snow and all that fun. The weather in Australia is too much like Brazil, so it would be kind of to move to the same place.
Ilya: It’s funny how the definition of better is different for different people. But I completely understand, yeah.
Marcus: Usually people like warm weather.
Ilya: Yeah, yeah. That’s cool. That’s cool. So you wanted to come to Canada instead of Australia?
Marcus: Yeah. Then we decided let’s go to Canada. And then I started looking at jobs and my wife kind of also helped me and sent a few resumes and job applications, no luck, no response. Until one day my wife saw an advertisement about the VanHackathon.
Ilya: Oh, cool.
Marcus: And she mentioned, “Yeah, you should take a look. Maybe there is something there.” I was a little bit hesitant because kind of these hackathons are usually for web folks or mobile folks, but then I took a look and there was Thalmic, and it was the only company with a C++ challenge. And then [inaudible 00:04:57] so my wife kind of pushed me to try and I became a VanHack member and then a premium member because of the interview practices.
Marcus: They were quite helpful because interviews are different in different countries, so it’s better to have more sense of how the interview works in English, and also how to be interviewed in English. It’s quite different. So yeah, the interview practices helped a lot. And with the VanHackathon, I kind of did well there and started the conversations with the company.
Ilya: Yeah. So how was the interview process then. You did the hackathon project and then you started doing an actual interview process with this company Kitchener-Waterloo.
Marcus: Yeah. So the process now I see kind of is a pretty standard process here in Canada. But when I was in Brazil, I thought it was really long and lots of steps because I had a phone interview with the recruiter, then I got another challenge, and then coding challenge. And then I interviewed with four people on the team. And then after a while with the CEO. Not CEO, the CTO, technology part of it.
Marcus: And I thought it was very different because in Brazil, all the interviews I had done before, it was just like one step and that’s it. So it was really different because it had five different steps and it was a little bit long. It took three months of interviews. Kind of, I had interviews every other week.
Ilya: Yeah. That is pretty long, but you end up getting the job. How was that feeling when you got the offer?
Marcus: Oh, it was crazy because it was on December 24th and I was with my family and then I looked at my cell phone and we are considering. And my wife and I, we didn’t know what exactly that meant. How is it considering? What does that mean?
Ilya: And did they say, “Here’s the salary, we actually want to make you an offer.”?
Marcus: Oh, no. They took a while for the offer because it had, and it was kind of December, so everyone was in a break, kind of really close to Christmas. So I had a talk with the lawyer about immigration on January and I really got kind of the offer in late February. So it was a kind of difficult summer. We were always kind of anxious, waiting for answers. It was amazing, but it was also a lot kind of anxiety to wait for answers and is it working or not? But it was really amazing, kind of the outcome.
Ilya: Well yeah, it worked and here you are three and half years later. How is life now? We don’t usually interview VanHackers who have been in Canada for three and a half years. Looking back or during the last few years, are you enjoying yourself? How’s your family, your wife? You said you had a baby. How is everything?
Marcus: It’s amazing actually, because it’s kind of, when we moved to Canada, I’ve met my wife three years before and we’ve been here for three years and a half. So we are more time kind of living in Canada than we lived in Brazil together.
Marcus: And it’s a really good feeling of accomplishment because in this same three years, not much happened when the three years that we kind of were in Brazil together. And if I didn’t change jobs that much, we were always kind of doing the same things. And here in Canada, everything kind of changed so fast and so much. And if I changed companies, I’m kind of a senior now member of architecture groups. So I got to learn and develop way more than [inaudible 00:09:02] And the same happened to my wife. She got a graduation or childhood education, and now we have a baby, kind of a lot’s changed. Oh, and we became PRs on the road as well.
Ilya: Yeah. We’re talking about before recording you’re almost going to be a citizen in a few months, Canadian citizen.
Marcus: Yeah, in six months is that we’ll be able to apply for a citizenship.
Marcus: We were really excited about that. We know that the process may take a year, but yeah, we are PRs here, so permanent residence. So it’s as good as it sits then I guess, especially now in the pandemic that we cannot leave the country.
Ilya: Yeah, exactly. [inaudible 00:09:45] the same thing. But it’s a nice thing to have and it’s going to happen eventually, right? So it’s cool that you can have that confidence. Awesome. So last question is, Marcus, what tips do you have for other VanHackers, people who are watching this who were in the same shoes as you were back then? What would you say for them? Maybe two or three things that you wish you knew about before.
Marcus: Not sure what kind of I knew would not know. Kind of I’d like to know better at time. But one thing that really helped was the interview practices. Because I was kind of confident doing interviews, but not in English. So that was something really kind of powerful that VanHack has for us. And kind of listen to your spouse. They know what they’re talking about.
Ilya: Listen to your wife, that’s golden advice.
Marcus: And I know I have to-
Ilya: Because she told you about Van Hack, right? That’s why you’re saying this, because she told you about VanHack.
Marcus: Exactly, and she pushed me. And I have two other friends that kind of have been the same thing. The wife kind of pushed and then yeah, they are here. So that’s a good thing. And yeah, I think kind of and focus on getting good at English. I think it makes a lot of difference. And practice listening to accents because when you interview for kind of people from all around, because Canada has a lot of immigrants, so be kind of practice all their accents kind of to listen for them. I think that’s a thing that I would like to know before.
Ilya: Yeah, people from South America, Asia, eastern Europe all have a slight different variation of English accent, especially in tech with so much of multicultural in Canada and other places. Yeah. That’s a really, really good point. So yeah, if you’re a VanHacker from Brazil, maybe you’re going to do an interview with someone who’s from let’s say Russia, and their English is going to be very different than a native speaker, so you want to make sure you understand. That’s a really good point.
Marcus: Yeah. And everyone’s kind of very helpful with that and kind of talk slowly when they perceive you are not enough native. So usually people help a lot, but not needed help I think would be better.
Ilya: For sure. Cool. Okay. Well, Marcus, thank you so much for sharing your experience all these years later. You were one of the first that VanHackers hired, and I think the first one hired in Kitchener-Waterloo, so thank you for being a trailblazer. Yeah, yeah. All the best to you. And your young family, your son. Yeah. And send me a message when you become a Canadian citizen, we’ll share the good news with everyone.
Marcus: Oh yeah, for sure I will do it.
Ilya: Yeah. We’re going to start to have many of those next few years.
Ilya: Awesome. And hey, if anyone’s listening to this on podcast, make sure you subscribe. If you’re watching this on YouTube, please subscribe through YouTube as well. And of course, if you want to get hired, get a job abroad like Marcus did, just go to vanhack.com, sign up, it’s completely free. We have tons of online courses and of course jobs that sponsor work visa and help you reach your goal as well. So yeah. Thanks again, Marcus, and we’ll see you next time.
Marcus: Yeah. Thank you as well!