I'm a F/24yr with +8 years of experience on Web Development, but my formation is on Graphic Design (associate degree). I'm trying to leave Brazil and get better job/life conditions than here. My scope so far has been looking on Netherlands.

In all job applications, I see the requirement of "CS bachelor degree or similar". How can I improve my chances of being a proper candidate?

I'm looking for an online associate degree in CS, and I'm also studying for the TOEFL iBT. I'm also aware I can exchange my experience years for the remaining years in my associate dg, and "convert it" to a bachelor. How do I prove my xp years?

Any tips are appreciated. Thank you!

  • It's great that you want to improve your life but this isn't something we can help as it sounds like you're asking a very broad question on where to even begin which we have no idea.
    – Dan
    Feb 20, 2020 at 17:39

1 Answer 1


I want you to succeed, but I think you're fighting an uphill battle.

My background: I am born, raised and now work in the Netherlands, I have a MBO4 (comparable to community college) degree and a HBO (comparable to a University of Applied Sciences) Bachelor of Science degree. I right now work as a software engineer.

What you need to understand first is that requirements are quite strict. If they want you to have X degree and Y amount of years of experience of work, you better have it. Compensating not having degree X but rather having far more work experience is possible - most companies in the private sector are willing to go along with it, provided you are very motivated, talented and are able to tick off other requirements. (say, knowing the tools involved with the job and having worked in a similar environment)

This isn't the case for the Dutch government, who definitely wants you to have the correct degree.

Of course you have other things going against you - you are living in another country, outside of the European Union at that, so you would need a Visa, and the company that hires you consequently would have to wait for you to get accepted in, arrive and settle down before working. Maybe there is a relocation package involved here too. If I were an employer, and if I were to accept you, why would I want to impose the risk of you not getting here (soon), missing out on a much needed team member and get delays in the process? Why wouldn't I pick somewhere who perhaps lives in the next city over? That in addition to not having the correct degree.

To prove your years of experience

List the companies you have worked for, get yourself a tidy LinkedIn profile. If you have old clients and worked as a freelancer, ask a few if they are alright with listing them as references.

I would recommend the following:

1) Figure out where there are real shortages in manpower in IT in the Netherlands for the private sector that you can fill in, ones that companies are desperate for.

2) Figure out if you have unique selling points about yourself, foremost those that have to with point 1.

3) Perhaps try to gain a BSc anyway. You have an associate degree, maybe a fast track is possible for certain degrees at certain Brazilian universities? Also, try to get it aligned with point 1. You could also attempt to enroll in a Dutch HBO(University of Applied Sciences)/University as an international student.

4) Try to get connections in the Netherlands. Do outsourcing work, get recommendations because of it. If you can secure your BSc internship with in the Netherlands, you have a good foothold.

5) Learn the Dutch language. Pick Duolingo or whatever else you think suits your purposes. It shows you are motivated.

6) Learn to code. If you are only capable of doing graphics work but not web development coding (frontend and backend, libraries like VueJS, React and so on, and C# or PHP) most companies do not want to hire you.

I wish you the best of luck. Sounds like quite the adventure, but you'd better get ready for this uphill battle.

  • I ended up doing Graphic Design, even tho I'm front-end developer my whole life. I work with CSS, HTML, JS/Node everyday. We barely have CSc degree available here in Brazil, no web related course available. My greatest concern is regarding how to show Netherlands companies that I actually have the 8 years of xp but no degree on the field. I don't know why I'm getting so down-voted, but thank you for your suggestions, I'm sure including them in my plans for the future. Feb 20, 2020 at 20:51

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