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I'm not so satisfied with where I currently work. I'm a software engineer from country A, and I'm currently working abroad for a company in country B. This company, which has some really nice people working at it, is really really old in terms of the technology stack. No git, no unit tests, no Jenkins, no CI/CD. The most cutting edge technology they have is C++11, and most of their code base is in old C legacy code.

In short, I'm near the start of my career, and I want to be in a place where I can pick up as many newer technologies as I can.

There are some really nice upsides to working here. The people, the pay and the work/life balance are all outstandingly good. I suspect I may find it difficult to replicate such a place elsewhere.

In an ideal world, I think I would move back to my country and find a job back at home. However, my girlfriend's job demands that she may have to move out to New York some time after January 2022, and I would like to go with her. Obviously we have been apart for about 8 months already, so it would be nice to be able to see her this year, and with flight restrictions between countries A and B, and my company not allowing me to work from my home country, it is looking entirely possible that I may not be able to see her for another year.

I have been working at this company for 8 months. If I were to move back to my home country and get another job tomorrow, I would have two experiences: one with 8 months of experience and one with 11 months of experience.

If I were looking in New York for a programmer job, especially as a foreigner, would this look really bad on a CV?

And if I were to explain this with "I wanted to be challenged more" for the first job and "I wanted to move with my girlfriend" in the second case, what would the reaction in an interview be? How could I best sell this situation in an interview?

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I'm not so satisfied with where I currently work. I'm a software engineer from country A, and I'm currently working abroad for a company in country B. This company, which has some really nice people working at it, is really really old in terms of the technology stack. No git, no unit tests, no Jenkins, no CI/CD. The most cutting edge technology they have is C++11, and most of their code base is in old C legacy code.

Those are good things to know. There are very few people left who know them.

In short, I'm near the start of my career, and I want to be in a place where I can pick up as many newer technologies as I can.

You have plenty of time, and can pick them up on your own time, doing side jobs.

There are some really nice upsides to working here. The people, the pay and the work/life balance are all outstandingly good. I suspect I may find it difficult to replicate such a place elsewhere.

Your suspicions are accurate.

I have been working at this company for 8 months. If I were to move back to my home country and get another job tomorrow, I would have two experiences: one with 8 months of experience and one with 11 months of experience.

If I were looking in New York for a programmer job, especially as a foreigner, would this look really bad on a CV?

You'd have at LEAST two strikes against you. The NY market is a tough one. Very few people will take a risk on a job jumper.

And if I were to explain this with "I wanted to be challenged more" for the first job and "I wanted to move with my girlfriend" in the second case, what would the reaction in an interview be? How could I best sell this situation in an interview?

The second case is far more acceptable. Say "I wanted to be challenged more" and my first reaction would be "What happens when you're not challenged with us?" My second would be "Not worth the risk". IF you were to take such action, it is far more understandable to want to be with family. If you were engaged to your girlfriend and were wanting to settle down in the area, that would tell me you are stable and I might take a risk on you.

Don't go with the "more challenge" option, it doesn't say "job jumper", it SCREAMS it.

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    this is the best answer... – Fattie Feb 4 at 0:23
  • Agreed except for the "very few people know C and C++ part". – Peter Feb 4 at 10:41
  • This is a pretty bold answer, some might say – Bjorn De Rijcke Feb 4 at 12:27
  • @Peter have you tried to find someone who knows it lately? – Old_Lamplighter Feb 4 at 21:30
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If I were looking in New York for a programmer job, especially as a foreigner, would this look really bad on a CV?

If a potential employer is just looking at your resume it may raise flags depending on your other work experience. In the interview, however, you will have an opportunity to explain your situation.

And if I were to explain this with "I wanted to be challenged more" for the first job and "I wanted to move with my girlfriend" in the second case, what would the reaction in an interview be? How could I best sell this situation in an interview?

Explain the situations as honest as possible and don't worry about the potential reactions. For the first job, many companies would see wanting to be challenged and wanting to learn new technologies as good qualities.

For the second job, it really depends on the interviewer and company. It is perfectly reasonable to re-locate to be with your spouse/family and no potential employer should have an issue with this. When it is a re-location for a girlfriend/boyfriend, since presumably it is not as serious as a spouse/family, some potential employers would question this decision while others wouldn't have a problem with it. All you can do is answer the questions honestly and hope for the best.

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    While I think this is fine advice for someone looking for a job in their home country, hiring a foreign worker has some overhead and costs associated with it that hiring a citizen doesn't have. If the candidate has quit full time jobs twice in under two years to go looking for greener pastures, I would have reservations hiring them for a full time job and dealing with the visa situation. If they were working a contract job that ended, that would be a different story. – ColleenV Feb 3 at 19:38
  • "If a potential employer is just looking at your resume it may raise flags" Enough to not get the interview, and if he can't get the interview, he won't get a chance to explain himself. – Old_Lamplighter Feb 4 at 21:34
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I can't speak for New York companies but as a manager hiring software engineers, I'd be wary of your CV. Looking for a third job when you're less than 2 years into your career gives a strong signal you'll be on the move again soon.

"I wanted to be challenged more" could be a limiting reason for you moving on - not all companies are able to offer nothing but challenging work. It also won't stand up to scrutiny if you're questioned about it - your reasons above appear more about only wanting to work with the latest technologies (itself another statement that could limit your employment options).

Rather than moving jobs to work with more modern technology, why don't you spend the next few months reading up on the benefits they offer then trying to persuade your current employer to update their practices? That way you keep a job you enjoy for longer, won't appear to be a job hopper, will get invaluable experience at influencing your peers and may get to show technical leadership on your CV (if you succeed in driving change in development practices). This should all make you a more desirable employee when you later start interviewing for that New York job.

If you decide to move on now, then again at the end of the year, it might be better to explain both moves as allowing you to stay with your girlfriend. This would only be advisable if she'll be in New York for a reasonable time though.

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