I am a student living and studying in Canada, and in the long term I'd like to also work in Canada. However, my girlfriend is studying in Scotland and we've been in a long-term relationship for a long time now, and I'd like to close the gap between us as soon as possible. We've thought that it would be nice if I can move to Scotland with her and try to get a job there, then we can move back to Canada after she graduates. It's not possible for her to move to Canada before she's done studying for financial reasons.

I'm studying computer engineering but I'm primarily interested in software development, and I've already done 20 months of paid internships as a software developer in 4 different companies (small-to-medium sized) so that's the position I'm aiming for. I have a bit more than a year until graduation so I have enough time to get everything in order.

My concern is that I might not be able to compete with the job market in Canada after I come back (let alone get a decent job) because I have no graduate work experience in it. Is this a legitimate concern? Would employers in my field prefer my colleagues who already have equal work experience in Canada? Would they shy away from me for any other reason I'm failing to anticipate?

closed as off-topic by user8365, Garrison Neely, gnat, Jan Doggen, Chris E Jan 6 '15 at 12:03

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    No matter where you come from, no natter what uni you graduated from, no matter where you learned it, it all boils down to one thing: either you can hack it or you can't. The rest is just fluff. – Vietnhi Phuvan Jan 4 '15 at 11:10
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    @VietnhiPhuvan - When it comes to getting a job, it boils down to convincing people you can hack it and they can't all spot talent. Otherwise, no unqualified programmer would ever gain employment; more than a few have slipped through the cracks. – user8365 Jan 5 '15 at 14:41
  • @JeffO Acknowledged. We have had from time to time a few users asking questions, of whom I have no clue how they got their job as software developers in the first place. Those are extreme cases, however. Most of the bad software developers get a pass, possibly because everyone gets a pass. When everyone is more or less mediocre, it's hard to diagnose mediocrity as such. And if you manage to somehow do it, you'll be walking around with a nicely painted target pinned on your back :) – Vietnhi Phuvan Jan 5 '15 at 18:13

If you got the experience that I required, but in a different country, that would count as a positive for you. Working in a different country shows flexibility, courage, openness, and all kinds of positive personal attributes. In software development, it doesn't matter where you got your experience from.

  • Absolutely. You are right. I can't imagine any situation where this is seen negative from employer side. – s1lv3r Jan 4 '15 at 12:16
  • I wish I was awake 4 hours ago so I could write this exact answer. My group recently brought someone on who spent a dozen years living & working overseas and I think he's bringing a perspective & set of experiences to the team which we would not have gotten otherwise. – alroc Jan 4 '15 at 14:18

There are certain aspects of working abroad that can hinder your future employment:

  • Your work experience abroad may not be verifiable easily because of cultural or language barriers. If you worked year in the fine country of Knishorpe were all your documents are written in Gnafeli and I cannot call anyone because I won't understand them, I might just take the candidate that produced papers and references in plain english or whatever my native language is.

  • Your reason for changing countries might have me wondering if you will leave us just as quickly. If you cited "I have fun travelling" for your 3 jobs in 3 countries in 3 years, I would rather hire someone else for our 2-year-project.

I cannot see that one of them would apply to your situation, so you should be ok. Work experience abroad is just as good as work experience right next door.

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    I understand that everyone speaks English in Scotland :) At least, if you are one of those who can make out the Scottish dialect :) – Vietnhi Phuvan Jan 4 '15 at 13:34
  • Thanks for your great answer @nvoigt, I would mark it as well if I could! – Mohamed Moustafa Jan 4 '15 at 21:05

Depending on the part of Canada, I could see it. For example, if you live in some small town area then there may be limited opportunities and so the concern would have merit in this case to my mind. On the other hand, if you live in a big Canadian city like Vancouver or Toronto then I'd see this as being rather small though I would take note of some places to network when you get back as the key to my mind would be more about how you'd find opportunities and go from there.

I'm born and raised in Southwestern Ontario though my initial work experience after university was Seattle, Washington before coming back to live in Calgary, Alberta. Thus, I bounced around a bit but it only took me a couple of months to get a job in 2005 when I moved back to Canada. I've worked in web development software for 17 years now almost.

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