About a month ago I was contacted by an individual who reached out to me because I offered people from a war zone free coding help. The individual was not from the war zone but from an African country and they asked that I help them learn coding.

I was hesitant but I accepted under the condition they report to me daily with progress and put in at least a few hours a day into coding. I thought he would give up after a day or two but hoped he would put the work and effort in.

To make the long story short, the trainee has exceeded all my expectations - in a short month he has covered a ton of ground that took other people I trained half a year. He has read complex material I recommended, asked good questions about them and made some smart remarks about the material. He submitted daily exercises increasing in quality, implementing all my code review suggestions. He has done all the work I assigned.

I believe that in just a month or two he will be ready for an internship or even a job as a software developer. This brings me to my issue.

I'm not really sure how to find him a job that on one hand will nurture him as a developer and on the other hand be financially rewarding.

What criteria should I be looking at when I look for a first job for him?

Sorry if there is an obvious answer, this is a first time for me. Other information that might be relevant: he's not particularly young (43), his nationality is Nigerian.

  • As @JoeStrazzere said, what is your role here? Mentor? Recruiter? Benefactor? Does this person even want you to find them a job? Does your philanthropic work typically include that kind of assistance? If I'm being realistic this person has a lot working against the odds of getting him a job in the West if that's what you're after. And I don't see why you'd be equipped to help him find work locally. – Lilienthal Jul 11 '16 at 8:12

He's in the third World, he'll need to break in to remote work on his own, and he obviously has the ambition and the smarts to do so. Leave him to it.

The thing about being in the third World and having a skillset like that is that jobs are fairly easy to get locally. Human resources are thin on the ground. And in terms of remote work you can undercut everyone else because a pittance to them is well above what you'd get paid at home.

My country the minimum wage is just over $1 USD an hour, so if I can do some remote work paying me $5 or $10 an hour, I'm looking very good, and in fact for coding you can get a lot more than that.

But it's not up to you to get him the job, he has to do it himself, you can recommend him but you don't want to be tied down with any responsibility.

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    @JoeStrazzere He's entry level from Nigeria with no formal qualifications, best option is remote or freelance if he wants to make good money. If he did get a job overseas with that he's working to pay a landlord while he lives on cups of noodles. Best to build up a financial base and rep before thinking on those lines. At 43 years old he probably has multiple dependents as well to worry about. – Kilisi Jul 10 '16 at 1:20

I'm not really sure how to find him a job that on one hand will nurture him as a developer and on the other hand be financially rewarding. What criteria should I be looking at when I look for a first job for him?

This is not your responsibility. You have to back off and let him fly. Let's look at this objectively. You gonna show up and mentor him on the job, too? You gonna deal with his boss if there's conflict? He's 43, not 10. You've done a great job, but know when to let go. Stop taking it so personally.

Your approach (at this point) isn't very healthy.

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I wouldn't necessarily become a recruiter for him - that's above and beyond the role of teacher and mentor. I would, however, be a ready guide and advocate. That lets you give some guidance without getting into territory you may not be qualified for - after all, you don't know the employment or tax rules of his country.

Here's some thoughts on things you could do that wouldn't step beyond the bounds of your mentorship:

  • Give him some guidance on how to do contract work - ways to build a portfolio, how to negotiate work, common expectations of international employers, and how to do a good job with work/life balance when you are working remote.
  • Show him some job boards for work that may be available to him - this may take quite a bit of net searching, depending on your experience with international work for hire.
  • Offer to write him a reference, and make recommendations to contacts you have that you know may hire internationally.
  • Help him build a social media presence in technical circles
  • Help him with a basic package - resume, interview skills, reading a job description, etc.

Those are all in the "teach a man to fish" range and should be more helpful, long term, than simply finding him a job. Also - make sure he knows it's his responsibility to be aware of how taxes and employment regulations work in his country - as a citizen, he's in a much better position to know the rules than you are.

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