An American Millennial

Where are you and where are you going?
Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

Just took a programming test for a job interview or part of their process. The test had Python, SQL, JavaScript, and HTML. The HTML question was pretty easy, using semantic tags. JavaScript was ok, there was a question asking for recursive function, which I don't use ever, but I was able to write one anyway and passed the tests. SQL was easy, even though I haven't written an SQL query since last Fall. Python is a bit longer of a story.

Since filling out job applications, according to various articles, is allegedly a poor way to find a job, a recent Youtube video sparked my curiosity. Because, this video showed a guy writing some Python code to auto-like tweets on Twitter. So I went ahead and downloaded Python and started coding something to automate online job applications. It's actually almost finished, but it looks like I may need to use Google Chrome instead of Firefox, since the website I'm applying on doesn't seem to work on Firefox. Anyways, around this same time I watched this video, I received the test invitation for this company which just so happened to have Python listed in their job requirements. Today was the last day to submit the test, so I started it this morning, having only more or less copied, pasted, and modified one Python script before.

So the 2 Python questions actually went ok. One I got right, woo! And the other I couldn't pass test cases, but the function I wrote did what I wanted it to do, so probably didn't understand the question (which probably has to do with not ever studying Python).

Anyways, this morning I also finally got an inquiry back from a company in HK that I had interviewed with back in May. They sent me a couple mock-ups (1 mobile, 1 same page desktop) and asked for a quote.

Plan is to rewrite the Python app for Chrome and auto-apply for newly posted jobs each morning. Start working on this freelance job. Attend some sort of meetup for professionals if the occasion arises and not too busy.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

I just got my first interview for jobs in CA. It will be later this week. It's on the low-end of the spectrum for pay. But that's just me getting ahead of myself.

Small snag in the Python script since the job website I was using has captcha on the actual submit button as well. I think next thing to try is either a) having it open each application so I can come in a fill out the last parts/defeat captchas or b) have it compile info from its search into a spreadsheet for my review. It will probably become a combination of these in later iterations.

slowtraveler
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by slowtraveler »

Dude you're kicking ass. Congratulations on it.

I find your progress very inspiring as it gives me hope that I can get another kick ass job once my current gig dies down. Plus, I love the mental stimulation progeamming provides.

How are you feeling happiness wise after your cultural shift living in China? I hear culture shock can be worse going back than coming to Asia in the first place.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

I'm feeling pretty good. Sometimes I'm a little bummed, just miss my girlfriend and my cats and friends. It's been almost a month now. Actually, I think it's been just 3 weeks, but it feels like longer. I don't really get to bad of culture shock. Grocery stores, supermarkets, those are kind of awkward since I feel like I can't be myself in public. Whereas in China, I could talk about my butthole itching or drop the f bomb without a second thought, here I can't because everyone understands me and people look at you and stuff.

Also the customer service here is a little awkward at times. It's really fake. I like the real clerks that don't really smile and are more straight-faced.

My neighborhood borders a sports complex with 15+ soccer fields and there are 2 different meetups playing there Mon-Thurs nights. So 2/week I can go there and that's a ton of fun. It's what I was doing in China, playing football a lot, and it costs about the same. That helps with culture shock as well.

Recently I've just got a little lonely. My mom is on vacation and my sister isn't home yet from Texas. After the football game last night, even though everyone is really friendly and welcoming, and it was a good game, I was just a little lonely on the jog home and after my shower. But I think that has a lot more to do with my current living situation and being away from my girlfriend and cats for the first time in a long time. This is also day 3 of my mom's vacation, so I've been pretty starved of human contact. There are no people outside too here.

I don't live in downtown L.A., but sometimes I wonder if maybe living downtown would feel a bit more like China. In the suburbs, it's like a ghost town. I see someone else outside about as often as I would see a foreigner in Shenzhen.

I'm so happy with the food, though. And the air quality.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

This morning I got a job offer for Chicago. I will start next Wednesday. This is pretty exciting and still a little surreal right now. It's hard to imagine that next week I'll be coding in a professional environment as a salaried employee.

It does mean the next several days are going to be really busy. In addition to packing, finding a place to stay, and buying a plane ticket, I also have a project due by Monday. It's a ~15 page website for a company in Hong Kong. The first draft is due Monday, but ideally the first draft won't require too many revisions. It is only front-end, but this company's design challenged by CSS/HTML skills last time and this one probably will as well.

My idea is to find a room share on Craigslist. They seem to be appropriately priced. I want somewhere close to work/public transportation that I can stay until around December/January. Around that time, my girlfriend's contract will be finishing and we'll want to find our own place that's big enough for us and the cats.

Scott 2
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Scott 2 »

Congratulations! I think you'll do really well. The self directed growth you've done over the last year will be a huge asset. A lot of developers struggle with finding their own way.

I looked back at your first post. Big changes in only three years.

Cheepnis
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Cheepnis »

That's awesome! I'm glad the transition back to America is going swimmingly.

slowtraveler
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by slowtraveler »

Congratulations Viktor! You're kicking ass.

I'm seriously proud of you man. You've come so far from your online coding classes. You're now in America with significantly more income. Literally the role model for learning self directed programming.

How do you enjoy the work? From what I remember, you're doing mostly back end work on web sites. I really enjoyed the puzzle and customization portion of programming.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

Thanks Scott! I think you're right about the self-direction potentially paying off as time goes on. Since I have 3 new frameworks/languages to learn before next week especially!

Yep, going pretty well @cheepnis. I had zero expectation that I would land a job in under a month of getting back. Seeing post about applying for 300 jobs and getting 1 interview had me thinking that it would be the end of the year before anyone bit.

Thanks a lot slowtraveler! I think having so much free time, a very supportive girlfriend, friends, family, and online communities, and then just a bit of desperation early last year to really get me committed to the path all made this easier than it could have been otherwise. But the next 6 months will be the real telling point. It's going to be difficult to actually code now 40/week and not get overwhelmed! But I think I can do it, and I'm really happy with the company I ended up with, at least from what I could see in the interview and pre-interview.

Work hasn't started yet, so can't be sure. But as for usual preference, I like the front-end the most. The back-end for me so far has always been simple things and almost always the same. Create a database entry, retrieve a database entry, update a database entry, and delete a database entry. Outside of that, I haven't done anything interesting on the back-end.

However, front-end is a lot of fun, especially when working with a cool design. Because I have a bit of a creative bone, and when you work on the front-end you get to see the website come to life from your code, which is really satisfying for me.

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unemployable
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by unemployable »

Viktor K wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 6:07 pm
This morning I got a job offer for Chicago. I will start next Wednesday.
Nice, what part of town?
My idea is to find a room share on Craigslist. They seem to be appropriately priced. I want somewhere close to work/public transportation that I can stay until around December/January. Around that time, my girlfriend's contract will be finishing and we'll want to find our own place that's big enough for us and the cats.
Be careful with the timing on this. The apartment market is DEAD DEAD DEAD in the winter. No one wants to move in -30 wind chills.

For some reason an outsized number of leases in Chicago start on October 1, with a smaller peak on May 1. This means November 1 is a great time to move into a new apartment, because you get all the landlords who couldn't fill their places for October trying to keep the place from going vacant all winter.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

That's really interesting, I didn't know that, but it does make sense. If that's the case, I might want to live in a roomshare just starting out. But move in to an apartment sooner rather than later...

I could get an apartment by myself of course. I could afford it at least. But my financial goals moving forward are to maintain an emergency fund and pay off my loans.

Having 1 year expenses to fall back on has made money a non-issue after leaving China and moving back to the US. That's been really comforting. So I don't want to pay off my loans ASAP if it means digging into my savings account.

Either way, I should have a positive net worth within the next year. Things could always change of course. This job is going to be really challenging, I think, but in a good way.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

In Chicago now, staying in a hostel. Pretty expensive as far as hostels go, and there wasn't much to choose from AirBNB/hostel wise going into this weekend, and I made my reservation last week.

Realized yesterday this weekend is Lollapalooza, so that probably has something to do with it.

Checking out apartments this week tomorrow and Thursday evening after my first day.

Start Thursday. My hostel is downtown, a few blocks from the office.

Hostel reservation ends Saturday. Will probably have to book something else unless the apartment search goes ridiculously fast.

Public transportation here pretty good, even rivaling Shenzhen I'd say. I heard food was expensive but prices on produce (all I really eat) < than what I saw in LA/Irvine.

Studying all day pretty much to try and learn as much as I can on this company's tech stack before starting. They literally use nothing that I studied before. Python/flask back-end (I learned node.js/express.js), postgresql (I learned SQL but only used in 1 project and haven't used since outside of my test for this company), and Vue.js front-end (I've been using React for the last 8 months or so, never touched Vue).

Cray in Aug I'll be pulling some $4k after tax

Miss my girlfriend and cats tho

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

Love my new job. And got an apartment that I love the area around and checks all my boxes for housing. Thank god, got the move in early in the morning, just in time because I have to move out the hostel in the morning too! Perfect timing.

Net worth down like $2k USD from June. Gonna dip more with first month's rent, but then we on the way up.

Damn, loving life. How the hell did I get here? Feels like a dream. All these things that I've wanted for myself, that I somehow felt I was owed or deserved or was capable of achieving. But god I miss my babe and babies. If I died tomorrow, no regrets. Just one: this is the only Aug 2 2019 me and my girlfriend will ever live. And we're not together. That sucks.

Gotta get furniture...

slowtraveler
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by slowtraveler »

It's awesome to hear you so happy. You worked hard for it all. You studied your ass off to get your work situation in place. You really earned it.

Is it a studio or a room in a shared apartment? It sounds like you're planning to stay a while now. Congratulations on your success Viktor K.

theanimal
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by theanimal »

It's fun watching you do so well. I'm glad you're liking your new setup. Keep kicking ass!

wolf
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by wolf »

Thankfully you transitioned very well from Asia back to USA! That's great to hear. I also do follow your journal regurlarly and I'm pleased to hear, that you like it in Chicago with your new job. Wish you all the best to keep the momentum going! Let's ride the wave of good progress.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

Thank you wolf, theanimal, and slowtraveler. Living in a 1 bedroom in the heart of the city. I like it so far. Good news as well is my girlfriend and cats will be joining me Sep 30 or even earlier depending on what the school decides to do about replacing her. She is studying JS as well now.

New potential mid-term plan is to get 1-2 years experience here, then look for similar job in Canada and work towards citizenship. Mostly for 1st world healthcare and safety, and mostly with consideration for future offspring/their offspring.

Short-term plan is to be productive at work as quickly as possible. Code base is huge, and it's in Python and Vue.js, both which I've never used before.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

@unemployable I missed part of your post before. The job is downtown, and my new place is in Lakeview. <30min commute from my doorstep to my office. The 'L' drops me off in the building actually. As well, remote is fine, but for now, and the weather being fine, I prefer going to the office. Getting to know the other team members (<20 people I think), and having access to the other 2-3 devs I think is important. In the winter, and as I get more comfortable, maybe I'll take advantage of the remote work.

If anyone is Canadian, the path to citizenship isn't 100% clear on my initial research. Wonder if I can be a permanent resident without working for a Canadian company. Because if so I then could just eventually move to Canada as a remote worker.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

Found an amazing football league here. 4 or 5 seasons/year, back-to-back. Outdoors turf. In the winter they put a dome over everything. 5v5, 8v8, and 11v11 leagues, rec, intermediate, advanced, one super league or something I think, and men's or co-ed. Multiple leagues in each division. And you can sign up as a sub almost everyday for free on top of joining a league. 15 min. bus ride from my apartment. Fields supply pennies, find subs, refs, balls, everything. Just need to show up, pay dues or RSVP as a sub, bring shin guards and cleats, and you're good to go.

Key since I haven't done anything but study, shop furniture, and work last 3 weeks. Full-time full-stack web developer so much harder than self-study. Some days are hard. Actually just 1 day was real hard. Checked Indeed for companies hiring in Chicago. But that was all remedied after lunch... think maybe my senior developer needs some more mentor/coaching bullet points added to his job description.

Scott 2
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Scott 2 »

You're going to confuse people calling it football :)

My company expects a 6-12 month ramp up period for a new developer, even after favoring hires with a degree or couple years of experience. It's going to take some time, but gets easier as expectations level out. I remind myself that with the industry growth, people at all levels are stretching to learn their new responsibilities.

If your systems people are doing their job well, everything you do on their machine, systems and network is logged. Maybe stating the obvious, but for anything not directly work related (like an on the clock job search or venting about said senior dev), user your personal device and cell data.

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