Why work in the US as a foreign developer?

For many developers, working and living in the legendary Silicon Valley is a life long dream.

There is a special vibe in Silicon Valley that results from such a big concentration of tech people in one place. You see lots of young people on the streets wearing startup t-shirts. If you overhear a discussion in a restaurant, it’s very likely it’ll be about software or a software company.

Actors go to Hollywood, developers go to San Francisco.

Developers get paid very well in San Francisco, and they have a lot of choice in companies to work for. At the time of this writing, yearly salaries of $100,000 per year for a junior developer (with around 1 year of experience or right out of college) are common. A more senior developer with 2–3 years of experience can make $130,000-$150,000 per year.

There is a lot of exciting new technology you get to use with many startups. Especially if you’re interested in web development, there’s always a company here that uses the latest JavaScript framework, or specializes in the backend language of your choice.

Developers have a lot of creative freedom here. Sure, what gets done is often decided by the CEO or business people. But how you do it, how the development process is organized, and how you deploy and maintain the projects, can often be decided directly by the developers themselves.

American culture, and the culture of the San Francisco Bay Area in particular, is also very open and friendly towards foreigners. Most people there came from other parts of the country or the world. There’s large groups of many different nationalities and cultural groups. In the developer community, there’s many Indian people, all kinds of Europeans, and many Central and South Americans. In general, it is widely accepted that foreign developers are very skilled, and will add their valuable experience to the local company and startup culture.

Many companies have recognized that they can get talented and experienced foreign developers to work in the United States, and hiring them is common practice. Large companies and even small startups routinely sponsor H-1B visas, which allow foreign developers to work in the US. Many large companies also sponsor Green Card applications after a few years.

After coming to work and live in San Francisco or the wider Bay Area, you’ll see that there isn’t magic in software development. It’s the same work you’d be doing at home, but potentially more lucrative, more interesting, and with friendly like-minded people that value your contributions.


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