E3 Visa Expedition

This post is about a recent US tour I took with the goal of finding work as an iOS Developer in New York. In March of this year I made the decision to quit my job and take the plunge. I was solo, and planned accommodation only 1-2 weeks in advance, so had a huge amount of flexibility.

Another factor for the timing was the WWDC conference. I didn’t get a ticket the amount of side events and altWWDC made it more than worth it.

I was there for 4 months, did a lot of of sight seeing also, but we’ll skip over that.

Getting around

I was ‘on the cheap’ so flew Jetstar Melbourne > Honolulu ($700) then Honolulu > Vancouver ($220). Once on the mainland the Megabus and Greyhound were the preferred mode of transport. Both cheap and allow for great flexibility, the clientele can be pretty rough though.

Looking online

I stayed away from traditional job seek sites, the amount of recruiter spam seemed massive (cybercoders??). Resources:

Events / Meetups

Every city hosts tech meetups and networking events, some resources for meetups:

Interviews

I had about 20 interviews before landing a position, split 50/50 between phone and face to face. Numerous companies follow the Google approach of

  • 1 or 2 phone screens
  • 3-5 interviews in one day, each interview with one person.

Each interview was one or two coding questions and some general resume interogation. Having a portfolio of public facing apps is expected, if not then some open source projects.

Code questions

I found the following process to be helpful for programming questions, taken from: Programming problems : A Primer for the technical interview by B. Green. A summary:

1. Reframe: say the problem back to the interviewer, allowing ambiguities to be addressed. And a way to get hints

2. Write test cases: Builds upon step 1, confirms you and your interviewer are on the same page, will help you formulate your solution. Truth tables, expected output for input, corner cases. write them all down without writing the solution

3. Diagram a solution:(e.g): There’s not many general purpose helpers here, hopefully you will have an idea of how to approach the problem based on the test cases and your discussions with the interviewer. Think out loud, they will provide hints if you are stuck.

4. Coding : I like to start start high level and invent lower level functions, keep variable/function names short as possible.

5. Run the test cases from #2: Confirms your solution and allows interviewer to critque

See also:Interviewing the InterviewerCandidate Coaching Session

E3 Visa

Documents

The formulation of documents for my visa was handled by visanow. The process took abou 3 weeks but was pretty straight forward, they have a checklist style interface and good customer service.

visa list

Interview

Held at St. kilda road Melbourne, I had booked for 9:30, arrived at 9 and waited until 10:30 to be seen. There’s an airport style security check where you’ll relinquish any devices.

I bought everything listed from visanow along with some bank statements, bring everything you think will help, but don’t forget:

  • Printed copy of interview confirmation page
  • DS 160 confirmation page
  • Letter of endorsement from your employer
  • Labour condition agreement (ETA form 9035 & 9035E)
  • DHS Form G28

Done!

Almost hard to belive once it happens, the pipe dream is a reality. My role as iOS Developer at Meetup starts in a few weeks, one adventure ends and another is beginning. Thanks for reading.