November 6, 2019
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I'm Lawrence Agbani, 25, from Rivers state, Nigeria. I graduated from the department of Soil Science and Technology, in the School of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology, at the Federal University of Technology Owerri.
I held a position as the Tech Lead of the logistics and warehouse software team at Konga online shopping limited where I managed developers that built and maintained applications that aided delivery and warehousing, and also the ERP solution that was also used by the finance team, before moving to Germany.
I'm a software engineer in the supply chain and logistics software team at Westwing Group AG, an e-commerce company in Munich, Germany.
I had applied on stackoverflow.com one time I was searching for answers on there, and got an invite to begin the interview process.
Germany has a fast growing tech environment/community. Cities like Berlin and Munich are fast becoming "the silicon valley of Europe", attracting bright minds from around the globe.
That notwithstanding, Germany also has a really strong e-commerce market worth over 50bn euros as at 2018, which means there are more customers to cater for and quite a lot of product ideas to bring to life. Which also means there are lots of interesting challenges both technically, and with the businesses. These reasons and also the opportunity to gather some very interesting experiences along the way, made me to consider moving here :)
It took about a month for the entire process but wasn't so difficult since I was mostly prepared. I went through 4 stages in all.
The first stage was a take home test where my backend skills were tested.
The second stage was just a little (also a little bit technical) chat with the engineering manager I would later start working with. At that stage he just "wanted to know me and ask questions about my experience".
The third stage was more technical, as I was interviewed by two tech leads. They had questions around different backend technologies, data structures, algorithms, optimisation techniques, etc.
The final stage was a little bit more technical. I had a chat with an engineering manager from the customer team. He asked in-depth questions about a lot of technologies I had talked about in the previous stage, came up with problems around them and we worked on some solutions together. It was an interesting process. Ultimately, I got to learn from the interviewers and they likewise.
I went over things I knew and technologies I said I worked with on my resumé, and ensured I left no doubts. This part was key to my success in the interview as I didn't want to appear oblivious when I got hit with questions around things I said I knew or was meant to know.
For Germany, the requirements are on the embassy's site somewhere, and if you ensure you have everything as stated on the site, and arrive on time, it's a pretty straight forward process.
The problem however, is getting an appointment, as that's where one has to wait quite a bit since they're almost always "fully booked" over at the embassy.
After the VISA appointment, depending on the documents you provide and if they no longer need anything from you, the VISA can be out anything between a week to a month.
The tech job market is not really saturated yet here in Germany, hence there being a lot of software job openings in the country.
It's relatively easy to get a software job here if you know your onions. I would recommend developers who wish to move somewhere to move here.
There are quite a lot of startups working with cutting edge technologies around the country, that I think a lot of developers would find interesting.
I'm still adapting :). The initial shock I had was the cold. I arrived just before winter and had never been in temperatures below 16 degrees before then. I like the international atmosphere and how organised the system is here, especially the transport system. I dislike the food situation here. I miss the constant availability of 9ja food :(
Job role: Know your onions.
Relocation: Be open to learn German and start learning it as quickly as you can, and travel with as much 9ja food ingredients as you can. They're not exactly as cheap here :(