Interview #developer

IT Architect: working abroad to seize professional opportunities – Part 1

To keep up with the acceleration of the digital revolution, digital companies are always looking for new candidates. They don’t hesitate to recruit abroad to find the best talent. In the world of computer programming, language barriers are no longer so important thanks to universal coding and global mobility is becoming much easier.
Rija E.R., an IT Architect from Madagascar, has moved to France to work for a French company. Here is his story.

Graduated in 1998 from the Ecole Nationale d’Informatique (ENI) of Fianarantsoa in Madagascar, Rija E.R. started his career as a computer consultant in a local consulting firm. Two years later, he joined a computer services and engineering company in Antananarivo. He stayed there for more than 17 years, starting as Project Manager then becoming an IT Architect. In September 2017, he decided to leave Madagascar to take a job in France, a long-term contract with INEAT Group in Villeneuve d’Ascq.

  • How did the project of moving to France come about? 

It was not just a professional project but a life project. My wife and I had had for a long time the goal of educating our children in France.

Between the age of 35 and 40, I started to apply to different French companies. I had several interviews that went very well but as I wasn’t allowed to work in the Schengen Area, the companies didn’t follow up my application. I gradually lost hope and abandoned my project of moving abroad. 

  • Did you only target France? For what reasons?

I used to work with French companies and I knew the country having visited it several times as a posted worker. I also had very good relationships with my French colleagues and I speak French, which is an advantage regarding integration.

  • Did you receive any assistance in the process?

I started my searches on my own but they did not come to anything. Then I was contacted by an international recruitment and mobility firm that came to Tana with one of their partners for interviews. I seized this opportunity and decided to go for it.

The firm was also committed to handling all the administrative procedures that are usually rather complex. In Madagascar, as in many countries, the process for obtaining a work visa is difficult. It is necessary to go through a service provider from the consulate to be able to apply. This support was therefore indispensable to me. 

  • Were you worried about living abroad?

Yes, I was!

On a professional level, I did a very general training in computer science but it’s the career of an engineer that makes him a real specialist. I was afraid of not being competent enough. I was not necessarily looking for an IT architect’s job in France. I love development and I wanted to stay on the technical side to master it and improve before applying for a more practical position.

On a personal level, I was also apprehensive. It’s not just about leaving one’s country, it’s also about leaving family and friends. I am married and a father, it’s a little more than a month since I have been in France and my youngest child wants me to call every night.

In Madagascar, I had a comfortable way of life: I made a good living, my family owns two houses. One in which we live and another that we rent. I could easily save half my salary each month. It is not always easy but to keep my spirits up, I tell myself that this is a wonderful opportunity for professional advancement.

  • How did the recruiting firm support you?

I appreciated the advice given to me by the recruitment firm. I was able to share my concerns with the consultants who were there to help me. They understood what I was looking for and made me aware of the sacrifices I would have to make if my project came to fruition.

I remember meeting the Director who asked me to think carefully. I had to be ready to go and leave my family for more than a year before I could start the family reunification process. They sent me all the necessary documents so that I could weigh up the pros and cons of this choice. But my decision was made, my family was ready and it was what we wanted.06

Read the second part of the interview

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