This is not a picture of me.

There is a lack of engineers everywhere, but finding talent is especially hard in the Bay Area.

I’m from Spain but 5 years ago I went three months to SF, to attend a couple of conferences and visited some friends.
At that time I was trying to start something, but I changed my mind and I started looking for jobs in the US instead.

Getting in contact

Every single company I visited was recruiting.

Tech companies provided pizza, beers and tons of famous, smart people to talk about smart things. All to attract talent.

I sent out many resumes, but 90% of the times I didn’t receive any response, and I couldn’t figure out what was missing.

I have a CS degree, five years of experience and lots of open source contributions in cutting edge technologies. My best guess was that US companies were not willing to sponsor me a `H-1B` visa.

I was close to giving up and going back to Spain when I received two calls from a couple of companies. One of them was Klout, the social media analytics company that sold for $200 million. The second call was from a company that was just starting up at the time, they wanted to disrupt the transportation industry.

The interviews

The first interviews are always done by telephone. They ask you about your background, some theoretical questions and some *puzzles*.


When they have decided that you’re smart enough to meet face to face, the real interview starts, and it’s not a normal meet and greet, it can last up to three hours.

You talk with people from different departments, answer more questions and solve more *puzzles* on whiteboards.

– Implement a function that calculates square roots
 — Sort and concat arrays in a optimal way
 — Guess the two missing numbers in a array with `n — 2` length containing `1..n` unsorted numbers
 — Calculate the number of digits for a given number
 — Implement a function to detect palindromes
 — …

Most of them were doable, but I think they were missing some amazing developers that may not know how to solve those problems,
but they are capable of solving real-life problems (fix this bug, port this library, refactor this code…).

Some of the theoretical questions I had (mostly javascript related):

– What is a closure and which disadvantages does it have:
 — What is hoisting.
 — How does `this` work.
 — How `float` works and which issues does it have.
 — How does the event loop work on the browser and how to delay a function to the next tick.
 — How to optimize CSS, and how does specificity work.

The offers

Both companies I interviewed for offered to sponsor me a H-1B visa and a good salary.


I ended up accepting one of the offers because they where more transparent with the stock options (which I later discovered not to be so great after all), and because they told me that I could work remotely until getting the visa.

I signed the contract, opened a bank account, left my job and came back to Spain.

The silence

Back in Spain I started to prepare myself for the new job — I was looking forward joining a new team. I learnt Python because I saw some people using it at that company’s offices.

I was super motivated and willing to start! I even sent some emails to the CTO to get some instructions on how to setup my development environment.

At my starting date I received the first email from the CTO saying that they were not able to get my visa and that they were thinking about the aspect of working remotely.

I answered them that it wasn’t a problem for me. I had been working remotely for a while and it had never been an issue.

What happened next? Nothing. Silence. I was completely ignored.

The problem

Getting a working visa in the US is not easy. If it was, most developers would be working there. It has gotten a lot better the last years, but companies should start to be more open minded about hiring remote workers.

There is a huge deficit of talent in the US, and a lot of wasted (and way cheaper) talent in other countries around the world. An average engineer in the Bay Area can cost around $100k+. In Spain, the same engineer costs significantly less.

Even though I’m happy I didn’t end up in the states, it would have been cool to be one of the first developers at Uber.

The solution

Ironically, while I was on holiday in San Francisco I was working for [Teambox](now Redbooth), a company with their development team based in Spain.

It was an amazing experience, the development was happening 24 hours a day. The git repository was constantly receiving commits, never sleeping.

It was a great time, that I now look back on as me and Jordi Romero are working on our new project Factorial.

Luckily there’s more and more great companies being built in Europe, and there’s no need to go to the US to land a fantastic job as a developer. Both Madrid (14th) and Barcelona (9th)are climbing on EDCI’s digital city index list every year, and more and more startups are getting funded.

A recent report by Atomico predicts even greater times for European tech in the years to come, so no need to apply for the green card lottery this year, just hold on to your European passport.


This memoir was written by the CTO of Factorial.

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W.

WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER A COWORKING SPACE FOR YOUR STARTUP

Your home office or a coffee shop won’t be enough!

Yes, we all know the tale about the guy who starts a small company in their garage or basement, has a brilliant idea and becomes the next Steve Jobs. It’s true, most successes have very humble beginnings. It’s also true that not all garage or basements are going to magically get you a successful business. They might work in the very (veeeery) early stages of your startup, but you can’t always meet a client at coffee shops, not to say your basement. 

A great, if not the best, solution is to find a coworking space. Coworking spaces have become very popular all over the world, either for freelancers or entrepreneurs and startups. 

Coworking spaces are not just big rooms with desks and chairs with high-speed wifi. The areas are made to be exciting places to work and improve your productivity.

As a startup, you need to find resources fast and affordably. More importantly, you’ll need motivation. This is why you should consider a coworking space. 

Here are some basic but amazing benefits from coworking spaces:

Community

Joining a coworking means joining a community.  Being surrounded by other entrepreneurs, freelancers and talented independent people is without doubt a one of the best features of a coworking.

Motivation is key when starting a new project and trying to develop your own business. The road will get though and you’ll appreciate other entrepreneurs’ vision and support! Other workers’ feedback can be very useful to improve your service/product before trying to sell it to the world. 

Networking, networking and…networking!

As a startup, you’ll be looking for networking opportunities. Most coworkings host professionals from different kind of industries, which can open up many doors for you and your business. Not all coworking spaces are about networking, some of them prefer to have a quiet individual work environment, so as a startup you have to make sure to choose a coworking with networking opportunities.

At Itnig, for example, we love to share ideas and support other entrepreneurs. Don’t be shy, some of the other coworking tenants can bring great business opportunities, or even become new clients (and friends)! 

Budgetfriendly

As entrepreneurs (or people for that matter) it’s very important to understand the importance of money, more specifically: budget. Tight budgets call for smart spending. Coworkings are usually budget friendly, most of them offer different membership options depending on your startup’s needs and budget.

Amenities 

A coworking provides you with everything needed to be as productive as possible. High speed internet connection, printers, conference rooms and COFFEE. Some coworkings even plan afterwork activities and events to make it all more fun! As a startup, a coworking space is your best chance at having all the basic amenities but also the fun ones, like a ping pong table or a nice chill out terrace. 

Happy clients

As you grow and have more clients, it can get messy if you keep meeting them in coffee shops. Coworking spaces offer office services such as conference rooms. That way your meetings will be more professional and comfortable for everyone. 

Barcelona is a city full of coworkings of every kind! Our Itnig community keeps growing, we now have up to 20 startups such as Andjoy, Classlife, Factorial and Freeverse, all under the same roof. We have afterwork activities and we also plan different kinds of events open to anyone interested in marketing, tech stuff, entrepreneurship and design. Our space is about 2.100m2 with up to 800m2 of conference rooms, events space, ping pong and fun activities. 

There’s also  wifi, endless coffee and talented people. Join us!