Being a developer is considered a great career in most places around the world. But how true is this in a third world country?
Hi, my name is Codedgar and today I wanted to talk about how is like to be a developer in a third world country, and show how is life for a developer in the country I live in.
(Funnily enough I'm writing this article during a blackout, which are have become very common)
Please don't make this a political thing, it doesn't matter what your position on the political compass is, the crisis cannot be hidden.
I'm from Venezuela, you may have heard from it in the news, it has been mentioned several times on TV and news, talking about how destroyed the country is. Lack of electricity, gasoline or any type of basic service to live normally.
So how Venezuela's crisis has impacted on the world of developers?
I want to break this article in several parts to illustrate you better:
- Basic services.
If you think I missed something ask it in the comments! I will answer you and if the question is great I will add it to the post.
I wanted to start with the hardest thing, work. Because the truth is most developer works you can find here suck. It doesn't matter if you are working for someone here or someone outside of the country, being Venezuelan you are lucky to land a great job.
People in the country will search for an all doing person, designer, fullstack developer, but try to pay you almost nothing.
So you can either get someone who wants to exploit you (for a so-so amount of money), a stupidly low salary or both if you have bad luck. Which takes me to my next point.
When I was looking for a job outside, I contacted several companies in the USA, and some of them offered me 1$/hour claiming that "It was a lot in Venezuela" which, obviously, is not...
Works inside the country vary, but I've seen people looking for developers as low at 35$ per month. Obviously you can't use this to afford anything so you will have rely on "matar tigritos" (Do small freelance jobs) to live some form of a 'normal' life.
"Ok Codedgar, but how much do you get a month?" I can't tell you because I could become a target of kidnap, but I can assure you is a very very low amount.
If you are a developer, you will need something powerful to keep your computer from interrupting you or adding extra time to development. But you can't find this in Venezuela, most computers will be high on price just because of the brand, and people will sell you broken parts for what the actual normal hardware would cost (i.e 90$ for a busted monitor). I've seen prices of a dual core with 1GB Vram and 8GBs of RAM as high 600$. And this in other countries would be considered just an office computer.
The basic services are the main things a developer needs, such as:
Internet on Venezuela sucks, and not only that but it's extremely pricey. I've tried to add a private internet to my house, but you need an antenna (100$) and the maximum speed I've seen where I live, is 8MBps (Shared between other 8 clients) for 80$ a month. You can also pay mainstream providers, but most of the time you will have to pay under the table to get an almost decent speed.
This doesn't means that it will be a constant though, you can go from 5MB to 50KB in a matter of seconds, making it almost impossible to talk to clients via Skype or Whatsapp.
1 year ago Venezuela suffered the biggest blackout on it's history, 5 days of pure blackness, and then 2 days more. Since then, the electrical system hasn't worked properly and everyday (In almost every state) there are blackouts up to 12 hours. This is to avoid the capital from having blackouts, but there have been multiple blackouts recently that feature all of the entire country.
You can also rent an office with a power plant or in places where there are no blackouts, but is really expensive just because of that.
Electricity also suffers from low and high current spikes, so if you have bad luck, you computer can fry or your disk can corrupt (Last one happened to me once).
Is non-existent, you are out by yourself and no one can do anything for you. I personally have seen cases of the military and police being the ones who steal people.
This means you shouldn't carry your phone around and have to be very careful where you are and be alert of people around you.
Transport is really hard to find where I live. And taxis are really expensive. Most buses will work from 7am to 6pm. Meaning that you can't do night shifts without calling a cab to your house.
One of the hardest things to find in Venezuela is good local education. There are no bootcamps, and no good courses. People is not so familiarized with technology, so they just get misinformed. Once I heard that "Blogspot was the BEST platform to start a blog", so yeah...
And our credit cards will not work to purchase any online course, making it harder to get online courses to expand our knowledge.
I believe that Venezuelans developers, do it because they just love to code. But really this is not only applicable to developer, this is the same for any type of creative and freelance job.
It's important that we talk about this because I always see in the media people talking about how Venezuela is destroyed, but I haven't seen a person come out and talk openly about how this crisis affects real people and real jobs.
I think that this illustrates more in a person factor, instead of a number factor how hard it is to have a normal job and be a developer here.
I've been thinking on creating some type of community to help people in Venezuela to land better jobs, find better courses and overrall try to fix some of the problems that we always have to go through... But that remains being an idea for now and I will make an update if it becomes a reality.
Anyways, if you liked it, or have any questions feel free to ask them, I will respond to all of them :)