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How does one break into a Series A/B startup as a mid-level SWE (YoE 2) and immigrant?

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Mid-Level Software Engineer at Taro Community13 days ago

Hey Taro

I am at this phase in my engineering life, where I want to move to a Bay Area/NYC-based startup in Series A/B or even seed. As an immigrant (with visa sponsorship needs), in times like this, it is quite difficult to get interview calls at all (I have submitted about 200+ startup applications!). If you have insight on how this could be hacked together (I am not super particular about problems the startup solves), I'd love to hear!

Thanks!

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(3 comments)
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    12 days ago

    Supporting immigrants is very expensive from the company perspective, so most early-stage startups just won't do it unfortunately. 😔

    As with most hiring scenarios, I imagine the answer is just "Be a stellar candidate" as you need to convince the company to make an extra effort to hire you. For startups, this means:

    • Showing deep, genuine interest - On top of high-effort cold messaging, there are other things you can do like following the founders and engaging with their social media and joining their product feedback community.
    • Having incredibly strong technical skill - Startups will be much more appreciative of the code machine "prolific hacker" archetype, so if you have some amazing side projects or open-source contributions (especially if they're in the startup's domain), that will go a long way as well.

    There's a bunch more great tactical advice here: "How to find and connect with scrappy startups?"

  • 1
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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    12 days ago

    My recommendation is the "stair-step" approach to building the ideal career you want. The path of least resistance is to get into a big, stable company that can sponsor your visa. I'm thinking of companies like Oracle, PayPal, Walgreens, or Accenture.

    • Once you have some stability, you make a methodical plan to move to a major metro area (Bay Area/NYC) that has a large startup presence.
    • Once you're in the right geography, you can work hard to meet interesting people and showcase your interesting projects.

    If you are consistent about this, I'm very confident you'll get an offer at a desirable startup within a few years.

    There are ways to fast-forward/hack the above process, but those rely more on getting lucky.

    • 1
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      Thoughtful Tarodactyl
      Taro Community
      12 days ago

      In my opinion, these "stable companies" are not always highly likely to sponsor visas right now in this economy. From friends I've heard these and frankly top companies like netflix too are being very selective in sponsoring visas

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