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Applying for developer roles with tech stacks only used in portfolios

I hope the topic is clear enough… Anyways, good day!

A bit of context… I’m currently a Full-stack developer based in the Philippines. The tech stack I’m currently working with mainly uses Vue, Javascript, and PHP with a few microservices built with Python and Typescript. I’m about a year into working professionally (2 if counting internships) and I’m looking to work overseas once I rack about 3 years of professional experience, with Japan being on top of the list of countries I plan to relocate to (mainly due to it being close to my home country). On the side, I’m currently building projects with Golang, React, and Typescript and I’m looking to land a career, working with this tech stack in the future. The reason why I’m not switching companies at the moment is for a few reasons:

  1. Career growth - The career growth in my current company has been great! We don’t have a lot of developers in this team, since it’s a startup, so I’ve really hit the ground running on this one. My colleagues are really good at what they do and are very accommodating with me.

  2. Just recently switched companies - My previous job was rather slow. I wasn’t learning much. Plus the technology stack was different from what I’m using now (Angular, Firebase) with no guarantee I’ll be working with this in the long term. Plus my main concern is that if I keep jumping tech stacks too quickly, I’m not getting anywhere, really.

  3. Golang jobs are hard to come by - Golang isn’t the most popular language, here especially. Many companies in the Philippines are accustomed to Java, PHP, and Javascript for web development. Most Golang positions are reserved for more senior developers with about 5 or so years of experience.

So I took it upon myself to start building my Golang/React portfolio during my off hours within the next 1 or 2 years before applying to Japan for developer roles. My main concern however is how Japanese companies would perceive someone who’s only worked with Golang/React in personal projects. Do I need to work with this tech stack professionally? Or would my current skillset, Vue/PHP, be the only skills I can showcase? I’d appreciate feedback on this. Thanks again.

You can show off whatever skills you have, be them professional or personal.

If you are eager to use Go, but don’t have an opportunity to do so at work, I’d look for opportunities to contribute to open source libraries using it. Being able to point to your code in other projects could go a long way to demonstrate that you’re actually skilled with it.

Failing that, I’d look at writing up articles about some of the challenges you’ve faced in your personal projects. An article is a lot easier to skim than just pointing an employer to some git repo.

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First off, thanks for the reply. This is the type of response I needed. As of the moment, I don’t consider myself to be fully knowledgeable to the point I can contribute to open-source (not yet), but it is something I want to tackle in the future so thanks for reassuring that thought. I feel like pet projects are more suitable for me in the mean time. While I’m at it, I was also considering writing articles on elaborating my work even further, so I believe a personal blog should be in order here.

On a side note, I also possess PHILNITs level 1 certification. I was encouraged by my university to do so. Apparently, on top of the certification, I was also given a certificate of excellence due to my performance in the exam. Personally, I’m rather indifferent when it comes to certifications, but I am curious how much the ITPEC certification weighs for the developers there.

I don’t consider myself to be fully knowledgeable to the point I can contribute to open-source (not yet)

I think anyone with some technical background can get started. For instance, documentation is one thing that can almost always be improved.

Another idea, since you mentioned you’re based in the Philippines, perhaps you speak Tagalog. If so, you could potentially contribute Tagalog localizations to Go libraries. Localizations can be good contributions because there’s little chance it will break something, so maintainers always welcome new languages. From a learning perspective, it also gives you a good opportunity to dive in and see how the internals of a library work. I found this list of “Awesome” Go Date & Time libraries, a number of which look like they’re looking for additional localizations.

I also possess PHILNITs level 1 certification

I think this might qualify as extra points towards the highly-skilled foreign professional visa, and potentially make you qualify for Japanese permanent residency earlier. I don’t think most Japanese companies are familiar with it, so I’m not sure it’ll give you much of an edge when applying for jobs.

Thanks again! I’ve never really thought about contributing to documentation. Though I’d still say I’m far from understanding Golang to a certain extent, I’ll try my hand at it after I finish trying my hand at my own project.

Understandable on your second point. I doubt that the certification will weigh much when applying for jobs so I’ll try not to bank on it, but I do hope I find use of it more in the future.

Anyway, thanks for going out of your way to answer this. I really appreciate the comments, especially with providing suggestions on how to go about my circumstance. It really helps. All the best to you, sir!