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October - 2000 - issue > Career Advice
Your Career Concerns Addressed
Sunday, October 1, 2000

Furthering my Education

I have a B.E (Electronics) with nine years of customer service/sales experience, mainly in investment products for companies like Dow Jones and Dalal Street. I am currently based in Dubai but don't mind going back to India to pursue further education and experience. I would like to specialize in the financial services industry (the IT side of it). However, I am not sure whether I should pursue a full-time post-graduate diploma in software technology or focus on courses like Oracle Data and Seibel CRM. - Sanjay

I think you have experience in the financial industry and the connections to get to where you want. Ask your contacts and see if they have a hiring preference in terms of post-graduate software diploma or Oracle etc. Given your background, you might be able to advance by taking select courses. Full-time post-graduate work should be a last resort if you are not able to find anything from taking select courses.

F-1 to H-1 visa

I have finished my MS in human resource development in the US and have been approved for my optional practical training. Prior to my MS, I had four years of sales/marketing experience in India. What are the chances of getting a job with an employer who will be willing to change the status to H-1? Is there any online resource that would help me find such a job? I am looking for an entry-level position as HR generalist/recruiter. Also, I have heard that many employers refrain from interviewing candidates with an F-1 visa (in a field other than "hi-tech"). Is it true ? If yes, can you suggest a strategy when applying for a job ? - Sindhu

Issuing of H-1visas is all about supply and demand. If a particular skill is in high demand and there is insufficient supply locally, the goverment will allow selective immigration for those skill sets. To get an H1 visa for you, a company must convince the INS that there are no qualified Americans available locally. Thus, I expect you will find it very difficult to find an employer willing to sponsor you, because there are plenty of local workers with HRD backgrounds who can serve as a generalist or as a recruiter. Good high-tech recruiters are getting hard to find but I don't think the situation is so bad that the INS is now allowing H1 sponsorship for such positions.

I suggest you contact an immigration lawyer to see what your options may be.

For online resources, the best place to start is the Society of Human Resources Managers at www.shrm.org Other general job search places are www.siliconindia.com/career and www.monster.com You can search job postings and also apply online by uploading your resume for review by recruiters.

Also, even in high-tech there are some employers who refrain from looking at F-1 visa holders for various reasons. Be up front with your F-1 visa status because any prospective employer will ask you. Those willing to sponsor you will note that they have to do your immigration. Attempting to conceal your visa status will only upset a prospective employer when they finally find out your status. Typically, any offer of employment is contigent upon your being able to furnish proof of your legal eligibility to work in the US. If you cannot furnish this or try to use the F-1 for this purpose, they can rescind their offer.

The bottom line is this: even high-tech F-1 holders sometimes have difficulty finding a company to sponsor them. You will have a very difficult time, too. Talking to a lawyer first will help you decide if it is worth the effort.

One suggestion I have is for you to go back to India and work for a multinational and try getting an inter-company transfer using an L-1 visa.

Looking for US Experience

I have a master's degree in information technology from Australia and have worked for about 10 years as analyst programmer and now work as system manager in Melbourne, Australia.

I worked mainly in VMS COBOL environment but have undergone training courses with limited working experience with ABAP, Java and Developer 2000. What are my chances of obtaining a short to medium term (1 to 3 years) job in the US? I would like to work and stay in the US for a short term. I am an Australian citizen.- Anurag

You might be able to find work in legacy systems, which is where your background is. You could try any number of consulting firms such as Keane Inc, IBM, etc. These companies offer legacy software services.

If you want to work in more modern areas in the dot-com world, I suggest you get some relevant experience in Australia with modern languages before trying to move over. Unfortunately, most people fresh out of university have more up-to-date skills such as Java, C++, etc. than you have.

So upgrading your skills and experience is a necessity. You will need to decide if you want to specialize in object-oriented languages such as Java, C++ etc. or 4G languages such as Oracle, Developer 2000, etc.

Shiv Naimpally has worked as a software designer and technical recruiter in high tech. He is currently a marketing manager at Nortel Networks in Richardson, Texas.

Contact shiv@corp.siliconindia.com

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