Insider Look at Immigrant Techie’s Life in Seattle

Insider Look at Immigrant Techie’s Life in Seattle | Photo by
Insider Look at Immigrant Techie’s Life in Seattle | Photo by

With the huge tech expansion in Seattle, many people from overseas are migrating to Seattle. Including myself, so many other tech minds outside USA, are looking here with utter eagerness due to the lucrative jobs and life that Seattle seems to be offering to a someone who’s looking to get a job or work here. But is the city offering what it seems to be an amazing life for someone starting up in the industry?

Especially around Asian countries, we have this notion of better work and life that surrounds the American Dream. The vast cities, busy streets, friendly people and all that comes with it.  With all the ongoing social issues which revolves around the city of Seattle, are these hopes and dreams are met according to what we dream of? I wanted to know firsthand, being interested in tech and, well, to see what the city has to offer for someone like me.

In the midst of the busy streets of Seattle, I managed to find to find a couple of techies who migrated here to work in the Tech Industry. First up, it was Jigar Mistry. Jigar has left India after his undergraduate, and he has completed his Masters in United States. For his first job, as a Cloud Support Engineer in Inc., he has moved to Seattle. After a year of living in Seattle, he had gained some great experiences to share with me about the life and work in Seattle for a new techie.

Jigar Mistry - Inc | Photo by Nimila Hiranya Samarasinghe
Jigar Mistry – Inc | Photo by Nimila Hiranya Samarasinghe

“What I was looking for was that it gives me an environment that I could learn and grow” says Jigar as per to what he expected when he moved here to work. And when it comes to culture and what to expect, he has related the content from major pop culture as displayed in movies of TV series as anyone would do, that’s being offered in the mainstream media.

Work expectations are a huge part of any techie who’s thinking of moving here. We have this idea of it being really challenging although quite rewarding.

“It’s good, it’s very challenging. Got to learn a lot more. Working in a professional environment, I did a short internship back in India, and that was my only professional experience in India, so I sort of had an idea of how the culture there is. And here the working culture is completely different. It’s much more free.”

He went on to emphasizing the fact that his expectations of great work and work places was fulfilled here.
Kang Kai Chow, a Software Engineer at Microsoft Technologies, who has migrated to Seattle from Canada around 5 years ago had the same to say about the job conditions. Just like Jigar, Kang Kai has moved here to Seattle for his work after his studies.

Kang Kai Chow - Microsoft Corporation | Photo by Nimila Hiranya Samarasinghe
Kang Kai Chow – Microsoft Corporation | Photo by Nimila Hiranya Samarasinghe

“I was little scared about security and all that as well, because they have a lot of guns here, that’s one of the concerns my parents had.” Aside from that fact, being away from home, not having access to free health like he used to in back home in Canada seemed have concerned Kang Kai before moving here. Although, his job having a Health Cover has made him and his family feel much better about the living conditions.

When asked about the Work-Life Balance, which is a huge issue for many of the tech professionals, both of them had similar things to say on the lines of having to manage your own work. It depends on the team but, as you go along, you really adjust. You make friends due to team oriented work background of the field.

As an immigrant in a new country, it takes some time to adjust to the new society. “I got more glances, but and then that might be me being overly cautious.” says Kang Kai about his adaptation to the new environment. Looking back, Kang Kai went on to saying, “But overall, hasn’t been anything to of any racial references.”

Tech industry really is team driven. Not having good support from your coworkers can affect your work and performance. This is a major concern within any of us, going to a new job. “We’re very multi-cultural. In my team there is Indian, Western Folks, Chinese Folks, we have a bit of everyone.” Explains Kang Kai about the composition of the team. Also, it’s about half and half when it comes to people with their own families. “Everyone is open with their issues, and we try to resolve it.” And having an open space to talk and resolve issues is taking a really great impact on the team and the individuals.

“First year will be challenging.” Says Kang Kai, to someone who’s looking to move to Seattle to work. Although, he does go onto recommending the city as one of the best places to work in the industry of tech. Both Kang Kai and Jigar had comments about the weather in Seattle as it can get a bit gloomy, but once you get settled, it won’t bother you too much.

I met these two people, because personally feel like I’d like to move here and work. And after these chats, it just went on to emphasize the fact that, yes, indeed it is a great city to be a tech professional. Both Jigar and Kang Kai seemed positively happy with their work and life. And well, who doesn’t want that.

This story was produced by a student in the “Study of the U.S. Institute (SUSI)” program, a collaboration between The Seattle Globalist and FIUTS, supported by the U.S. Department of State. The program brings 20 undergraduates from Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh and Nepal to Seattle. Participants study journalism and new media, and participate in volunteer and service activities, leadership workshops, and cultural excursions. The story is an example of student work and has not yet been through the Seattle Globalist’s standard editing and fact-checking process.


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