Software developer in Taiwan with experience and without computer science degree


#1

Would love to get some pointers on finding work in Taiwan. Read through couple legacy posts on the subject and was wondering if the situation has improved. I have a psychology degree with 5 years of working experience as a software developer. Worked with AWS, GCP, framework, webpack, Centos 7.0+, Symfony, Laravel, Python, PHP, React, HHVM, Laravel, and more. Also have experience in design work (UI and UX), involved in internationalizing a major site to 13 languages, ad revenue improvement, framework design and more.

At the current moment, i’m in Taiwan working overseas for an American company as work/vacation for 2 months. I find it quite enjoyable taking U.S. dollars while staying here. I am bilingual and bicultural. Is considering moving to Taiwan permanently to seek work.

Got couple questions.

  1. Are the atmosphere in Taiwan still consider education as foremost importance? How serious is the issue if there are any?
  2. I understand that I would not get a cushy six figure salary (US dollars), but what are the expected pay? 50k to 70k per month (TWD)?
  3. What are the experience like working in Taiwan? Are they still as bad as they use to be?
  4. Would it be better to just teach English? Would that result in higher pay?

Any stories to share would be truly appreciated. Thank you all!!!


#2

Continue to work remotely for a US company and keep the cushy six figure salary while living in Taiwan. There’s plenty of remote contract work and full-time work to be had these days. I wouldn’t recommend taking local clients if you value your sanity.


#3

Salaries have gone up a lot if 104 and people’s asked salary are to be believed. Like kids in their middle 20’s asking anything from 60 to 130k. Crazy. Personally I think there’s some sort of web development bubble, it’s hard to believe that something that has only artificially become complex (sort of) can give you salaries well over a middle level manager of some other industry. Actually I’m not very sure if I know TW salaries anymore so it could be that other areas have seen some boost in terms of salaries too.

Problems you may face: since your degree is not related to your profession companies might have troubles endorsing you a work permit and ARC. You need both for living and working here, unless you can get an open work permit which I guess it’s not your case.

After getting a job as a developer here, you will start to work with developers, which are nerdy idiots who need to believe that what they are doing is rocket science, and they want to go by the book even if they can’t read it nor pass the first page. My experience here, although probably not the most representative nor widest, has been mainly annoying. If you can speak Chinese and if you look Chinese things might be a little bit better though. I tend to believe that Taiwanese don’t always welcome to have a foreigner telling them what to do or what is what, but that would affect you only if you were a manager, had some responsabilities over projects or teams, or if your knowledge were beyond theirs, which could be the case depending on company and team…

Project management and deadlines are a classic among the typical complains. People get exploited by manager / company owners all the time. However in this business (and I guess than others are the same) workers take revenge decicating most of their time to facebook and other shit. Also they inflate the time estimations and well, they don’t just work on the project but use it for learning all sort of unnecessary bullshit for their resume. And I’m not against learning when working (I think that this is a very important part of this profession), but developers here (and anywhere else I guess) waste their time with all sort of useless redundant technical bullshit.

I might want to talk to you by PM BTW.

Good luck!

EDIT: there are also other people, even older developers with more experience, asking for much lower salaries. But also in SW development companies and other engineering related companies thigns like bonuses are a factor to consider when discussing salaries. Some companies have 14 and more payments.


#4

Judging from your writing, you don’t appear to be a native English speaker, which probably means that you wouldn’t be able to teach English here legally (unless you hold a passport from an English-speaking country).


#5

Most of the devs I worked here with were very professional. You have to watch out that they do important things properly. If they can, they will cut corners. I do not accept that if security of customer data is at stake.

But I also heard stories of failed projects. Some customers came to us and asked us to help fix some mess. I had to tell them that it all needed to be redone. But they were already almost out of their budget.

But like everywhere else most obnoxious are the customers. They expect some complex project to be done in a few weeks and always wish changes out of specifications after the project is mostly finished. :roll_eyes:


#6

VS

Please explain how that’s not contradictory :smiley:

That’s a bit what my complains are about: developers nowadays care more about learning some technology (let’s say a framework X or a combination of X and Y and Z frameworks and libraries), doing everything as it is supposed to be done according to the tutorials and documentation of that technology X, Y and Z, but forgetting about covering important aspects like security, performance, maintenance, etc… Also forget about having them being creative and solving logical problems or optimizing algorithms.

The most important thing for most developers nowadays is to follow the trend. What the heck, most of developers didn’t even study computer science.


#7

What I implied was that my coworkers so far were not incompetent.

For OP I would recommend to do remote work for overseas company. Web development work here doesn’t pay well for the trouble.


#8

Well, it all depends on what they have to do. Most of the software projects I’ve seen were web development projects (that’s what I’ve been doing since I’m in development). In this speciality, most of the applications can be considered quite simple, CRUD shit. That’s why most of developers need to overcompensate the fact that they are simple blue collar workers putting one brick over another with overly complicated code that is far from being needed. Now, ask them to do something creative… and many will struggle, because they just focus on doing things in the “right way”. But they never studied software engineering, or they are just not creative enough.


#9

Thank you for everyone’s input. Really appreciate this open dialogue.

Just to help clear up some outstanding questions, I am dual citizen. Fluent in both languages except for writing in Chinese. Can type Chinese without issue but need more practice on the writing portion. Have also taught in the U.S. for 3 years both in 1-on-1 and classroom settings.

In terms of software engineering portion, I find that the competency portion is more associated to the company culture itself. I have definitely experienced incompetency in the U.S. as well. It is actually quite hard to find a company full of competent employees with outstanding management in the U.S. So far, I have only found one which is the current one.


#10

I will write some more when I am not on the mobile.


#11

Try to keep working for them from home. And if you can teach English, do it. If you have dual nationality then forget about what I said re work permits and ARC.


#12

I have the same sentiment regarding incompetency with taiwanese websites and security.

I have some serious doubt on doing things the “right way”. Many of the Taiwanese websites were known to openly output passwords which we should all know is a serious no-no. Or, they send out partial portion of the password during reset. In the U.S, doing so will result in serious lawsuits. A more UI/UX related complaint is their lack of mobile friendliness. For instance, the mobile ad on this site is just bad. They should have swap out the ad to a smaller one in mobile site. Getting cut off like that, they are loosing potential revenue on ad. Anyway, it is just all around full of not well thought design issues.

Lol, yea, it is software developer’s kryptonite to follow the trend. I think the reality is that engineers are getting younger by the day. They all want to follow this flashy new language. However certain decision like switching from jQuery to React make sense for proper javascript unit testing.


#13

I wish I can do that permanently. There was a job opportunity for me to work around the world; however, the CTO is just bad. I had built React through webpack with cloud dev machines that do automatic deployment to production VMs. The CTO decided to add jQuery on top of React and switch to FTP. That decision just doesnt make sense at all.

This kind of work-around-the-world job is hard to find. My current job does not want me to work overseas. They need people in office for proper discussions.


#14

The other thing is time difference. If you work by their hours to be available for meetings, feedback, your day routine will be messed up. But that is only an issue if you have family.


#15

I am also looking to move to Taiwan to work in a Software Development role.

I have a Computer Science degree, 4+ years industry working experience along side certifications in Java and AWS.

For the last few months I have been sending my CV to job opportunities I found via LinkedIn with no avail (I can’t read or speak Mandarin Chinese).

I am from Ireland and completed a TEFL course back in November. Ideally I want a Software Dev role and something lined up before departing my home country.

As far as legals go, I have a police check completed recently. Options I see are:

  • Try and find a job and sort visa at representative office before departing.
  • Land and get 3 months visa exempt, then look for a job on the ground.
  • Acquire the Working Holiday Visa (1 year) and change if needed when find software dev role.
  • Apply for the Employment Seeking Visa (6 months).
  • Attempt to apply for Employment Gold Card (I can’t find any experiences on it - success/failure stories).

Any advice is appreciated on work opportunities and best course of action.

Kind Regards


#16

I had no troubles finding work in IT without speaking Chinese and that is not even in or around Taipei.
Software engineering requires English anyway. So there are no issues communicating with coworkers, managers. Their English is not the best but it is more than enough.

@irish91 I would say go with Working Holiday Visa if you are eligible. You can do a visa run after a year and change to work visa if you want to stay longer.
But check out the limitations. Some countries allow to work only for 6 months at the same company with a wh visa.


#17

@slawa thanks for your input.

There is no limit on how long can work for the same employer. It states: “Participants may work legally without the need to apply for a work permit during their stay in Taiwan. However, visa holders are not permitted to engage in permanent employment. Participants can take any training programs or courses in Taiwan provided that they last no longer than 6 months.”

How did you go about finding your job? (websites, ground work…)


#18

I mostly used that website.
I did not do ground work, as I do not speak Chinese and don’t know my way around.
You will be invited to come to companies for interviews.

But be aware that there a sketchy companies that will contact you from there with unrelated ‘job’ offers.


#19

No, not at all. You don’t even need a degree (for a non-teaching job) if you can prove and document you have 5-years experience.


#20

Yes, the 5 years of experience can substitute the degree from the legal point of view, but:

a) you need to back it up
b) it doesn’t guarantee that you will get it anyways. They need to approve the company’s request, and the company has theoretically to justify why they need to hire a foreigner instead of a local to cover that position

So yes, it makes things more difficult.