The journey of a Tasktopian from Brazil to Vancouver

In September I joined Engineering Operations at Tasktop as a Senior Software Engineer, helping the company to drive improvements in our builds, monitoring, infrastructure automation, release engineering, and all the other great things the team does. However, like many of my colleagues, my path to Tasktop was anything but conventional.

Chapter I: The dream begins…

My story begins in 2014 when I decided that I didn’t want to live in Brazil anymore. Porto Alegre, my home city, had many problems (a story for another time), so I started researching safer countries to move to that had a better quality of life. That’s when I came across a documentary about life in Canada.

I discovered the best immigration program for our profile was in Quebec. My wife and I applied in July 2015 and started to learn French — a mandatory requirement to move to the province. Unfortunately, during the course of our profile being analyzed, the entry-level points required to qualify went up and we dropped off the program. And for a brief time our emigration plans were put on hold. Fortunately, we had good jobs in Brazil and life was good again for a while. Then, in mid-2018, politics in the country became even more polarized. Violence and insecurity increased and we started to talk about immigrating once more.

We looked into Europe and made some progress with applications in Portugal, Ireland, the Netherlands and Germany. In September 2018, we received some offers through my wife, who is a Java developer, with the best opportunity coming from Munich. Our dream, however, was still to go to Canada…

Recognizing that we were not the only people struggling to move countries, my wife and I put our engineering skills to good use by starting Vanhack, a platform to help people find work abroad*.  While working at Vanhack, I befriended a consultant called Stefanie. I sought her opinion on whether I should accept the offer from Munich or hold out for Canada. She said that with our historical background, we should wait for Canada.

In December 2018, we received some great news — Vanhack had chosen the both of us to go to Vancouver for a job fair in February. We start to focus on studying English and algorithms and we practiced a lot the HR interviews because it was very different to Brazil, where the focus is more on tech background and certifications rather than a good personal fit. In Canada, there is a strong emphasis on employees aligning with a company’s culture and values. You also have to provide examples of real-life scenarios that illustrate your suitability. 

When we arrived in Vancouver,  we saw snow for the first time in my life, which was a cool experience (in both senses of the word). At the job fair, I introduced and pitched myself to lots of different companies. I managed to secure three interviews and my wife secured one too. While we waited to hear back, we used our free time to explore Vancouver. We went to Granville Island, the brewery, Stanley Park, North Shore, English Bay and quickly fell in love with the city. There were so many lovely places, different restaurants, and cultures, and for the first time in a while I felt calm and safe. We left Vancouver after a week and I was sad because I thought that we had missed my chance to relocate there. 

Chapter II: The dream is realized

Two weeks later my wife was called for her interview. She was sent a test project to complete in just 48 hours (which she passed) and after a few interviews, she received an offer. With expectations high, we started to sell our things in Brazil and rent out our apartment. Three months after the job offer, our status was approved and we began searching for our new home in Vancouver. This wasn’t easy as not many buildings would let us keep our four cats. Fortunately, we found a beautiful place in North Shore two weeks before my wife started her new role.

On July 27 (four years after applying for the visa in Quebec), my wife flew to Vancouver to furnish our new home. Unlike Brazil, she didn’t realize that we had to assemble our own furniture and we still didn’t have a mattress, so for one week she slept on the carpet. The cats and I landed not soon after in August to begin our new life.

I had originally planned to take a small vacation in December, however while researching the Vancouver IT job market, I was informed by some fellow Brazilians that it can take up to three months to get a job here. Changing plans, I fired off some resumes, including one to Tasktop, who invited me for an interview the following day.

The interview process was awesome. I spoke with Ashley Ward, Director of People Operations, on the phone, who was very nice and friendly and supportive of me as a newcomer to the country. I also spoke to David Slater, one of the Engineering Managers, who was also very friendly. He provided more information about Tasktop and the type of person he was looking for. I was then invited to come into the HQ to meet more members of the team to talk through my experience, what was expected of me, and more information on why I moved to Vancouver and wanted to work for Tasktop. 

I explained that I sought a better quality of life and that Tasktop presented a great opportunity for me. I had also never experienced such an affable and positive work environment before which was important to me. I was delighted to receive an offer and last month I passed my three-month probation period. This was a very special moment because everyone has been so invested in my well-being during the whole process.

Working here at Tasktop is a terrific experience. Every day we have different tasks to do, so many challenges to face, with a huge stack of technologies and my team, is full of great people. And in December, we will be playing curling together so I can become truly Canadian! So far everything has been better than I ever imagined and my message is simple: Chase your dreams because the path to accomplish these dreams will make you evolve in different ways and, as a result, you will be a better person at the end.

Want to work with Thiago?

We’re hiring! We have a number of interesting roles across the company in sales, product development, customer success, operations, and business development. View job opportunities.

*If you’re a foreign national like Thiago and a host of other Tasktopians who are interested in working at Tasktop, we can help you directly!  Just drop Ashley a line to learn more.