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Every engineer needs to know a Silicon Valley

Every engineer that wants to make his or her hometown a Silicon Valley should live in a Silicon Valley. Or at least consider himself an insider.

I wish I had learn that years ago, and if not moving immediately, prepare for it. I can’t change the past but I have the oportunity to change the future of some people -including my brother-. That’s the purpose of this blog.

I just moved to US one year ago. It has not been painful, neither difficult, my partner supports me and my dog is small enough to travel onboard. There is a low-cost airline that goes on a direct flight to my hometown 3 times at week. I don’t have kids. Hence, as we say in Mexico: I fell in soft (Cai en blandito). But that doesn’t mean it has been everything flawless.

With more than 30 years on my human back -and 15 years on my professional belt- I moved to work for an IT company on the Seattle Greater Area. This migration is temporal (as my VISA) and I expect to return to Mexico soon … ish, but before return I want to grab the tools that I need to transform Mexico. And this last year, on the slow pursue of those tools, I realized that it’s a work that I can’t do it alone, neither you, neither the Mexican institutions.

Every engineer that wants to make his or her hometown a Silicon Valley should live in a Silicon Valley. Or at least consider himself an insider.

Fortunatelly, the goverment and institutions from my hometown understand that. On all levels, they create incubators with links to US based accelerators, challenges, hackatons and big massive multitudinous conferences. They bring people like Jon “Maddog” Hall, Wosniak, Kevin Mitnick, Akira Yamaoka or Buzz Aldrin. They send our best and brightest (or lets say some people specific qualifications that follow the process better than others) to months of internships. But that’s not enough, and with only sponsored programs never will be.

My hometown -the second largest city in Mexico-, had 113,944 graduate engineers on 2015. Most of them have at least basic english skills. But how many of those engineers can the goverment/institutions send abroad? My guess is that just a small percentage (<1%), a percentage that altought insignificant in numbers have make a big dent forging the technological landscape of the city.

Thanks to some programs, Guadalajara (the Mexican Silicon Valley), has become in a truly technological hub, a software engineering cluster with engineering sites of big corporates (Oracle, IBM, Intel, Tata, etc.) and new age startups (Wizeline, Ooyala, etc.). It’s an amazing place with world-class culture, food, entertaintment, people, and a site where you can grow your career. (See more on posts like: https://medium.com/@MattPasienski/why-im-moving-to-mexico-3186533b9fb4).

Can you imagine if 20% of engineers could transform it knowing what they want to change? Can you imagine if 50% of the engineers have the experience to avoid the same mistakes as the Silicon Valley?

Live and work abroad, not only means improve the language and learn new technical skills (things that more or less you can do on your home country), but means learn to interact with new cultures, different management styles, unconventional synergies. Learn what’s good and what’s wrong with the cities, adquire the experience and use it as a tool to avoid the same mistakes, the big painful errors, the dead end issues. It’s only with our help that we can transform the landscape of our cities, for the common benefit and -why not-, just for fun.

“The best way to learn something is to play with it.”