It’s a great time to get into the tech field in Brazil.
In 2000, the year before I moved to Brazil and married my beautiful wife, I took a certificate course online and by mail. It was to teach English as a second/foreign language (TESL/TEFL). Although I was going to do mission work, I felt I could better relate to people there if I had a job. I also didn’t want to spend months or even years working to raise the extra support I’d need to be a “full-time” missionary. Friends in Brazil kept saying how well-paid I’d be as an English teacher and how abundant work was available in this field. Although I found the latter to be relatively true, the former was inaccurate, to say the least. I was paid per class taught and was rarely given enough classes in a semester to be able to say I was being paid “full-time” wages.
Slogging away from 2001 to 2003, the low pay at a language school drove me to try going independent, teaching privately to students around the city of Uberlandia. The pay was better, but this was exhausting work, taking me all over town by bus and often getting me home late. Discouraged by this, the slow process of receiving all my immigration documents and by the rather grim business climate, my wife and I moved our family to the States. It’s been like a period of exile to me, and I’m hopeful that this time is nearing its end.
As I said, it’s a good time for tech in Brazil.
Brazil is an emerging economy. An abundant agricultural producer, it also has a rich store of other natural resources, including oil. Major international companies are making moves to position themselves to benefit from this growing and potential-laden market. Brazil may have have a stable middle class within the next two decades. All this bodes very well for the tech industry.
Major corporations need software engineers and system administrators. Businesses large and small will need talented web developers to create sites and Internet products market to the newly-connected consumers with money in their pockets.
As someone fluent in Portuguese, interested both in Linux system administration and Ruby on Rails development and with wife and kids who are Brazilian citizens, this is a no-brainer.
This isn’t to say that I expect it to be easy or to become wealthy. Far from it. I’ll be glad to find employment and be well but reasonably compensated for my labor. My real love is for Brazil, and – if I may be clear about my worldview – the mission of God in that land. Aside from getting a job and raising my family, I long to work in community development projects, particularly with poor and at-risk youth. My aim would be to provide tech training to those who are willing, along with life skills to help them make the most of their country’s growing wealth and prominence among the nations.
Teaching English wasn’t the best option if I wanted to be self-supporting in Brazil. A tech career, on the other hand, could be very worthwhile. Interesting work, fun people, great climate, meaningful social justice efforts…what more could I want?
A recent example of a company buying into Brazil (there are many others):
GE buys Wellstream to strengthen Brazil ties (Financial Times)
This 60 Minutes report provides an excellent basic primer on Brazil: