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I am planning to go to the UK or Ireland (but it could be any location, generally speaking) for 3-6 months in about a year or so and would like to be part of a software development team there.

I am not necessarily looking for a full-time job, but given that several areas around there are known to be "programmer paradises", I'd rather benefit from it to broaden my horizons and also share what knowledge I have.

What I would like to do is:

  • to spectate and take part in the knowledge exchange and decision making strategies. To see how people think of different problems, how they tackle them, how they subdivide and distribute the work etc.
  • to experience best practices in action, rather than trying to make them work for me as a lone developer or work for yet another company, that wants me to just get it done.
  • to get in touch with technologies and languages that are new to me, although this is really optional, because it's something I can do myself (although I rarely seem to find the time).

I like to think, that I have a lot of things to bring to the table, but I would also like to learn, or better yet to experience, a lot. So what I am looking for an internship for a developer with work experience. Basically something like as a journeyman's stay: to work with somebody, who I can turn to, when in obvious need of wisdom.

How can I go about doing this?

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I think this could use a bit of rephrasing so it's not as localized - maybe more in the vein of "how do I find people for this purpose" and "do any services exist which are likely to help", removing the references specifically to Ireland and UK –  blueberryfields Oct 5 '11 at 18:22
    
heheheh, you won't find a respite from cold winters in the UK. –  DeadMG Oct 5 '11 at 18:38
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You are crazy. Travelling should be for fun, and the best way to meet power hackers is online. youtube.com/watch?v=HBjDZMJUduo –  Job Oct 5 '11 at 18:41
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"O.K. everyone, now we're going to watch some actual pair programming. Oh, it looks like they're doing some refactoring! We're very lucky, later today they're doing a release and we should all be able to watch the build output on a large monitor. Please don't speak to the programmers - later we will visit the break room and we'll have a chance to feed them coffee and snacks and maybe hear some jargon..." –  psr Oct 5 '11 at 18:53
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@AnnaLear: I know that question. It is about a 10 day stay. Wouldn't that be something completely different? –  back2dos Oct 5 '11 at 18:58
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3 Answers

either you work as an employee, or a contractor.. there's no in-between! software teams tend to hire people who have been in their areas versus hiring drifters, unless they are guru's who will bring high value to the team!

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Can you enroll in a graduate program in CS in a university you like, and possibly be supported by a teaching or research assistantship?

Possibly also some large public-spirited company like Microsoft or Google might have an internship program.

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I am really more interested in software development, than computer science, so I doubt CS graduate program would be the right thing for me. But I'll check Google, thanks. –  back2dos Oct 5 '11 at 19:32
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I am not really looking for a "real" job.

If someone came into an interview and said this, I would not let them anywhere near production code.

I think this is an awesome idea, but a company is so unlikely to benefit from this sort of arrangement that it becomes totally infeasible. If you want to work seriously on real systems at a company for a short period of time, then "programming tourism" seems identical to taking a short contracting gig in a cool town you happen to not live in. Why not do this? Many programmers actually do nothing but this.

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Isn't doing this kind of a problem because you need to get a new working visa for every place you visit? Contracting within your country is easy, but this doesn't sound as achievable. –  configurator Oct 5 '11 at 19:37
    
For one, I changed the wording quite a while ago ;) What I really meant to say is: I don't need a full-blown position with all the benefits and I-don't-know-whats, that go with it - not even necessarily the same kind of money. Also I don't see contracting as a likely alternative. As I said, I want to be part of a software team. Most experience I've had with contracting so far, was all but that. In that case, I can just stick to the customers I already have. –  back2dos Oct 5 '11 at 19:38
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@configurator: Generally speaking, yes. But as long as you move within certain boundaries (within the EU for example), this is not a problem. –  back2dos Oct 5 '11 at 19:39
    
All I'm saying is that if you don't ask for the same type of money, employers get nervous will be nervous. If someone asks for only the bare essentials to survive when negotiating pay, it makes me think they have zero experience and might be trying to trick me in some other way. Even knowing that in your case, you are being sincere and have experience, I would still question how much effort you would actually put into the work and whether it would be worth it at all. –  Morgan Herlocker Oct 5 '11 at 20:22
    
The only way I could see this working was if there were two partner companies that had some sort of temporary employee trade to improve relations. Some of the financial firms I've done work for had programs like that, which were very successful. At the same time, the culture is verrry different in that industry. –  Morgan Herlocker Oct 5 '11 at 20:25
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