A web developer on a relocation to Helsinki from Tel Aviv

Alex Jilkin
3 min readJan 26, 2021

I didn’t think about relocating seriously until the 2nd quarantine imposed by the Israeli government and an email I got from a Klarna recruiter.

at the 26th of September I got the email, on the 27th I already had a talk with Tim who was a very nice gut recruiting for Klarna Stockholm.
Very quickly afterwards I got the first coding assignment — something simple in a Codility like website which I got great input for.
Next we had a full stack infrastructure interview about a hypothetical mobile app and a “bar raiser” one with a VP that asked you some situations questions (How do you challenge the status quo?)

Everything went great until that call from Tim saying that even though everything went really well, there was some restructuring at the front end of Klarna, and as I am more front ent oriented we will keep my process on hold.
What it exactly means? I guess I would never no but it was a bit devastating as I got really excited about the whole process, got really great feedback and was watching “Stockholm walk” videos on Youtube.

Well, I guess sometimes you need to experience disappointment and I got into the journey of searching a relocation position.

The journey was not long, but it was diverse and interesting.
I went through different interviews: Zalando, Kognity, Dashlane, Smartly.io, Symphony, Wolt and those are the ones that replied for my CV.
I tried sending my CV all over the place, none of the Canadian based roles replied positively to me and it seems they don’t usually hire people living outside of Canada.

Happy with what I got, it summarized to two companies — Dashlane which is a password manager company based in Paris, and Smartly.io that helps to create and serve ads based in Helsinki.

Seems like quite different companies product wise (and location :), while both are around the 100–200 employees, both employ many international developers and both seems to have strong technical teams and I had fun talking with the the other developers.
In the end I think it summed up to which city we would like to move, again the salaries were very similar, and to me both felt like a good place for my career.

Thinking about Covid we decided that maybe a 12 mil people metropolitan is not the best choice, maybe even a bit scary: when will they be back at the office? when will the quarantine end?
Of course as a big international city it comes with all the perks as a big tech scene, great universities (I want to have my Masters in Computer Science), art, concerts, food and generally more options to explore.

At the end both of us felt better with Helsinki, hoping that we can grow professionally and personally (Me and my partner) while enjoying the peace and safeness that a city like Helsinki can offer.

So today at the 26th of January 4 months later, its our first day in Helsinki, after going through the residency permit in Tel Aviv which was a nice a smooth experience, choosing an apartment for the first 5 weeks provided by the company and getting plane tickets.
It is not as cold, and not as dark as everyone were warning us about.

Now we have a 10 days self quarantine and later we are going to see what the city has in store for us.

Tune for the next chapter to see how it goes.
Thank you for reading.
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