After graduating from high school in Congo, I had the opportunity to study electrical engineering at the best university in Algeria. Having finished my master’s, I went to France for further study in Grenoble. My PhD thesis was awarded the best thesis of the year. For the following ten years, I worked at an agency specializing in embedded security, first as an IC architect and later as a design manager. I always combined my work with guest lectures at my old university.
To challenge and broaden myself, I did an MBA and subsequently started working as a consultant for a company and a university back in Congo, offering management support in the field of business and marketing strategy and marketing communication. Because these activities didn’t provide sufficient income, I returned to my old employer and then transferred to a research institute. In the meantime, I pursued a marketing position at a chip company, which I eventually managed to get. After a one-year contract, I accepted another design job in France.
It would be ideal for me to carry out my technical and management consultancy from my home in Congo. Unfortunately, in my security work, this conflicts with essential principles of the Common Criteria for Information Technology Security Evaluation, an international standard for computer security certification. Of course, I’m not tied to security technology, but this is a much sought-after specialism for which I can easily get assignments and within which I have a higher ‘earning capacity.’
To further complicate things, I recently committed to teaching electrical engineering for two semesters at a university in Brazzaville. It’s only a contract for a few hours, but I want it and I can’t get out of it in good decency. So, for the time being, I’m looking for a client or employer who will let me do this. After my academic commitments, I’ll be available full-time in Europe. What can you advise me?
The headhunter answers:
You’ve built up an impressive resume, but you’ve also maneuvered yourself into an awkward situation – at least for now. Remote work in the security domain in which you’re specialized isn’t really possible and projects often last longer than three or four months. That’s why it’s important to know exactly what your availability is for the coming year.
With your management and technical skills, you could also try to set up a design center in Congo, but you’ve probably already considered that yourself. If that’s not a feasible option, you may be able to support less sensitive technical activities such as FPGA programming or RTL implementation, whether or not in a hybrid form.
I noticed that your professional network is located almost entirely around Grenoble. There’s certainly an interesting cluster there, but there are many more interesting companies outside that region. I see at least as many or more options for you in Paris. For example, there’s a dynamic bio-electronics cluster there with a great appetite for experienced design engineers with your ASIC skills. In Leuven, you can find a multitude of extremely interesting companies as well.
To get an assignment, you’ll have to network a bit with companies in your preferred location. For this to bear fruit, it’s imperative that your presentation is smooth and that you’re flexible and have a professional approach.