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Old 10-10-2008, 19:15   #1
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Another question about plying a trade while abroad...

I'm an experienced telecomm/IT network engineer. If all goes well, I'll be heading out in about 5 years with my family for a looooong time. Any one know if there's much demand for these kind of skills in the Caribbean? I'm not too worried about finding work in a pinch while enjoying the first part of our planned route (cruising the US through Panama from Southern California), but it would be nice to be able to supplement the kitty & hang out for a while in the tropics.
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Old 10-10-2008, 19:18   #2
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I could be wrong, but with a bit of overhead, isn't that a job that can be done by phone and computer? Satellite Internet, satellite phones, consulting work.... Imagination and planning is the only limit.
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Old 10-10-2008, 20:01   #3
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Any one know if there's much demand for these kind of skills in the Caribbean?
I would not think it is a trade in high demand. You can't really need it and not already have it. Such work would be hard to find but if in need might work for you. Not sure how you might secure such work though. You would suffer the problem of a trade not being that critical. Medical trades seem to always be in demand and easily avoid Visa and immigration issues. This is a business that is not usually used to paying cash. That makes it harder to avoid the regular processes.

You'll make more money doing it where you are than any place else.
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Old 10-10-2008, 21:41   #4
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With the right resume and professionalism your skills are portable. Your resume has to be excellent. There are lot's of people with these skills.

I have a friend who has come out from the UK with similar skills. He does pickup work with banks on day rate. Something like $1200 per day. He does analysis and tests data security systems and emergency redundant systems.

He has 12 years in this line in major banks all over Europe as project manager and supervisor of up to 40 engineers.

Like all things the better the resume the better the opportunity.
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Old 11-10-2008, 09:51   #5
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In the Caribbean, you will typically find work permits often difficult to obtain. Most of these countries are protective of local worker and a lack of specific skill has to be shown by the potential employer to hire outside. This requirement is often a catch 22. If the employer says a skill is missing in the local population and is allowed to hire an outsider... they are often required to provide and pay for training of a local to qualify for the job.

Always ways around everything and always varying risk when you take them. Generally the best route is to have something set up in advance. Getting a work permit when in some countries is far more difficult than getting one prior to arrival.
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Old 13-10-2008, 10:21   #6
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I can uplink remotely to pretty much anywhere via satellite. The trouble is these contracts are "as needed". I have some of these in place already, but the work is often sporadic. The gentleman that works for the banking industry is in an ideal posistion. (Unfortunately I havent had much luck in establishing a relationship with an industry like that yet).
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Old 13-10-2008, 10:36   #7
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It sounds like you may need to focus on some marketing. Contract work can be very lucrative, and as steady as you want it to be. A big part of the success of such work is networking. Get your name out there, and establish the quality of your product. It will be much easier to find opportunities if they are looking for you.
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Old 13-10-2008, 11:35   #8
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Reputation is everything in this market, thats for sure. While I have a good one amongst clients I've worked with, the biggest difficulty I face is that while I DO have 22+ years of experience in this field; I come from the SMB world & virtually ALL of the lucrative contracts come from Enterprise level businesses. There isn't really much difference between maintaining SMB & Enterprise from a technical point of view. Yes, an Enterprise level deployment is more complicated, but configuration & troubleshooting is the same whether your dealing with 10 stations, or 10,000 stations. Its simply a matter of scale. Unfortunately however, that's not how the perception goes.
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Old 13-10-2008, 14:45   #9
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I feel your pain. I can't tell you the difficulty in adjusting from high level management in a small corporation to lower level management in a corporate monster. Even management levels above me have far fewer direct reports than I had with a small corporation, but the attitude is very "Ivory Tower". That is why networking is so critical. There is no more efficient way to get into something that you have the skills for, but not the names on the resume'.
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Old 18-10-2008, 14:08   #10
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Originally Posted by dreamer2 View Post
I'm an experienced telecomm/IT network engineer. If all goes well, I'll be heading out in about 5 years with my family for a looooong time. Any one know if there's much demand for these kind of skills in the Caribbean? I'm not too worried about finding work in a pinch while enjoying the first part of our planned route (cruising the US through Panama from Southern California), but it would be nice to be able to supplement the kitty & hang out for a while in the tropics.
While it might be tough to get a large job, I'd think there would be lots of small jobs that you could get for cash or barter. Everyone has network issues, especially with the proliferation of routers/wifi, etc. If you are willing to do the low end work. If you fix, tune up, secure the network at a yacht club or cafe, you might get an introduction to someone at an office, bank, etc. that might be willing to pay you for a couple hours to trouble shoot something which might lead to something bigger. You'll probably need to give away lots of free advice, but that will establish your credibility and help you set the hook for more substantial jobs.
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Old 19-10-2008, 11:05   #11
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I do similar work... but within 5 years I have no intention of working on anything other than my boat. lol

Just a thought.
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Old 19-10-2008, 11:32   #12
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How about working as a field engineer for a US-based company with a presence in the Carribean?
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