Ayende @ Rahien

My name is Oren Eini
Founder of Hibernating Rhinos LTD and RavenDB.
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Seeking: Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

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Over two years ago, I started working at We!. I wanted to work there mainly because during the interview I was very impressed by the amount of knowledge that the interviewer had. Looking back on the last couple of years, it has been a very good decision. I had the chance to work on interesting projects, work with very smart people, and do some crazy things. Mostly, I got to chance to make a lot of mistakes, learn from then and then make another set of mistakes.

I also had a lot of fun, and the ability to say that I really enjoy what I was doing.

Recently, We! has made a shift in the direction the developer division is headed, and now intends to focus primarily on business solutions. This translate to Share Point and MS CRM solutions. I have no experience in Share Point, so I can't comment on that, but I believe that I expressed my opinions on MS CRM elsewhere quite clearly. The company is focusing on bigger projects, based on those platforms. Those are more profitable, but they are also of the assembly line variety, hook this, bridge that, fill in those gaps, etc.

My interest lies elsewhere. I am interested in building applications in agile fashion, using TDD, DDD and ADD. From a business perspective, We!'s decision is probably extremely reasonable and smart, but it is simply not what I would like to do.

I have been thinking about this for a while now, and I have finally made up my mind about it in the last couple of days. Unless something drastic changes, I intend to leave We! after we finish our current project (around January 2008, I believe).

What does this mean?

I want to take this chance and see how things are going elsewhere in the world, this means that I am leaning toward relocating. I have a good idea about what I want to do next, but nothing that is set in stone. I have already rejected a highly technical position, I am not interested in tech for tech's sake. I believe that I have enough knowledge and experience to handle most technologies. What I would like to do now is working in an agile environment, in an agile team.

I see the following options:

  • Independent consultant / trainer
  • Consultancy
  • Startup
  • Product team

As always, I am interested in your opinions in this matter.

Full disclosure note: I don't have a degree, which I looks like can cause issues when getting a work visa.


Ben Scheirman

I had a feeling this would come around one day. If you can make it to the US, I know quite a few companies that would snatch you up in a second :)

What kind of degree is necessary to obtain a visa?

Ayende Rahien


From this source:


It appears to require a baccalaureate or higher degree


It is my non-legal opinion that any company could make a case, even with the H-1B requirements. They don't say you have to have one, just that the job typically requires one.


Symon Rottem

Have you checked out Jeremy D. Miller's blog? He was writing about looking for people in an agile shop just a week or two ago...

Eber Irigoyen

3 years experience match 1 year of school for visa purposes, it'd be nice to have you on this side of the world Ayende



You'll probably be eligible to get H1-B with or without a degree. But the real problem is H1-B quota. In case u don't know already, this year, they got twice as many applications as the number of visas available, on the first day itslef. So they had to resort to lottery. This will most likely happen next year too unless they raise the quota.

btw, I'm speaking from first hand experience. I got bumped in the lottery even though I had multiple job offers.

So, my advice is, be prepared with a plan B in case you are depending on the H1-B visa.


its lot easier to move to Australia. Getting work visa is a breeze compared to the US.

J. Philip

Hey, you should go work for MS like Scott, Phil and Rob.

It looks like everyone whose blog I read ends up working for MS...

If someone can get you in, they can.

Andy Stopford

Hi Oren,

First Roy, now you, something is doing down :)

I mentioned the Kenny case on Roys blog as that is a prime example of a talented engineer not going to the US because of the degree visa issue. I still find it crazy that MS requires all of its engineers to live in the US when most of the world wide talent pool won't make it. I don't have a degree either, so that will make two of us :)


Joe Ocampo

With your knowledge you should go and become a consultant and mentor.

T. Ferguson

Ugh, why would you want to work at MS? MS's heyday has come and gone. I'm not saying they're going away any time soon, but they're certainly not breaking any new ground.

Mohammad Azam

Hi Oren,

You can look for oppurtunities in US but please keep in mind that only come here if they give you Citizenship. And only come here when you get a green card or citizenship.

They are many good developers here in US who have to do crappy Job because of the visa status issue even with a degree including me. You are a well respected guy in the industry so don't let these companies take advantage of you because you are a foreigner.

As someone said, you should definitely apply at Microsoft. You belong there!



I'm shocked to hear you don't have a degree. Even with the alleged global shortage of IT people, a degree is a huge asset. Sooner or later you'll be at a disadvantage.

I suggest you consider going either to the UK, if you want to be closer to your home, or the States to study computer science. I'm sure you'd be able to work part-time. In a year or two, when you have a foothold in the country, reverse the commitments, i.e. work full-time, study part-time. But you should get a degree.

Tom Opgenorth

Become a consultant. I switched a few years back and it's the best thing I ever did, IMHO.

Other than the U.S., have you considered Canada? Just like the U.S., but a bit colder.

Donn Felker

Another vote for consultant and mentor. You'd be good at that.



First Roy, now You... I feel you don't have to go anywhere else.

I am not really there to sugegst somehting to you. Still ....

Choice 1:

Why can't you guys (i know, when you guys talk, Microsoft Technology world (including me) listen.) think in starting something new. why can't you and your top rated technology friends sit together and decide to open a small agile shop?. Business world will follow you.

Don't worry about H1B's. I feel you have the capability to turn the game in your direction rather going behind others.

Prayres & Support from me.

Choice 2:

Thoughtworks UK wil be a good option to work with. I am confident that people like Martin Fowler welcome you there!....

Please note:

There are not lot many people in this world who really know The Difference Between a Technology Evangelist and a Technology Guru !.. (http://codebetter.com/blogs/scott.bellware/archive/2007/10/21/170061.aspx)

We know what you are capable of. Best fo luck .

Unnikrishnan Peroth

Jeff Brown


If Roy and Ayende start something new together, I want in on it!

May I recommend San Francisco as a convenient location? ;-)

Dave Newman

Come to Australia Oren! Huge skills shortage here and you have huge skills! Best country in the world too :O)

Only problem is I'll have you booked in to talk at the user groups every week for the next 6 months!

Alan Buck

I personally like startup companies if they can afford me. The reason for this is variety. I've worked at MS and really didn't like it. Too many meetings and too much focus on one small part of a project. I've worked for medium sized companies where all I did is fix someone else's bugs.

I liked startups because of all the different things I get to do. I get to wear the architect hat when I've got no real spec's and lots of choices to solve the problems. This always requires TDD to pull it off. I like that.

I like to set up infrastructure like subversion, cruise control, nant scripts and unit testing. Startup companies need you to do multiple things.

I like that most startups don't have a bunch of politics that get in the way of programming decisions.

Most of all I like the responsibility that comes with having been there at the start of something and see it grow. I'm now at my third startup.

Good luck to you but do strongly consider startups.

Ayende Rahien


A degree at this point would take me several years and wouldn't gain me much. I already know most of what it being thought there, and I am not really fond of the idea of spending such a large amount of time to get a piece of paper.

Keith Nicholas

Come join us....in New Zealand

Being doing XP since 2000, get to play with lots of technology,

www.compacsort.com :-)


Even degree is not an issue for you to apply H-1 visa. You probably still cannot work in US till coming Oct. The quota has been used up already for this year.


Firstly, congratulations are in order I believe, an opportunity to branch out into something new is certainly something that you should look forward to.

On the degree front, I don't have one either. This is partly due to the value of a degree in different countries, where in the US a degree is almost mandatory for any reasonable job, and in the UK it is actually fairly rare. This is partly down to the diffent education system, where a degree in the UK is sustantially harder to achieve. Although for a UK work permit a degree is certainly a benefit (when I have employed staff from overseas it is a plus point), it isn't essential in the UK. However, given half a chance and different life circumstances I wouldn't live or work in the UK, so I cannot recommend it!

SharePoint is becomming more prevalent everywhere. My current position is SharePoint based, despite me railing against it for a long time. And a large percentage of the calls I get for contracts are now focusing on my SharePoint skills. The contracts for SharePoint are also paying a good 50% more than standard .NET roles. It isn't a great platform to work in, makes a lot of standard things like TDD damn hard, but it is where the money is, and where a lot of the new developments are at the moment in the UK.

If you want any further advice on the UK economy, feel free to drop me an email and I'll give you any help or guidance I can.

Good luck!


Good luck Oren!

I may just want to add the obvious. Relocating is a tough decision. I have relocated several times around Europe and have studied, worked and lived away from home. At times it was extremely difficult making new bonds, finding new friends, not to mention not being able to replace those who mean most to us: family.

A great job in a new country is always a promising perspective, but there's much to look out for. The culture at work (agile, DDD and so on) isn't the only culture to consider. The culture of your regular surroundings is far more important I believe and I've not managed to blend in to some countries I've lived in causing pain and dissatisfaction.

Last but not least, as everyone seems to be chipping in their suggestions, I'd suggest any place in Europe as you have a wide choice of cultures, some great companies for you to consider and home wouldn't be too far away.

I've recently made a move to the Czech Republic, not speaking the language, and so far I am loving it in every way imaginable. But it isn't because of the job; it is because it is similar to home, close to home and I find a culture I can easily relate to. I guess being happy in life makes being happy at work much easier.

On a side-note regarding a U.S. visa, I've also had trouble obtaining an H1B and after some struggle, I simply reject ever working there. I think it is preposterous having lotteries for such matters.

Either way, best of luck to you Oren and I sincerely wish you find a new opportunity that will accommodate you in every way you've hoped for!



We are looking for some energetic and agile people.

With two small offices -- one in Paris and one in the SF Bay Area -- we are a far cry from MS, but we do some very interesting work in the energy industry. Lots of software being built for modeling and optimizations. We kind of have an R&D feel about us and often do analysis using models that we build. It is very interesting work.

I don't believe that we have any policies concerning degrees; in fact, we are pretty flexible, generally, so we could probably figure something out.

Let me know if you want more information. Take care.



If one evaluates Oren based on his degree, then Oren doesn't belong there IMO.


I don't know if you're thinking US centric, but UK and ThoughtWorks would be a good option, as stated above. I'm sure you have seen the job ad in ALT.NET mailing list.

I believe you should be talking to Hammet for pros and cons of running your own show, though, just to evaluate the possibility of it.. Maybe with some friends you can work with in Israel to share the managerial responsibility.


Gokham, If I could give some advice it would be "dont do it" ;-)


A degree wouldn't gain me much.

Au contraire, it would gain you a significant lot.

I already know most of what it being thought there

Therefore you would breeze through computer science courses, allowing you to spend more time working part-time for fun and money. Or conversely, working full-time, studying part-time.

I am not really fond of a piece of paper.

A valuable piece of paper in the long run. Yes, you can argue, along with a Nobel Prize laureate for economics whose name a blissfully forget, that in the long run we all die. But he earned the prize partly because he was a professor at a renowned university. I doubt anybody would have bothered reading his papers if he didn't have a PhD.

I would like to believe the suggestions some folks made about your working at Microsoft were made in jest. The MVC Framework is a one-time project that will end in a year or so. The people will be re-assigned and teams restructured. Unless I'm mistaken, Scott Hanselman doesn't own a college degree. But Signor Guthrie has allowed Mr. Hanselman, albeit intelligent and knowledgeable, to be a mere cheerleader. I've been dealing with Microsoft offices in three EU countries. Everybody, including receptionists, has a university degree. I know people at a Google shop in Europe. They all have degrees.

You can work at an agile shop in Paris, La Paz or Perth without a degree. After a dozen years, you'll tire of it. You will want to play with your wife and children, too.

You can strike out on your own without a degree and hope to be another Gates or Brin.

If I were you, I'd look at the current situation as a turning point in my life. In fact, that's what happened to me when I was 25. I got an advanced degree and never regretted the time spent. There are more options open to me now than there were before.

I can, technically and legally, live and work anywhere in North America and the EU. So I have. The US is still the best place for state-of-the-art projects that you seem to lust after. Therefore I suggested the US stratagem. You'd be able and allowed to combine both work and study easily in the States.

Arnon Rotem-Gal-Oz

Hi Oren

If you decide you do want to stay here in Israel

i have an opening which I'd be happy if you consider


Matt Buckland

Hi Ayende,

I know someone has already mentioned it but have you considered ThoughtWorks? I'm the recruiter in the London office and would be happy to talk to about the types of work we do, and what ThoughtWorks is like "on the inside".

Feel free to get in touch directly



Bil Simser

The decision, ultimately, is you and your families of course.

As an independent consultant, you get to pick and choose your battles and of course they'll be no shortage of work for you. It's a little different lifestyle and you choose how to run it (work 6 months, take 6 off, or whatever).

Starting a consultancy business might be good since Roy is leaving where he is and the two of you could be the dynamic duo.

A startup is cool but only if you have a big bank account.

Whatever you decide do what's right for you. If you want to come to Canada I'm totally looking for great Agile people to hire. I'm consultanting at an oil & gas firm, but we're pretty good as far as Agile and IT shops go (or so they say) so ping me if you're interested.

Luke Breuer

The instant I saw the post and the date, I knew there would be many replies. :-)

It's a long shot, but you'd probably be very interested in some of the stuff my shop does. The fact that I just wrote a SQL generator to build SQL based on metadata objects that define what columns to pull and what criteria apply should pique your interest. It makes your really fancy criteria search forms (for which you say appending SQL would be a nightmare) are child's play compared to this. :-p Shoot me an email if you are at all interested.


Oren, you've built a good following through your blog because of the expertise and drive you've exhibited. No matter what or where, you should have no problems other than stupid possible visa issues. You should probably consider what and where you want more then if you can. Good luck.


Hi Oren

I've heard about some people in my country (Poland) getting O-1 visa (alien of extraordinary abilities/skills) and they didn't have any degree.

They were just skilful hackers and there were companies in the US that wanted to hire them. Those companies even had their lawyers prepare all necessary visa application papers.


Ayende Rahien


Thanks for the information, I'm going to look into it.

Ayende Rahien

Luke, what are the details of that SQL generator?


Hi Oren,

Have you tried to send your CV to ThoughtWorks?


They are very proficient guys and do exactly what do you want to do: eXtreme Programming. I worked with them in the UK for Deutsche Bank about three years ago.

Good luck!

  • Alex
Mohammad Azam

Hi Oren,

I think if you apply for big companies like "ThoughtWorks", Microsoft and other then they will do anything to get you here. Just remember only to come here if you get green card or citizenship or else you will be a LION who is given bananas to eat!

Chad Myers


Fly to Tijuana and take a few-hours walk north and you'll be in in no time with no hassle! Thousand of people do it every day.


Off but ..., what about coming to India...,

It might not sound financially damn good.

But I can bet, you would not regret it in terms of technology.

Your wish ne ways... no Visas worries .. for no degrees as well ...

just pure technology.

BTW, we are an agile team and my manager is a Scrum Master.

Rest your wish.

Just do drop me a 0 or 1 @ naik_sanket@hotmail.com

I donot have a blog but read urs everyday. You are kind of an role model for me.



Startup is a must if you dreamed about it. As long as you can make your living, you should try at least once in your life :) I am still working hard trying to do it.

Go to MS is good. Try to talk to Rob? MS looks bad recently, but its the people who will make the change. If MS CRM is that bad, go in and fix it, I am sure a lot of people will thank you. They need good people, and if they are willing to reward you properly, why not?

Proteans Bangalore

We ( Case Management team ) are regular followers of your blog.

We as a agile team use to discuss about your content daily and we are wishing you working in India.


Hi Ayende

The company I have just started working for is a good one. Based in the UK, it's a small team with lots of enthusiasm and a solid green field project for the National Health Service just about to start. We are currenltly hiring and would love to have someone of your callibre aboard.

If you are interested then drop me an email at daren.fox@waveform.biz and we can potentially take it further


I don't have any suggestion. I left my previous company for the exactly same reason - Microsoft wants my company to focus on providing BI solution/service instead of writing custom application.

I can understand Microsoft's strategy. if you solve your client's problem by ASP.NET and SQL Server DB, they can only make money on Windows Server and SQL Server license. If you solve their problem by SharePoint and CRM, Scorecard, they can sell A LOT of money.

We did what Microsoft told us to do. We developed the solution on SharePoint, we told client that they have to handle the SharePoint license with Microsoft directly. The result? They were angry when they learned the license model.

Just like that I felt I became more and more salesman for microsoft instead of developer that provide congruent ideas.

So, I left consulting. I am working with a company that build their own products. I earned not as much money as I used to be, but I am glad I made the decision.

My point? Our problem is part of Microsoft's fault. I hope small/mid businesses will soon realize the hype of Microsoft SharePoint and BI ...

Until then, keep your good work.

Adam D.


It was great meeting you in Montreal. You will be in Canada again for the next dev teach. Vancouver is where I live. Wait till after dev teach to make your decision. Also, you will make way more money in Canada than you will in the US. At least for the next little while.

I'd like to start a ThoughtWorks office in Vancouver. Maybe you could be a critical part of that!



I congratulate you on making a brave decision, which I myself took a while ago.

You are better off without the constant headache of SSIS, his dark brother SSPS and their drunk-trigger-happy (literally) uncle “MS CRM”.

Know that relocation is a nice goal but it is one that is rarely materialized…

Looking forward for the announcement of your next employer.


Reagrding visa issues UK, Australia and NZ should be alot eaier to move to compared to US. Money in UK is fantastic and lifestyle in Aus and NZ is great.

If i was you i would be eyeing up thought works here in the UK ;)

Uncle Buck

My god there are a lot of Thoughtwork fan boys on here. It's like a full on recruitment campaign, and they don't even do any decent .net development work anymore. Fowler loves Ruby too much.



I have been following your blog for awhile and I am a fan. All I can say is that the IT industry is in strong demands for technical people and this I can say for UK and US. I do agree with foobar that a degree will be a great investment/backup in the long run. But if your aim is to be filthy rich then forget corporate world and degree and start your own business.

Paulo Quicoli

Hi Oren,

i see everybody is trying to get you hired :) I think that decision should be took in an easy way...

But now i would like to point out an idea, until you get another job... i think that after you leave We! you should come back to the idea about doing an Nhibernate on line course .... what do you think ?

PS.: why not to come to Brazil ???

Chad Myers


I just remembered this post and I've got it all figured out! Come to Austin, TX and work for us and we'll find you a nice Hebrew bride and you'll have an instant visa!

Craig Arenhold

Come to deep dark Africa, man. We're running a small (35people) quasi-agile house down here in Cape Town, SA. Well-aligned with some of the leading financial houses in South Africa, and therefore Africa, we're doing some pretty cool stuff. We even have our own ex-thoughtworks guy here too, so the technology stack will be familiar. CI, cruise, devexpress, subversion, resharper, C#, SQL.

Its a short-term project gig, but 3-6months of Cape Town summer is certainly beats the hell out of MS. Its a no-brainer.

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