After moving to Lithuania from Iran to join a group of startup founders, Reza now works as a Senior iOS developer at an American company in Vilnius. We talked about working across time zones, constant learning (a thing that many employers in Lithuania encourage), and living in the country’s capital city.
For a country of this size, there are lots of opportunities for developers in Lithuania. When it comes to looking for a job, you can easily find one here.
I started out more than twenty years ago, when I was in high school. I was a freelancing web developer at the time, and I did a few projects for some ecommerce websites. But this career wasn’t in high demand back then, so I didn’t have much opportunity to work.
When I decided to get my Master’s degree in Physics, I put programming aside completely. That was until 2015, when I found myself doing an iOS development internship at a company in Iran. One company led to another, and I’ve been continuing on this path ever since. And in 2019, I came to Lithuania.
There was a group of Iranians who decided to found a startup in Lithuania. They didn’t have an iOS developer, so they offered that position to me. We worked on our project for a while and had conversations with a couple of potential investors. But then the pandemic started, which messed everything up for us and the startup folded. That’s when I decided to look for a job. It wasn’t easy at the time, because most of the companies had panicked at the onset of the pandemic and stopped hiring. But I kept sending resumes, and got an offer from 1stDibs.
I’m a Senior iOS Developer, and my days revolve around coding and reviewing other developers’ work. On my day-to-day, I also help the other two iOS developers we have here in Lithuania. We’re an international team – more than half of us are based in New York City. There’s a seven-hour time difference, so most of my meetings start at 4PM.
No, my manager doesn’t like me working overtime. It’s just company culture. During my two and a half years at the company, I was asked to stay after working hours only twice, when some meetings couldn’t be scheduled to suit Lithuanian time. After 5-5:30 in the afternoon, 1stDibs wants me to close the laptop and leave the office, so I can switch off completely.
I love pretty much everything. I like the company, I like working with an international team, and I like that I’m able to work remotely. I feel like I have a meaningful job, and not a boring one.
Another great thing about my team is that we are encouraged to learn new technologies and use them in our projects. For instance, once a year Apple holds a conference where they introduce lots of new APIs and technologies. During that week, my manager encourages me to step back from my work and join all the presentations and labs to learn new things. During the conference, we dedicate our time to learning, not working.
I think this will help me to find my next job easily – because of the fast-paced career I have, I need to learn all the time to be employable. For a country of this size, there are lots of opportunities for developers in Lithuania. When it comes to looking for a job, you can easily find one here. Personally, I get messages from recruiters on LinkedIn every week.
I travel – around Lithuania and around Europe. So far I’ve been to Kaunas, Klaipėda, Nida, Palanga, and most of the Northern European countries. I particularly liked Nida – it’s easy to get there by train, and the nature there is beautiful. There’s sea, there’s forest – the landscapes are fantastic there.
Vilnius is really safe. After more than two years, I haven’t heard about any major criminal activities here. Besides that, it’s just really beautiful. Nature is very accessible here – next to my building, there’s a forest. And it’s a really clean city!
Public transportation is awesome here. It’s a really effective system – I can get to anywhere in Vilnius really quickly. My employer pays for my public transport pass, so I use it to commute to work every day. I can also reach the airport really fast, because it’s not that far away from the city. People are lovely and respectful here, which I really appreciate. Vilnius is a bit dark during winter, but all in all, it’s a great place to live.
As a foreigner, living in Lithuania is not difficult. I believe that if you come here, you’ll adapt to living here quickly. It’s easy to find everything and get settled. Procedures are in place to make your move easy.
For instance, there’s no physical paperwork – everything is electronic. If you want to get a residence permit in a country like, for example, Germany, you have to prepare a whole stack of documents. It probably takes you several months. Here, it takes several weeks, and it’s just an online form. When I first came here, I had a different type of residence permit, but it was super simple to convert it to a Blue Card later.
I think Lithuania is a good country to work in, especially if you like the vibe here. If you compare Lithuania to Western Europe, the vibe is different, but in a good way. It’s more calm and relaxed. For someone like me, it feels great.