I worked in the US from 1998 to 2004 and Canada from 2005-2013, so I do have more than a bit of experience. It can vary dramatically depending on what stage the company is. For start-ups it can be quite unstructured and thus it can go either way. Some places may expect extra hours to get the company to stay alive as the initial cash will only last for so long as I did have a previous employer implode once on me. At the same time, if the company is much more mature, then it will likely be structured with formal processes that can be bureaucratic.So I wonder, is anyone in the IT field, specially software development, that lives in another country? Can you share a bit of how things are there? How is the work routine? Management? Extra hours?
Some places were better run than others though something to consider is what kind of environment do you prefer? Do you want to be alone most of the time? Do you want to be working with others most of the time? I've done both numerous times.
I have had jobs where it mattered more that I was in my chair for 8 hours a day and not what I got done. I've had other places that were more concerned with what I got done rather than the hours I worked. A lot of places use an honor system when it comes to time tracking.
I've seen good management and horrible management. Sometimes they will make estimates that are unrealistic which then leads to that wonderful challenge of what are the important points to get done as sometimes getting enough functionality for a demo is good enough for what had to be done. Other times, it can be the challenge of communicating the fact that one can't build a skyscraper overnight or turn a 50 story office building into a bungalow can be done easily after it is half-built.
If the company is mature, the diploma/degree will likely be required as HR will do screening and have standards to be met. On the other hand, start-ups would be more likely to not have an HR department and thus one could get around this in that environment. I do have a Computer Science degree that does tend to get me past that hurdle for jobs.Also, is having a course diploma relevant? I'm curious about this as while I'm a Bsc graduate, my husband does not have a university course. But he is very competent as a systems administrator with 10 years experience in being the only sys admin taking care of the whole infrastructure of a small call center company he works for (PCs, servers, networking, hardware and software systems, databases, plus a bit of programming), and I wonder if it would be hard for him to find a good job in other countries?
Course I'm not touching on the immigration question that may also exist though my Bachelor's degree was enough to get into the US under a NAFTA visa initially and then get that converted to a H1-B that still gets filled rather quickly in the US. This part is another story at times.