FYI: I have also posted on 'Career Advice' forum. I'm hope I can get a different perspective here too, but I can delete this post if necessary.
I'm an Electrical Engineer. I have two BS degrees and an MS in Electrical Engineering. I graduated two years ago and immediately started working as a hardware engineer, and I am just starting to look for another job that will focus more on software or R&D. However, I have not programmed since grad school and don't have any software work experience from my current job.
I have always wanted to travel to a certain country. I have recently found a program, where I would be able to live in this country and work part-time for 6-10 months at one of the technology companies where I know I can get a software engineering job.
Here are the reasons for going on the program:
1) Get to travel and explore a country that I have always wanted to go to.
2) I am 26 right now, and if I don't go now, I will not have this opportunity again.
3) If I look for a job while employed, I can't use my boss (and the company owner) as reference, since he takes it very personally when people leave the job. As such, I don't really have any references except one of my professors in grad school. If I go on this program, I will have an excuse for leaving my job, and can ask for a reference without any awkwardness.
4) I can acquire some software experience that I can put on my resume, and be a better candidate for software companies.
Here are the reasons for not going:
1) When I come back I will be unemployed and looking for a job, which I heard is a disadvantage for getting an interview.
2) The program is unpaid, so I will be spending money for 6 months rather than making it.
3) If I don't go on the program, I will probably have enough money for a down payment on a condo. If I go, I'll be 27 and starting my savings from scratch. This will push back my ability to buy a place of my own by 1 - 1.5 years.
Do you think it's a good idea to go?