Best languages to learn for IT grads: French, Spanish, Dutch, German, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Polish, Turkish, Russian

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

These languages are pretty good to learn for IT professionals.

There you have it:
IT and telecoms recruitment consultancy NetworkersMSB is currently looking to find candidates who are fluent in French, Spanish, Dutch, German or any of the Nordic languages, to fill a number of "well-paid opportunities" at top technology companies.

The firm says about 20% of the positions on its books at its specialist technology office in Glasgow require language skills for technical support and customer service roles.

Candidates offering language skills can expect to earn as much as £3,000 more at entry level, and will continue to earn more than their peers without languages as they progress, claimed NetworkersMSB.


And, as well as the more common Western European languages required, there is now an emerging need for Eastern European languages, such as Polish, Russian and Turkish.

Virginie Katz, NetworkersMSB's specialist technical languages consultant, said, "At the moment, the majority of vacancies we have are being filled by European Union technology graduates speaking their mother-tongue and fluent English. With at least a dozen universities on our doorstep in Scotland, it would be great if we could identify some home-grown talent with the right combination of skills."

I didn't notice Turkish there at first and was wondering why it wasn't included until I noticed it below. Apparently online gaming is pretty big in Turkey and a few Korean companies that have created them have expanded the interface to Turkish quite quickly in order to capitalize on that.

Also, that last paragraph is particularly important: as was mentioned in this article last year, though the demand for people skilled in foreign languages continues to increase, those with English as a mother tongue are usually less inclined to learn another language (because getting by with English is pretty easy) and thus these positions are given to people that speak English fluently but have a different mother tongue, as opposed to English speakers that have learned another language. To quote from that article again:
Leonard Orban, the EU commissioner for multilingualism, says that small- to medium-sized companies in the UK are increasingly turning to foreign nationals to fill jobs that call for more than one language.

'British graduates are missing out on some of the best jobs at home and abroad because they are on the whole monolingual,' said Orban, a Romanian who speaks English, French and Italian. 'An English mother-tongue candidate with additional languages has an even more competitive edge, but let's not forget that only about 25 per cent of the world's population speaks English. If you know the local language and culture, you are more likely to clinch that lucrative business deal, so it is an economic problem for Britain as well,' he said.

Making this even more difficult is the fact that about half of the languages above are spoken by people that already know English fairly well, which makes them that much harder to learn in practice. As an English speaker you either have to be very skilled at languages, very determined not to speak English, or might even have to pretend to be from another country in order to avoid speaking in English.

...the other option of course (and this might be the best one) would be to arrange with someone before going to the country to meet up and speak in the target language alone for x number of hours a day in exchange for payment or teaching something you know (probably IT), so that at the least you are guaranteed a good amount of practice in the language. Considering the £3,000 minimum increase in salary per year there should be no reason to skimp on learning the new language.

As for which language to choose: since this article is from a Scottish newspaper, maybe go with Norwegian. It's the easiest language for English speakers to learn (IMO), and even easier if you're from Scotland:
If you know any Scottish English or Scots, you'll notice some similarities there too. Child is barn (a wee bairn), good is bra (Oor Wullie: "Och aye, that wis a braw meal!"), know is kjenne (I dinna ken that), and more.

That differs depending on a number of factors though; there's an interesting but informal test you can take here that might give you some idea as to which language you should learn (a score of under 10 means you should probably rethink learning the language, and 20 or above probably means it's a good idea).


  © Blogger templates Newspaper by 2008

Back to TOP