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is it good idea to learn german for the sake of career

Hritik Roy
Greenhorn

Joined: Aug 14, 2009
Posts: 18
Hi, although i am indian, i always wanted to learn german ( personal interest ,just personal).

I just have completed my graduation (bachelors) in information technology and waiting for the company where i am recruited in(TCS and they are expected to call for joining by the end of november or in early or mid-december)

I am preparing for SCJP right now,and also learning german a bit for fun.

My question is that in this 3-4 months of leisure,do you think instead of going for SCJP,then SCWCD and learning german for fun, i should complete SCJP first and then do a german certification seriously(A1 - a widely recognized cert for german language). Will it be valued in the IT industry(specially outside germany) ??

what should i do in the next 3 months apart from preparing for SCJP (1 month more i need for that), i am tired of watching 2 movies per day.

I also wanted to ask you another question because of your level of experience and expertise, but i will do that in another topic.

please give your precious opinions
Katrina Owen
Sheriff

Joined: Nov 03, 2006
Posts: 1364
    
  17
Hi,

I strongly believe that learning something for fun is a very good thing. I'm not a huge fan of certifications, so take anything I say with a grain of salt.

I do not know whether a certification in German would be valued, but I suspect that it wouldn't -- especially in Germany or another German-speaking location.

My reasoning is this: if you can communicate in German, then who cares whether or not you have a certification? On the other hand, if you are unable to communicate in German, then why would anyone value a certification?

Katrina
Hritik Roy
Greenhorn

Joined: Aug 14, 2009
Posts: 18
Hi Katrina,
thanks for the feedback.

when i said "will it be valued", i meant that, if you were an interviewer(chances are that you actually are )will you take the multilingual aspect of an interviewee as an added advantage in terms of communication skills?

i will be sitting idle for next few months,and awaiting the joining letter from where i was recruited in, i want to do something constructive in this break which will give me some good points to pen down on my CV. So, i was thinking of converting my personal interests and wishes into benefactors. As, i am preparing for SCJP, i really don't want to involve in other tech-related subjects. What would you suggest?(my long term aim is to do an MBA, i have a question on that too, but i will ask that later)
Katrina Owen
Sheriff

Joined: Nov 03, 2006
Posts: 1364
    
  17
I have to say that "it depends".

I personally wouldn't put much value on a language certification. If knowing Japanese is important in order to communicate with the team members, then I would ask you to talk to the team in Japanese. A certification wouldn't help me know whether or not you can communicate in Japanese. Or French. Or German.

Also, if you know how to speak Thai but it is irrelevant to working on my team then I wouldn't really give it much value.

On the team of programmers that I work on, we speak at least six languages fluently... but we only ever talk to each other in English. The other languages are occasionally a cool factor, but nothing more.

However if I knew that we were going to be working with a team of programmers in France, and we were hiring you to work on the same project or liaise with them in some way, I would be far more interested in knowing that you spoke French... but I'd have someone talk to you in French, not look at a certification.

That said: if you like German, and want to learn German, that is great. You will most certainly learn something interesting and useful and expand your horizons and that is always good.
Hritik Roy
Greenhorn

Joined: Aug 14, 2009
Posts: 18
Well, i pretty much got the picture..thanks for the clarification, now i can decide it very well

Any suggestions on what can i do in this break of 3 months ?
Henry Wong
author
Sheriff

Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 18988
    
  40

For fun? Sure. Go for it. For the sake of career? I don't know if it will have any value.

Regardless, if you do go for it, I would recommend that you ensure that you have a chance to actually use it. It is amazing how quickly something can be lost if it is not used.

Henry


Books: Java Threads, 3rd Edition, Jini in a Nutshell, and Java Gems (contributor)
Hritik Roy
Greenhorn

Joined: Aug 14, 2009
Posts: 18
Thank you Henry, thats exactly what Katrina said.

I learned something here today, in our college we had this misconception that, the more technical certifications you do, the more salary you get...and with the help of the non-tech certificates you can get priority in the process of being selected in an interview. Now i think after talking to you and katrina, that IT industry is more skill based and less knowledge based(i used to think other way around). Correct me if i am wrong.

It is amazing how quickly something can be lost if it is not used.


I thought thats my problem.I feel good(actually relieved) to know that people like you also say such things. Henry, what makes a person intelligent?
ok, i have some real thing to ask you,Henry and Katrina and you all , so, if you don't mind i will start a new topic
Jeanne Boyarsky
author & internet detective
Marshal

Joined: May 26, 2003
Posts: 30925
    
158

Also, note you can and should put the fact that you speak German on your resume once you do. If I was in a place that spoke German, I would certainly want to see that. I don't think the certificate would add value over the statement though.


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Andrew Monkhouse
author and jackaroo
Marshal Commander

Joined: Mar 28, 2003
Posts: 11506
    
  95

It is my understanding that if the certification is from a company that is accredited with Germany, then getting the certification may help you be considered for a job in Germany. If it is not accredited in Germany then it is unlikely to help anywhere.

At least when I was in Europe for a few years around 2000, most jobs advertised that the applicant must be certified to "level x" in the native language. It was illegal to require residency or citizenship, however it is quite reasonable to require language fluency. In Holland the requirement was typically level 3: read, write, speak and comprehend Dutch.

In such cases, if you do not have the certification you will not even be considered for the job. If you have a certification from a company that is not accredited with the Dutch education system then you are unlikely to be considered as they would then fall foul of the hiring laws by specifying a requirement that was then ignored.

As with Jeanne's last comment, regardless of the accrediting body I would recommend you put German on your resume if you were looking for a job somewhere that deals with German people. For example if you were applying for a job in India with a company that is headquartered in Germany, even if you speak some German with no accreditation at all, the fact that you can speak German would mean that they can have you talk with head office / talk with any visitors from head office / visit the head office / ...
I learned something here today, in our college we had this misconception that, the more technical certifications you do, the more salary you get...and with the help of the non-tech certificates you can get priority in the process of being selected in an interview. Now i think after talking to you and katrina, that IT industry is more skill based and less knowledge based(i used to think other way around).

I'd agree with the other posters - the certifications don't mean much when looking for work. Experience wins every time. Even someone directly out of university can have experience by having worked on their own personal web server, or worked in an open source project. If I had to choose between someone who has passed the SCWCD exam and someone who has actually built a web site using servlets and JSPs, guess which one I am going for!

Another problem with certifications in general is that they become dated fairly quickly. After working with Java for a year I decided to get some Java certifications to round out my own skill set. So I have somewhere my JDK 1.4 certification. If that was all I had to demonstrate my knowledge of Java (or even worse: my knowledge of programming), an employer would be rightly dubious: what about all the changes in JDK 5, JDK 6, and the upcoming changes in JDK 7? And that Java certification doesn't show how well I can handle any other language. The bachelors degree is different: even though the languages may be dated (my main languages when studying were Cobol & RPG - C was too new fangled!) the overall concepts are still valuable, and the fact that you got your bachelors degree means that you are able to learn many concepts and multiple languages.


The Sun Certified Java Developer Exam with J2SE 5: paper version from Amazon, PDF from Apress, Online reference: Books 24x7 Personal blog
Hritik Roy
Greenhorn

Joined: Aug 14, 2009
Posts: 18
Thanks Jeanne and Andrew, those were very valuable not only in terms of relevence to the topic, but you wonderfully depicted a picture of the Software industry itself. Not only german, i am understanding the significance of a whole lot of other things as well.


chris webster
Bartender

Joined: Mar 01, 2009
Posts: 1848
    
  16

Hi Hritik,

I studied German for my first degree, before becoming a programmer years ago, and also worked in Germany for several years. If you're interested in learning German for fun, go for it, and good luck with it.

But you need to be realistic about how much you can learn without actually being in Germany (or Austria or Switzerland). As with any language, you only really learn to understand and use it properly if you're surrounded by people speaking the language most of the time and if you make a real effort to use it yourself. One of the best things I ever did when I was learning German was to go on a 3-week residential course in Graz in Austria, where you had several hours of intensive language classes every day and were surrounded by people speaking German most of the time. Plus it was great fun to see what life is like in Austria.

Other good places to start learning German include the Goethe Institute, which is the official organisation that promotes German language and culture around the world. They also provide language classes and certificates that are recognised in Germany. There may be a Goethe Institute near you.

Working in Germany: If you are not an EU citizen, you may find it hard to get work in Germany, as most EU countries are under pressure to tighten up visa regulations for non-EU citizens because there are thousands of unemployed European IT workers these days (I'm one of them ). Also, your IT qualifications may not be recognised, or you may have to provide extra documentation to support/explain your qualifications (the Germans can be very bureaucratic!). Your nearest German consulate/embassy can advise you on this stuff.

Many international companies in Germany use a lot of English and some projects/teams may be English-speaking, but it will be much better if you can claim (honestly) to be able to speak/understand German at a reasonable level. This will allow you to participate in informal conversations with German-speaking colleagues/customers, read documentation, and integrate more easily into the organisation. But smaller companies and even many larger organisations will expect you to speak/understand German in the workplace. After all, why should they all have to switch to English just because you don't know the local language?

Outside work, you will almost certainly need to speak some German e.g. to find a place to live, deal with the authorities/banks/utilities etc, especially in smaller cities where fewer ordinary people speak fluent English. Most cities have a Goethe Institute or other adult education classes (often called the Volkshochschule), though, so you can continue your language studies after you arrive. You should also be aware that many Germans speak regional dialects, and these dialects can often be very different from the standard German (Hochdeutsch) that you learn in classes. People may try to speak Hochdeutsch to you if they know you're a foreigner, but you may have trouble understanding conversations when they're all talking to each other. This can be a real shock to foreign visitors!

Finally, it can still be difficult for non-Europeans to find work/accommodation in Germany, especially in smaller cities//towns, where people may be more conservative and where there is still a certain amount of racism. Most big cities e.g. Munich, Berlin, Frankfurt, are far more cosmopolitan, although some problems still occur.

Anyway, I hope this does not discourage you from learning German, as it's a fascinating language and well worth learning for its own sake.

Viel Spass und alles Gute!


No more Blub for me, thank you, Vicar.
Maneesh Godbole
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jul 26, 2007
Posts: 10522
    
    9

Hritik Roy wrote:, i always wanted to learn german ( personal interest ,just personal).


You always wanted to do it. Why do you want to tie it down to your career? Sometimes, doing things, just because you fell like it are fun.
If I was the interviewer, and I found you speaking good German and I found out you learnt it just because you liked it, I would be more impressed.
Tell you what, learn German, if only to read Goethe in the original.


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chris webster
Bartender

Joined: Mar 01, 2009
Posts: 1848
    
  16

Maneesh Godbole wrote:
Tell you what, learn German, if only to read Goethe in the original.


Or Kafka!
Hritik Roy
Greenhorn

Joined: Aug 14, 2009
Posts: 18
You always wanted to do it. Why do you want to tie it down to your career?


Yes,i will learn it anyway , only thing i wanted to know if i do a certification(which was not a part of my dream , but i was thinking of capitalizing on my personal interests too,what can i say, recession bites).
I was exactly thinking what Maneesh is telling . And i am also realizing that there is no definitive answer to my question .Like who were brought up in US,because of their diversified educations,they will be looking for the relevence of the subject always,whereas in india this might work out pretty well to impress the interviewers.

So,my decision is - " Ich werde Deutsch lernen "(yes, i know,i used google translation tool to do that, but i will not,after 2 months :cool

Faust,Metamorphosis - i read them all (in my native language though ),even tried the german expressionist movies(like M,metropolis -they are very hard to understand though)..now that i am almost done with them,so i am picking more serious topics like 'Diane Kruger'
 
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