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Old 04.02.2015, 16:39
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I'm finishing my Masters and sorting out what's next...

Okay, so I'm coming to the end of my studies at UZH, and I should soon gain a Master's Degree in Informatik. I've been doing some looking, asking, and whatnot, and now I'm gonna go to trusty ol' EF for some anecdotal information and the "secret" links to information that take longer to find than just to ask for them here.

I'm looking to gain employment in Switzerland and remain. Are there any EFers (specifically non-Swiss, non-EU) who have done something similar? What were your experiences? I would like to see how closely these experiences align with what I am being told.

I understand that I am legally allowed to work 40% (2 days) on my student permit- I'd like to find some gainful employment while I finish my thesis; however most jobs sites seem to list nothing less than 80% employment. Does anyone have any leads on where to find these jobs? Is your company hiring? I want to start applying what I've learned, and I want to make the transition from the academic world to the business world, so a 40% job would be a good step, IMO.

Once I have officially completed the study program, what are my residency rights? (Gosh, I hope I have a job lined up before then- money's getting scare around here...)

Last, barring that I get an offer for 40% employment (I'm thinking of also posting in the Jobs Wanted section; this thread is more for informational purposes), does anyone have some resources for part-time jobs that an American (me) can legally hold over here?
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Old 04.02.2015, 16:58
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Re: I'm finishing my Masters and sorting out what's next...

Maybe try graduate job portals. OK this one seems UK focussed, but you get the idea: http://www.graduate-jobs.com/sector/computing-and-it

If you are looking in Switzerland, best start to get your language skills up between now and when you graduate, otherwise I don't see how you can compete with local graduates.
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Old 04.02.2015, 17:12
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Re: I'm finishing my Masters and sorting out what's next...

My German language skills are modest, but slowly improving. I'm looking to get involved in a tandem to improve my proficiency. I can read and write in German well enough (easily high-B1/low B2). I have less and less trouble understanding spoken German (unless it is just one of those really, really specific regional dialects/accents), but my primary difficulty resides in my ability to effectively reply in German, always the hardest thing.

While I would prefer remaining in Zurich, I am looking internationally, as I am trying to be realistic about the process and pursue my entire options.
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Old 04.02.2015, 17:24
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Re: I'm finishing my Masters and sorting out what's next...

You never know, you might get lucky, but as a graduate, it may be hard to compete with other graduates as you don't have the benefit of years of experience in a relevant specialised field as a differentiating factor.

Perhaps English could be a factor with the right job, but as the standard of English here is good, then it might not be so easy.

Anyway, I would suggest a wide search. In many fields you can get better experience quicker outside of Switzerland, which may pave the way for a return later.
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Old 04.02.2015, 18:22
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Re: I'm finishing my Masters and sorting out what's next...

To begin with even if you finish with everything don't request your degree certificate until the latest possible day (deadline set either because you found a job or your max time in the programme is up).
That way you can keep your permit and your student benefits (cheaper banking, access to STVA facilities, etc).

In ETH you can do that and take a leave of absence and pay only the basic fees for subscription to the semester which is not more than 100CHF I think. I'd suppose UZH would have a similar option.

Since you're still technically a student you can go after an internship. If you officially graduate you won't be able to do one.

Having an internship:

a) you get a decent salary in most cases and buys you more time to search for a full job

b) internships in most cases don't count in the headcount so they're much easier hires. US status might be an issue, but as long as you're enrolled in a Swiss uni you're not going to have much problems. I've only known of a Serbian girl that got denied a spot but it was more the company not wanting to go over the proceedure than anything else. Non-EU friends from ETH have found internships without more problems than EU people. Totally anecdotal, YMMV, but my 2 cents.

c) in the right conditions you could get a job in the company you're doing the internship in. Of course there's no guarantee of that, but once you're in and people get to know you and your work, it's much easier to hunt for a position when you're in. Again YMMV.

There are enough graduate positions out there, just keep looking.

About the language skills, say that you're working on your German and that you'll be ready in a reasonable amount of time. It is perfectly possible that someone will give you a couple of months to pick up the pace at learning the language. I know a psychiatrist that was hired with very bad French, but otherwise an excellent doctor. He said that he just needed some time to get there and he took a position starting a month later. The start was difficult, but he managed (and his patients that are now visiting him in his private practice). He's been working in the French part for about 5 or 6 years now.

If you're a good fit and you have something to put on the table, language in many teams won't necessarily be a deal-breaker.



I'm kind of in the same boat and I've been looking for a couple of weeks now. Don't give up, treat job hunting as a job in itself and good luck.
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Old 04.02.2015, 19:15
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Re: I'm finishing my Masters and sorting out what's next...

Don Molina: What is the implication of taking leave of absence on the student permit, do you know?
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Old 04.02.2015, 23:29
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Re: I'm finishing my Masters and sorting out what's next...

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To begin with even if you finish with everything don't request your degree certificate until the latest possible day (deadline set either because you found a job or your max time in the programme is up).
That way you can keep your permit and your student benefits (cheaper banking, access to STVA facilities, etc).
Just a word on this (bold): I wouldn't exactly count on this. A student permit won't be extended just because no diploma has been issued yet. What counts is the official date of graduation, which may - or sometimes may not - be the same day as the issuance of a diploma. A student permit is subject to enrollment, which obviously won't be necessary anymore once a student has graduated - no enrollment (confirmed by uni), no student permit. Most universities will also not really wait for a graduate to "request" the diploma specifically, it's rather issued by default.

If it were that way, you could technically refuse to accept an actual certificate and extend your permit for a long time.
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Old 05.02.2015, 11:45
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Re: I'm finishing my Masters and sorting out what's next...

Not sure if this is something you are looking for, but many companies offer postgraduate programs, so you can start your search with looking for those. (e.g. Novartis, HP, IBM... not necessarily in CH)

It's a good jump into the industry, with salaries a bit lower than those of "regular" employees, but still much higher than those paid during internships.
And it's basically an apprenticeship - meaning you have a mentor, they know you need some time to get up to speed and don't expect an immediate professional.

They usually last for 12-18 months, and there are rotations through 2-3 different positions, so you can really "find yourself" if you're not completely clear in which direction you want to go.



Good luck!
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Old 05.02.2015, 12:21
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Re: I'm finishing my Masters and sorting out what's next...

Have you thought about getting a PhD? Maybe you want to get a job right away, but getting further education (depending on your age) might not be a bad idea. If we would care only about the money, at least in the US, a higher degree would bring more money in the long term.

But it is not just about the money though. It will also give you the opportunity to make contacts (maybe through your adviser) and improve your local language skills.

You can check

www.eth-gethired.ch

for jobs in Switzerland.
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