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  #21  
Old 10.02.2015, 13:52
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Re: Where are all the English speaking IT jobs??

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You make a good point - but the real question is: What is the problem with the local Romanian IT force? Or the Indian IT force. Or the <any country> <any role> workforce?
...
I've been working with offshored teams for years. Some nationalities are a joy to work with (with some exceptions). Some are a right royal pain in the arse (with some exceptions). My experience is that if you want to save money and you have to outsource - give the offshore service provider the monthly payment... and do the work onshore. It's cheaper and quicker.

This is an interesting discussion which directly concerns the quality of offshore workers, and what you get when control of your IT development is four or five companies removed.

Someone in this discussion said that if by software engineer "code monkey" as meant, then (jobs) are hard to find in CH. This is true. But if by software engineer you really mean a highly skilled software engineer, it's the resource that's hard to find. And that's where the English speaking IT jobs are. Where clients need skilled people that they can talk to and actually sit down with and work through things with them.
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  #22  
Old 10.02.2015, 22:31
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Re: Where are all the English speaking IT jobs??

Thanks for the interesting responses. Those indeed would explain why there are not so many English-only IT speaking roles as I would have expected. That is, if the nature of IT roles in Switzerland is that of a more human-interactive, customer-facing and outward-communication centric, rather than an isolated 'code-monkey' type role, then you are much more likely then to come across people who's English skills are either not very good or they are just not comfortable/don't want to speak it from some reason, which would certainly justify the German requirement.

I don't consider myself as a 'code-monkey'. Some days I would be coding quite a bit and some days I wouldn't be writing a single line of code. It really depends on the project and phase. A lot of the work is research, planning, documenting, discussing, integrating, configuring etc rather than just coding. However, even then, I work for a very large company and most of the communication I do is either inside my scrum team or with other English speaking IT staff in other global locations. Very rarely do I ever talk to customer directly, or to the sales people, or to the marketing or finance people etc. since we have a product owner/business analyst whom all communication to the customer and these other departments goes through. Of course, this rarely ever means you get a nice and complete specification document that you can just go hide somewhere and code against. There are a lot of technical/integration challenges that need strong collaboration on, but again, this can be done within one's technical team and with other technical teams in other global locations.

Can this kind of job I described be done in India/Romania etc? sure it can and it is. However, I still do see a lot of roles advertised in Zurich that at least from the descriptions, appear to match the kind of work I currently do (except that, again, 80%-90% of them require German.) That is, they do not require intensive communication outside of technical teams, as I believe most companies will have some type of special business analyst role to bridge the gap between technical staff and customer. So then, why is it that these kind of non 'code-monkey' software engineering roles haven't been outsourced completely? I think because outsourcing is not always the best option that some claim it is. There will always be communication barriers, culture barriers, standards gap and time zone barriers to working with staff half way around the world in India or China for example. Also, since requirements are hardly ever complete and change very often and quickly, constant and quick communication between technical staff and business analyst are still key so it is very advantageous to have them co-located. I could give you several examples where we've tried outsourcing which either failed miserably or didn't satisfy. Also, this so called 'cheap' labour in India and China is not so cheap anymore, with labour costs there for top talent steadily rising.

So then, going back to my original question, why do these roles require German? some have already answered that, suggesting that this is not really a hard requirement for the true nature of the roles (where you will likely not need it very often) but a 'nice to have', but one that companies can be more strict about these days due to the larger supply of local German speaking talent. This makes more sense, as if there was not a large supply, then companies would be forced to relax this requirement.

But then again, it's difficult for me to reconcile this explanation with the fact that Switzerland has such low unemployment rate and with articles like this claiming that IT skill shortage persists and there is a strong need to hire from abroad http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/multimed...broad/40612604
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  #23  
Old 10.02.2015, 22:36
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Re: Where are all the English speaking IT jobs??

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There will always be communication barriers, culture barriers ... So then, going back to my original question, why do these roles require German?
Answer before the question
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Old 10.02.2015, 23:06
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Re: Where are all the English speaking IT jobs??

As for communication barriers, if you speak fluent English and the technical staff and business analyst you work with also speak fluent English, there shouldn't be an issue. So are you suggesting there would be an issue here because English proficiency in Switzerland is not at that level?

As for culture barriers, are you suggesting that cultural differences are big factor in companies' desire to hire local talent rather than from abroad?

Admittedly, there will be some of the above if you work with non-local yet EU professionals but a lot less so than working with professionals who are non-EU, located half way around the world, not permanent part of your company and not having gone through an often rigorous hiring process to make sure they are a good talent/fit with your team and company culture/standards.
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  #25  
Old 10.02.2015, 23:28
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Re: Where are all the English speaking IT jobs??

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As for communication barriers, if you speak fluent English and the technical staff and business analyst you work with also speak fluent English, there shouldn't be an issue.
In nearly 30 years here, I've only rarely used English with customers, and only then with Nordics.

German with Swiss and Germans, French with Swiss and French (and Portuguese), Italian with Swiss and Italians, Rumantsch with Swiss and Italians.

Tom
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  #26  
Old 10.02.2015, 23:52
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Re: Where are all the English speaking IT jobs??

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Totally agree.. over the past few years I've managed to move my role 'away' from IT into 'the business'... I'm still doing stuff that would have been considered 'IT' but large firms are evolving their staff who 'manage' an IT system into those who understand how the system fits into a business process (who increasingly sit 'in the business') and those who don't (who increasingly sit in India). This has some advantages.. but still leaves a 'translation' gap between those who want to modify an IT system and those who have to implement the changes.
+1.
I would add that i find very shocking the current attitude of "the business" towards the IT, especially when the managers do not want to touch IT stuff neither with a barge pole.
They are OK in using outlook for emails, powepoint for presentations, word for documents but that's it. Ask them to log into SAP to run a report and they would consider this as an "operational task" that it is not their job description. So next thing they do is asking some poor guy to run that report and stick it into a slide for them. What a waste of resources!
Today process and technology are embedded into each other, you cannot be a good manager without mastering a bit of both. It is about understanding and having under control what you manage, knowing where to look for root-cause analysis, getting the pulse of your business in real time...
This type of "business team" is driving their business to become obsolete, especially in the pharma environment.
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  #27  
Old 10.02.2015, 23:52
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Re: Where are all the English speaking IT jobs??

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So then, going back to my original question, why do these roles require German?
Because this is Switzerland and in Zurich the language is German (or their version of it)

The large multi nationals that are more likely to have a English as the business language are also more likely to off/near shore or have access to plenty of english speakers from within Switzerland with the required permits or transfer internally from other locations.

Outside of these companies English is much rarer and you have to factor that HR and all admin staff will probably not speak english or more likey won't want to speak it.

The other factor is they might want to employ only Swiss or people that are more integrated.

Again 1 month of searching is nothing here..even people with permits, german and required skills will take longer to find something unless really specialised or in demand.
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  #28  
Old 11.02.2015, 01:15
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Re: Where are all the English speaking IT jobs??

I have mostly read the first page of answers and I won't go into a discussion of if the moving of IT to offshore is good or bad but as someone who has actively been looking for a job as software developer since the end of September and has come across only a handful of English speaking jobs I can tell you that they are indeed few and far between. Even for the German speaking jobs it is really hard to be "selected for the short list". What I figured out so far is that, jobs advertised by companies such as UBS, Axa Winterthur, ZKB, Raiffeisen, Post, Swisscom etc (some of these require fluent German anyway) get so much interest that, they can cherry pick an almost exact fit with the German as native tongue and experience in the industry and all that.

There was a time about 10-15 years ago when anyone could come here and get as a developer with average skills (not a generalization) and without speaking a single word of German but it seems those days are gone and any positions still open to English speaking candidates are taken up by people who have settled in here during that time. It is true that with a good education and good skills you can eventually find something but unless you are very lucky it will take more than a month of looking.
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  #29  
Old 11.02.2015, 12:19
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Re: Where are all the English speaking IT jobs??

To be fair I work in IT here and we recruit from all across Europe for IT roles & specifically software developers. German language is always listed as desirable skill (HR always add it), although we only speak English here & all communication has to be in English. We actively recruit English native speakers for support roles as the business wants them as well.


I would still apply for these roles, but clearly state you're keen to learn the language and most MNC's like mine will pay or subsides your German lessons. Providing you have the required skill set for the potential employer not speaking German shouldn't be a show stopper.
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  #30  
Old 11.02.2015, 12:41
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Re: Where are all the English speaking IT jobs??

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As for communication barriers, if you speak fluent English and the technical staff and business analyst you work with also speak fluent English, there shouldn't be an issue. So are you suggesting there would be an issue here because English proficiency in Switzerland is not at that level?
No. The point is that increasingly, if you're only speaking to the business analyst you're likely to be offshored. Quite a few companies are cutting to the bone the number of staff that are physically in Switzerland. There is at least one company that is even moving the majority of their business analyst and service delivery jobs offshore too.

There will (probably) always be companies that are hiring developers that only speak English, but you need to recognise that you are in a rapidly shrinking market with a lot of competition.
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  #31  
Old 16.02.2015, 01:51
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Re: Where are all the English speaking IT jobs??

They all went to Poland already and more on the way. Maybe look there? That's not probably your ideal location but you could expect (at least in IT) salaries on reasonable level - 20 to 30% less than in CH but the country is infinitely cheaper.
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