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Old 31.10.2009, 23:40
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Job opportunities in IT for non-german speaking ETH graduates?

Hi everyone,
I am studying Computing at Imperial College London and I am seriously considering going to ETH for Masters... (Masters courses are taught in English)

The problem is that I speak very little German so I was wondering whether I could get a good job in IT in Zurich after I graduate from ETH? (ideally Google , Microsoft, IBM and similar). I certainly would not be opposed to small Swiss software companies as well, but I guess they are less likely to use English as their working language, aren't they? Are there any good jobs, where German would not be required? What starting salaries can ETH Computer Science graduates expect?

Any help would be greatly appreciated,
Adam
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Old 01.11.2009, 07:20
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Re: Job opportunities in IT for non-german speaking ETH graduates?

Hi Adam

With these kinds of things getting a job straight out of Uni without experience can be done but will require a lot of luck, and without German may make it more dfifficult. If you do study in Switzerland you will have the benefit of being able to immerse yourself in German, at the Uni they may also provide some addiitonal support in German classes.

Living in Switzerland is a great experience in itself and if you do find it hard after graduating, it is still possible to head back to the UK and gain more experience at home.

Good luck with everything.
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Old 01.11.2009, 11:07
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Re: Job opportunities in IT for non-german speaking ETH graduates?

Hi,

Sure it's possible.

cheerio,

karina
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Old 01.11.2009, 12:07
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Re: Job opportunities in IT for non-german speaking ETH graduates?

thank you both for your replies.

anAustralian - i am afraid i don't understand your post very well. i meant graduate positions... isn't eth zurich the best university in switzerland? what do you mean "it's difficult to get a job without experience..." ? where would all of its graduates end up if people can't get a job without experience?

to make myself clear - my main question is whether there are (what %) companies which use english as their working language.
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Old 01.11.2009, 12:22
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Re: Job opportunities in IT for non-german speaking ETH graduates?

If you are specialist and good at what you are doing - English is enough.
Try to search for positions there:

Google
IBM
UBS
Credit Suisse

karin
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Old 01.11.2009, 13:47
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Re: Job opportunities in IT for non-german speaking ETH graduates?

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thank you both for your replies.

anAustralian - i am afraid i don't understand your post very well. i meant graduate positions... isn't eth zurich the best university in switzerland? what do you mean "it's difficult to get a job without experience..." ? where would all of its graduates end up if people can't get a job without experience?

to make myself clear - my main question is whether there are (what %) companies which use english as their working language.
Hi Adam

You are correct in that you may be able to get a graduate position. It also depends on many factors not just what University you went to. It can come down to confidence, personality, extra curricular activities, the right fit between you and them.

I guess the point of my post was to highlight that jobs without German are not that easy to come by. Being a graduate, without German does limit opportunities. Having said that, if the opportunity is there and you are in the right place at the right time and you interview well and have the right fit for the company, you can get the job.

Nobody here has a crystal ball nor can anyone give you guarantees. If you are willing to take the risk and move to another country, then you open up different life experiences and opportunities.

If for whatever reason the job does not land, then you have still gained a great experience studying in another country, learning new languages, meeting new people etc etc.

To answer your question regarding how many % companies using English, I cannot answer that. In Zurich it is mainly the larger firms that are multinational such as Zurich Insurance, SwissRe, or are English companies (like the ones you mentioned) that operate on english only. It also depends on the type of role you pursue. If it is externally client faced (like business consulting, account management) then often multiple languages are required. If it is purely an internal role (such as software development, system administration) then english might be the only necessary language. Microsoft for example still requires most graduates to know German, as does IBM. It might be worth having a look at some of the jobs available for those firms to get a feel for their requirements.

The salary you can expect really depends on what your specialist area is. Unfortunately I cannot help you with this question in terms of what graduates earn.

Last edited by AnAustralian; 01.11.2009 at 14:02.
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Old 01.11.2009, 19:25
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Re: Job opportunities in IT for non-german speaking ETH graduates?

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thank you both for your replies.

anAustralian - i am afraid i don't understand your post very well. i meant graduate positions... isn't eth zurich the best university in switzerland? what do you mean "it's difficult to get a job without experience..." ? where would all of its graduates end up if people can't get a job without experience?

to make myself clear - my main question is whether there are (what %) companies which use english as their working language.
The first thing to determine is if you can in fact work here - If you are not Swiss or an EU citizen then an employer must show that there is no one available in CH or the EU to take up the position before a work permit will be issued, with new grads. this is a non starter!

Concerning language, it all depends on the economic circumstances at the time - in good times you'll find plenty of companies accepting English only staff, but once things get difficult as now, you'll find most Swiss companies and many foreign companies for that matter requiring that you speak the local language.

For example, I work for a Swiss multinational where all documents are done in US English, but about 90% of meetings are in Swiss German and the rest are in High German or English.

In my opinion if you do not automatically qualify for a work permit and you don't speak the language then you are going to find it very difficult.

Good luck with that,

Jim
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Old 01.11.2009, 22:00
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Re: Job opportunities in IT for non-german speaking ETH graduates?

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The first thing to determine is if you can in fact work here - If you are not Swiss or an EU citizen then an employer must show that there is no one available in CH or the EU to take up the position before a work permit will be issued, with new grads. this is a non starter!

Concerning language, it all depends on the economic circumstances at the time - in good times you'll find plenty of companies accepting English only staff, but once things get difficult as now, you'll find most Swiss companies and many foreign companies for that matter requiring that you speak the local language.

For example, I work for a Swiss multinational where all documents are done in US English, but about 90% of meetings are in Swiss German and the rest are in High German or English.

In my opinion if you do not automatically qualify for a work permit and you don't speak the language then you are going to find it very difficult.

Good luck with that,

Jim
i am an EU citizen (slovakia). i just don't enjoy life in london very much, so i would like to go somewhere else for masters... i want end up at home in slovakia after uni. therefore the possibility to work in zurich after eth is not a major issue in deciding whether to go there or not, but it would be nice to get some experience abroad (a year or two) - that's why i was asking...
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Old 02.11.2009, 18:39
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Re: Job opportunities in IT for non-german speaking ETH graduates?

HI again

This thread may be helpful in understanding which companies are english focused.

[Swiss Job market] English-Speaking Companies

Cheers
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