Career advice 1 - Learn English

Posted by Patrice Neff Mon, 20 Mar 2006

(Dieser Artikel steht auch auf Deutsch zur VerfĂĽgung).

As I wrote a bit more than a week ago, I am giving out a few tips how you can improve your chances in the tech job market. This is mostly targeted to people who are currently in their apprenticeship or maybe at university. I'm far too young an inexperience to know a lot about such things. But I have a few ideas and those I'll voice. Also I have dealt quite a bit with interns and know which ones I would employe and which ones I wouldn't.

So my first tip: Learn English.

A lot of technical documentation is only available in English, especially for new technologies. Books are a case in point. Just look at the books available from O'Reilly in English and in German. Most German ones come out in English first and are only translated to Germany months later - if at all. So, learn to read English.

If you want to participate on some software or technology, you will probably subscribe to a mailing list or newsgroup. Again, most of those are in English and where German and English are available, the English list is usually of better quality. So, also learn to write English.

And last but not least, you may have to communicate to people over the phone or may want to participate at a conference. For example the Caron Workshops are easily accessible from Switzerland. So, learn to understand and speak English.

But how do you start improving your English? Most Swiss my age already studied English at school. So the basic knowledge is in place. To improve reading, just start to read English. Pick up some book that you already have read in German. I started to read John Grisham's books a few years ago for exactly that reason. You may also want to follow some English weblogs or mailing lists. To improve your understanding, you may subscribe to some English podcasts.

Another Skolelinux lesson

Posted by Patrice Neff Tue, 28 Feb 2006

I taught another lesson on Saturday. This time to five teachers who are not from the . I showed them how to install the standalone client including how to partition the disk. They were very content and one of the participants commented that it's easier to install than Windows. And that's exactly my opinion as well. The only thing that makes a Linux installation more difficult than Windows nowadays is the fact, that it doesn't come pre-installed. Only very few people actually install Windows themselves, while most people just use the pre-installed OEM versions.

I'll have a lesson with the same people again at one of their colleges to install Skolelinux clients in their network.