King of Tokio

When I lived on Guadalajara, one of the biggest world-wide IT services company established on the city, and they started to hire as crazy. Before that, my contact with english speakers were mostly US or UK native speakers, but then it was fairly normal to start knowing people from India. Most of my friends are software or computer systems engineers, and I remember being traveling around the city on a car with 4 of my Mexican friends and an Indian guy (no, is not a joke). One of my friends (which in that time I considered being one of the most avanced english speakers on the group) was talking with him more than the others. I don’t remember the conversation, but the current job market and the open positions were part of the topic.

I should make a pause here. If you are a Mexican software engineer I suposse you have heard the Indian accent, which is special difficult for the Mexican people to understand, I don’t know why, but is like that. If you haven’t heard the Indian accent go and look for a youtube video.

So, at the end of the conversation the Indian guy told my friend: “You should try to learn english to apply”. It was told with such a strong confidence that my friend got bald.

And let me be clear, there is nothing wrong with the Indian accent, (at the end is just a different accent), the part that I want to focus on the story is the confidence.

Some of us have a background where the english language arrived very late in our lives, and seems that the Mexican culture makes learning english a stigma. Learn english could be malinchista in some contexts, or vendepatrias. And mistakes gets payed with several jokes (very expensive jokes). So, when you arrive to the job, or when you have a english interview you are very nervous for your accent, for not make mistakes, you are very worried of not being able to communicate, instead of focus on what you want to communicate. But you should not.

When you work on a really multicultural and diverse company you found so many accents, that sometimes (with your fears) you don’t understand how that people is able to talk with such a confidence. Is very difficult to find people (on the IT marked) that was born and raised in a non-english speaker country that talks english perfect.So, don’t be afraid, talk, talk, talk. Anyway, some tips:

  1. Found a conversation group. I went to a couple of groups on Guadalajara, and the most valuable thing is not improving the language but lose the fear to make mistakes in public.
  2. Don’t be afraid on the interviews. They are not looking for a english teacher, they are looking for someone that is able to communicate effectively. They expect that you make mistakes, but at the same time they expect from you fluency. They expect that you can understand questions, requirements, expose a topic, and follow a technical conversation.
  3. Listen, a lot. There are hundreds of videos with subtitles out there. Look for technical ones on youtube, or simply Ted talks.