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IT career abroad: Asia works differently

"Intel is an international company. The offices and most of the work processes are very similar. That's why I didn't have to get used to it", reports Christoph Jechlitschek about his move from Intel's German headquarters in Munich to Japan.

There Jechlitschek worked as an application engineer for two months on a user interface project in the area of ​​"In Vehicle Infotainment". The 34-year-old developer explains the task: "This is the interface that the drivers see in built-in navigation devices in cars. The main aim was to ensure that the user interface always runs smoothly."

Not a routine matter

However, moving abroad is never a routine matter. The most important differences are usually not on the technical side, but in everyday communication and more informal processes. Jechlitschek compares: "In Germany, many decisions are made through discussions. You can use good arguments to push for a decision. This doesn't work in Japan. The employees can present their arguments, but rarely get a direct answer. The Japanese also respond with criticism The key is diplomacy rather than good argument. "

Via detours

Cooperation with other companies also works indirectly in Japan. IT expert Christoph Jechlitschek: "In Europe I have a direct line to the developers for almost all projects. If something is not clear or I want to discuss something, I just call."

The situation is different in the Far East: "In Japan you don't speak directly to the developers. There are account managers who regulate communication, set up meetings and set priorities. When you finally sit in the same room with the developers, you quickly notice that it isn't everyone speaks English. That doesn't make it any easier, of course. "

Indian society

Markus Hörter is an IT consultant and associate partner at the Indian IT company Infosys Lodestone, which has its German headquarters in Frankfurt am Main. He also considers cultural differences to be the greatest challenge of an international career. "It is very important to work in a team, and solutions are worked out more in a team than we are used to at home," he says of his experience in India.

Heremer recommends every IT student to spend a certain amount of time abroad. "Professionally, it is about later working for a large, internationally operating company. There are no longer any purely German activities in Germany either. The development of innovative IT solutions nowadays often takes place abroad," explains the Infosys consultant who was in the USA, France and Spain during his studies.

Show enthusiasm

The now 40-year-old listener fondly remembers his eight-week internship in the USA: "That was relatively early on during my studies and I had to organize my entire life there. Personally, I learned a lot back then. The internship was long enough to get to know American culture very well. " Enthusiasm for international work assumes Heremerer: "Anyone who sees the trip abroad as a mere must or as an item that has to be ticked off on a checklist is not doing the thing justice.

By speculative application

Christoph Jechlitschek studied computer science in Oldenburg and at Washington University in St. Louis (USA). For his professional station in Japan, he became active at Intel himself. When he saw that the company was looking for a developer in Japan, he wrote to the manager in charge and asked if he could not take the position until someone was hired. "I had often toyed with the idea of ​​a job rotation. The manager also thought the idea was good. So we did it that way," says Jechlitschek.

Standard at Intel, however, are planned foreign assignments, which the company offers via the internal job board or in career discussions with the supervisor. How quickly an assignment abroad is actually carried out depends primarily on the motivation of the employees. "The company supports internal changes within the group at any time," explains Jechlitschek.

Professionally and personally

For the application engineer from Munich, the move to Asia was also worthwhile in retrospect: "In terms of expertise, I definitely benefit from the contacts I made during the stay abroad. Quite a few problems can be solved later simply by going to the right one Position asks. " But that's not all: "Of course, you also benefit personally. Many friendships develop and I've learned how to live in another country. I was also able to travel around the country on the weekends.

Prepare for abroad

The best preparation for an international career is for Jechlitschek as well as for listeners, semesters abroad and international internships. Infosys offers IT students from various partner universities the Instep program, in which they can complete an eight to twelve-week IT internship in India. The opportunity to work in India is a good tool for Markus Hocketer to understand what is going on in IT consulting and how international cooperation works. "It can also happen that a participant applies directly to us or we approach him. The program should not be an early assessment center," adds the IT consultant.

When it comes to studying, he advises that when choosing a university, you should already pay attention to the universities with which you are cooperating abroad. Because, according to the Infosys manager: "A semester abroad is always worth extending your studies by six months.


Heinz Peter Krieger, Editorial staff