Career transition advice in context of move to .be, .nl, .de, or .fi?
August 7, 2013 9:54 AM Subscribe
I am looking for a sense of some appropriate approaches to preparing for a move and likely related career transition. Referrals to career counselors with experience in this area in one of our likely host countries are appreciated as well. Context below.
posted by mijn_valieske to work & money (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My spouse is starting a job hunt in January, and we have plans to emigrate. We are both 34, and currently employed American citizens.
He is a software engineer with strong people skills who is finishing his Masters in computer science consulting, primarily working on big data and web-related projects, and appears very likely to have success finding a position.
He is a unilingual anglophone. I have studied several languages, and have limited working proficiency in French (with a strong Québec accent) and Spanish (I have forgotten how to speak it, but could pick it up again easily, as I studied it for six years). I have taken an introduction to German and am beginning to learn Dutch, but am not really sure what to do because I do not yet know where we will land and what I can do when I get there.
Our contacts are clustered in Belgium, Germany, and Finland. We are also considering the DAFT program in the Netherlands; if need be, he could start up his own small consulting operation.
We are likely to apply for citizenship after the statutory five years (or equivalent; the time period tends to be similar between the countries we are considering).
I am an academic administrator with experience as an administrative assistant, copyeditor, event organizer, editor, and project manager/web media producer (with QA experience). I already have a Masters degree in Publishing and Writing, and will soon finish a certificate program in Financial Management for Nonprofits. My tech skills are somewhat out of date; I worked on digital ancillaries (primarily learning management system content and webpages) for two academic publishers and a small specialist firm, but have been doing administrative work since 2008. The sorts of technical projects I used to work on are now often outsourced to contractors in India. I've spent my life in academia, whether I've been the child of academics, in school myself, working at a college or university, or working in the college division at an educational publisher.
I am not sure how to handle the likely career transition (as I don't yet have the language skills for most academic support positions in any of our our probable host countries). I've thought of trying to start up a freelance copyediting business emphasizing my experience working across cultures both at my current job and in my volunteer work, but that is challenging even in the US. EFL teachers are not in demand in any of our likely host countries as most people speak excellent English.
I am currently enrolled in an undergraduate night class in starting and managing businesses for the fall through the continuing education program at local university, with the thought that it would be applicable to any consulting or freelancing venture I might need to start.
But I'm not sure if this is what I should be doing. My suspicion is that my strengths-- organizing, writing, editing, and administrative support--are likely not applicable in an environment where my limited language skills are a liability.
I tremendously enjoyed my time working in technology, and organize technologically related events now, but am not sure whether I have the cognitive qualities to excel as a programmer.
I find myself eyeing this program, which I found in an earlier thread about novice programmers here on Metafilter: http://hackstaracademy.com
The university which offers the business course I am presently enrolled in also offers courses (and indeed, an entire program) in project management.
I suspect I am likely better suited to be an effective project manager than I would be to transition into a career as a programmer, but in Europe it is my sense that those positions require excellent language skills in multiple languages, and more experience in the field than working with (or even writing documentation for) learning management systems and simple HTML websites.
Given multiple potential trajectories, either moving back into tech or trying to capitalize on my skill in English, I need to narrow down my decision based not only on my experience and personal qualities, but based on what is most likely to situate me for success after we move.
Based on the context I have given and what you know of the job market in the countries I list above and experiences of other anglophones with limited language skills in central Europe and the Baltic states, what can you recommend?