Be honest, how do you view people who work in IT? Don’t worry, we understand that the IT-sector does not seem like the most cool sector to many people. The stereotype IT-employee is not really known for having wanderlust or a passion for exploring unfamiliar places, right? However, we are going to debunk this myth for you right now. Let us tell you about Josse, an International Relations graduate from Amsterdam. Josse, with a background in History and International Business, was mid-20’s when he made a 180° switch by starting a career in IT as a Business Analyst. After having lived in Amsterdam his whole life, he moved to Frankfurt to follow his passion for IT. His ambition to work in IT and to live abroad confirms that the stereotype IT-employee is by far from relevant or realistic. Not convinced yet? Why not let Josse speak for himself! In this interview he shares how his ambition of working and living abroad turned into an opportunity, while being new to both IT and the German culture.
Josse, first of all: how did you end up in IT with your background?
"Yes, I can understand that you might wonder how that happened! Well, I obtained my bachelor’s degree in History and my master’s degree in International Affairs at the Universiteit van Amsterdam. After having finished my studies, I found it quite difficult to find a job that suited my interests. What made it even harder to find a job was that I graduated in the middle of the financial crisis, making the job market for International Affairs graduates extra rough. I figured that it would be a good idea to look further than International Affairs and History, to see if I could start my career in another field. This is how I found Calco and the MasterClass. I’ve always had an interest in IT, more so than others, so it seemed like a good opportunity to explore the possibilities in this field. Looking back, I can see that I made my passion into my work."
So, what exactly did you do in Germany?
"Part of the traineeship is an assignment at one of Calco’s clients. I had the opportunity to work in Germany. I grabbed the opportunity with both hands and was on my way to Frankfurt! I worked as a Business Analyst for one of the German subsidiaries of a Dutch bank. My role was to improve the IT systems used in the subsidiary, so that differences in comparison with the systems used in the Netherlands decreased. As a result, this made maintenance to these systems easier and more cost-effective."
Has it always been your ambition to work in Germany?
"Not Germany per se, but I have had the ambition of working internationally for quite some time and now I could turn my dream into reality! Before I knew it, I worked and lived in Frankfurt with great pleasure. It was my first time in a German city, so it was quite a leap of faith. Thankfully, it was a leap of faith that worked out very well for me!"
What did you experience as the greatest difference in corporate culture between the Netherlands and Germany?
"There are quite some differences between the Dutch and German culture, especially when it comes to doing business. Dutch people value the social aspect of working a bit more than Germans, like investing in getting to know each other and personal contact in the office. Germans on the other hand are used to a more clear division between their personal and professional life and tend to prefer to get to the point immediately. The division between personal and professional life leads to the well-known concept of ‘siezen’: addressing your colleagues with ‘Sie’ (the polite form of address, similar to using ‘vouz’ in French). The Dutch are not used to this and it is easy to make mistakes here. However, I have to say that the younger generation in Germany is starting to act more like the Dutch. Yet in many German companies, there is still a traditional hierarchy in the office."
What was it like to suddenly be immersed in the German culture?
"In many ways, the German culture is quite similar to the Dutch culture. I think Germany is the easiest country for Dutch people to integrate in. Of course, there are many differences but for me this only contributed to the joy and excitement of working and living in Germany. In general, I have felt very welcome in Germany. The Dutch way of treating others is overall greatly appreciated in Germany."
What did you like best about living in Germany?
"I think my good time in Germany is not represented by only one memory or experience, but rather by the whole adventure. Just to name a few impressions: finding your way in a new city, learning a new language, finding your place at a new job with new colleagues, creating new friendships with Germans and expats and of course the dive into a completely new culture! For now, I am back in Amsterdam because I was ready for a new adventure. However, for the future I am definitely open to working in Germany again!"
Thank you for the interview and your time Josse, we wish you the best of luck in your career!
Are you, just like Josse, also looking to make your dreams of working abroad reality? Find more information about our traineeship for German speaking graduates here: https://www.calco.de/careers/traineeship-calco-masterclass