According to the research, acquiring technical knowledge and skills is becoming harder because sector-required competencies evolve rapidly. New specialties emerge every day and developing technologies become a part of everyday life. This directly affects foreign language skills required in the business world. If you have a company operating in the IT sector, it is necessary for your employees to have a good command of Business English. Your employees could be fluent in Java or Python but unless they speak English, you will have a hard time. So, what should human resources and management do to help their software developers speak better Business English?
Focus on Terminology
Even though technical terms constitute a small percentage of texts (approximately 5% to 10%), we cannot deny that they are like the building blocks of the technology industry. Neologism (i.e. newly coined words or expressions) is a part of scientific language. This means that your employee might have a good command of current terminology, but since the technology develops rapidly, software developers need to learn new terminology to be able to keep up with the developments in their sector. In an article she wrote for Wired, linguist Gretchen McCulloch summarizes this as: “Speak English or get left out of the network”. She also claims that speaking English is one of the most important conditions for designing new software.
Make Sure They Follow Developments in the Sector
According to Ya. Bulakhova, an instructor at the University of Luhansk, software developers must actively collaborate with their foreign partners and follow current scientific and technological developments in their fields using English language resources. Academician Volodymyr Strilets mentions something similar: software specialists living in modern societies must be able to come up with new ideas and use digital communication systems to reach the information they need. When we consider that an overwhelming majority of information resources they can reach is in English – which is at a staggering 95% according to Broadband Commission for Digital Development – English language competency is of vital importance. Furthermore, keep in mind that sector leaders such as Microsoft adopt English as their official language. This all points to one thing: your employees need to know Business English to be aware of these developments.
Do Not Overlook Soft Skills
Olena Kirilenko, who teaches software engineering at the Kharkiv Aviation Institute in Ukraine, emphasises the importance of skills such as the ability to work in an interdisciplinary environment, in addition to having technical knowledge and skills. Recently, ‘Agile’ approaches are more commonly adopted than the ‘Waterfall’ approach in software development and this means that software developers are expected to collaborate with different teams and be a part of the whole process. For this reason, it is very important for your employees to have soft skills for the projects to progress in a productive manner. After all, the formula for a successful result in the long-term is 25% technical skills and 75% soft skills. Even though speaking Business English is of vital importance, especially to be able to communicate with international companies, it is true that language learning also develops soft skills. Furthermore, most of the companies working and outsourcing in the software industry are foreign corporations so your employees must speak English to be able to communicate with your clients.
Don’t forget that the stereotypical image of software developers glued to their screens has come to an end – the key to a successful result for software developers lies with their skills as a team player and establishing healthy communication with their teams.
Organize In-Company Training
Yan Yuanqing, CEO of Lenovo, did not speak a word of English until he was 40 years old. However, after Lenovo bought out the computer department of IBM in 2004, he started to take English language lessons. Yuanqing saw that further progress in the sector was only possible with having international contacts and he started to learn English to carry his already successful company even further. International cooperation in technology is not under the monopoly of large companies as it was in 2004. No matter the size of your company, your employees must be able to speak English. The best solution for this is to organize in-company English language training.
Cambly helps your employees learn advanced Business English through its online English lessons which are geared towards your company’s needs. Every lesson is taught one-on-one by a native speaker tutor. Additionally, Cambly has a wide range of English classes – so you can either make sure your employees learn key presentation skills in English or progress in beginner or advanced level Business English classes. You can also choose tutors who are experienced in your particular sector and help your employees develop their technical terminology.
Reach out to us at our Cambly for Organizations page and take your company and employees one step closer to success.