How crazy am I and has anyone here made this career move?

MeanDrunkR2D2MeanDrunkR2D2 Senior Super Awesome MemberKCPosts: 862Registered Members ■■■■□□□□□□
Since I'm on mobile I'll make this short and sweet. I'm getting to the point that I'm ready to fulfill a life long dream and immigrate from the US to Germany. Now, hey, that's not too bad for a single guy, right? Well, I'm married with two young kids who will all be going with me, so that will be interesting to integrate them into the German culture.


My question really comes down to those here who may have done this type of move. How did you find the jobs that are fine with a Linux system admin that knows very little German but does have the desire to learn it over time? What differences are there in the expectations on a resume compared to the USA?

Pay wise, I'd be fine with what I see in the area I want to live in and honestly it would be a slight increase over my current pay. I'm really just hoping someone here has done this and can help me avoid some of the pitfalls that they may have had. It if there are any German sysadmins here if they have any advice for me as well.

Thanks y'all.
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Comments

  • Welly_59Welly_59 Posts: 431Registered Members
    First obvious question. Do you speak German?
  • josephandrejosephandre Posts: 314Registered Members ■■■■□□□□□□
    there are a million DOD jobs in Germany. Are you looking to actually work on the German economy though?
  • CyberCop123CyberCop123 Posts: 270Registered Members ■■■■□□□□□□
    Welly_59 wrote: »
    First obvious question. Do you speak German?

    He said "knows very little German" ... so that would be a No.
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  • trojintrojin Posts: 171Registered Members ■■■□□□□□□□
    No a worry about speak German - at work I mean. They speak English.
    I'm just doing my job, nothing personal, sorry
  • cochi78cochi78 Member Hannover, GermanyPosts: 43Registered Members ■■□□□□□□□□
    Well depends on the company and location actually.

    Some small companies as well as some enterprises have English as their default language, basically as a tribute to the international spirit of them. In addition, especially in Berlin English is totally fine. Over there, there is a huge startup culture and people are from all across the globe. They won't even ask you to learn German - but as it's a startup, their pay is a bit lower.

    Most companies I know (<150 people) will be fine if you speak no German unless you have customer contact (then most require B2/C1 level). They'll ask you politely to start learning it and sometimes even support you with it. I got a colleague from Spain who went from "no German" to pretty decent German in about ... 1-1.5 years. It all depends on your ambitions.

    The IT Job market is awesome over here, basically every company is desparately searching. Especially when you're proficient in cloud topics (AWS, Azure) you should have little problems finding something.

    And we're funnier and more welcoming than people expect. Always some exceptions, but that's pretty obvious. :)

    If you got any more questions, go ahead.

    From Northern Germany,
    Thomas

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  • LordQarlynLordQarlyn Posts: 535Registered Members ■■■■□□□□□□
    You did what many have done, usually in the opposite direction, which either way, it is a tremendous undertaking for anyone to do. Well done, even if it is the first step.
    Assuming this is not a DoD or other US government agency contract and you are living smack dab in the German economy, that is awesome. Yes try to learn the language, I took Chinese 101 in college when I was 40, so you can pick up German. Learn the cultural mores, manners, and traditions. (tip if you don't know this already, the "OK" sign in America is usually seen as vulgar in Germany, but culturally aware Germans will probably know you don't mean bad by it), and practice them. Both attempts will make it easier to collaborate with your peers, customers, and vendors, as well as get along with your bosses and subordinates. Congrats on the start of your journey.

    My plan is also to move to Europe, I've been to Germany as a soldier and took the time to experience the culture. But sadly, I am not proficient in cloud topics so Germany probably doesn't want me lol.
  • malachi1612malachi1612 Senior Member UKPosts: 365Registered Members ■■■□□□□□□□
    I am in the process of doing the same aswell. If not Germany then Switzerland. I want to be out of the UK by the end of this year, way before the rest of Europe start to use our British passports as toilet paper from March 2019!!!

    My first step was to get some certs (that's why I am here) Once I've completed my last MCSA exam and MCSE. Hopefully by September then I will start applying for jobs in Germany.

    Just like you, I don't speak German but I spent the last 12 months going to Germany even classes, got a qualification out of it too :) At least it shows I am willing to learn their language before moving there and something to add to my CV along with my Microsoft qualification.
  • MeanDrunkR2D2MeanDrunkR2D2 Senior Super Awesome Member KCPosts: 862Registered Members ■■■■□□□□□□
    I would prefer not to work for the DOD or a US military based company if possible. I know that will be the easiest way to find a job that would be more in line with my poor German currently, but after having worked for DHS in the past I'd prefer to not go down that rabbit hole again.

    I'm looking to be in Germany for the rest of my life, or at the least for the long term.
  • MeanDrunkR2D2MeanDrunkR2D2 Senior Super Awesome Member KCPosts: 862Registered Members ■■■■□□□□□□
    Thanks Thomas! I'm well aware that Berlin has tons of startups and is more English friendly, but my preference is to be on the western part of the country, or if I found the right higher paying job, Munich. (Only due to COL being much higher in Munich compared to other parts of the country) I've done some cursory searches for jobs in Koln, Bonn, Dusseldorf as well as Frankfurt and there do seem to be quite a few english speaking languages.

    For a resume, would they prefer it to be in German or would an English one be expected from someone with little German skills? I know that if I did that Google Translate would likely mangle something along the way. I'm not quite proficient with AWS/Cloud yet, but I'm going through training and working towards an AWS cert hopefully before the end of summer. But I'm definitely learning more and more about AWS and spin up servers quite frequently using Linux Academy.

    I'll definitely be working on improving my German so that I can at least carry somewhat of a conversation with others I would work with. I don't expect to be an expert anytime soon, but I would hope that in a year or so I could be good enough that I could at least be a good participant in meetings and what not. I'd transfer with my current company, but they only have an office in Berlin and the jobs they offer aren't as high of a level as I'd want to move over there. Not to mention the pay decrease would be significant.
  • MeanDrunkR2D2MeanDrunkR2D2 Senior Super Awesome Member KCPosts: 862Registered Members ■■■■□□□□□□
    trojin wrote: »
    No a worry about speak German - at work I mean. They speak English.

    And I know that code is code and scripting won't be any harder there than it is here. :)
  • MeanDrunkR2D2MeanDrunkR2D2 Senior Super Awesome Member KCPosts: 862Registered Members ■■■■□□□□□□
    LordQarlyn wrote: »
    You did what many have done, usually in the opposite direction, which either way, it is a tremendous undertaking for anyone to do. Well done, even if it is the first step.
    Assuming this is not a DoD or other US government agency contract and you are living smack dab in the German economy, that is awesome. Yes try to learn the language, I took Chinese 101 in college when I was 40, so you can pick up German. Learn the cultural mores, manners, and traditions. (tip if you don't know this already, the "OK" sign in America is usually seen as vulgar in Germany, but culturally aware Germans will probably know you don't mean bad by it), and practice them. Both attempts will make it easier to collaborate with your peers, customers, and vendors, as well as get along with your bosses and subordinates. Congrats on the start of your journey.

    My plan is also to move to Europe, I've been to Germany as a soldier and took the time to experience the culture. But sadly, I am not proficient in cloud topics so Germany probably doesn't want me lol.

    I only remember that the "Ok" sign is that because of I think a Die Hard movie that I watched many moons ago. And I'll actually be 42 this year, so I'm not a young pup by any means. I actually have seen a bunch of "non" cloud roles there as well, or ones that are fine if you aren't good with them yet as long as you have strong skills elsewhere.

    Right now my biggest holdback is waiting for my wife to completely and 100% be ready for this. We've talked about this many times and honestly I really want the best for my boys and seeing the crazy **** that happens here in the US just makes me want to do it more. We had another shooting at an elementary school here this week and someone died. Luckily this being the week it was meant that Summer School wasn't in session so no kids were hurt. But as of today, she seems to be with me on this choice. I told her to take her time and we'd keep talking about it and the benefits for our family as well as good for my career and have more time that I can spend with the kids and her as they grow up. I don't want to be that dad who gets home every night at dinner time or later and then play with for an hour or so before they go to bed and barely see them in the morning.
  • DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead Posts: 2,284Registered Members ■■■■■■■■□□
    Hope you don't mind me chiming in.

    My neighbor recently returned from Germany, she was there on training. One of the conditions of employment was to spend 3 months in Germany taking a crash course language courses. She was astonished how quickly she picked it up during those 3 months. She made it sound like she literally took classes all day for 3 months.

    She is NOT in IT, she is in quality control (think Six Sigma).

    Anyway just wanted to pass that along.
  • MeanDrunkR2D2MeanDrunkR2D2 Senior Super Awesome Member KCPosts: 862Registered Members ■■■■□□□□□□
    Hope you don't mind me chiming in.

    My neighbor recently returned from Germany, she was there on training. One of the conditions of employment was to spend 3 months in Germany taking a crash course language courses. She was astonished how quickly she picked it up during those 3 months. She made it sound like she literally took classes all day for 3 months.

    She is NOT in IT, she is in quality control (think Six Sigma).

    Anyway just wanted to pass that along.

    Hey man, not a problem at all and that's awesome to hear. Obviously I won't be taking classes all day, but may take a once a week type of class at a place near wherever I live at to learn and continue to improve on my skills. I could see being thrown hard into a full on class like that a person could make amazing progress with language. I expect my kids will pick it up way better since they are so young.
  • EANxEANx Posts: 914Registered Members ■■■■□□□□□□
    English is the language of business and while it's not unusual for a native European to speak several languages fluently, it's not uncommon for people from 2-3 countries to be working in a fourth. And what do they use to communicate? English. Naturally, you'll want to pick up at least a conversational-level of German simply because it's polite but don't be surprised if someone refuses to talk to you in German, their level of English might be far better than your level of German. This can make it tough to practice.

    I've lived and hired in two European countries, one a member of the EU, the other wasn't. In both cases, we would get lots of resumes submitted in English. When we got one in the language of that country, I ran it through HR to translate. I suspect that most of the larger firms will do something similar, you might want to submit in German for a small firm.
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  • DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead Posts: 2,284Registered Members ■■■■■■■■□□
    Hey man, not a problem at all and that's awesome to hear. Obviously I won't be taking classes all day, but may take a once a week type of class at a place near wherever I live at to learn and continue to improve on my skills. I could see being thrown hard into a full on class like that a person could make amazing progress with language. I expect my kids will pick it up way better since they are so young.

    I'm excited for you! Be bold and go strong.
  • JoJoCal19JoJoCal19 California Kid Posts: 2,717Mod Mod
    I only remember that the "Ok" sign is that because of I think a Die Hard movie that I watched many moons ago. And I'll actually be 42 this year, so I'm not a young pup by any means. I actually have seen a bunch of "non" cloud roles there as well, or ones that are fine if you aren't good with them yet as long as you have strong skills elsewhere.

    Right now my biggest holdback is waiting for my wife to completely and 100% be ready for this. We've talked about this many times and honestly I really want the best for my boys and seeing the crazy **** that happens here in the US just makes me want to do it more. We had another shooting at an elementary school here this week and someone died. Luckily this being the week it was meant that Summer School wasn't in session so no kids were hurt. But as of today, she seems to be with me on this choice. I told her to take her time and we'd keep talking about it and the benefits for our family as well as good for my career and have more time that I can spend with the kids and her as they grow up. I don't want to be that dad who gets home every night at dinner time or later and then play with for an hour or so before they go to bed and barely see them in the morning.

    Same situation here, except my wife is already 100% on board. The only issue is our preference for beautiful beaches so for now at least, we're looking somewhere in the Caribbean. But I'm also looking at Switzerland, Sweden, Germany. Sadly France is out due to the threat of terrorist crap they're having to deal with as of late, and Italy may be out as well because they've got some other issues going on currently. Spain was also near top of my Europe list but I need to dig more into what's going on over there. New Zealand is high on my list as well and both my wife and I would qualify for their top work visa priority. I've long dreamed of becoming an expat but things look more likely now. Shoot me a PM, I'd love to have someone to bounce ideas off of and chat about this topic as well. I know there are a few here who've become expats too.
    Have: CISSP, CISM, CISA, CRISC, GCIA, GSEC, CCSP, CCSK, AWS CCP, CEHv8, CHFIv8, ITIL-F, MS Cyber Security - USF, BSBA - UF, MSISA - WGU
    Currently Working On: eJPT, Learning: Linux/CLI, Git, Python, Pentesting
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  • LordQarlynLordQarlyn Posts: 535Registered Members ■■■■□□□□□□
    JoJoCal19 wrote: »
    Same situation here, except my wife is already 100% on board. The only issue is our preference for beautiful beaches so for now at least, we're looking somewhere in the Caribbean. But I'm also looking at Switzerland, Sweden, Germany. Sadly France is out due to the threat of terrorist crap they're having to deal with as of late, and Italy may be out as well because they've got some other issues going on currently. Spain was also near top of my Europe list but I need to dig more into what's going on over there. New Zealand is high on my list as well and both my wife and I would qualify for their top work visa priority. I've long dreamed of becoming an expat but things look more likely now. Shoot me a PM, I'd love to have someone to bounce ideas off of and chat about this topic as well. I know there are a few here who've become expats too.

    If you want to be an expat, your best bet is to get assigned by a foreign company to that country. Otherwise you will be working as an immigrant which means you get the same pay and benefit as the locals, being you would be a local. Expat jobs typically provide benefits such as local housing, a COLA, vehicle, and home leave allowances. Working in a foreign country as an immigrant doesn't, you get the same compensation package as local nationals. If you're okay with that, that's fine, just be mindful of the difference. Immigrants intend to permanently stay in their new country while expats eventually expect to return to their country of origin and often maintain a household in their country of origin.
  • LordQarlynLordQarlyn Posts: 535Registered Members ■■■■□□□□□□
    I only remember that the "Ok" sign is that because of I think a Die Hard movie that I watched many moons ago. And I'll actually be 42 this year, so I'm not a young pup by any means. I actually have seen a bunch of "non" cloud roles there as well, or ones that are fine if you aren't good with them yet as long as you have strong skills elsewhere.

    Right now my biggest holdback is waiting for my wife to completely and 100% be ready for this. We've talked about this many times and honestly I really want the best for my boys and seeing the crazy **** that happens here in the US just makes me want to do it more. We had another shooting at an elementary school here this week and someone died. Luckily this being the week it was meant that Summer School wasn't in session so no kids were hurt. But as of today, she seems to be with me on this choice. I told her to take her time and we'd keep talking about it and the benefits for our family as well as good for my career and have more time that I can spend with the kids and her as they grow up. I don't want to be that dad who gets home every night at dinner time or later and then play with for an hour or so before they go to bed and barely see them in the morning.

    Ha, I wish I was 42 again lol. But at least my mind hasn't gotten old, yet. It sounds like you made the right choice, and I think you will do very well. Yeah once in a while I check out the job boards in Europe, right now though I am looking to be an expat in a GCC country. Maybe later I'll leverage my experience, assets, and accomplishments to try to immigrate to Europe, or Switzerland lol.
  • MeanDrunkR2D2MeanDrunkR2D2 Senior Super Awesome Member KCPosts: 862Registered Members ■■■■□□□□□□
    EANx wrote: »
    English is the language of business and while it's not unusual for a native European to speak several languages fluently, it's not uncommon for people from 2-3 countries to be working in a fourth. And what do they use to communicate? English. Naturally, you'll want to pick up at least a conversational-level of German simply because it's polite but don't be surprised if someone refuses to talk to you in German, their level of English might be far better than your level of German. This can make it tough to practice.

    I've lived and hired in two European countries, one a member of the EU, the other wasn't. In both cases, we would get lots of resumes submitted in English. When we got one in the language of that country, I ran it through HR to translate. I suspect that most of the larger firms will do something similar, you might want to submit in German for a small firm.

    That is great to hear and I guess I'll have a couple on hand for smaller firms and also larger ones. As far as practice goes, I'll hopefully find ways to pick it up, even if it's just randomly talking to someone at a coffee shop. Oh wait, I don't drink coffee.
  • MeanDrunkR2D2MeanDrunkR2D2 Senior Super Awesome Member KCPosts: 862Registered Members ■■■■□□□□□□
    JoJoCal19 wrote: »
    Same situation here, except my wife is already 100% on board. The only issue is our preference for beautiful beaches so for now at least, we're looking somewhere in the Caribbean. But I'm also looking at Switzerland, Sweden, Germany. Sadly France is out due to the threat of terrorist crap they're having to deal with as of late, and Italy may be out as well because they've got some other issues going on currently. Spain was also near top of my Europe list but I need to dig more into what's going on over there. New Zealand is high on my list as well and both my wife and I would qualify for their top work visa priority. I've long dreamed of becoming an expat but things look more likely now. Shoot me a PM, I'd love to have someone to bounce ideas off of and chat about this topic as well. I know there are a few here who've become expats too.

    That's great you have overcome the biggest hurdle with your wife being on board. Without my wife on board it just won't happen and we are continuing our discussions on it and what it will mean for us and our kids. We also love the beach, but COL and other factors like hurricanes make us a bit less invested into the Caribbean for anything more than a vacation. I thought briefly on Sweden and Norway, then looked hard into Belgium/Netherlands as they tend to be more English friendly and COL is decent as is pay. Switzerland the pay is great, the COL is pretty dang high. Not SF level, but pretty doggone close. I've heard good things about Portugal, but it's not my cup of tea. The nice thing about Germany is that you can easily take a weekend trip to a beach somewhere. At least from the western side, not so sure about Berlin.

    The nice thing is that you have all those Sec certs and doing that work you'll have no issues finding a company willing to bend over backwards for you and your skills. Between Security and AWS/Cloud/DevOps stuff a person with any of those skills will find a job fast anywhere in the world. I'll send you a pm here shortly.
  • JoJoCal19JoJoCal19 California Kid Posts: 2,717Mod Mod
    LordQarlyn wrote: »
    If you want to be an expat, your best bet is to get assigned by a foreign company to that country. Otherwise you will be working as an immigrant which means you get the same pay and benefit as the locals, being you would be a local. Expat jobs typically provide benefits such as local housing, a COLA, vehicle, and home leave allowances. Working in a foreign country as an immigrant doesn't, you get the same compensation package as local nationals. If you're okay with that, that's fine, just be mindful of the difference. Immigrants intend to permanently stay in their new country while expats eventually expect to return to their country of origin and often maintain a household in their country of origin.

    Thanks LordQarlyn, you're definitely right about that. Right now I'm not sure on which route I would take. I always come close to applying for the DoS jobs that come open. I just hate the aspect of not knowing for sure where you'll end up. If I didn't have three kids then I wouldn't care as much. I've also looked at transferring within the companies I've worked for too, and in 2014 I had a chance to go to Australia too but ended up not taking it as I would have had to pay my own moving and airfare. At this point though, going the immigrant route is looking more and more like a viable option for me.
    Have: CISSP, CISM, CISA, CRISC, GCIA, GSEC, CCSP, CCSK, AWS CCP, CEHv8, CHFIv8, ITIL-F, MS Cyber Security - USF, BSBA - UF, MSISA - WGU
    Currently Working On: eJPT, Learning: Linux/CLI, Git, Python, Pentesting
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  • E Double UE Double U Posts: 1,466Registered Members ■■■■■■■□□□
    I'm getting to the point that I'm ready to fulfill a life long dream and immigrate from the US to Germany. Well, I'm married with two young kids who will all be going with me, so that will be interesting to integrate them into the German culture.

    I relocated from California to Holland two years ago with my wife and two sons (ages 2 and 4 at the time). Not German, but Dutch is close enough lol. Feel free to inbox me if you have specific questions about my experience.

    For people in the IT space on this side of the world, it is very common for English to be the official work language in a larger company.

    Disclaimer: my wife is Dutch with all of her family and friends here so we did have a soft landing. Never underestimate a good support system.
    "You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try." - Homer Simpson
  • MeanDrunkR2D2MeanDrunkR2D2 Senior Super Awesome Member KCPosts: 862Registered Members ■■■■□□□□□□
    E Double U wrote: »
    I relocated from California to Holland two years ago with my wife and two sons (ages 2 and 4 at the time). Not German, but Dutch is close enough lol. Feel free to inbox me if you have specific questions about my experience.

    For people in the IT space on this side of the world, it is very common for English to be the official work language in a larger company.

    Disclaimer: my wife is Dutch with all of her family and friends here so we did have a soft landing. Never underestimate a good support system.


    Thanks for your experience. We don't have a support system within 8 hours of where we live today and honestly with elderly parents for us both they wouldn't be much help anyways.
  • thomas_thomas_ Senior Member Posts: 805Registered Members ■■■■□□□□□□
    Germany, and the EU, have visa and immigration laws. You will have to apply and receive a visa in order to legally live and work there legally. I’ve heard they have an aging population and a shortage of experienced/senior tech laborers, so if you have the right skills/experience that will be in your favor. I believe you have to have your resume translated into German when you apply for your visa, so it can be reviewed.
  • malachi1612malachi1612 Senior Member UKPosts: 365Registered Members ■■■□□□□□□□
    Also when you apply for jobs in Germany submit your resume in German AND English. Don't run it through Google Translator as it will not pick up the grammar correctly.
    JoJoCal19 wrote: »
    Same situation here, except my wife is already 100% on board. The only issue is our preference for beautiful beaches so for now at least, we're looking somewhere in the Caribbean. But I'm also looking at Switzerland, Sweden, Germany. Sadly France is out due to the threat of terrorist crap they're having to deal with as of late, and Italy may be out as well because they've got some other issues going on currently. Spain was also near top of my Europe list but I need to dig more into what's going on over there. New Zealand is high on my list as well and both my wife and I would qualify for their top work visa priority. I've long dreamed of becoming an expat but things look more likely now. Shoot me a PM, I'd love to have someone to bounce ideas off of and chat about this topic as well. I know there are a few here who've become expats too.

    Don't let the whats going on in France put you off, the media has a large influence over there when big things happen. We had a few terrorist attacks here in the UK last year but its still business as usual in London and Manchester. But doesn't stop people from coming here to work or visit.

    And mainland Spain has one of the highest unemployment rate here in Europe. Sort of the place people go to retired but not work.
  • MeanDrunkR2D2MeanDrunkR2D2 Senior Super Awesome Member KCPosts: 862Registered Members ■■■■□□□□□□
    Thomas, I do know that there is the whole visa issue to deal with and this won't be a fast process by any means. I do qualify under the EU blue card with my experience and degree. I will do this the proper way for sure as this is a big move to do. I've done several cross country moves here so it's not completely out of my experience to do long distance job searches.
  • MeanDrunkR2D2MeanDrunkR2D2 Senior Super Awesome Member KCPosts: 862Registered Members ■■■■□□□□□□
    Malachi,

    I will definitely reach out to a professional resume writer that is fluent in English and German that can translate the resume for me so that it is done right. The last thing I want to do is to give a bad impression with a sloppy resume submitted.
  • MeanDrunkR2D2MeanDrunkR2D2 Senior Super Awesome Member KCPosts: 862Registered Members ■■■■□□□□□□
    Upon further research, it looks that having a German resume would be a bad choice due to the company assuming that I'd be coming in with more knowledge on the language than would be possible for me at this point.
  • LordQarlynLordQarlyn Posts: 535Registered Members ■■■■□□□□□□
    Upon further research, it looks that having a German resume would be a bad choice due to the company assuming that I'd be coming in with more knowledge on the language than would be possible for me at this point.

    Still, it may not be a bad idea to have your CV professionally translated and have it handy.
  • E Double UE Double U Posts: 1,466Registered Members ■■■■■■■□□□
    Sorry if I missed it, but have you actually looked at any jobs in Germany yet? I'm willing to bet you will see a lot of roles posted in English given the field so naturally they would accept English resumes/cover letters. My current role was posted in Dutch, but I still submitted an English CV.
    "You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try." - Homer Simpson
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