A story of success: Entering the Australian IT industry, from an outsiders perspective

Daniel Versick recently approached Mantech looking for work in R&D and systems programming.  He is well spoken, highly accomplished in Linux and offers 15 years’ software experience.

Ultimately, he would be an ideal employee at any company lucky enough to have him, but following his recent emigration from Germany, where his extensive software skillset was in high demand, he was surprised at the subtle differences between the two countries’ industries.

Here, he tells us about his experience, how he feels the Australian technology industry differs and why he made the decisions he did.

DanielVersick

Can you tell us a little about your background and transition to Australia?
Well, I have a strong IT background as I worked in R&D for several research institutions in Germany. As we usually supported industry partners through contract research, I worked in close collaboration with several German IT companies. Actually, the reason for my recent immigration to Australia was that my wife got a great job opportunity here. Therefore, it is a chance for us to explore this awesome country.

Do you feel that the Australian employment process or its opportunities differ from those in Germany?

Yes, definitely. Many IT companies in Germany suffer from a low number of IT professionals. German Bitkom Research recently published survey results which found that 6 out of 10 German companies suffer from the existing skills shortage. There are about 43,000 open positions for IT experts in Germany. Therefore, the job market is less competitive. It rarely happens that there are more than a few applicants for one IT role.


Fortunately, the language of technology often transcends traditional communication barriers.  Did you find that your specific skillset was easily transferable and understood?

This is a really good question. Actually, I had to learn how to present my skillset in a way that Australian companies would find interesting. Just to mention an example: A persons academic degrees and grades are important for German companies to get an idea of who you are and what your skill set is. Australian recruiters are more interested in what you actually did.


Throughout the placement process you met with multiple prospective employers, did you use specific preparation techniques or have an interview strategy that you feel worked for you?

Yes, I did. It is important to prepare for every interview. I got the impression that one of the most important things to do is prepare good questions about the company and their products. The questions should show that you understand what the company does but that you are also looking forward. You could ask how they implemented a specific function. Or maybe if they employed an implementation technique, which you think would be great to use. Without having good knowledge about the company and their products, you’ll probably fail.


How important is the culture and feel of a company when deciding whether you would like to work there?

You work at least 8 hours a day in a company.  That is almost 1/3 of your lifetime. If you spend so much time with people in a team, it is unquestionable that culture and feel within that team is important. For me it is one of the most important things when deciding upon a job.


Have you felt that your international experience is of particular benefit when talking to potential employers, or do you have any techniques that help to make you memorable in an interview setting?
No, I didn’t get the impression that my international experience was that helpful. Your skillset and how you fit into the team are important factors. As I mentioned before, asking smart questions is a good way to make you memorable.


You were fortunate to have multiple offers of employment, what were the deciding factors in choosing the role that you did?

Actually, the decision process was difficult for me as all offers have been very interesting. All companies make exceptionally interesting products with great teams. Finally, it was just a feeling that made me decide.


Do you have any words of wisdom for others who may be job hunting in a new country, or for those currently looking for work in the Australian technology industry?

Be patient. It took me almost four months to get the first job offer and then I immediately got three within one week.


Laurie Green
Online Community Manager
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