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Useful 2nd Languages for Your Tech Career

Programming languages aren’t the only ones that could help you land a job. In an increasingly global engineering marketplace, knowing a language other than English can make a difference in being hired, promoted, or increasing your earning potential.

 

Indeed Prime has broken down which languages can give you a leg up in your career.


German

 

As the official and co-official language of Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the European Union, it’s no surprise that German ranks as one of the most in-demand and highest paid languages. It has the highest median U.S. salary for jobs that require language ability and can provide a 3.8% salary bonus increase. Knowing German is particularly lucrative for computer systems analysts, boosting their median annual salary to $137,500.

 

While many native English speakers consider German one of the more difficult European language to learn, it’s definitely worth the investment for workers in the engineering and technology fields.


French

 

Spoken by over 200 million people across multiple continents, French is the second most in-demand language. It is the official and co-official language in 29 countries, which are located in Europe, Africa, North America, and Oceania. Knowing French is especially useful for engineering jobs emerging in the Caribbean and Africa. Furthermore, with Canada being the US’s number one trading partner, knowing our neighbor’s second official language can boost your professional worth. Proficiency in French can earn you a 2.3% salary bonus increase.

 

French is considered somewhat similar to English, making it one of the easier languages for native English speakers to learn. In fact, French is the second most studied foreign language.


Mandarin Chinese

 

There are seven main dialectical groups of spoken Chinese, the most common of which is Mandarin. As the official language of mainland China since 1913, Mandarin is spoken by two-thirds of the Chinese population. Often, even those who speak a different dialect will still know or understand a little bit of Mandarin. It can be found in Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia too, giving Mandarin over one billion native speakers. With China, Taiwan, and Singapore’s economic strength, proficiency in Mandarin is an asset.

 

With that said, if you’re bilingual or already have professional proficiency in Mandarin, you’re in luck. If you don’t know any Mandarin, this language is one of the hardest for native English speakers to learn.

 

Get matched with an exciting tech role today

 


Portuguese

 

Portuguese is the fourth most sought after language (behind Mandarin, Spanish and French) by US employers. As the the official language in Portugal, Brazil, and a handful of African countries, it’s spoken by over 200 million people. Not only is knowing Portuguese useful because of Brazil’s growing economic development, Portugal is also making a name for itself. With a 2.5% growth rate and unemployment below 10%, Portugal has begun attracting plenty of tech startups.

 

Portuguese is considered one of the easiest languages for native English speakers to learn.


Arabic

 

Arabic is the fifth most spoken language in the world. The Arab region is one of the wealthiest in the world, with over $600 billion in GDP. It presents an abundance of market opportunities in the oil, energy, and military industries, which rely on tech talent. Since western Arabic speakers are low in supply but high in demand, proficiency in this language could set you apart from other job candidates.

 

Unfortunately, Arabic is considered one of the hardest languages to learn for native English speakers. It also encompasses several dialects, the most common being Modern Standard, which is the official language in over 20 countries.


Honorable Mention: Japanese

 

Japan’s high-tech economy is that third largest in the world. Learning Japanese can be particularly useful for those in automobile or mobile technology industries and software developers. Furthermore, despite having English-speaking US offices, companies like Sony and Toyota still value Japanese proficiency in their employees.

 

Japanese is considered one of the hardest languages to learn for native English speakers. However, it is worth learning if you are interested in Japanese companies or technical innovation in Japan.


If you have professional proficiency in one or more of the languages above, congratulations! Take your career development to the next level and sign up for Indeed Prime, where you can show off all of language skills to top tech companies looking to hire first rate talent.


Tanya Marinkovic is a member of the content development team for Indeed Prime, the best job search tool for tech talent.

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