Not being able to speak Swedish isn’t a deal-breaker if you want to work in Sweden’s tech industry, but learning the local lingo does give you a big advantage. For Ukranian national Anna Tytarenko, who is currently in the first semester of Swedish for Programmers (SFX-IT), a specialised Swedish language course for tech professionals, speaking Swedish is key to getting a foot in the door of the industry.
“In my experience, it’s key to both understand and be able to speak the Swedish language in the Swedish IT industry. Most of your colleagues in Sweden will speak Swedish with one another and your boss usually expects you to learn good Swedish as soon as possible.”
Photo: C3L Tyresö
SFX-IT teacher Linus Lindgren says he is surprised by how quickly students get the hang of Swedish IT lingo. The part-time instructor, who also runs his own IT business, says that his courses aren’t just about learning the language - he always incorporates practical skills and provides insight into how the Swedish tech workplace ticks. He adds that students are also required to give presentations about their coding projects in Swedish which makes learning the typical tech vocabulary a requisite for progressing in the course.
Key to integration
Many job postings (even on LinkedIn) are written in Swedish – and many vacancies require a good grasp of Swedish. According to Anna, who holds an advanced degree in computer science and worked in the IT sector in Ukraine before relocating to Stockholm, learning the lingo of the Swedish IT workplace is key to integrating and becoming a part of the team.
“Our instructors – many of them working professionals in the IT industry – teach us both the coding and IT slang that is used in Sweden,” Anna tells The Local, adding that all her courses are primarily taught in Swedish. “This helps us to understand the working culture better as well as the Swedish language in general.”
Photo: C3L Tyresö
Whatever SFX-IT is doing, it’s doing it right. Linus recalls past students have successfully been able to land internships or jobs before their studies are even complete.
“In the past, students who had prior knowledge of the programming language C#, and who have also worked diligently and proactively to learn Swedish, have been able to land internships before even graduating from my course,” says Linus. “Insofar as I try my best to impart my own industry expertise, for anyone who has some tech background, the course is a good introduction to what it takes to thrive in the Swedish IT industry.”
C3L Tyresö’s SFX-IT – Swedish for Programmers course is open to anyone interested in kickstarting a career in the Swedish IT industry. The part-time course is offered in-person at the C3L Center for Lifelong Learning in Tyresö, is available for distance learning and can be combined with full-time employment.
This article was produced by The Local Creative Studio and sponsored by C3L Tyresö.