English language: An imperative skill for the remote worker
Accessing the global economy and a pool of job offers at exciting companies is only possible if you can communicate in today's business language: English.
It is shocking to see people still unable to interact with others in English, at least in a professional way, becoming a stopper in their professional growth.
At the same time, it is harder to learn a new language while growing as an adult, and studies confirm the best moment is in your childhood. The challenge is fundamental for developing economies, where other subjects take part in the core curricula in schools, and everything is designed to happen in their native language. However, the implications of not learning English today are a long-term stopper to getting access to better jobs, earnings, and overall quality of life.
Having interviewed engineers all over Latin America for the last few years, I wanted to test their English skills. So I typically started any conversation about a job opportunity in English, at least to filter their proficiency. The surprising part was that many people couldn't speak it but knew they needed it to aspire to another level of professional offering. They openly asked for support or tools to learn English and get access to another level of opportunities.
In the context of the tech and knowledge industries, being capable of speaking in English is a must. As a result, the fastest growing teams are mainly concentrated in the US, with a diversification of team members, but with the standard of communicating, documenting, and delivering everything in English.
Someone needing to improve their English or unwilling to take the challenges to learn and perfect their English abilities could be missing opportunities to build a more extensive network and a way to build wealth long-term. Also, their professional capabilities will be more challenging to be exposed to. Think about a big conference or selective public events to share your experiences and projects to be considered as a subject matter expert.
Even though your mother tongue can be used and many tools can support real-time translation, positioning you in a different spot in a conversation, many things can be loose in the translation: context and corporal language, to mention a few. Idioms or slang also make a difference between earning a new ally in your company and not being able to talk to that person again.
My advice to the upcoming generations will be to learn, enhance and perfect the ability to communicate in English as a remote professional. There are many tools available: Duolingo or Coursera, for example, but there's also an opportunity for verticalized, hyper-personal solutions to accelerate the process — think about a course for sales professionals, and practice all the interactions in terms of their day-to-day activities like negotiation, persuasion and finding common ground. Also, the practical aspect of using the language is crucial to grasp the details. Finally, throwing away any lack of confidence or shyness to feel comfortable while speaking a foreign language is essential. Many people feel anxious about using a second language. Still, the reality is that despite any accent, lousy pronunciation, or missing a word, you will be different and remembered as another person from another part of the world who knew more than just one language. You will be part of their memories.
Learn, practice, and perfect your English to unlock world-class opportunities.