When in Rome…or Tech In This Instance

Blog – When in Rome-Cover-New|When in Rome…or Tech In This Instance

As a Copywriter working in a software development company when you are not a developer yourself feels a lot like being in a foreign country where you don’t understand the native language. Trying to learn the language using Google search leaves you with more questions than answers…well, that’s been my personal experience.

So, in a bid to try to make the most of my new adventure here, I took to that trusty search engine…you know, to show more initiative than my initial thoughts of adhering to Skipper The Penguin’s advice to “Just smile and wave”.

I’ll have you know; my attempts were futile what with Google misunderstanding my long, detailed sentence searches and giving me advice on what I could do to become a Software Developer…so I decided to do the next best thing I could think of and sought the metaphorical version of the information I was seeking:

“How to survive in a foreign country when you don’t speak/understand the language”

And sure, as fate, I found exactly what I was looking for!

According to the article I came across, there are four rookie notes to take to ensure that you don’t only survive but thrive in a new environment. I found them to be useful in my scenario. I hope they will be of value to you too:

Rookie Note #1: Normalise Your Fears

This first note looks at the sobering experience that comes with being in a new environment, especially one where you are unable to ask for directions or spark up a conversation (no need to worry about that here, Devs don’t do small talk) Bad joke I know? I’m sorry.

Anyway, the point here is to realize that the experience, though new to you, is not unique (and no, I’m not throwing the “you’re not that special” shade).

Find comfort in knowing that many people have and are still pursuing new career paths, in new environments where they too are feeling worried and anxious. If they can survive, so can you.

Rookie Note #2: There Is Strength In Numbers

Here we look at how being in common spaces where people congregate can help you run into a few people that speak a language you do understand. In the workplace, this would mean ditching the idea of having lunch at your workspace or in your car (the idea is tempting, I know) and actually (introverts, cover your eyes) putting yourself out there. You’d be surprised how many people you can actually relate to.

Rookie Note #3: Write It Down

This note looks at how writing down the names of the different places you want to visit, right through to the directions to your accommodation can make your life easier in a foreign place.  Similarly, although you may not be from a tech background or understand the “lingo” by writing down the phrases or terminology you do not understand and mustering up the courage to ask can really come in handy (Teamwork is a big part of the All-Star Team so there is always someone that’s willing to help). And last, but certainly not least:

Rookie Note #4: Learn Key Phrases

Here, we look at how you can also do your bit by learning how to say some basic phrases in the foreign language not only to get your basic needs met but to also show the locals that you are willing to try.

I’ve found this to be true. You know that phrase about not laughing at someone that mispronounces a word because it means they learned it from reading? It’s a similar idea here. The fact that you are mispronouncing the word/words at all means you have a willingness to learn.

Showing some effort is always a good idea. As long as you show that you are trying, there is always someone there to help and maybe show you a few more tricks of the trade. Also, remember to be willing to be corrected without taking offense…we learn and we GROW!

With this information in hand, I’ve managed to navigate my way through this cool techy jungle. I don’t entirely know the language yet, BUT I’m learning and growing…are you?

So to answer the “Do you speak code?” question: No, not yet anyway. Will pidgin code suffice?

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Sinethemba Thwala

Sinethemba Thwala

Copy Writer at BET Software

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