If you are studying science, engineering or technology you may also have the option to study a modern language, or perhaps you already speak other languages
You may wonder about opportunities for using both your technical or science degree and your languages in your career, and to give you an edge over rival candidates.
Companies in sectors such as biotechnology, manufacturing, IT or engineering are likely to be interested in the technical content of your degree and your work experience. Language skills are a useful addition, with companies increasingly involved in joint ventures or setting up projects and winning contracts overseas.
In larger organisations especially, you are likely to work in multicultural or multinational teams as employers seek to recruit talented staff from all over the world. Your language skills may also put you in the best position to get work abroad, if this appeals to you.
A good grasp of the language is important for technical discussions, where getting the fine detail of a design specification right, or understanding the contents of a scientific research paper accurately, is essential. Contact is always more immediate, and sometimes more accurate, if you don't have to work with a translator as an intermediary.
If you are working in any project leadership or training function, being able to speak to your staff in their own language has clear benefits. At a more down-to-earth level, it is simply good to be able to socialise and communicate well with all your colleagues, and things usually run more smoothly that way.
If you have technological aptitude and are good at spotting opportunities, work as an IT consultant might appeal.
Whether you're consulting with colleagues in your own organisation or working for external clients, multinational projects are likely and the ability to build relationships quickly is essential. This makes languages a real asset.
Consultants are the interface between the business and contracted hardware providers or software specialists. Being able to find innovative solutions that improve efficiency is more important than having detailed technical knowledge, so applicants from all disciplines are welcome. Job titles vary, with terms such as business technology specialist reflecting the balance of commercial nous and technical talent required for the work.
Employers who aren't specialist consulting firms sometimes have difficulty attracting high calibre candidates, so it's worth looking for opportunities across a range of industry sectors to increase your chances of success.
Many roles in research and development can make good use of language skills and draw from a wide range of subjects, because teams tend to be multidisciplinary. Bringing together skilled and knowledgeable staff from varied backgrounds makes for a stimulating working environment. This field suits graduates who enjoy the challenge of involvement in cutting edge developments and like seeing results.
Some projects may be completed quickly, but patience and the ability to maintain motivation are important as some endeavours may never come to fruition.
Product/process development scientists work alongside other professionals, such as research scientists (life sciences, physical sciences, maths and medical) and manufacturing engineers, to devise and implement innovations or improvements.
For more information about the wide range of technical jobs you could combine with language skills, take a look at job sectors, including:
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