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Minimizing the Challenges Non-Native English Speakers Face in the Engineering Sector

Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Fairness
Hiring
Personal growth
Motivation

10 April, 2019

Iman Rahmatizadeh, senior engineering manager at Quantcast, delivers a comprehensive approach to offer second language speakers a more level playing field in the engineering realm.

Problem

I see many engineers facing challenges with English and thusly, struggling to communicate with a rich vocabulary. I have seen an unfair advantage for native English speakers across every company that I have been a part of. They are able to express their ideas more frequently and elegantly, therefore, allowing people to more easily buy into their ideas. This is where underdeveloped English speakers lack efficiency in that respect.

Actions taken

I am aware of these precautionary disadvantages when hiring second language learners and have developed a plan. First, I begin by talking to them and notify them of how this situation may affect them. Sometimes they are open to talking about this and other times they are not. What you have to do is break that guard they have against you in a good way so that they learn to trust you. Second, we develop a plan together using the arsenal of tools I have generated to help people grow their English. From books to podcasts and even language coaches, I have convinced my company to support these expenses for the engineering team.
Finally, using these tools that I have put forth to train engineers, I track them with that. I give them stretch goals in order to attain certain developmental marks within a certain period of time. For example, I would want them to be able to present to all the engineers in a years time. We would move forward by picking a topic together and have them aim towards building comfortability in talking and answering the questions that may arise during the presentation. Basically, get them comfortable speaking fluently about engineering topics.

Lessons learned

Offering developmental strategies to better the English language of engineers is a highly recommendable approach to presenting them with the same opportunities that come so effortlessly to native English speakers. It greatly impacts their development and exposure to the rest of the engineering world, as well as, their overall growth.


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