• Germany edition
 
Hundreds of great job opportunities for foreign professionals at Germany's top employers - in cooperation with Monster, Experteer, Stepstone, and CareerBuilder.
What
Where
3,528
jobs available
Find English-speaking professionals with The Local.
Advertise a vacancy
My German Career
'Germany is the Mecca of the car industry'
Photo: Private

'Germany is the Mecca of the car industry'

Published: 08 Apr 2013 06:02 CET

The 27-year-old Athar Mohammed Khan received his bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering in India. He moved to Germany in September 2010 after having worked with commercial vehicle manufacturer Ashok Leyland for three years. Since October last year, he's made the transition from a student to a full-time employee in the automobile industry.

How did you end up coming to Germany and where did you study?

I had been planning to go to the US to pursue a master's degree, but I started looking at universities in Germany and realized that they were really good. The kind of research carried out in the automotive field is great, not to mention the fee structure and the student jobs as research assistants, so it is a good option financially as well as to get some experience. I studied automotive engineering at the RWTH in Aachen.

Can you speak German?

When I came here, I had no knowledge of German but I did three levels of language courses. My German friends used to help me out a lot. However, knowing the technical terminology is very important in my field, and I am now getting that training on the job.

What is your current job?

I'm working at Delphi Automotives, an American company which is currently doing a project in Germany. I'm working on a development process. The aim of most automotive research at present is to make a car which has lesser fuel consumption and is low on pollution emissions. I have been working here as a testing and calibration engineer since October 2012.

How did you land your current job?

Thankfully, it has been a smooth ride for me. A recruitment agency contacted me through a social networking website. The whole process including interviews with the HR department took about three or four weeks. It was easier for me because of my previous work experience in India and because I had worked as a research assistant for a year and a half as a student in Germany.

I worked in Luxembourg for two months after I started my current job. In January, I relocated to Braunschweig, where I currently live.

Click here for The Local's job listings

Is it difficult for students to find good jobs quickly in the automotive industry?

Yes, it can be quite hard finding a job for a student because they don't have a lot of experience. In my field, you should try to figure out which specific area you want to work in while you're a student and then try and get practical experience through your thesis, jobs and so on. You should then apply for a specific job in the field because if you apply for some job simply for the sake of it, the HR guy at the other end of the table will know!

People often have the impression that there are no jobs available in Germany, but that's not true. When I realized that I would be finishing my master's thesis in four or five months, I started applying to places – that's the optimum time frame, since it can take a couple of months for the entire process.

How was your transition from having a student job to a full-time job?

The kind of work I did as a student was very similar to my current job. I got my appointment letter from Delphi while I was still working on my master's thesis, so it was a bit of a race to finish it, which I did in September. After starting work in October, I was extremely busy arranging my visa and blue card, that too from Luxembourg. So it was only in the Christmas break in December that I actually had the time to think about it all – in that sense, it was a very strange and hectic transition.

How important is it to be able to speak German in your professional life?

I think it's pretty important, not only for your job but also for everyday life. When I have to speak to the technicians on the job, I have to speak to them in technical German. My company has arranged a German language course for me which concentrates on technical knowledge.

Do you feel accepted as a foreigner?

Germany has grown to accept a lot of international people into the technical field because there's a huge dearth of people in this area. The company I'm working for is multicultural and multinational, so we are accepted as foreigners. My German colleagues help me to integrate myself into the company and the culture. Besides, I don't like to go around carrying the baggage of my culture everywhere. I like to adapt to the culture I am in.

Having worked in both India and German, what is the biggest difference you see in terms of the way of working?

The biggest difference is the structural processes and team work: each person's role is quite clearly defined in Germany compared to India. In India, people work better individually whereas here, there is more emphasis on team work.

Also, the work-life-balance is very important in Germany. In India, it's usually one or the other which takes precedence.

What is the best thing about working in Germany and what aspect don't you like?

The best thing is working in real time with the most recent developments in my field. Germany is the Mecca of the automotive industry and so you get really great experience working here. There's nothing I don't like as such – except may be the high taxes.

Do you plan on settling in Germany?

That's a difficult question to answer because I don't know what the future holds. But I have a blue card so living here long term won't be a problem for me; I know how things work in the automotive industry in Germany and I'm in the process of improving my technical German. So I would like to see what kind of opportunities come about and then decide on the future.

Want your German career featured on The Local? Contact us at: news@thelocal.de

Interview conducted by Mithila Borker.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)


Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article:

The comments below have not been moderated in advance and are not produced by The Local unless clearly stated. Readers are responsible for the content of their own comments. Comments that breach our terms and conditions will be removed.

Your German Career
What do German bosses need to do to get more out of their staff? Frankfurt-based business consultant Justin Bariso has this advice.
Germany's Federal Employment Agency has identified the job sectors the country is most short of workers for. JobTalk looks at where the vacancies lie.
Students at German universities have shown themselves to be a risk-free lot in a survey by Ernst & Young. The civil service is their most popular choice of future profession, while job security is valued above all else.
Jenny Core, originally from Bolton, England, shares her tips in this week’s My German Career on being an artist in Berlin. The 27-year-old exhibits her work regularly in the city, including next to a Turner Prize shortlister.
In this week's JobTalk, Tanya Schober, who is originally from India, talks us through her journey to German citizenship.
In this week's My German Career, Anupama Gopalakrishna, who is originally from Bangalore in India, tells The Local about her new life in Frankfurt.
German Employment News
The Local speaks to experts from the German startup scene to find out how to get a job at a freshly-minted technology company.
Volkswagen hopes to put more robots to work as it says goodbye to its retiring baby boomer employees, the company's chief of human resources wrote in the Süddeutsche Zeitung on Monday.
The jobmesse deutschland (Job Expo Germany) is rolling into Berlin on Saturday as part of its annual 18-city tour. Here's why you should go if you're looking for a job in Germany.
A new study shows more and more immigrants are starting businesses in Germany, bringing some much-needed entrepreneurial spirit to the country.
It’s not quite as romantic as the Nanny Diaries, nor is it as magical as Mary Poppins. But being an au pair in Germany can be fun, as Emma Anderson finds out.
What kind of companies are hiring foreigners in Germany? And which type of firm should you target for your next career move? Recruitment expert Chris Pyak reveals all to JobTalk.

IELTS Examiners – British Council China
The British Council is recruiting a team of IELTS examiners to be based in one of our four main cities in China: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou or Chongqing. This presents an exciting opportunity for new or current IELTS examiners to work in one of the world’s largest and most dynamic English language assessment environments
FULL JOB AD »

Associate Executive Officer
The United Nations University seeks an Associate Executive Officer to provide direct support to the Director of the Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources in a wide range of management tasks.
FULL JOB AD »

LaSalle GmbH
München
Stepstone
Added 10/24/14

Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY
Hamburg
Stepstone
Added 10/24/14

Microsoft Deutschland GmbH
München
Stepstone
Added 10/24/14

Celesio AG
Stuttgart
Stepstone
Added 10/24/14

ENGINEER-ING – eine Marke der JOB AG
Köln
Stepstone
Added 10/24/14

Philips GmbH
Hamburg
Stepstone
Added 10/24/14

SGL CARBON GmbH
Wiesbaden
Stepstone
Added 10/24/14

METRO AG
Düsseldorf
Stepstone
Added 10/24/14

Philips GmbH
Hamburg
Stepstone
Added 10/24/14

BMW Group
München
Stepstone
Added 10/24/14