Michele Dorigatti signed up to SFX-IT after moving to Stockholm from his native Italy in 2016. The IT programmer, who had a Bachelor of Computer Science and five years of experience as a developer under his belt, had always dreamed of living abroad. After researching different options he settled on Sweden, knowing he could rely on his English skills to find work in the tech industry.
While Michele correctly assumed he could get by speaking just English, he soon decided it was time to start learning the local language.
“I started with the regular language schools but I wasn’t really satisfied, so I changed between four or five schools altogether. There are a lot of possibilities so you have to really search and ask around,” he explains.
Then he discovered SFX-IT, a specialised language course for IT professionals. It particularly appealed to Michele as he was keen to study alongside industry peers with similar motivation and competences.
Besides the Swedish and IT lessons, once a week practical career-focussed lessons are on the agenda. Michele says these were especially useful and prepared him for his future position at ÅF, a Swedish engineering and design firm.
Photo: Michele Dorigatti
“Sometimes they invited a company to speak to us and it was more focussed on general things that are useful for all students, like how to deliver an investor pitch. I really appreciated that because they actually asked me to do a pitch at my company,” he told The Local.
Nils Johansson, an IT-teacher at the school says SFX-IT also gives students the practical skills to conduct themselves in Swedish in professional situations by teaching industry-specific vocabulary.
Read also: How to start a programming career in Sweden
“I try to take the more tech-focussed Swedish words that I bring up in class and put them in a list of words. In each lesson the students learn words that come up in class or are related to IT,” he explains.
Nils is a recent addition to the teaching staff at SFX-IT after C#, the programming language he teaches, was added earlier this year to the offerings available to students taking lessons at the C3L Center for Lifelong Learning in Tyresö.
“They had similar courses in Java but they wanted to try a beginners’ course in C# which is commonly used in professional settings. They wanted a professional who had experience working in Sweden’s IT industry to teach the course,” he says.
C# classes are proving to be popular with students, due to the demand for the versatile programming language in Sweden’s tech industry.
“It’s highly sought-after because you can do whatever you want with it. You can make games or you can make professional systems for handling banking, for example. You can do anything,” Nils explains.
Michele says he feels lucky to have graduated with not only a new language, but also certifications in both Java and C#, which could otherwise have cost in the region of $250 (€216) per certification.
Both students and teachers agree that integration is a key outcome of the course. Although not required, Michele says he feels more integrated and included when using his Swedish skills in the workplace.
“I started my position at ÅF in November while I was still studying. It is an international company where it’s possible to do everything in English but I speak Swedish every day and my life is easier because of that.”
Nils agrees that speaking Swedish isn’t a dealbreaker when it comes getting hired in Sweden, but it does make finding work and integrating with colleagues much easier.
“It’s not impossible to get a job in programming if you don’t speak Swedish. When you work with IT in Stockholm, you work with a lot of consultants who come from other countries so I’m very used to speaking English, but if you know more of the local language, you’ll have a better chance,” he says.
It took Michele a few attempts to find the right Swedish school, but he feels he eventually found the right fit with the industry-specialised course at SFX-IT.
“I would highly recommend it. Out of all the schools I’ve been to it’s definitely the best.”
This article was produced by The Local Creative Studio and sponsored by SFX-IT.