Success Stories

Sometimes the greatest challenge is to leave the country where a one was born. These changes cause us great difficulties, but allow us to rediscover ourselves. Mustafa Geçmez (33) is the first guest in my series of success stories and tells us about his journey – from journalism to web development. His motto: “There is no obstacle that can be overcome without effort.”

Blick auf Istanbul
Mustafa Geçmez grew up in Istanbul and made a new start in Germany, mainly due to the political situation in Turkey. Foto: Selcuk Teke/pexels

Could you please briefly explain to our readers who Mr. Mustafa Geçmez is?

I was born on the 15. June 1987 in Istanbul and then grew up there. I graduated from Istanbul University with a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree in Turkish Language and Literature. After that I worked as a journalist as well as a correspondent and editor. I came to Germany four years ago for political reasons. From that moment on, I started to learn German. For two years I attended intensive German courses and now I have the C1 language certificate.

What was your process of learning German? What was your goal in doing so?

Indeed, one should realize how important it is to learn the new language. This then took the first place of tasks in my life. I knew that this was the only way I could do it. First, I attended intensive German courses from A1 to C1 level. Every day I listened to Easy podcasts in German (author’s note: Easy offers podcasts for learning German). After I reached the intermediate level, I watched videos and shorter movies in German and understood them quite well. At that time, I had little time in my life for anything else.

How did you decide what career to build after the language training?

It was quite difficult for me to work as a journalist in Germany. That’s why I researched in which field I could get a chance to grow and where I wanted to work. Then I decided to go into the IT field (author’s note: information technology), and I had three options to choose from. Either I could have studied computer science, started an apprenticeship in the IT field, or completed a retraining program and a one-year bootcamp. Fortunately, I have some German friends who work in the IT field. From them I got a lot of information about the profession. Then I thought that this should become my new branch. At that time, a continuing education course for computer science started in my city, and I signed up for it.

How does a continuing education course like that work? What are the difficult or also the enjoyable aspects?

I would say that it was a demanding training – both practically and theoretically. It took place from 9:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. every day. IT was my new field, consequently I had to understand the logic of programming. What was difficult for me was that the course was held online because of Corona. Therefore, I couldn’t understand some lessons and had to learn some things by myself on websites and forums that I didn’t understand before. After a few months, I was able to develop my first website.

That increased my motivation – you need a success in between. In addition, an important part of the course was that we always developed new projects in practice. After two months, we were supposed to do a final project in the course, with which we were supposed to apply to a company. After the presentation, some friends of mine in the course got a job offer. That was also a very good feeling.

What was the application process like?

First of all, I prepared a resume in English and in German. I had also opened an account on Linkedln and on Xing. Then I applied for a suitable position on these platforms as a web developer. Already after a short time there was a positive feedback from a company. Then we discussed technical issues of the application on the phone and I was invited to the interview.

What was the biggest challenge for you in this job interview?

The training was in English, so I had to practice German again for the interview. Because this was in German and that really made me a bit nervous. After the first technical interview on the phone, I had to explain a technical product in German. During this interview, some questions were asked about the product. That was a real challenge!

And then there was what answer?

I got a secure job offer that exceeded my expectations.

Congratulations! What do you recommend to others who are currently learning German and want to go into IT?

First of all, on the way to the job, I have experienced the great importance of German. I recommend that even though the IT language is mostly English, you learn German to the best of your ability. Further, I recommend first and foremost that the person should research themselves. What education do I have? What age and character do I have? Because perseverance and discipline play a big role in this profession. But with the right attitude and some effort, there is no obstacle to achieve the goal.

Portrait von Kahn Kizilbaba
Author of our new series of articles “Success Stories” Foto: Kaan Kizilbaba

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