In 2016, 280,000 asylum seekers came to Germany. Mohamad Babi is one of them. Since August 2019, he has been training as an IT specialist for systems integration at Bauer Media. Today, Mohamad gives us some insight into his life and his training at Bauer and tells us about the hurdles and opportunities in this new life.

Interview with Mohamad Babi, IT specialist for system integration

Mohamad, you studied business administration for two years in Syria. Why did you choose a new path once you arrived in Germany and decided to train as an IT specialist?

Even in Syria, I was interested in all computer-related topics and, in addition to my business studies, I ran my own computer shop where I also carried out repairs in the hard- and software area. That's why in Germany it was quickly clear to me that I wanted to deepen this knowledge. What I love about working as an IT specialist for systems integration is that I can help my colleagues. I like to compare my job to a "computer doctor" – people have a problem with their computer, which may have important documents on it. With the knowledge I gain during my training, I can save these computers. That makes me happy.

There are some steps to take between deciding "I'm going to become an IT specialist" and a permanent apprenticeship. How did you come to do your apprenticeship at Bauer?

After I had settled in Germany, it was important for me not to stand still. At first, my focus was on German language and integration courses and then on quickly finding an apprenticeship in my desired field of IT. Admittedly, I applied to a few companies to increase my chances. At Bauer Media Group, I got contacted right away and was invited to introduce myself in person in an interview. What I particularly liked at Bauer was the open manner of the employees who accompanied the application process. I sensed the friendly atmosphere and the open-minded corporate culture already in the first job interview. That was a reason for me to start here.

How did your job interview go? What do applicants have to bear in mind?

First of all, the interview was a lot of fun for me. Part of it was to solve a task. I had to work on a logic task and a maths task, but I was able to complete them in the allotted time. If you can think logically, you don't have to worry about that. Of course, I had to prepare well, inform myself about the company and explain in a comprehensible way why I wanted to start this apprenticeship. The most important thing, however, is the desire for IT, a good portion of openness and authenticity.

What tasks are part of your everyday training today?

My everyday life as an apprentice is divided between work in the company and vocational school. At the vocational school, I learn the basics of computer science and immerse myself in the specific content of my training profession. In the company, there is an assignment plan for each IT specialist trainee with practical teaching content, which we learn about in the individual departments. In each department, I work on my own projects in addition to the daily business. I am provided with the necessary software and at the end of each assignment I present my results to my colleagues. For me, the presentation is a great feeling every time, because I see and experience what I have learned during that time.

Doing an apprenticeship in a foreign country is difficult, especially with regards to the language. How do you manage your professional life despite the language barrier?

I've only been in Germany for a few years, but last year I passed my exam for level C1. Listening is generally easier for me than speaking. For someone who is learning German for the first time, the pronunciation of some words is not easy. There are also a lot of technical words that I don't know yet or that I am learning. But I get along well in my working life, it even helps my German skills. Personally, I learn languages best through contact with others, i.e. by using them. I have more than enough of that at work.

How has your life changed in Germany?

German culture is of course very different from the culture in my home country. Nevertheless, I find it difficult to pinpoint how my life has changed apart from the location. It's more the small things that I've come to know and adopt here in Germany. For example at the beginning, I immediately noticed the future-oriented, very sensible thinking and the meticulous planning of every little thing. I have internalised this way of thinking more and more during my time here and it has made me better.

Your training at Bauer will continue for just under another year. What do you want for the future?

First of all, I would like to finish my training in the best possible way and be taken on by Bauer in a permanent position. I'm looking forward to being able to implement my own projects. After all, as a computer scientist I always have a lot of responsibility in a company. If we make mistakes, in the worst case no one can work. In the long term, I'm aiming for a degree in computer science. Here at Bauer Media Group, too, of course.

This interview first appeared in the German Bauer Media Blog.