I stumbled upon this article by my friend Kirill: https://kirillkuprikov.substack.com/p/one-language-to-rule-them-all
He describes "the one language to rule them all". The one human language. English. The one language that opens up so many portals in entertainment, personal, and professional lives.
English seems so far away when you first start to learn it or when you just have your school basics down. And it becomes so close once you integrate it into your life.
I often get asked in which language I think. It's funny because I think I'm so deep into the different languages that "it depends". It's context-based. When I think about my mom or my wife it's my native Russian, when I think about my teenage time or friends, it's my native German brain part. When I think about coding, movies, or random stuff it's often English by now. I formulate new ideas and thoughts mostly in English. I listen to books and podcasts. And well, I also write in English as you can see at this very moment.
English took over my life, but it wasn't always like this. I let it take over because it's often more fun and because this is where the whole professional coding life happens.
But this didn't happen in one day. I made a continuous effort to get there. It started really small at school during my second chance education where I picked English as a principal subject. To become good at it I studied a lot with index cards (ANKI), physical and online, and hammered this vocabulary into my head every day. I also made myself:
- watch all my movies in the original language (also because otherwise, you take away like 50% of the actor's acting ability - their voice)
- read books in the original language (also, because these texts are "real", from the source. Kindle helps a lot imo at the beginning when your vocabulary isn't that strong yet)
- set all devices to English
Back in the time, I played poker professionally on the side and a huge part of it was learning, just like with programming. Gladly, lots of the videos and materials were in English too.
Making an effort to speak and to listen to others as much as possible in English would have been another awesome trick to immerse me into the space. For me, this was the next step when I started to study "International Computing and Media" in Berlin which had quite a bit of its studies in English.
Once I got a better grip on it, I started presenting and teaching in that language.
All in all, it was one of the best investments in my life. It opens up so many new relationships, informational channels, and job opportunities. Not only in English-speaking countries. Even at some companies in countries like Germany or in the start-up industry, there's no chance you can join without a good level of English. Especially now, post-COVID, teams are international.
Communication skills, and more specifically English communication skills, written as well as vocal, are in strong relation to your growth as an engineer and as a salaryperson. English, the better understood, pronounced, and expressed, the bigger of a value skew you offer as a workforce.
So, if you still feel to not have enough English yet, just make the switch to all things English and try to immerse yourself as I did back in the day. It's worth it anyway, no matter where it ends up bringing you. But be aware, you might get lost in that world without a clear way back 😁