Two-thirds of multilingual business professionals around the world say that English is the language they use most often in their work. It’s no surprise then, that demand for English proficiency across job roles and industries is high.
In the IT and tech sector in particular, English is not only the primary coding language, it’s also becoming more important for innovation and collaboration among teams.
The problem for IT professionals, however, is that English assessment and training is broken. Many courses and tools don’t offer fully immersive experiences in English, especially in an IT scenario, when students need to practice technical vocabulary and the nuances of explaining complex tasks.
The gap poses problems for IT professionals hoping to advance in existing positions and can also prevent them from having a competitive edge over candidates when interviewing. And considering that several big tech companies are currently making layoffs, it’s even more important that employees have a firm grasp of English to stand out.
With that in mind, here’s a breakdown of the business English training gap for IT professionals, and how it can be overcome.
English coursebooks miss context
Context is key to learning a language. Human beings need concepts and phrases placed in real-world situations to best retain the information and understand their true meaning. Even more so in business, when new terms can seem particularly unfamiliar and students have to quickly master speaking in a more formal way.
Coursebooks can be useful, but they don’t provide comprehensive context. A coursebook can show a dialogue between two business professionals in English, but it’s a static example, it doesn’t allow the reader to participate themselves and completely get the context. In short, coursebooks:
- Don’t sufficiently tailor the learning experience for professionals
- Don’t always have opportunities for students to practice their English and get immediate feedback
- Don’t necessarily offer the relevant English for the person’s IT vertical
- Can become outdated (particularly in comparison to the quick-paced tech world)
Without sufficient context, professionals are less likely to have confidence about their English abilities, and are less likely to apply them at work. They then experience a vicious cycle where they believe they don’t speak business English and miss opportunities to showcase what they do know and develop further.
High test scores don’t equal English proficiency
IT professionals are highly intelligent people, and often score well on English tests. They’re used to studying and digesting information from textbooks during English communication training, so in academic settings, they may not have a problem passing exams for English. Occasionally, IT professionals arrive at jobs with impressive scores in English, yet struggle when they have to use English in their roles. The discrepancy is because they haven’t been able to use their English in context; it’s simply been stored in their brain and not exercised in work-related situations.
Think of it like studying sports for years – you might be able to name all the equipment, techniques, and moves, but that doesn’t mean that you can compete yourself. To do both, you need the knowledge and ability to apply it. For the latter, you also need real-time performance feedback. This is exactly the same as using English in the workplace.
Immediate feedback is essential for greater English proficiency because it:
- Lessens the gap between high English test scores and improved English proficiency
- Gives students direct, constructive assessments about their English, to make corrections faster
- Helps students more easily detect grammar rules and connections between letters and pronunciations (learn in a more intuitive manner)
- Gives professionals the confidence to discuss niche topics and to trust that they have correctly understood difficult conversations
Tools bridging the training gap
Teachers are of course brilliant educators and mentors for people learning business English, but they need their own tech toolkit to give context to students. Using diverse resources ensures that students have a more encompassing and engaging learning experience, and that they’re realistically prepared to use their English at work.
With ELSA, IT professionals can:
- Prepare for a speaking exam
- Get ready for a job interview
- Improve day-to-day conversations in English
- Communicate in work meetings
- Avoid misunderstandings
The AI-powered ELSA Speech Analyzer serves as a fluency coach for IT professionals, who can speak freely to the tool and get real-time, personalized feedback about what they said. Speech Analyzer is specialized for conversational English, so it helps students build natural intonation, expand their active vocabulary, and gather feedback on their grammar. Additionally, IT professionals can upload recordings of their meetings to the analyzer, and retroactively evaluate their English.
ELSA Speech Analyzer was developed using voice data from people with a variety of accents in English. As a result, the tool can recognize speech patterns from non-native speakers and deliver more impactful feedback on how people understand English and how they sound when speaking it.
Interactive tools like ELSA Speech Analyzer put English in context more deeply without being intimidating to students. Professionals, therefore, can see their progress, receive positive affirmation, and can be more confident about their English in business environments.
Try Speech Analyzer for free and make your business English a done deal.
Enjoyed this article? Read more about how to sound more confident at work with ELSA.