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This is how immigration alleviates the shortage of IT specialists: an example

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This is how immigration alleviates the shortage of IT specialists: an example

Cloudyrion founder Okay Güler and Sewar Khalifeh, who came to Germany from Jordan for an IT job. CLOUDYRION

Okay Güler came to Germany with his parents from Turkey as a child. He is the founder and head of Cloudyrion, a specialist IT security company in Düsseldorf.

Sewar Khalifeh has been working at Cloudyrion since September. She comes from Jordan and decided to get a job in Germany after studying IT in Ammann.

I spoke to both of them about their history, about the shortage of skilled workers and women in IT – and the opportunities that immigration has for Germany.

Okay Güler came to Germany from Turkey with his parents as a child. He was enthusiastic about programming and founded an IT security company in Düsseldorf. Cloudyrion is successful, growing and creating jobs. But good IT specialists are rare in Germany. So Güler searched internationally – and found Sewar Khalifeh in Jordan. Actually, the young IT specialist found him and the open position at Cloudyrion quite easily via Linkedin. After studying IT in Ammann, the world was open to Khalifeh. She chose Germany. I spoke to both of them about their path, prejudices about IT nerds and their view of immigration.

With his startup, Güler is closing several gaps that are making it difficult for Germany to return to dynamic growth. One of the things that is missing in the German economy are founders, young companies and specialists in the IT sectors and professions. Güler has filled this gap in 2020 Cloudyrion founded – and is now recruiting IT specialists for Germany.

Güler came to Germany from Turkey as a child. His parents left their homeland for political reasons, he says and emphasizes: “In the debate, a distinction is now often made between the immigration of skilled workers and other migration. But: My parents were not professionals. I had to learn everything again. Now I have my own business here and I hire people.”

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In the 90s, Güler started working with IT. This led him to study IT at the Ruhr University in Bochum. He was fascinated by the “ethical hacker” scene. Güler calls them “hackers for a good cause. Their goal is to make the world a safer place. They are not interested in personal gain.” So Güler became a “good hacker” herself. “After completing my studies, I initially worked as a freelancer in IT security, also for a car manufacturer in Ingolstadt and Munich,” says Güler.

“I then founded Cloudyrion at the beginning of 2020.” So immediately before the start of the corona pandemic. “At first there were big problems with Corona, but then there was a push for us because the issue of IT security has become much more important,” says Güler. Sewar Khalifeh also knows this: “Covid has made our profession more important. There are now higher regulatory requirements and, due to remote work, there is also a greater need for companies.

Güler wanted to remain flexible and self-determined in the growing market. He decided against investors to finance himself from his own business (bootstrapping). After three years, his company employs 20 people and achieves seven-figure sales. “We will continue to grow. We need specialists. We are a German, but above all a European company,” he says. So Güler is constantly looking for good people – like every IT company in Germany.

“Of course, good skilled workers are rare in our area,” says the founder and follows two approaches: “In recruiting, we work closely with the Ruhr University, where I studied myself. RU Bochum has a very good job in the security sector.”

Türkiye is becoming more important for immigration of IT specialists

And: “We position ourselves internationally in recruiting and also work with agencies.” For him, the home of his parents is a market for talent. “Turkey is becoming more important for us. There are many well-educated young people in Turkey, but few good prospects. “Many are looking for opportunities with employers in other countries,” says Güler.

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“Five years ago it was more difficult to attract talent from Turkey. Today, after the long period of high inflation and because of the growing political uncertainty in Turkey, working for a German company has become more attractive.”

A little further away, Sewar Khalifeh came across Cloudyrion and the opportunity to work in Germany. “I graduated from college in Amman three years ago,” from the Princess Sumaya University for Technology. She then worked at Arab Bank in cybersecurity. In Jordan’s capital, she saw the job in Düsseldorf on Linkedin and applied. “At Cloudyrion I liked the mission and goals. I also wanted to go into consulting. The job description ‘Security by Design’ is exactly what I wanted,” she remembers.

In Germany, Khalifeh can clear up two common misunderstandings: that IT is more for young people and men, even more so in an Arab country like Jordan. On the contrary: “In Jordan it is not the case that there are far fewer girls and women working in IT,” she says. “The ratio is not quite 50/50, but the proportion of women is significantly higher than in Germany.” She gives two reasons as an explanation: “There are many positive role models for women in IT in Jordan.” And: “For many people, IT is a chance for a good job.”

“Promoting girls in IT should start in kindergarten”

The second misconception is that careers in IT are only for nerds. Güler is also working against this. “But it’s completely normal work. In IT, and also in IT security, there are not only jobs for programmers and hackers. There are also other important jobs, such as project manager or controller.” But in Germany he still sees a long way to get more girls and women interested in IT. “Promoting girls and women in IT should start right in kindergarten.”

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“As a woman in the cybersecurity world, I also want to bring my unique perspective and break barriers in a field that is traditionally dominated by men,” says Khalifeh. The most important thing is to deliver excellent performance.”

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But why did Khalifeh choose Germany among many options? A country whose language she first had to learn and must continue to learn. “Germany is a very exciting place to work and live,” she says. “The shortage of IT specialists here represents a great opportunity for a career in this profession.”

From her point of view, Germany was also favored by the fact that it already had points of contact here. “I have family in Germany, I could ask them too.”

What I found interesting in our conversation was that both Güler and Khalifeh mentioned the bureaucratic hurdles when entering the German labor market, but described the effort as annoying and excessive, rather than a real obstacle.

Sewar Khalifeh has been in Germany since September. “I am positively surprised by the extent of the diversity.” And what’s not so good in Germany so far: “The bureaucracy – and the weather.”

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