Here is a little insight about work life in Samsung, one of the biggest korean company.

I was a bit disappointed by what I read first, but it actually seems obvious now…

This article comes from a mail exchange with a korean man currently working at Samsung. I never worked at Samsung myself.

1. Is there foreign engineers working at Samsung ?

Yes, there are a number of foreign nationals who are working at Samsung Electronics. Just to warn you, Samsung is not a software company even though they want to be one but they are far from being one. I am very disappointed with the way they treat engineers in software development, and I am not planning on staying here for very long.

I get lots of developers from india and russia, but hardly any from EU members or USA.

2. So what could be a better company to work in as a software engineer in Korea ?

I’d say stay away from any korean owned company. Mid-size companies may treat engineers better, but not many of them have the environment to hire someone who does not speak the language (not that Samsung does but samsung thinks that they do. Lots of non speaking employees feel that they are left out very often)

3. Then why Samsung is hiring foreigners ?

When it comes to a foreign hire, Samsung has to have a specific purpose. That is whether you are coming from a competitor in the industry that Samsung wants to grow or you are a Korean decent.

4. Can’t I get a job at Samsung otherwise ?

That does not mean you won’t be able to get a job but Samsung will not be willing to match your salary that you are making in France (Engineers with 2-3 years of experience make somewhere between 40-50,000,000 KRW /year before tax)[30 000€ environ NDJB]. You would typically need MS or higher or have to have 4+ years of experience to get a work permit in Korea but in your case being married to a Korean citizen should be able to get you a work permit.

In general, if you are visiting for 2 years and certain that you know where you are going back to, it might be good experience but at the same time I am not sure if you will be happy.

5. And what are the work conditions for software engineers in general ?

The work culture here is completely different than what you are probably used to. Software is not the strongest part of Samsung. The software process is really not there. Everything is done on ad-hoc basis and you will see often that people will have to work late by repeating the same task due to lack of process and right expertise.

6. How is the management ?

The manager believes that their job ends with delegation. Analyzing resources or feasibility of a job does not seem to be in their concern. Hence, you will just be given work randomly and it is your fault if you don’t finish it.

I hope you know a little more about Samsung and work in Korea. Many thanks to my correspondent for giving us an insight.

And you ? Could you work in those conditions just to get in a prestigious company ?