Germany: the top destination for Software Engineers

Bas

Updated on Aug 31 • 6 minute read

Is Germany good for software engineers?

You’re an IT mastermind or a software engineering wizard and you’re looking to broaden your horizons at a top destination for software engineers. Where do you go? There are shortages for knowledgable computer engineers all over the world, but some places are better than others. Is Germany one of the best places for software engineers? Yes it is! So let’s take a look at why Germany is the best place for internationals in IT & software engineering to find rewarding and well-paid work.

Germany, for software engineers

Let’s get started by taking a look at some of the basic information about Germany but from the perspective of an IT professional (and maybe a little like a tech-nerd). We’ll take a brief look at what the people are like, and if your English is enough to get you around. Depending on where you’re coming from and what you’re used to, general safety might be something you’re wondering about before making the move.

The Language & people

Chances are you haven’t gotten the chance to pick up much German before you considered moving to Germany, so what are your options? English is the main language for many of the international companies and startups that make up your prospective new work environment. And, if you happen to end up in a German-speaking company, the IT and engineering departments often still have a relatively high proficiency in English. That said, though, if you’ve decided to make Germany your new home it will help you score points with the locals to make at least a dedicated attempt to learning the language. Thankfully, the German people are easy to warm up to, if you can just get past their strict, efficient and direct facade.

Safety

Like any country, some of the areas in major cities are less safe than others. Compared to other countries, though, Germany is really quite a safe country. There’s little to no corruption, hardly any public unrest and the country has strong social security measures in place that make sure that nobody really needs to resolve to crime. Of course, you shouldn’t leave your doors unlocked or leave your belongings unattended on public transport, but that’s about the worst you need to stay vigilant of in everyday life. With all this, it’s no surprise that even the country’s capital Berlin is the #7 safest city in the world in our safest cities for internationals ranking.. If you're bringing your family and you're looking for the safest tech-focused city around, then Munich is the place for you!

Internet speeds

As a software engineer, programmer or general IT whizz, you’ve probably had to deal with working on a bad internet connection. If you ask me, it’s better to have no internet than slow internet. Thankfully, Germany has doubled its average internet speed from around 27Mbps in 2015 to around 55 Mbps in 2020 (Cisco, 2020). Compared to other countries like the US (18-50 Mbps depending on the state) or India (13 Mbps), you'll be a lot better off in your online adventures! So, unless you’re moving to someplace in the remote countryside, you can probably get your hands on even faster connections for all your hosting, gaming, streaming and cloud storage needs.

Benefits of working in Germany as a software engineer

Job seekers have been looking to Germany for their career opportunities for decades. There has to be something about the country and its culture that attracts so many tech-minded expats. Let's take a look!

Social security for expats

When you work in Germany, you automatically contribute to the social security system in Germany. This way you contribute important safety nets that some other countries lack. Even as an expat, these safety nets become available to you when you work here. This includes, pension provisions, unemployment benefits and public health insurance. For example, even an expat worker like you can claim unemployment benefits if you become unemployed after having paid contributions to the German social security fund for at least 12 months in the last two years. The contributions to the social security system amount to about 20% of your gross income. The other 20% of the contribution is shouldered by your employer.

Expat communities in Germany

Germany is one of the gateway countries of Europe, which means that Germany is not only one of the largest economic engines in Europe, but also one of its largest trade hubs. This means Germany is no stranger to other cultures, and expats have been moving to Germany for decades. This means that major cities like Berlin and Munich have sizeable expat and international communities, with even some neighbourhoods featuring expat communities, or even areas where people from specific cultures live close together. So, when you move to Germany, it’s a good idea to kickstart your social life by joining a local expat group that aligns with your favourite sport or activity.

Top Tech Hubs for Engineers in Germany

As an Engineer, you could essentially get to work all across Germany. However, there are some places that are more interesting for you, as an Engineer specifically. Let's take a look at some of the places where you'll find some of the best tech jobs around.

Berlin - the Silicon Allee

Where the US has Silicon valley, Berlin has the Silicon Alley! The Silicon Allee campus is a hotspot for high tech startups that are always looking for engineering talent, allowing you to further develop your skills and really make an impact building the code base for these up and coming companies. With Brexit and London out the way, Berlin is poised to be the Business capital of the EU, with giants like Airbnb, Facebook and succesful startups like N26 at the helm.

Munich

While the Berlin campus is eager to borrow the name, Munich is also known as the Silicon Valley of Europe. If you're into application development, drones and Artificial intelligence, Munich is a great destination for you. Munich is home to major German corporations. like Allianz and BMW, but also host international supercompanies for engineer, such as IBM, Google and Microsoft General Electrics. So, if you're looking to make your career in IT and software engineerin, Munich makes a really good home base for you.

Stuttgart

If you're a car nut, Germany is the country for you! Take the Stuttgart area, for example. Here you'll find the locations where top brand like Porsche and Daimler work their automechanical magic! So if you're into helping luxury car brands code their way to their next supercar, you'll feel at home in Stuttgart!

Hamburg

Over the years, Hamburg has been building itself a reputation as a tech hub, starting with Google's office in the city in 2001. Facebook followed in 2010, and it was also home to Airbnb's first office outside the US since 2011. These days you'll also find a number of other popular tech employers for internships in Hamburg just like full-time positions, including Dropbox, Twitter and Microsoft.

Additionally, a new digital campus called HammerBrooklyn has been constructed by the city of Hamburg, 'designed as a central location for digital transformation, international companies, organisations and start-ups from a variety of fields will come together to cooperate, experiment, learn and bring innovations to life'(Hamburg.com). So, if you're looking for a tech environment that's blossoming at the same rate as your career, you might do well to hand out your resume in Hamburg.

Opportunities for Indian software engineers

If you’re an Indian IT professional, Germany can be an attractive destination! At the same time, you’re not an EU citizen, so making sure you get the right visa and documents to be eligible to work in Germany can be difficult on your own. Thankfully, the German economy is very happy to accept the best and brightest programmers that this world has to offer! A good strategy to get started in Germany is to find a job at a medium-to-large company. Why? These companies have more resources and are often looking outside the local job market to fill positions. While your skills and talent make up your ticket to Europe, the help a German company looking to hire you can offer you by sponsoring your visa is what's going to make sure you actually get on the plane!

IT & Software engineering salaries in Germany

Time to get real. Time to ask some of the real questions! The money, the moolah, the salaries. Let’s take a look at the salary numbers for programmers and software engineers in Germany.

What is the average salary for software developers in Germany?

A software engineer in Germany earns an average of € 60,500 (Stepstone Gehaltsreport 2020). Of course, this number varies with education, experience and specialisation, as well as bonuses, commissions and other benefits that some companies offer their IT professionals. Depending on where you go in Germany, the salary might also vary. It’s a fact that salaries tend to be higher in the southern parts of Germany.

These days, software engineering and programming skills are a hot commodity in almost any industry, so let’s take a look at the top salaries for IT professionals per industry:

  • Consumer goods: € 71,400
  • Banking: € 71,000
  • Automotive: € 69,400
  • Medical &Pharmaceuticals: € 67,900
  • Financial service providers: € 67,900
  • Metal industry: € 67,500

So, no matter where your passion or purpose lies, you'll be able to make an excellent living and develop your skills at some of the most advanced companies and industries in Europe.

In short

There we go! Now you know why you want to give your IT career an upgrade by hunting for a software engineering job in Germany! The country needs skilled professionals like you to keep feeding its monumental economic growth. The country is safe, the people are great and with high-speed internet lie this you won’t be lagging out any time soon. And while you’re at it, you’ll make quite a decent living while also having the ability to lean on Germany’s strong social security measures if the need ever arises. Good luck on your job search, don’t forget to send me a postcard from your new German home!

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