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Best German Cities for Software Developers

According to the recently published report by the World Economic Forum, the European start-up scene is outgrowing the tech ecosystem of Asia and Silicon Valley. European venture entrepreneurs see enormous potential for growth, with diverse funding opportunities and strong tech talent. 

According to the report by Stack Overflow, there are 4.7M professional developers in Europe today, versus 4.1M in the US. 

Software Developers Statistics

Image: Stack Overflow

Primary drivers of this growth, are Benelux, Nordic and Baltic countries, and of course, Germany. The big four tech companies, namely Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft, are expanding its inventory of European tech acquisitions. With the recent uncertainty caused by Brexit, many London start-up is relocating to Germany, further strengthening continental start-up infrastructure. 

The large European open market fosters the emergence of tech hubs on the continent. Companies can choose between comfortable jurisdictions and take advantage of investment opportunities, government support, talent pool, or lower costs of doing business.  

Reasons to Relocate to Germany

In this up-and-coming European start-up ecosystem, Germany looks the most promising. It provides the most hospitable and nurturing environment for tech upstarts. The average salary of Software developers in Germany is higher than the Union average, and comprise around 53.225€, according to Payscale. This significant earning potential, together with the remarkable quality of life drive thousands of college graduates to start their career in Germany. With the recent liberalization of foreign employment, Germany became a magnet for a qualified international workforce, since work visas are easier to acquire. 

In 2018, German start-ups broke their all-time record and raised €3.4 billion. Nearly 40% of those investments went to Berlin, while 18.3% and 5.8% went to Munich and Gamburg, two other major start-up players in the country. Industrial juggernauts like Bosch, Siemens, and Volkswagen are betting big on the technology and automation and establishing tech clusters and R&D centers in those cities. 

To strengthen its industry expertise and technological capabilities, the German government introduced a new initiative de: hub – to set up digital hubs in cities all across the country. Each city were chosen on the basis of its technological strength in a certain field. The mission of the hubs is to tap into local expertise and build a business community around it. 

The current list of Digital Hub cities with their specialties: 

  • Berlin: Fintech, IoT
  • Munich: Mobility
  • Frankfurt: Fintech
  • Hamburg: Logistics
  • Dortmund: Logistics
  • Cologne: InsurTech
  • Karlsruhe: Artificial Intelligence
  • Stuttgart: Future Industries
  • Dresden//Leipzig (Twin Hub): Smart Systems, IoT and Energy
  • Potsdam: MediaTech
  • Nuremberg/Erlangen: Digital Health
  • Ludwigshafen/Mannheim: Chemistry

The cities were chosen on the basis of the presence of educational institutions, industry-specific research, a local network of influencers, and the quality of the start-up community. They also suppose to have a leading international enterprise in the specialized industry. 

Regional hubs are connected through the Hub Agency, which also provides support and guidance to foster networks between the hubs. 

Berlin View

Berlin

Average Software Engineer Salary: €48,865

Average rent: €1,449

Many young professionals are drawn to Berlin, due to its creative and open-minded vibe and a promising job market. Berlin boasts of being the start-up capital of Germany, with over 40,000 new tech companies founded each year. Here you can find a fully-developed infrastructure for the talented founders, from incubators, tech conferences, and start-up contests to a competitive entrepreneurial culture. 

Berlin’s start-up ecosystem has a robust institutional underpinning; the city has the highest concentration of academic institutions and researchers in Germany. Various organizations, such as Factory Berlin, fosters the community by hosting conferences, meetups, and connecting investors with management. Fraunhofer institute established the Berlin Center for Digital Transformation that specializes in applied research and coordinated the interaction of business with academia. Berlin Partner for Economic and Technology coordinates the activities of the Berlin tech community. It’s primary focus is Fintech and the Internet of Things. There are even startup builders, companies that specialize in conceiving, launching, and scaling start-ups, such as Next Big Thing and FinLeap. The city’s unemployment was steadily declining for the past couple of years, signifying a rising demand for the workforce. 

Berlin is not just a home base for start-up mavericks, but also a city of well-established tech companies, such as Cisco System, SAP SE, and Microsoft. All in all, Berlin is a tech powerhouse with a strong support network of academic institutions, big corporate players, and innovative communities. 

Munich Skyline

Munich

Average Software Engineer Salary: €53,934

Munich is frequently called the German Silicon Valley. The capital of Bavaria is not as celebrated for the tech scene as Berlin, and yet it is one of the most dynamic and multifaceted innovation centers. On numerous occasions, Munich was named one of the most livable cities; it has low crime rates, high standards of living, and well-throughout urban planning. No wonder that the cost of living in Munich is somewhat more expensive than in chaotic Berlin. 

The major strength of this IT City lies in the field of app development, AI, natural language processing, and automation. Many tech start-ups that specialize in those areas choose to reside in Munich. For instance, Devexperts is a young upstart in the tech world that specializes in software development and automation for banks, financial institutions and brokers, or TrustYou, a start-up that deciphers insights from consumer behavior and reviews sites. 

At the same time, this city is a great spot for are seeking employment in big IT corporations. Munich has headquarters of international tech giants, such as Microsoft, Google, IBM, and General Electrics, as well as home-grown German corporations, like Allianz and BMW.

Hamburg City View

Hamburg 

Average Software Engineer Salary: €46,283

Average rent: €1,623 

This northern city is conveniently located on the bank of the Elbe river that ties it with the Northern sea. This makes Hamburg a perfect place for a logistics hub, and one of the most important ports of Germany and Northern Europe. 

Frequently overlooked, this northern city is starting to get the name of itself as the essential city in the German tech world. This city has its authentic vibe, less busy and haste than Munich and more orderly than Berlin. It is a quiet and tranquil international city. The average salary of a software developer in Hamburg is €46,283. While the city cannot compete in the payscale with Munich, it has a much more affordable cost of living, rent prices, and transportation. 

Hamburg’s business community is not satisfied with its third place in the IT ranking and continuously invest in strategic innovation and technological initiatives. One of the most ambitious is the construction of the HafenCity quarter, ambitious urban development in the former shipyards that aspire to be the Silicon Valley of Northern Germany. This technological hub will place a strong emphasis on the technologies of virtual reality, mobility, and smart city concepts. The city also makes strides in the sphere of Blockchain and 3D printing. Additional areas of expertise that put Hamburg on the map are innovations in logistics and smart city concepts. 

Multiple international tech corporations, has offices and R&D centers in Hamburgs, including Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, Google, and Microsoft. Moreover, Hamburg was the first city where Airbnb, attracted by the local tech talent and ample infrastructure, set up its office, by acquiring local vacation rental start-up Accoleo.  

Frankfurt Skyline

Frankfurt

Average Software Engineer Salary: €53,174

The region of Rhine-Main is one of the most economically developed and affluent regions of Germany. Frankfurt is its capital and the main engine of growth. The city on Main is the backbone of the banking and financial industry of the European Union.

 It is also a first-class education and research center with one of the highest concentration of universities. It is a cosmopolitan city with one of the highest percentages of foreign-born residents in Germany, a magnet for foreign tech talents. The combination of research potential and the financial capabilities makes it a perfect city for fintech and cybersecurity projects, with direct application for the banks and hedge funds present in the area. 

Frankfurt is a colossal financial center with over 70,000 employees working in finance and supporting industries. The major financial institutions in Frankfurt include the German Stock Exchange, Bundesbank, European Central Bank, SSM, etc.

It is less known, but Frankfurt also makes the way in the creative industries, with almost 60,000 people employed in various artistic fields, such as design or gaming. The Frankfurt-based Deck 13, have a strong and loyal following and won multiple international gaming awards. Additionally, there are also more than 100 companies in the sphere of film, video editing, scoring, etc. 

A great advantage of this urban center is the great number of large companies, such as Opel, Merck KGaA, Deutsche Bank, and Sanofi, that are constantly scouting for IT talents. 
Cologne view

Cologne

Average Software Engineer Salary: €47,500

Cologne is the insurance capital of Germany. This old-fashioned city of Gothic Architecture attracts insurance and IT innovators from all across Germany. Currently, there are around 700 start-ups with more than 8,000 employees in Cologne.

The TH Köln University of Applied Sciences and the University of Cologne prides itself on bringing together financial moguls with tech innovators to deliver cutting-edge marketable solutions for the insurance industry. Another important institution is the Digital Hub Cologne that fosters the knowledge exchange between the scientific community and tech companies. 










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