Whether you're a digital nomad traversing the dunes of global tech or simply looking for a temporary change of scenery, there are some great countries to escape to. Developers and Engineers have some unique options these days when it comes to working abroad. Over the last ten to twenty years the need for tech talent has exploded globally and Silicon Valley is no longer the only sought after digital Mecca. Here are five options for you to consider if you're looking to work in tech as a Developer or Engineer.
Clean air, some of the most beautiful mountains and coastal cities, and folks who apologize a lot, what more could you ask for? Canada has grown substantially in the tech sector and is welcoming Developers and Engineers with open arms. Internationally, Toronto ranked 13th among all cities in terms of number of developers and 5th in terms of the growth of its developer community. This coupled with tech taking huge leaps in 2018, and a promising year in 2019 this should definitely be a top pick for anyone's list. There are a lot of opportunities for those working with Java, Python, and R languages. However, there is also a growing need for Angular and PHP experts in some of Canada's larger cities.
With respects to salaries, Canada offers impressive wages. Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary are four cities with the highest salary ranges. There is, of course, the caveat that with the larger more metropolitan cities, the cost of living can be higher. For example in Toronto, the monthly rent for a 1 bedroom apartment can range from $1,200 to $1,600. However, on average the salaries can create a comfortable and healthy lifestyle. When you consider that with how high Canada ranks in the Better Life Index this becomes even more persuasive as a viable option for anyone looking for new experiences, career advancement, and new horizons.
Canada also has some great attractions to behold. With the Rocky Mountains to the West and Niagra Falls to the East, there are spectacular and breathtaking views and experiences. In the meantime you can have fun watching some of the best hockey in the world, hitting the slopes, or seeing the wonders of the Northern Lights.
World-renowned for their sense of humour, and soft-spoken population, Germany is a fantastic option for tech talent looking to work abroad. Vying against the UK to become Europe's next tech hub, Germany is exploding with opportunity for Developers and Engineers. Berlin has been attracting many of Europes promising new startups, and even established tech giants and it's not hard to see why. Berlin’s startup attraction relies on a mix of affordable living conditions, the overall vibrant and creative culture, a diverse pool of talent and expertise, as well as attractive funding programmes. With all this comes a great need for a wide array of tech talent.
If you're headed to Berlin you shouldn't have an issue finding a position if you have a background in Java, C++, C, R, or MatLab. These are some of the most popular and competitive technologies at the moment. While Python, JS, and Ruby are not as popular as Canada, do not be deterred. Berlin is growing at such a rapid pace that the quantity of and quality of Developers and Engineers needed are always in flux.
With respects of German salaries, they tend to reflect the popularity of frameworks to a certain degree. For example, Java, and Python Developers see an average salary of €45,738 while PHP Developers receive €38,420. The cost of living meanwhile is much cheaper than some of the other larger tech cities. While it's definitely not the cheapest city to live in, it does beat Silicon Valley, Paris, and London. A single persons monthly expense can be less than €1,500/month. Germany is also a country rich with culture, and historic wonders. From the Neuschwanstein Castle in Schwangau to the Brandenburg Gate there are plenty of amazing sites to behold! Don't forget, Germans make some of the best beer in the world!
If you hate chewing gum and love clean streets this is the city-state for you! A jewel of the East, Singapore is known for hits vibrant nature, cleanliness and violent ban on chewing gum ($1000 fine). Being a geographically open and yet connected Singapore offers a plethora of advantages to tech companies. With it's 22 bi-lateral and regional FTAs and recently signed two mega-FTAs including the European Union-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (EUSFTA) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partner, not to mention its huge human talent and capital, its no wonder this city-state is attracting global tech talent. Along with this comes a low crime rate, a beautiful metropolitan lifestyle, some of the best food in the world, and a unique art scene!
Singapore follows suit with countries like Germany in Canada with respects to the popularity of Java. However, Python, C, C++, R, and MatLab are all extremely popular languages as well. What about salaries you might ask? Well first off, Singapore has very low income-taxes, around 3%, second, don't expect incremental raises in pay, as it is generally a slower career climb, and thirdly applications developer in Singapore have the highest salaries across Southeast Asia, earning SGD$99,600 (US$72,993) a year on average.
If you're a fresh graduate though you'd be closer to making around SGD $36,000 (US$26,600) so be warned. Your dollar will also go a longer way than some of the other global tech hubs as the cost of living in Singapore is 17% cheaper than London, 15% cheaper than Hong Kong, and 19% cheaper than NYC. Flats in the city centre can be as low as SGD$1,900/month (USD$1,400), which would still be comfortable living even for a new graduate. What's more, Singapore has a great quality of life and will leave you breathless with its beaches, lush gardens, and bays like no other!
Notorious for its cheese, and an overabundance of nuclear bunkers, Switzerland is one of the most beautiful places to live in. Ranked amongst the top 5 in the highest quality of life, purchasing power, low crime rate, and one of the highest safety rating, Switzerland is attracting tech talent from all over. It is coupled with Sweden, Australia, and the US, in being a persuasive option for software engineers as it has higher salaries than most other popular tech hubs.
The requirement of R programmers is higher in Switzerland than in countries such as France, Spain, or China. Java is also in large demand as a top language in the current market. With income, Switzerland offers the second highest average salaries for Software Developers at USD$82,878, surpassed only by the USA. Switzerland, and Zurich especially, also has a more competitive landscape for those with MatLab experience. There's a good reason for having the high salary ranges however as cities such as Zurich can be quite costly.
While it can be pricey though, it's ultimately up to you to decide what you spend your money on and where. If inclined you can manage to live frugally on less than CHF $1,600 a month. While it is more expensive than other countries Switzerland has one of the highest qualities of life, with wonderful social benefits, no capital gain tax, and best of all, cheap and fast high-speed internet!
If you do decide to make the trek to Switzerland be sure to check out the wondrous Swiss Alps, the amazing Rhine Falls, or the FIFA football museum! There are near endless sites to see, and events to attend year-round. Zurich is perhaps the best bet in terms of excitement and nightlife, however, so be sure to check it out!
Arguably providing 3 of the greatest discoveries to mankind: antibiotics, the reflecting telescope, and The Spice Girls, the UK is a hotspot for tech talent! It may seem like a bit of a cop-out to have the UK on this list, but it is still the official tech hub of Europe and continues to be for good reason. A top spot for tech startups, and SMEs the UK offers new business a unique landscape to grow while maintaining international opportunities. Despite Brexit being weeks away, and a deal yet to be reached it doesn't seem to be affecting the tech sector. In fact, various businesses are trying to make it even easier for international talent to work and live in London. While, Brexit will inevitably pass, and business will surely be affected it can be said with a strong degree of certainty that the UK, and London in particular, will need more tech talent in the future.
Why head to the Jolly Ol'? Simple, it has an incredibly high livability score, English is the primary language, and there are is a strong startup and tech scene. The UK and specifically Londons, startup scene have produced some incredibly fast, and growing business such as Deliveroo, Monzo, and Benevolent AI. These and many other similar companies are in dire need for more tech talent regardless of where they come from.
Being constantly at the forefront of the different sectors within tech means that the UK offers a more diverse and multi-faceted market for competitive languages. If you're coming from a more diverse technical background, London might be the perfect fit for you! Java, Python, JS, C, R, Ruby and MatLab are all popular languages used in the market. Developers and Engineers also move to London as it is the ideal city to advance your career in a relatively short time, while simultaneously working with startups that often have fortune 500 goals.
While not the cheapest place to live, London makes up for its high costs by offering some of the best salaries in Europe. On average Developers earn around £45,000-£50,000. This is an extremely liveable salary as one can easily live near central London with a salary of £26,000. The highest cost associated with London, however, is the rent and travel. This is one important tip to consider: find living accommodations near your workplace. Depending on how far away you live from your office (and how many zones you pass) you may end up paying a monthly cost of £134-£419.
Despite its high-cost, the UK is a must-see country. With fantastic cities like London, Manchester, and Oxford there are many great things to see and do. Don't forget to check out Stonehedge, the Tower of London, and maybe an Arsenal game while you're at it.
We hope that this has been informative and helped you gain some insights in considering to work abroad. If you have any questions or tips you'd like to provide us feel free to comment below.
The Coded People Team