The European tech scene is booming. Startups and established companies worldwide are looking for talented developers with experience in the latest programming languages, new cloud technologies, mobile apps, and much more. As a software engineer who wants to move to Europe or is thinking about relocating within the continent, there's no question that demand for your skills will be high.
Software engineering is one of the highest-paying jobs in Europe, with average salaries ranging from £82k - £212k in London. Many non-native English speakers are drawn to European cities due to the thriving tech scene and relatively easy access to high-paying jobs.
According to a recent report by the World Economic Forum, startups are projected to create 2.25 million jobs by 2025. From hyper-growth startups like GitLab, to profitable fintech like TransferWise, to IPO successes like Spotify — you can find innovation spanning all areas of technology. Finding the best cities in Europe for tech jobs depends on what kind of lifestyle you're looking for and how far from home you're willing to go. But we've narrowed down the search for you by comparing salaries in different European cities with the cost of living — so you can find the best cities for tech jobs in Europe for your particular situation.
Here are our top 5 picks: Zurich (Switzerland), Luxembourg City (Luxembourg), Oslo (Norway), Copenhagen (Denmark), and Amsterdam (Netherlands).
Average full-stack developer salary: 145,000 SF ($152,320)
Single person estimated monthly costs (rent, food etc.): 3,705 SF ($3,892)
Language: Swiss German, but English is widely spoken
Notable companies: GetYourGuide, Beekeeper, Ava, Teralytics
Switzerland is home to a range of startups, in particular those with a focus on fintech, crypto and blockchain technology. These include Proxeus, which helps companies digitise their assets; swiss Crypto Token that build tokens on top of Ethreum; and Token Suisse that provides blockchain advisory services.
You'll also find many familiar names from Silicon Valley including Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Samsung and Amazon, plus Google's largest engineering office.
Despite being one of the most expensive cities in the world, Zurich is regarded as quite livable due to its high salaries. It's the only place in Europe where tech incomes are comparable to those in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Workers are entitled to at least 20 vacation days per year, in addition to public holidays, putting Switzerland in the middle of Europe in terms of holiday entitlement.
Find out more on how to move there: State Secretariat for Migration
Average full-stack developer salary: €56,400 ($63,100)
Single person estimated monthly costs (rent, food etc.): €2,764 ($3,092)
Language: Luxembourgish, French and German (English is acceptable in professional settings)
Notable companies: Talkwalker, JobToday, Doctena
Luxembourg City, the capital, is renowned as the VC centre of Europe, with most of the leading venture companies having an office there. While there is a substantial fintech presence in Luxembourg (as one would assume given the country's strong finance, banking, and investing sectors), there are also businesses concentrating on topics as diverse as real estate and yoga.
Luxembourg is a small country with lovely forested scenery and castles and cathedrals dating back to the 11th century. It is well-known for having one of Europe's lowest GDPs—$44,000 per capita.
The country, located in the middle of Europe, offers a good standard of living as well as friendly individuals eager to assist you.
Average full-stack developer salary: 602,000 kr ($62,400)
Single person estimated monthly costs (rent, food etc.): 29,631 kr ($3,070)
Language: Norwegian and Sami, but English is spoken and understood by almost everyone
Notable companies: Telenor, Opera Software, Kahoot!, Schibsted Media
Norway is a country in Northern Europe that is part of the Scandinavian region. It shares a long eastern border with Sweden, is bordered to the north and east by Finland and Russia, and to the south by the Skagerrak strait.
Although mountains and fjords may come to mind when you think of Norway, it also has a thriving startup ecosystem thanks to technical innovation fueled by government programmes that provide money and assistance to businesses.
The Oslo IT scene is well-known for its emphasis on sustainability. Airtight, for example, is a startup that attempts to prevent air leakage from buildings, hence cutting energy use. So, if you're interested in green technology and protecting the earth, Oslo is a terrific place to start.
Norway is typically listed as one of the world's happiest countries. This is due in great part to strong social services like as Universal Health Care and the Nordic welfare system. This not only allows business founders to fail while knowing they will not go hungry, but it also fosters a sense of safety and stability in Norwegian culture as a whole.
Average full-stack developer salary: 487,200 kr ($73,050)
Single person estimated monthly costs (rent, food etc.): 20,618 kr ($3,090)
Language: Danish, but close to 90% of the population can speak English
Notable companies: Adform, Sitecore, Momondo, SYBO Games
The city has a history of producing billion-dollar digital startups, including Zendesk, Unity, Sitecore, Tradeshift, and Trustpilot. It also hosts TechBBQ, the Nordic region's largest startup and innovation summit.
Copenhagen's abundance of coworking spaces, accelerator programmes, and government measures ensure that it remains a startup-friendly city.
Denmark is an expensive country, yet it has one of the greatest standards of living in the world. Everyone benefits from a well-functioning welfare system, which includes, among other things, free education and healthcare.
As an employee in Denmark, you are entitled to five weeks of paid vacation every year.
Average full-stack developer salary: €57,120 ($63,900)
Single person estimated monthly costs (rent, food etc.): €2,554 ($2,858)
Language: Dutch, but you can communicate in English pretty much anywhere and with anyone
Despite its reputation for magnificent homes, 'coffee' shops, and the Red Light District, the city is also a burgeoning innovation powerhouse.
The Netherlands has one of Europe's largest startup ecosystems. Amsterdam is home to one-third of the country's startup jobs, with entrepreneurs tackling problems in the life sciences and health, fintech, corporate software, and travel/tourism industries.
Aside from home-grown businesses, many big US technology giants, such as Uber, Netflix, and Tesla, have built European headquarters here.
One advantage of working and living in the Netherlands is that employees are required by law to get a holiday allowance (a gross payment of 8% of your total salary) as well as a minimum of 20 paid vacation days per year.
Although relocating might be a difficult and intimidating process, it can be made more doable by breaking it down into smaller parts.
Your strategy will look something like this:
Determine which nation (or countries) you want to work in. Locate some organisations that interest you and appear to be a good fit for your skills.
Inform those companies of your interest and inquire whether they would hire a non-EU/EFTA citizen.
Examine their interview procedure.
Apply for a visa or an EU Blue Card and
Relocate to Europe!