Berlin is the tech capital of Europe, the home of startups like SoundCloud and an incredible city to live in. With low living costs, a thriving employment market and an array of cultures to celebrate, no wonder it’s attracting more and more developers every day.
If you’ve thought about the big move but still have some unanswered questions you’ve come to the right place. We’ve broken down how to land a developer job in Berlin and making relocating as easy as possible.
Skills you need to get a developer job in Berlin
Generally speaking, Berlin is chock a block with innovative companies and startups looking to hire their next developer. This is what you need to know about the skills you should have to get a developer job in Berlin:
Language skills: Do I need to know German?
The first question we always get is: “Do I need to be able to speak fluent German?” and the answer is: no, definitely not.
Berlin is an extremely international city, filled with young hip companies that consider English to be their main language. The city is also filled to the brim with young people. 55% of Berlin residents are under the age of 45 which tend to be more open toward English.
Berlin is a tech hub, bursting with tech companies and startups looking for new talent. So no matter if you’re a junior developer or you’re more senior – we’re sure you’ll find the right fit.
Work permit for developers in Germany
What permits you need depends on where you are from:
Developers from EU and EFTA Member States
As an EU or EFTA Member State citizen – you won’t need a visa, work or residence permit and bureaucracy is that little bit easier. You can easily enter the country, look for jobs and start working right away. So taking a week-long trip to rattle off interviews might be a good idea. This will save time and allow you to get a feel of the city and companies you have in mind.
Developers from Non-EU & Non-EFTA countries
If you’re a non-EU citizen things are a little different. Nationals of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand or the United States of America can enter Germany without a visa but once you have arrived in Berlin you will have to apply for a residency permit immediately.
All other third-country nationals need to apply for a visa before entering the country. Which is why it’s probably a good idea to already have a job in place.
Luckily, nowadays, you can find jobs online and do the interviews virtually. Search through online job platforms like WeAreDevelopers, arrange video call interviews and negotiate for the company to fly you in for a personal interview. This way you can get a feel for the work environment as well as the city.
If you’re still unsure of what permits or visas you need, check out the “Who needs a visa” Federal Government site or contact your national embassy in Berlin.
The EU Blue Card
If you are a third-country national another option you have is the EU Blue Card. This card permits you to work and reside across all EU member countries (except Denmark, Ireland, and the UK), which is particularly handy if you don’t intend on staying in Berlin forever and want to venture around Europe. With the EU Blue card, you can do so – for the duration of 4 years.
Who is eligible for the EU Blue Card?
According to the EU Blue Card Network, “You are eligible when you are a non-EU citizen, and you have completed tertiary education and/or you have three years or more professional experience in the profession related to your profile.”
The Germans introduced the EU Blue Card and it remains to be the most popular way of being able to work there. You can find more detailed information here and here.
The job hiring process in Germany
More traditional companies and larger corporates still require a traditional CV format when applying for a job. This should include your basic personal details, educational background, skills, references, hobbies, and interests. In Germany, the CV also usually includes a headshot.
These are naturally becoming more and more popular. Making the whole application process more efficient for everyone. We recommend keeping your LinkedIn profile up to scratch. Many companies allow you to apply simply by adding your profile link instead of your CV.
Companies also expect a cover letter outlining how you’ve applied your skills in the past, which roles you’ve taken on and why you’re interested in their company. This should be about a half/three-quarter of a page of written text, tailored to every company and role.
This is the piece of writing that will make or break whether you get a first interview or not so be sure to make it count. Your cover letter does not necessarily need a separate document – you can also outline these points within your email to the HR department.
Once the company has reviewed your CV/profile and cover letter and think that you might be a good fit, they will ask to arrange an interview. Depending on the role and company, some might even have several rounds of interviews.
Companies often arrange an initial video call interview to get a first impression. They will then ask you to come in for an interview. If you’re traveling from afar, the company will usually take responsibility for travel cost, etc.
It is not unusual for companies to call up or contact your previous employers. They do this to find out more about your work ethic so be sure to adjust your CV accordingly.
Relocating to Berlin as a developer
Finding a place to live
Berlin is a very popular city and finding a place to live can be quite a challenge. Especially, if you’re not in the country and don’t know anyone locally.
Some companies offer temporary accommodation for new talent joining the team, so try and negotiate with your future employer. If not, we recommend renting out an Airbnb to tie you over.
If you want to increase your chances of success you should get your hands on the following documents, which can only be obtained when you’re in Germany:
- A German (or European) bank account
- A Schufa statement which is basically a credit rating from your bank
If you’re good with sharing a place (which can also be a great way to get to know people) we recommend checking out WG-Gesucht.de – the top platform for shared apartments – or getting into Facebook groups like “Wohnung und WG Berlin”.
If your German skills are up to scratch and you’re already in Berlin you’ll have a chance in with where the locals find their apartments on ImmoScout24.
Residency permit in Berlin
Once you’ve found a place, register within 14 days – this is not just a general tip, it’s the law. You can do that here.
Bank account in Berlin
Traditional German Banks include:
- O2 Bank
- Santander Bank
- Deutsche Bank
The more modern online Bank pretty much every techie is using: N26
Getting to know people as a developer in Berlin
This will make or break your relocation experience, so get yourself out there – start crushing your comfort zone and go to parties and events alone – because you’ll soon find that there are plenty of other expats in the same boat.
A great way to meet new people in Berlin is to:
Where to look for a developer job in Berlin
Now that you’ve got all of your ammunition on landing a job and relocating to Berlin as a Developer – it’s time to get the ball rolling. Head on over to the WeAreDevelopers job board.
We’ve teamed up with top innovative companies and startups that will ensure your move to Berlin will be the best career decision you’ve made yet. If you want to learn more about Germany's top employers just take a look on the 25 best companies to work for in Germany.