Vienna is the second largest German-speaking city in Europe with a population of more than 1.9 million people after Berlin. The most popular reasons for moving and relocating to Vienna are, of course, work, academic education, and the overall quality of life. In particular, Vienna has claimed to be the most livable city for the past 10 years in a row.
Vienna is not only the capital of Austria but also its tech capital. Similar to other smaller countries, Austria has a concentration of software developers in Vienna. About 80 percent of Austria’s developers live and work in Vienna. Therefore most employers are based in Vienna
Is it easy to find a job in Vienna?
Work in Vienna is well-paid and offers you the opportunity to live and work in one of the world’s wealthiest cities. The good news is that there is a shortage of skilled developers – like all over Europe. However, finding a job and building a rewarding career as a developer in Vienna, of course, depends on several aspects.
Language skills: Do I need to know German?
The first question we always get is: “Do I need to be able to speak German?” and the honest answer is: maybe not, but in particular cases, it can become a competitive advantage for you. Even though many companies consider English to be their main language, more traditional companies still prefer German over English.
Vienna is an international city. More than 28 % of wage earners living in Vienna are non-Austrian nationals. EU citizens moving to Vienna don’t need a visa for Austria, but there are some other things you should keep in mind:
Citizens from the EU/EEA countries don’t need visas or work permits. However, they have to apply for permanent residence within 4 months after arriving in the country.
Citizens from non-EU/EEA countries need a visa for Austria, a work permit, and a residence permit. Contact your local embassy for the documents and requirements for the country that you hail from.
The “Red-White-Red” card is an option for high-skilled workers who found employment in Austria. The Red-White-Red card is issued for a period of 24 months and entitles you as the holder to fixed-term settlement and employment by the employer specified in your application. Read more here.
The EU Blue card is another option for high-skilled workers such as software developers and is valid for 24 months and requires no language test. To be eligible for the Blue card, it is important that you earn a gross annual income of at least one and a half times the average gross annual income of full-time employees (in 2020: at least € 63,672). Read more here.
With a “jobseeker” or work visa, you can stay up to 6 months looking for a job. This visa type does not allow you to work in Austria and is only available for high-skilled workers from non-EU countries.
The job hiring process in Austria
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 have applied your skills in the past, which roles you have taken on and why you are 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 the 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 costs, 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 Vienna as a developer
Finding a place to live
Vienna is a very popular city and finding an affordable place to live can be quite a challenge and can come at a high price. Especially, if you want to be close to the city center.
Some companies offer temporary accommodation for new employees joining the team. Try and negotiate with your future employer. If not, we recommend renting out an Airbnb to tie you over.
A good place to look for accommodation is online portals like immowelt where you can find a huge range of rentals in Vienna. Just as popular are local newspapers that have special sections with real estate listings.
In any case, make sure you consider the budget for additional costs such as a deposit for the landlord and a commission for the real estate agent (although some apartments and houses are offered without commission). If you plan to rent your accommodation for the short- or middle-term rent (up to 12 months) most apartments come completely furnished. For long-term rent, it is the opposite. Besides, it is common that a payslip of the last months is requested.
If you are just looking for a room and are good with sharing a place (which can be a great way to get to know people), we recommend checking out WG Gesucht or ImmoScout24, or using Facebook groups.
Residency permit in Vienna
You are required to register at the latest three days after moving to a new apartment or house at your municipal district office. This is not just a general tip, it is the law. Registration before moving into the new apartment or house is not permitted. You can do that here. You will receive a so-called “Meldezettel” which is your proof of residence in Vienna. It is a necessary, but easy task and should not take too much time. When your address changes within the city you need to state the new address again.
Living in Vienna
Living in Vienna is not cheap, but also not comparable with expensive cities like New York City where you cannot even afford an apartment on your own. However, depending on your position, your salary will definitely pay your bills. When you are in an entry-level position, your budget might be “limited”. So, here are some tips to easily save some money while living in Vienna.
Vienna is divided into 23 boroughs or neighborhoods (called “Bezirke”) which are numbered and named. The district you choose determines your daily commute, entertainment facilities within walking distance, and proximity to the shops. So, consider these things when choosing your accommodation for living in Vienna.
Even though most Viennese speak English and you may only hang out with fellow expats, learning German will improve the quality of your stay in Vienna – as Viennese also sometimes tend to be lazy.
Vienna’s public transport is world-class. Wiener Linien’s annual season ticket is valid on all means of public transport within Vienna for a year for only 1 Euro a day. No need for a car. If you occasionally need a car, we recommend Share Now or ELOOP (as electric alternative) for short and long distances.
The Vienna pass gives you access to all the main attractions in Vienna. It will help you save big time when you are visiting multiple museums, galleries, etc. Most shops are closed on Sundays so plan your shopping beforehand.
Bank account in Vienna
The major Austrian banks which also have branches in Vienna are:
UniCredit Bank Austria
If you prefer online-only bank accounts we recommend:
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 will soon find that there are plenty of other expats in the same boat.