How to move to Germany and find a job as an IT specialist

Germany has a pretty good living conditions, and also a lot of vacancies for IT specialists. Let’s start with the first step of today’s article — things you need to move and work in Germany.

How to move to Germany and find a job as an IT specialist

What is the EU Blue Card?

This document is valid in all of the EU and allows for not only a long-term stay but also work (only in the country where you issued the Blue Card for the first year and a half). In order to issue the card, you must meet the following conditions:

  • Education recognized in Germany;
  • The salary (for 2022) specified in the employment contract must be at least 52,600 euros a year.

As for education: it does not matter whether it is secondary or higher, the most important thing is that it has to be professional and recognized in Germany. In the case of IT, education can be equivalent to five years of work experience. To understand whether your education meets the requirements and if it can be recognized, you need to go through several stages:

  • Visit the website for the recognition of foreign education database. Put the name of your university in a special form;
  • If your specialty is in the database, just make a printout of the statement;
  • If you have not found your university, you will have to submit an application to ZAB for diploma recognition.

IT specialists are more than likely to fit these requirements, since only the Blue Card holders could get permission to stay in the country in the past.

By the way, programmers with less «advanced» education and salary can also count on a relocation — you can simply get a residence permit, the owner of which becomes the holder of an ID card for identification and confirmation of their status.

Residence permits are issued on various grounds, the most common include:

  • Official employment.
  • Studying at a German university.
  • Opening your own business.
  • Family reunion.

If a residence permit is issued on the work basis, then it is only going to be valid during the period of the employment contract. If it so happens that the contract is indefinite, then the residence permit is issued for 1-2 years (with the possibility of extension). There is no mark in the passport, as a new ID document is issued.

Which are the most developed areas of IT in Germany?

Germany is one of the largest countries in Europe. It consists of 16 federal states. The average salary directly corresponds with the place of residence and may differ by 1.5-2 times. According to statistics, the highest income level is in Bavaria, Hesse and Baden-Württemberg. Simply speaking, you’ll find a better salary in the southern regions of the country.

How to move to Germany and find a job as an IT specialist

The most popular in-demand technologies in Germany at the moment are the Cloud (AWS, Google, Azure), MySQL, CSS, Javascript and HTML, Java, Docker, Kubernetes, Python, PHP/C#/C++/Ruby, DevOps, RPA, Data Science /Big Data/ AI, ML.

As for the professions themselves, let’s take a look the industries with shortages below:

1. Machine learning. The field of AI is developing rapidly, and there is a growing shortage of specialists in this field all over the world, including Germany.

2. Programmers in Net, C#, C++, Java. Germany is in dire need even of the basic level specialist.

3. Security systems. Many companies will pay very well for cyber security.

4. Business analytics. Also, as in many other countries, these specialists are indispensable employees in times of crisis. Hyperion, Business Objects and Cognos technolgies are still in demand.

5. Open sourse. Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP developers are always needed.

6. Networks convergence. Specialists with experience in voice networks are in great demand.

7. Network administration. Administrator is one of the most popular and highly paid positions in Germany.

8. UX designer. This one is also one of the hight paid professions in Germany for 2021.

9. Mobile app developer. Specialists who can adapt a computer program for mobile devices are extremely in demand.

What’s the IT specialist paycheck?

There is a lot of factors that affect the salary level of an IT specialist, such as specialization, the presence/absence of a diploma, gender (the average salary of a man is higher than that of a woman), as well as the niche of the company.

For example, the oil industry, the banking sector, the field of pharmaceuticals and insurance are guaranteed to have a better pay for an IT specialist than anything else. In all these industries, the average income of a programmer is €70 thousand per year.

Let’s take a look at the salary levels of different IT professions.

1. IT-manager. The yearly income is around €81,200 on average and it can grow depending on the level and length of service. For example, mid-level managers get about €72,400, while senior managers receive 15-20% more.

2. SAP-Inhouse-Consultant. On average, the income level on this one is €73,500. However, if you have 10 years + of experience you will receive 30-40% more.

3. Senior Software Engineer. This position requires you to know several programming languages and in Germany, these skills are paid very well. A senior specialist earns around €72,000 per year.

4. Senior Developer. The salary is about €71 700 per year.

5. SAP-Consultant. The average annual income is about €65,000, but if you have at least 10 years of experience, you can count on €75,000.

What about income tax?

The higher the income, the higher the tax — it depends on the tax class that is assigned to the employee. Meaning that the amount of annual income that is not subject to taxation is determined.

For example, Steuerklasse II (there are 6 of them in total): the tax class of single parents. The tax—free amount is € 9,744. And a single parent raising a child alone saves another 4,008€.

You also have mandatory insurance payments, a tax on assistance to the lands of East Germany and an optional «church» tax in the country.

As a result, all of the taxes eat up almost half of the income.