Where is the 'best' place to live for a software engineer in Europe?
May 25, 2015
Editor´s note: The following post comes from Jamie Wood, the founder of Avuteq. Jamie shares his own experience and insights on the topic of relocation.
Whether it be on a skype call, by mail or over a beer one of the most common discussions I have with the developer community I engage with is how to decide where is the 'best' place to live for a software engineer in Europe?
For the purposes of this post I am going to avoid discussing in detail about Silicon Valley or the US in general. In short the immigration process is quite complex and extremely limited in supply.
As far as Europe is concerned the quickest way to answer this is to give a nice sit on the fence answer and say 'it depends'.
How do you define the best place to live?
How important is it to have a strong tech scene/community around you? How much importance do you put on achieving the highest possible disposable income as a factor of defining your living standards? Are you moving single or with a family? How important are the social and community benefits of the country you are living in or potentially wanting to move to?
How easy is it to settle into this new country and feel more like a citizen that you would be happy to stay in for the long term?
If people are relocating most often they are relocating with a good level of English and will use this in their new company. That might be an easy way to settle in at work but if you don't speak German, Dutch, Swedish, Spanish how does this effect your ability to get the most out of the experience living abroad?
I made a simple infographic below expresssing my opinions on some of the big subjects. This is based on conversations I have with developers who are experienced and work with the 'top tech companies' in their given country.
However this really only is half of the picture. Everyone must try and look deeper into the most important issues.
If you are relocating with family- is this benefitting your whole family or just you? How easy it will be for your partner to also potentially find work and if children are involved how easy will it be for them to adapt to a new education system and possibly a new language?
Are you really getting a great salary offer? London for example may look nice when you work out your salary in British pounds but wait to you see how much you will pay in rent for your apartment! (unless you are a recent lottery winner the chances are you will be renting).
Spend some time defining what really makes you happy. If it's a relocation a big part of this must come from being really exctied about the company you are going to work for. If too much of the thinking process is driven by wanting to leave your current situation or country rather than really buying into what the new company is trying to achieve it will very likely be a matter of a few small months before you start to get that unsettled feeling once more.
However, don't be too phased by the potential short term challenges. There's an exciting world of opportunity out there and in my humble opinion everyone should take the jump at least once in their life!
Would there be anything else you would add to this that would influence your decision to relocate or where should be considered the best place to live for a software engineer?
Will social media recruitment beat traditional recruitment?