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Best Tech Companies in Germany: Is It Worth Taking a ‘Road to Berlin’?

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Here at CodeGym, we don’t just help you to learn how to code in Java from scratch. We also do all we can to support you with knowledge necessary to find a good Java Developer job after you complete the course (or when still in the middle of it, that happens as well), and hopefully have a long and fruitful professional career in software programming. That’s the reason we are making these reviews of the best tech companies in some of the most active markets of the world. So, previously we covered the U.S. and the United Kingdom. Let’s go further East and move to another major economy with a thriving tech sector and a number of very promising startups: Germany.Best Tech Companies in Germany: Is It Worth Taking a ‘Road to Berlin’? - 1

Deja vu. Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon hiring in Germany

Let’s just get one thing out of the way. The American tech behemoths, being as ubiquitous as they are these days, are big in Germany as well. Their presence here is not as dominant as it is in the U.S. and the UK’s markets, but namely Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon have rather big offices in Germany. As we devoted more than enough attention to the American tech giants, their salaries for the developers and hiring practices in the previous pieces, let’s not focus on them here. It is worth mentioning that Google has a number of offices and departments in various German cities, including, for example, Google Chrome development team that is located in Munich. Facebook, on the other hand, even having offices in Germany, does not hire so many developers in this country, generally focusing on cheaper and less qualified workforce, used mainly to fight fake news and hate speech in this global social network. Apple Germany doesn't have massive numbers of positions for developers as well, even though the American electronics giant employs over 2,500 people in Germany alone.

Big German tech companies

Although German tech business market is nowhere close to the American in terms of its size, this country has more than enough tech companies for a software developer to choose from, both among startups and well-established businesses. Let’s start from the biggies first, shall we?

  • SAP

SAP, the developer of enterprise application software, is certainly the most famous German tech company. It is also a global leader in its market niche and a company routinely competing with Google, Apple, and others for all kinds of Best Place to Work awards. For example, SAP has been 48th on Glassdorr’s list of the best employers worldwide in 2020, 27th in 2019, 11th in 2018, and so on. And this is totally fair, as SAP has a generally very good reputation among employees. Here’s a typical positive SAP employee review on Glassdoor: “Very good community and location. People are generally helpful and collaborative. Nice perks of working such as coffee and tea.”

  • Siemens

Founded back in the nineteenth century (in 1847) and headquartered in Munich, today Siemens AG is a multinational conglomerate “building the technologies of tomorrow” and having four divisions (Industry, Energy, Healthcare (Siemens Healthineers), and Infrastructure & Cities) responsible for the key activities of the company. With over 100,000 employees in Germany alone (according to these numbers), Siemens is hiring lots of software engineers, although maybe not as many as SAP or other purely software companies. And paying them well (-ish). According to PayScale, the average software engineer’s salary at Siemens in Germany is €61,500 per year. On the negative side, like many other old and conservative companies, Siemens can’t match the modern Internet and software businesses in terms of employee satisfaction. Here’s a typical mixed experience Siemens employee review at Indeed: “The people at Siemens are great to work with and very welcoming. There is a small gap between management and production which can be bittersweet. I was very excited for this job and was let down. There is a lack of accountability on all fronts which leads to a lot of differences in ambitions and goals.”

  • Lufthansa Systems

Headquartered in Frankfurt with several other offices in other German cities, Lufthansa Systems is one of the world’s largest providers of IT services in the airline industry. They are offering pretty good opportunities for those developers who are looking to have a career in the airline industry.

  • N26

Founded in 2013 and based in Berlin, N26 is a developer of a mobile banking platform with the focus on innovations and creating new financial tools and services. Today this company already has more than 1000 employees with its products launched in a number of European markets, mainly in Western and Northern Europe.

  • Delivery Hero

Another company headquartered in Berlin, Delivery Hero is a popular food-ordering service that today is operating in more than 40 countries. Already has over 10,000 employees in Germany and, by the way, actively hiring Java developers on a massive scale.

Best tech startups in Germany

After going through some of the largest and well-known tech employers in Germany, let’s now take a look at German startups. The startup scene in this country has been particularly thriving in the last several years, mainly in Berlin, and if you feel like joining a startup Germany might be one of the best places in the world for that right now.

  • SoundCloud

Founded back in 2009, SoundCloud is a bit old for a startup, but still hasn’t graduated from this status officially, as the founders on this music streaming service struggle to find a reliable long-term revenue stream. SoundCloud has already secured more than $460 million of investments in total over nearly 12 years of its existence. Rather obvious revenue issues aside, SoundCloud is considered to be among the best tech startups to work for in Germany. Right now the company has more than 250 employees, mostly all based in its office in Berlin.

  • AUTO1 Group

The largest tech startup in Germany as far as we can see, AUTO1 Group was founded in 2012 and since then secured over €747 mln in funding. AUTO1 Group operates a car trading platform that is considered to be a leader in the EU. With a number of websites and apps, such as Autohero and, AUTO1 Group needs lots of qualified Java programmers as well.

  • Contentful

Another startup from Berlin, operating since 2013. Contentful is a developer of a Content Management System (CMS) for web and mobile apps, with the main feature of this CMS being that it unifies the content and makes it possible to automatically share it across multiple platforms. Contentful is slowly but steadily gaining in popularity: these days the company reportedly already has several global media giants as their customers.

  • ResearchGate

ResearchGate is one of the most popular social media platforms for scientists. Founded in 2008, today ResearchGate has more than 300 employees in Germany, while the number of its users has surpassed 10 million. Apparently, Bill Gates thinks this startup has a bright future, as he and Goldman Sachs bank had invested in ResearchGate $52 mln.

  • Infarm

Infarm is a startup in the urban farming field. It operates dozens of farms in Berlin, mostly in restaurants, supermarkets, and warehouses. Develops and integrates in-store farming for several large retailers, such as METRO and EDEKA.

Salaries. How much developers earn in Germany?

So, is it worth taking a figurative road to Berlin if you are a software developer, money-wise? According to PayScale, the average salary for a Software Developer in Germany is €49,579 ($42k). Glassdoor says it’s €55,000. Of course, the average numbers from job websites cannot tell you much. So let’s turn to a popular question-and-answer service Quora for some real opinions on how much a programmer can actually make in Germany. “The typical ‘cap’ for Software Engineers in the startup scene in Berlin is €65,000. You really can’t go past that unless you are also a strong lead or have a knack for solving difficult problems. Or both. It would be better to work for the bigger, more established firms, but they are hard to get into and the work tends to be more boring. There are exceptions to this, of course,” says Fred Mitchell, an experienced developer from Berlin. “The salaries in Berlin have changed quite dramatically in the past 3 years due to very high demand. As an experienced developer, you can now expect to be offered a range of €65k to €75k in Berlin for a new position, or even much more if you’re an expert in a hot topic such as machine learning. I’ve heard of fresh PhDs in that area receiving €150k+ offers,” shares his knowledge Thorsten Reitz, a founder of Wetransform startup and tech hiring manager. Here’s a good answer regarding salaries specifically for Junior developers in Germany. “From my personal perspective as an applying university graduate it varies from €40k-€55k. A friend started at 38k at a major telephone company, but quickly gave up for another job at 43k. Large automotive companies have various base salaries, for example around 43k with lots of bonus incentives that can quickly add up to a 50k-60k. I have the impression that 40k is a lot for some startups, but that depends on the stage of the startup and the importance of the position. It also depends on the location. There are more engineering positions and higher salaries in the south. Surprisingly Berlin is comparably cheap in terms of living when compared to other major German cities or capitals world-wide. As usual, there is probably also more money in the financial sector,” said Eduard Feicho, a computer vision research engineer.