Unraveling the IT Job Market in Germany

Photo by Sven Masuhr on Unsplash

Unraveling the IT Job Market in Germany


Germany, with its technological prowess, has long stood as a beacon for IT professionals. The path to success, however, is dotted with nuances. Let’s explore.

1. Salary Tiers: Entry to Expertise

Every educational and professional background offers a distinct earning potential in IT:

  • Entry-Level (Bootcamp Level):

    • Easy: Hybrid - €35k, Remote - €30k

    • Difficult: Hybrid - €45k, Remote - €40k

  • Professional Training (Ausbildung):

    • Easy: Hybrid - €45k, Remote - €40k

    • Difficult: Hybrid - €60k, Remote - €50k

  • University Graduates:

    • Easy: Hybrid - €50k, Remote - €45k

    • Difficult: Hybrid - €70k, Remote - €50k

  • Mid-Career (4-8 Years):

    • Easy: Hybrid - €85k, Remote - €75k

    • Difficult: Hybrid - €110k, Remote - €90k

  • Seasoned Professionals (Over 8 Years):

    • Easy: Hybrid - €100k, Remote - €90k

    • Difficult: Hybrid - €120k, Remote - €105k

2. Tackling the Hybrid vs. Remote Debate

Remote positions are generally more competitive, especially for perfect candidates. Companies that aren’t fully remote tend to prefer hybrid candidates. However, as one approaches the average career goal of €120k, the difficulty increases. This threshold often includes compensation for managerial roles.

3. Venturing Beyond Borders

Anything above €120k often pertains to roles in the broader European, American, or global markets. Comprehensive compensation packages can include shares and other benefits. Though, without the right connections, these packages typically range between €100k and €200k. Beyond this range, you’re looking at the top 5% of this market segment, or perhaps 0.01% of the entire IT market.

4. Mastering the Art of Application

The Importance of Tailoring:

The right application is pivotal. Tailored applications can enhance your chances significantly, especially when aiming for the top echelons of salary brackets. Are you targeting the bulk of the market or the elite 10%?

Recommendation for Application Creation:

  • Craft a distinct one-pager for each role type.

  • Maintain a consistent naming convention like 'Firstname_Lastname_resume.pdf'.

  • Organize these by folders for ease.

  • Save tailored resumes and cover letters especially for the top-tier firms or those where you might not perfectly match the required skill set.

  • In Germany, enterprises still value a good cover letter. Don't overlook this!

Playing the Numbers Game:

Not every position will be a snug fit, but it doesn’t hurt to try:

  • Easy salary bracket: Expect to send out 10 tailored or 25 generic applications.

  • High-demand salary bracket: Gear up for 75 tailored or a whopping 400 generic applications.

Common Pitfalls & How to Evade Them:

  • Application Management: Track every application, especially those that proceed past the initial stage.

  • Homework: Save role descriptions and manage your application stages meticulously.

  • Engagement: Pose questions that highlight your growth potential or the value you can bring.

  • Narrative Crafting: During initial interviews, be prepared to weave your professional story compellingly.

  • Technical Prep: Brush up on relevant technologies and fundamentals of computer science.

  • Take-Home Assignments: Reserve these for your top 5% target companies. Also, maintain starter projects for varied tech stacks.

  • Mock Interviews: Engage with lower-priority firms first. This practice can be invaluable when you aim for the gold.

The Golden Duration:

If you’re not headhunted, aim for a tenure of at least 1.5 years with an employer. Document a logical reason for leaving, and remember, it’s seldom just about the pay.

Useful Resources & Tips:

  • Job Portals: Websites like kununu, levels.fyi, and workatastartup can be invaluable.

  • CV Crafting: For a stellar resume, consider this Reddit template. Focus on measurable accomplishments and stick to a single-column layout.

  • Navigating Recruiters: Avoid generic messages or those without a clear budget. Stay wary of agencies pitching publicly-listed positions by companies.

  • Compensation: Prepare multiple compensation structures but also establish non-negotiables. Stay open to roles offering personal and professional growth.

Final Thought:

A successful application isn’t just about showcasing skills; it’s about presenting them in the light most relevant to the prospective employer. Tailor, target, and tenaciously pursue your IT aspirations in Germany.

5. Global Tech Giants and Startups:

Employment opportunities boasting compensations of around €200k are, naturally, in fierce demand. This intense competition means that direct entry into such roles can be elusive. However, there are pathways to navigate this:

Startup Odyssey:

Journeying through multiple startups might be your ticket. Although the road can be long and winding, one successful valuation could make all your stock options truly worthwhile.

Enterprise and Consulting Avenue:

Another lucrative pathway lies in enterprise and industrial consulting. Dive into this segment, and you'll find a goldmine of contacts and insights. Initially, you might be selling your time, but with experience and networking, you can transition from an individual contractor to offering specialized IT services.

The Reality of Giants:

When it comes to behemoths like FAANG and BIG4, brace yourself for intense competition:

  • Remote Roles: You’re contending with approximately 15,000 candidates.

  • Hybrid Roles: This pool narrows down to around 1,000 aspirants.

Startup Landscape:

If you're eyeing startup opportunities, the competition varies based on their foundation:

  • Startups with Founding Members: About 300 competitors for hybrid roles, and a higher 800 for remote positions.

  • Non-founding Startups: The numbers ease slightly with roughly 80 rivals for hybrid roles and 300 for remote.

Personal Insight:

My journey from vocational training to leadership in Berlin, Frankfurt, and Munich post-COVID offered me profound insights. With a burgeoning remote work culture, I managed to elevate from €60k at a startup to a €115k tech lead role within a short span. The crux? Aligning your skills to a company’s domain and aiming for growth, not just the paycheck.


Germany's IT sector promises both challenges and rewards. With tenacity and the right strategy, your German IT dream is very much attainable.