Software Developer job market a disappointment

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Just moved to Munich from USA, a little more than a month ago. Here because of my wife’s work. Her wish has been to move back to Germany (she lived here 4 years in her teens as did I in Austria for 5 years) and when she got enough experience and a good position with a big four accounting firm we decided to go for it. Our German is far from perfect. BTW I am a Software Dev. with a computer science degree, 3-4 years of professional experience in all the modern OO languages and databases etc… love what I do and liked to think that I am good at it. I can also hold a conversation in German but it is a little rusty and already getting better. Prior to our move to Munich I spent some time researching the job market in Germany to know what to expect. Well, the research got me to think that it would be “reasonably” easy to find a Developer job in Germany especially given my qualification. It has been close to a month of job searching and I have yet to get an interview minus a few email exchanges. I must have applied to 20+ jobs. To say the least I am completely surprised. Not sure what all the stuff I read about IT shortage in Germany was about. I adjusted my resume to look more like a “Lebenslauf” with the picture and DOB granted that it’s still in English and don’t get me started on what I think about submitting such personal info which is absolutely no indicator in any shape or form of my ability to satisfactory perform my job duties. Sorry had to vent a little. My question: What am I missing here??? I get emails back from recruiters telling me that the “Bewerbung” was in German so my ‘Lebenslauf” has to be in German even though it says on my Lebenslauf that my German is good. How can there be a shortage of IT talent if they are this picky? I don’t know but I would like to hear you opinions on this… Thanks.

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The talent shortage is greater in companies that operate internally in German, and to some extent it is probably exaggerated because, surprise, surprise, employers want to depress wages by increasing the pool of available applicants.

 

Some people say that you don't have to have a CV in German that conforms to the local format to get a job in IT. IMHO, it's a good idea to do it- it indicates that you're serious about trying to fit in and have spent the time to apply the same way local applicants do.

 

A lot of companies will reject you for having substandard German, so I'd work on that if I were you, even if you land a job quickly. The dream candidates here are people who are technically competent and who employers know will be able to communicate with their colleagues.

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IMO, There are not as many software developer jobs in Germany as in the US. There are only a few innovative pure SW dev companies hiring people.

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Innovative software is overrated. Bread-and-butter progamming is unsexy unless you're a true geek, and those people usually are required, but yes, employers will be picky before they let scriptkiddies loose on their transactional, scalable, supermassiveblackhole server side code.

 

So that might take a while, yeah

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3-4 years of professional experience in all the modern OO languages and databases

So you don't know anything really well. :ph34r:

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Innovative software is overrated. Bread-and-butter progamming is unsexy unless you're a true geek, and those people usually are required, but yes, employers will be picky before they let scriptkiddies loose on their transactional, scalable, supermassiveblackhole server side code.So that might take a while, yeah

 

Correction: Innovative software is overrated in Germany.

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Hmmm, I bet that 75% of developer jobs in the US are like they are here: PHP "developers", assorted mobile Apps that don't do anything, startups that don't pay anything other than warm promises... if that's your innovation, then no thanks.

 

Then there are the high profile folks, your Googles, your Facebooks and your Amazon's: they hire the guys that wrote the books, not the guys that read them.

 

For mortals among us, it's not easy, but having worked in a company that's been looking for a proper Java developer with more than half-a-brain for the past 5 years, I know it's not easy from the employer's side either.

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I was speaking only about Germany but I think you are wrong in thinking that 75% of the developers in the US and elsewhere are not innovative. Lots of small, medium and large outfits with bright people who have just been given the right tools and environment. And that's not only in the US but elsewhere too. Something a lot of German firms are lacking in because they look at foreign software talent as just cheap labor. And software development as a conveyor belt process like a Mercedes factory or something.

 

Google et al hires talented people who have a certain mindset about innovation more than experts who wrote books on HTML5. There are plenty of Dr. Know-it-alls here in Germany who have written books but innovative companies aren't looking for them unless they possess the mindset they are looking for along with the talent to create. Having said that, I agree with you about some of the startups. But that's another ball of wax all together and doesn't reflect the individual talent of the developers who signed on.

 

You need to ask yourself why your company can't attract talented developers rather than paint yourself as a mere mortal who can only read a book and then churn out an app everyone isn't happy with.

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Yes, the wages could be better, quite a lot too, but some of the applicants we had were indeed in the category: you tell me what, I'll type it. I think you may have a point on the non-innovative Germans, because the single thing that has been missing with applicants is creativity, out-of-the-box thinking, and don't even start wanting someone with some idea of how businesses that are supposed to buy our stuff work.

 

On the other hand, Germans did innovate a lot in the IT industry in the past (Conrad Suse, Hollerith, SAP, to name but a few) and a few do innovative things even today, but you're probably right that it's no Sillicon Valley here-today-gone-tomorrow type of economy/mentality; that's indeed not the German way.

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It has been close to a month of job searching and I have yet to get an interview minus a few email exchanges. I

 

The recruitment process is very slow in Germany in my experience. I don't know what it's like in the USA, but here it's normal for it to take 3-4 months. I've applied, heard back 1 month later, got an interview 2 weeks later, got another in another 2 weeks, then heard back I got it 2 weeks later.

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There's indeed less of a shortage than it seems. Companies advertise jobs even when they are not really in a hurry to hire someone, and temping agencies advertise jobs that don't even exist. Unfortunately most of the journalists writing about labor shortage don't really know anything about the job market.

And yes, HR people are awfully picky when hiring. At least in german companies. Just go through a bunch of job ads and you'll find plenty which are unrealistically demanding.

Get a XING profile and get in touch with recruiting agencies specialising on IT, they can usually get you an interview faster.

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Don't forget that some recruiters just want to add your name to their database, so they can show potential customers how many brilliantly qualified people they have, not because they want to help you get a job. You're not the one paying their fees...

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So you don't know anything really well.

 

:) I decided not to go into too much detail of what I know and don't know. I do have a strong background in Java and Sql but that is beside the point. I turned down a very lucrative position in the USA to come here and give it a try thinking that since they have a shortage of developers I should not have a problem finding a job at a decent pay. Reality seems to be completely the opposite or am I just used to the way things work in the USA. I am starting to think that I misjudged the real situation on the ground and that I would be much better off in the USA. I have a college degree, professional work experience, and know German "good"(still better than not knowing at all) and have a work visa through my wife. I did not think I was going to get rich by moving to Germany :D but that I would at least be in demand. And on top of all that; everybody that I meet here and tell them what I do they say "ohhh you won't have a problem finding a job here"...

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One of my co workers took 2 months of interviews (for the same job) to get a job here. And he doesn't speak German. So I think things move a little slower here.

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And yes, HR people are awfully picky when hiring. At least in german companies. Just go through a bunch of job ads and you'll find plenty which are unrealistically demanding.

Get a XING profile and get in touch with recruiting agencies specialising on IT, they can usually get you an interview faster.

 

Hhahahah some of the job adds are just out of this world. 50k-65k a year and the requirements take up half of the computer screen. I was emailed a Java developer position from one of the recruiters but the whole time they kept stressing Objectiv-C. Its the same recruiter that is asking me for a Lebenslauf in German. I will follow you advice on XING. Same advice seems to be poping up constantly on forums.

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Do you need to work for a German company? I have friends who are software developers and they work from home. Maybe the position you turned down is still vacant.

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Btw, most serious job ads in this country do not carry a wage range... at least, not that I've noticed. At best you get "top pay" yadayada. Pay is something you discuss after they've declared a basic interest.

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I decided not to go into too much detail of what I know and don't know. I do have a strong background in Java and Sql but that is beside the point. I turned down a very lucrative position in the USA to come here and give it a try thinking that since they have a shortage of developers I should not have a problem finding a job at a decent pay. Reality seems to be completely the opposite or am I just used to the way things work in the USA. I am starting to think that I misjudged the real situation on the ground and that I would be much better off in the USA. I have a college degree, professional work experience, and know German "good"(still better than not knowing at all) and have a work visa through my wife. I did not think I was going to get rich by moving to Germany but that I would at least be in demand. And on top of all that; everybody that I meet here and tell them what I do they say "ohhh you won't have a problem finding a job here"...

 

The joke I made it is not only a joke, it might show you why you are not having luck getting interviews. When applying for a developer position with your little experience listing a bunch of things and claiming to be expert in all of them will only get you interviews for junior position if you get any at all. It would be better to look an expert in something. It is not about quantity.

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Have you considered marketing yourself as a freelancer? There are more hoops to jump through initially, but there are people on this forum who can help you.

 

Independent of what you do, i would recommend:

 

1. Improve your German - make this a high prio.

2. Construct English and German profiles on Xing.

3. Construct a profile on LinkedIn.

4. Read through gulp.de which is geared towards freelancers but has useful market info.

 

If you are highly skilled and your wife or partner has a good job to the extent that you can afford to take more risk, freelancing might be a way to get started.

 

If you tell potential employers that your German is "good" but fail to produce a CV/Resume/Lebenslauf in German, they may be skeptical about the level of your technical qualifications.

 

Good luck.

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