Tel Aviv, Shenzen, Lisbon, Bengalaru, Stockholm, London, Paris, Berlin.
What do all these cities have in common?
Many publications, companies, and business leaders have predicted each of them to be the next “Silicon Valley” - they all have the chance to lead Europe in innovation, entrepreneurship, and tech.
While some of these cities are very expat-friendly, others fall behind when it comes to ease of doing business and the general lifestyle for people coming from various countries.
Let’s zoom in on Berlin, the so-called hipster capital of Germany.
Not only do we love this city for its residents and its quirky aspects, but the city is also growing fast on the tech scene! Berlin could be tomorrow’s leader when it comes to the European TECH capital city.
In 2019, German founders received a total of €6.2 billion in investments. That’s an all-time high and a 36% increase from 2018. Of that share, 60% were given to Berlin-based start-ups, and overall, new companies in Berlin received a total of €3.7 billion out of 262 financing rounds. Thus, Berlin remains the place-to-be for young entrepreneurs – followed closely by other Bavarian cities. Companies in Germany’s southern region received €1.55 billion in 2019.
There are many initiatives that provide funding and support for entrepreneurs in Berlin. One of the newest, Berlin Founders Fund (BFF), offers living spaces, workshops, workspaces, events, free legal help, soft landing and 2000 euros per month per founder for 1 year.
Zalando, N26, Delivery Hero, Tier Mobility, Hello Fresh, FreightHub, are just a few of the Berlin-founded startups that are taking their industries by storm. Many other unicorns have announced their plans to open offices in Berlin, such as the recent case of Tesla, whose announcement of opening a GigaFactory in Berlin didn’t come without scrutiny and backlash from the inhabitants of the German capital.
Roughly 50% of Berlin’s start-ups are active in the fields Software as a Service (SaaS), IT/Software development, Fintech, and e-commerce, and the typical founder in Berlin is around 35 years old, male, academic, and holds a degree in economics.
However, Berlin boasts the highest number of female founders (16.2%) compared to the other start-up hubs. The German average is 14.6%.
There are many initiatives to support women in entrepreneurship and tech in general, such as Women Techmakers Berlin. Wild Code School Berlin partnered with Women Techmakers Berlin to offer 5 fully-funded scholarships for women to become web developers in our Full Stack Web Development training that started on 13 January 2020.
Vibrant cultural and restaurant scene
Berlin offers a range of music events and locations, museums and galleries, independent artists, internationally acclaimed night clubs and much more. The many restaurants and cafés in the capital offer almost every type of cuisine for every taste.
While housing prices have increased dramatically in the last few years, Berlin is – at least compared to many other well-known international capitals like London, Paris and New York – still relatively cheap, especially for food and commodities. Plus, the quality is quite good--even for low prices.
Berlin has transformed dramatically through its complex history, but many roots can still be witnessed in the city – from the days as a Prussian place, the darkest periods in World War II, the Cold War with a wall separating the city up to a celebrated reunification and the modern times, there is lots of history to experience in Berlin.
Great public transport
Although Berliners tend to complain about it (and they do complain a lot), the public transport in Berlin is very well organized and offers an abundance of options to travel within the city without using a car. Even during the night, there are usually several ways of transport at your disposal. In addition to that, carsharing, e-scooters and e-bikes can be easily leased.
You can get by in English (sort of)
At least in the more central parts of Berlin, surviving with English only is definitely very easy. While some Germans do struggle with other languages, you can expect at least a decent amount of understanding when speaking English, and the huge number of ex-pats and tourists in the city is a testament to that.
However, when it comes to bureaucracy, small businesses, package delivery, and anything that goes beyond the world of startups, knowing some basic German can be incredibly useful.
Berlin is extremely diverse and overall a very progressive place to live in – many people in the German capital pay heed to the motto “live and let live”, due to the huge number of subcultures that have developed in the city, living comfortably side by side.
Berlin has been named the most fun city in the world by Telegraph Magazine in 2014. But the fun didn’t stop in 2014, on the contrary. The night-life is recognized worldwide, with Berlin being the center of electronic music. Some of the best clubs in the world can be found here, and many of them don’t close during the weekend, making it possible to party from Friday to Monday, non-stop.
City breaks are just one click away
Sure, Berlin might not be at the geographical center of Europe, but it sure has some of the best connections to every corner of the region and the world for that matter. You can easily find your ideal weekend destination for prices that will make you feel like you’re ripping off the transportation companies. If you book in advance, you can book trips to Barcelona, Paris or Copenhagen for under 100 euro round trip.
There are many more reasons to choose Berlin as your home city, especially if you are a web developer or plan on becoming one. A simple search on popular job-hunting platforms reveals more than 1500 open positions for developers in Berlin, at any time.
With such a huge demand, more and more people are choosing to start their careers in web development, like Anastasiya, alumni from the first Wild Code School training program in Berlin. She shares her full story here.
You can also become a web developer with Wild Code School Berlin, and get a job within 3 months of graduating, like 87% of our alumni.