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written on 02/10/2021

The Best Tech Companies in Berlin 2021

I recently had a lot of conversations with my friend about the best technology companies in Berlin. Which company gets you the best career opportunities and which companies have the highest total compensation? I have done a bit of research and with working over 4 years in this city I wanted to summarize my findings. Take all of these listings here with a grain of salt. I will list the different companies by simple categories that will help you to decide what to look for if you want to apply to some companies. All from the view of a Software Engineer.

Career Growth

In general, if you want to grow fantastically you should grow faster than the company. Taking on more and more challenges and taking on leadership early. This is difficult and not for everyone.

Small startups are great if you are a product-oriented software engineer. This means working from the frontend to the database and handling everything. From design to implementation and measuring success. It is one of the most challenging but also most rewarding jobs since you will work closely with customers and make sure their needs are fulfilled. Hence, best engineering practices are often not followed as a trade-off to deliver customer value. In Berlin, companies where these things might apply, but growth is given are:

  • Pitch (Careers Page)
  • Moonfare (Open Positions)
  • Checkly (Careers Page)

Other medium startups put more effort into engineering since they will feel the first scaling pain points. In Berlin, the following companies are probably within this range:

I chose these companies because they are mainly backed by several high-growth investors. Normally, when investors like Accel invest in companies, these companies will focus on growth via engineering and will target an IPO at some point. This will make many of the early workers rich if given stock options but otherwise, these startups are also great playgrounds to grow your career because the requirements to adapt will be high.

Within the big companies, you will have growth opportunities but most of the time you have to fight for this. They will limit what you can do in most cases. If you want to grow there though, they will enable you - it’s just more difficult.

Total Compensation

Salary is important. Software Engineers are on top of the salary bands worldwide anyway but what a lot of Software Engineers do not understand is how compensation works for bigger companies. Big companies in the US mostly pay their software engineers with a normal base salary but will offer stock programs. And these stock programs are big. They can change people’s life if you are at a company before they went public and had stock. That would be considered lucky, but with stock programs, software engineers in the USA are paid a lot better there than in Europe (even when considering the cost of living).

Some of these companies also have some positions in Berlin, but a lot of the better-paying companies do not offer stock programs. I hope that changes in the future because competition will rise a lot with companies like Tesla or Amazon building big offices here in Berlin.

The following list of companies is a list created by me if you want to chase total compensation. These companies pay the most, probably. If you want to maximize your salary, you will have to start before your application phase. Read this medium blog article and also make sure to get fit within the data structure & algorithm game with leetcode.

Tier 1

Under this tier, the highest paying companies are listed. Most of them offer big stock options and because of that is making sure their engineers are paid well.

Tier 2

Most of the following companies pay well but do not offer stock options. So you will have a comfortable life working at these companies, but it is not a get-rich-quick scheme.

Medium Startups

If you are not interested in the other companies or simply were rejected by all of them, there are also technology companies in Berlin that grew a bit bigger. So these companies might be the breakthrough for your career to get into one of the bigger companies. They will look good on your resume but will also provide you with opportunities to grow your career. Have a look at them and use them to jump into bigger companies. A lot of these also have the potential to become big. I mentioned them mostly at the beginning of this article. Other interesting medium companies are listed here now:

Startups

As said earlier. Startups are interesting if you are keen to invest a lot of time but also challenge yourself a lot in a lot of different competencies. They will give you a good playground to grow the company to success. Throughout this process, you will get in touch with marketing, sales, and many other areas of a business. Growth is the main goal right now for most young companies because it will enable further funding and expansion.

In general, I would advise you to join a startup if you have some savings in your bank account and are willing to take a risk. This risk can pay off quite well and your career might accelerate even more based on that. For newcomers to the developer world, it might be not ideal since someone will have to focus on not just software engineering. Berlin is a good ground for startups though, so you will find a lot of them here.

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© Kevin Peters 2021

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