Everything you need to know about working as a software developer in London
What is it like being a software developer in London if you’re from Australia or New Zealand? Well if you’re considering an overseas experience then there’s plenty to get excited about. The software development market is one of the fastest growing industries in the UK, creating lots of brand new start-ups and plenty of new career opportunities. According to data research compiled by LinkedIn, London remains the top choice for both European and global tech professionals looking to live and work outside of their own country. Here at MyOE we’ve helped hundreds of skilled professionals land, enjoy and succeed in London and throughout the UK. Here’s some insights as to why our clients have been so successful. Oh, and by the way, if you’re in the financial services it’s even better news…..read on.
The UK software development market is booming
London and the UK are in a unique position globally when it comes to technology and specifically software development.
Firstly, the UK is creating some of the world’s leading post-graduate professionals due it’s rich educational history. Confidence in this has resulted in the creation of a host of knowledge sharing initiatives together with more UK public & private funding. The global appeal of London’s tech hub was boosted by the news that 2017 was a record year for venture capital investment into the city’s tech businesses, with London tech companies receiving £2.45 billion of the total £2.99 billion invested in tech companies across the UK. This support has lead to a huge growth in the number of thriving start-up software companies here in the UK, with the ability and innovation to create and release software easily and quickly.
Secondly, the vast majority of US software companies keen to expand their global presence in Europe are looking to London as their city of choice. The UK’s capital is not only Europe’s wealthiest and most cosmopolitan city, but its high concentration of financial companies and other large corporations with ample IT budget, together with its accessibility and shared language, makes it a very attractive destination for US tech companies to base their European headquarters. Last year, Amazon revealed plans to increase its R&D staff in London from 450 to 900 tech roles as it opened its new UK headquarters in Shoreditch. This was followed by the news that Google has started work on its new London Headquarters, to accommodate up to 7,000 employees. Meanwhile, Apple is planning a new 2021 London headquarters for its 1,400+ London based staff. All contributing to the huge scope and opportunity for skilled software developer roles here in the UK.
Finally, the UK is increasingly seeing software development focused around specific industries. The biggest example of this is FinTech – technology purely aimed at the financial services sector. London is the number one fintech market globally, ahead of New York, in all facets, but particularly in investment. A plethora of software companies based both in the capital and around the country are creating software to make the lives of financial institutions easy. The result is an almost never ending stream of opportunities for software developers, commanding some of the best salaries in the whole IT sector.
The good news gets better for Australian professionals. The UK government recently announced it’s UK Fintech strategy to consolidate and extend the UK’s global No 1 position, and at the heart of it was a new ‘Fintech Bridge’ with Australia, giving Australian software companies and professionals a significant series of advantages in exploiting the growth in the UK market.
So there has never been a better time for a Software Developer to come to the UK.
Where is ‘Silicon Valley’ in the UK?
Well, of course, one of the obvious answers is London, but there are many other fantastic cities and regions around the UK benefiting from this growing market.
In London, the sector is prevalent right across the city, with areas around Shoreditch (Silicon Roundabout) enjoying particularly strong growth given their proximity to the financial hub of The City of London or ‘The Square Mile.’ However, other areas of the UK also have significant software development sectors, including Manchester, Edinburgh, Bristol and Cambridge. Today’s digital world means software can be developed anywhere, and has lead many professionals to seek the benefits of living away from the costs and speed of London life. A good summary can be found in this article.
What kind of salary can I expect?
Well as you would expect, there’s no single answer to this, as it’s all so dependant on your skills and experience. That said, it’s very clear that software developers can command a good salary in the UK compared to other IT roles, and it’s likely you’ll be paid well above your age peers who are also enjoying an overseas experience.
One of the key differences to your pocket will be whether you take a permanent job or a job contracting. A software developer with around 5 years experience can earn over £55,000 p/a and more, whilst those with less experience can still enjoy salaries that will allow them to enjoy a good life in London and travel opportunities through Europe.
Despite having permanent jobs at home in Australia and New Zealand, many MyOErs begin their overseas experience as contractors. Why? Well, contracting brings much greater flexibility, allowing you to drive your work time vs your employer, but probably most importantly, it typically allows you to earn around 40% more a year than taking a permanent position. The same software developer with 5 years worth of experience can look to enjoy a day rate of £500+ and with the additional tax savings you can make as a contractor, it’s likely you’ll be having a lot more disposable income and time to travel than your peers in permanent employment.
The UK – a great place to be for skilled software developers
It’s clear that there’s never been a better time to come to the UK if you’re a software developer from Australia or New Zealand. London’s thriving tech sector and cultural vibrancy has once again won its place as the most attractive European tech hub for international tech talent from outside of the EU in a 2017 LinkedIn report. The market is big and there are plenty of opportunities, and it’s growing at an ever-increasing rate. The result is developers can command excellent salaries, which allows them to enjoy a great city, without feeling strapped for cash, together with the opportunity to travel to the great cities of Paris, Madrid, Rome and the rest of Europe in just a few short hours from home.
So what are you waiting for? If you’re a software developer and would like to talk to us in more detail about landing with a great job in the UK, then just get in touch. And feel free to download our free MyOE handbook (see below) which provides more great advice if you’re considering the adventure of an overseas experience.