This blog ranks quite high on searches related to software in Sweden (gee, I wonder why 🙂 ) so I sometimes get email from people who’s interested in moving to Sweden to work as a programmer.
I just replied to such an email and thought that the answer might be interesting for others to read as well, so here you go.
Great to hear about your moving plans. Even though the weather here right now makes you dream of warmer places, Sweden is a great place for a career in tech.
The job market for programmers is really good at the moment – at least in the Stockholm area. I’m not so sure about the rest of the country but Gothenburg seems to be doing fine as well. The Malmö/Lund area is still suffering from layoffs at the larger companies in the area (Sony Ericsson, Astra Zeneca, Ericsson) but there is a thriving mobile business growing there. They also benefit from having Copenhagen so close. Danish salaries are higher so Swedish programmers are a bargain in Denmark.
In Stockholm there are lots of headquarters, naturally, which means quite a lot of Big Systems written in Java or .Net. This is also where most of the marketing departments are located which means quite a lot of work for web agencies, CMS vendors etc.
In southern Sweden (Malmö/Lund) as I mentioned there is a strong mobile culture with Sony Ericsson at the epicenter. Lots of smaller spinoffs but also competitors or partners that’s establishing in the area. Sony Ericsson is almost always looking for embedded C-programmers with Android development growing a lot lately.
When it comes to the spoken language that varies a lot. The bigger international companies like Ericsson I’d say it’s no problem to speak English. The same goes for smaller firms like web or mobile agencies or startups. Most people in Sweden knows English. It can, however, be a problem once you leave the tech sphere. I currently work for a consultancy business in Stockholm and Swedish is a must for some of our clients. We have clients in the insurance, finance and retail business and they’re not as international as for example the telecom business.
I will probably write more about this subject in the future. Sweden needs more good software developers so please come here! 🙂