Interviews are the gateway to landing your dream job, but for most people interviews are a stressful and uncomfortable endeavour. You finally have your chance to impress a prospective employer and secure that golden opportunity, but unnerving thoughts and doubts begin to make you nervous. Nerves are to be expected, but if you let them overcome you, they could dampen your chances of securing the job that you may well have the skills and expertise for. What is the best way to ease your apprehension? Being prepared. Having an understanding of the overall interview process, the types of questions asked and what is expected of you will not only enable you to be more prepared, but it will serve to quieten some of them unsettling anxieties. So, what should you expect from a ‘typical’ developer interview? Every company has their own way of doing things and the procedure may differ slightly depending on the role that you are, but a lot of companies follow a similar process. The interview process tends to comprise of one or two phone interviews, followed by up to four on-site face-to-face interviews. The initial phone interviews are used to simply screen candidates to assess whether they are worth meeting in person. The first of the two phone interviews (or first half of the interview, if there is only one) will ask primarily behavioural questions. Behavioural questions are not designed to challenge you; they’re used to get you talking and to make you feel comfortable. Big open-ended questions are often asked such as “talk me through your CV” or “tell me about a challenging project you worked on”. The questions are designed to help HR professionals get a feel for you, the type of person you are and whether you’re a good fit with the company. Some light technical questions may also be posed asking you about your relevant coding knowledge, database expertise and so on. Following the initial phone screenings, you may be invited in-house for a series of face-to-face interviews with the appropriate members of the team. Large companies such as Facebook, Microsoft and Google hold four face-to-face interviews lasting approximately forty-five minutes each. These interviews primarily focus on your technical abilities with only one focusing on your behavioural traits and/or culture fit with the respective company. The technical interviews are a means of evaluating your problem-solving skills. The interviewer wants to see if you can translate your thought-process into reasonably correct, well-structured code. You will be asked a coding/algorithm question and be expected to write, test and optimize code often using a whiteboard, with some companies offering a laptop instead. Having a foundation in data structures and algorithms is really important. These are fundamental concepts, like binary search trees and breadth-first search. You will also be asked to develop an optimal algorithm for your code. It’s important to note that your code and algorithm does not need to be flawless. It is your approach and methodology that is being evaluated. Once the technical side of the interviews are complete, you will be given time to ask questions that you may have regarding the role or company or whatever may be on your mind. This is what a ‘typical’ developer interview process is like. However, every company is different. A great resource to discover the interview process for the position that you are applying for is Glassdoor. Here you can read what other applicants experienced with sections offering advice and types of questions asked.
In this modern era of hyper-connectivity, with smart devices that are so smart you can be contacted through your wrist watch, is there value in using a third party to help you find a job or are you better off going it alone? Well, with the global market seemingly more turbulent than ever and every company sending out similar soundbites on why they are the best, it’s increasingly hard to know what path to choose as a jobseeker. Jobseekers have never had it better with companies creating novel ways to attract new talent. Whether it’s a mini-golf course on the roof, an onsite masseuse, gym membership or yoga classes, it shows companies are aware of employee turnover and that the job itself isn’t enough to attract and retain talent anymore. However, on the other side of things, a job for life is clearly a thing of the past for most of the labour market, unless you’re a health professional or a teacher. This means more diversity in a person’s career, certainly among millennials, under 25’s and graduates in particular. This also means more disruption in previously stable careers and the need to diversify people’s skills and keep an eye on the market. It’s a dynamic environment in recruitment with marketing and internal recruiters partnering to attract the best staff, so why use a recruiter? Industry Knowledge Most recruiters specialise in one niche of the market and as a result become market experts within their sector and can give you a complete roadmap to the lay of the land. Going it solo will mean that you will have to do your own research about each company you are applying for who will each have their own unique requirements. Your recruiter, however, will be able to provide you with a company background, describe the team structure, the key aspects of the role and what exact experience the hiring manager is looking for. A recruiter will help you decide whether the position is for you and keep you updated as things develop in the market you’re in. Recruitment agencies provide a completely cost-free service to jobseekers. They only charge the companies hiring, so why not have unlimited access to the inner workings of the company you’re applying to and assistance for free? Direct Line To The People In Power Recruiters have a direct line to HR directors and hiring managers. Why not make the most of this? With a direct line to the people in power, you get the inside information on what makes a company, a department or even a specific job so exciting. If you have high goals of progression or want to work on a set type of projects, you won’t find this information through a job advert and may not realise if you have made a mistake until you’re in the job. Another aspect a recruiter can help with is when it comes to negotiating salary, the recruiter will know exactly what can be negotiated and keep things on track. You can focus on performing in the interview and the recruiter can handle all the awkward/difficult conversations. Your Own Personal Advocate Who doesn’t want someone singing their praises? With a recruiter you have your own personal cheerleader getting face time with people in power and telling them in no uncertain terms that you were made for this job and could do it blindfolded like Sandra Bullock in Birdbox. In all seriousness, a recruiter is trained find out your best qualities in relation to the job and make sure you don’t get missed by the hiring company. They can also help with CV re-design and know the best ways to catch the eye of the employer. Also, as mentioned, people are jumping jobs a lot more now which has previously been a serious red flag for employers. However, your recruiter can help explain your motivations and elaborate on your CV in minute detail to get over the initial hurdle of pre-screening. Practice Makes Perfect Interviews are a minefield. Say the wrong thing or react the wrong way and you will be stuck in no man’s land with no way back. Nike have a motto “Think training’s hard? Try losing”. Every day a recruiter prepares people for interviews, so let the experts show you how to ace every interview. They have the practice that can make you perfect! They will already have given you the background to the job, the hiring managers and the company, so the next logical piece of the puzzle is on the interview process. Recruiters will have reams of documentation but will always tailor the preparation for interviews to each person to maximise the value. The difference between you and the next person competing for the job is usually a small margin. That could mean that advice from a recruiter, who has placed plenty of candidates in jobs, could be the reason you succeed in getting the role. The future is bright for job seekers with more opportunities than ever. Partner with a recruiter who knows the industry, the companies hiring and who can help make the jobs market easier to navigate.
Munich’s Tech Scene Munich is a very wealthy city boasting the highest purchasing power of any German city. It is home to many of the nation’s largest companies such as Allianz, BMW, Siemens and Munich Re. The region is often overlooked as a start-up hub as only 11% of the nation’s start-ups are located here compared to Berlin’s impressive 30% share. However, Munich’s tech scene has a bright future as the city shifts from an engineering and industrial powerhouse to a software engineering powerhouse. Berlin is trendier and more glamorous than Munich, but Munich is the place to get business done. The interplay between established corporate organisations and innovative start-ups has created a dynamic environment across industries. Munich’s tech and start-up scene is supported by the multitude of wealthy organisations, start-up incubators, accelerators, entrepreneurship programs, as well as the top universities and local coding schools. The city boasts an open innovation culture that networks start-ups with universities and established companies benefitting all stakeholders involved. Tech and the Automobile Industry One in every four German cars is produced in Munich with revenue’s in the automobile industry totalling €110 billion. However, in recent times the city has embarked on a journey to move leverage this highly profitable and well-established industry to diversify into the IT sector. New technologies such as self-driving cars and new start-ups such as car sharing apps are attracting the attention and investment from large multinationals such as BMW and Dailmer. BMW operate and fund their ‘start-up garage’ with Dailmer operating ‘Dailmer Mobility’. The Internet of Things Munich is a haven for the IoT industry. The multitude of high-tech and financial industries coupled with knowledge-intensive services has led to a huge demand for IoT products and services. Huge multinational companies such as IBM have heavily invested in IoT in Munich. In 2015, IBM opened its Watson IoT Global headquarters in the city hiring a team of 1,000 developers, researchers and designers. Media and Finance Munich is home to a large diverse media industry that employs approximately 30,000 people across 8,000+ companies. As a result, there are numerous MarTech and AdTech start-ups successfully receiving funding and investment. Munich is home to several global insurance companies such as Allianz and Munich Re and numerous financial institutions. These organisations have given rise to many FinTech start-ups such as Finanzchef24, Boku, Paymill and many more. The vast majority of these start-ups use PHP, Java and Ruby. Incubators Due to the city’s corporate wealth and plan to establish itself as a software engineering powerhouse, there are numerous incubators offering generous incentives and funding to start-ups. Play, TechFounders and Venture Starts are private incubators in the city. The Bavarian government also has a number of initiatives in place to support local talent such as BayStartUP and GrunderRegio M. Popular Languages According to StackOverflow statistics, Munich is home to approximately 100,000 developers. The most popular back-end languages in Munich are PHP (38%), Java (30%) and Python (14%). On the front end of things, Angular is the most popular framework with 55% of companies using it. React comes in second at 27% with Ember and Backbone coming in around the 9% mark.
“Poor but sexy”, the infamous Berlin tagline coined by ex-mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit. The city has come a long way in the past decade transforming its reputation to become the “Silicon Valley” of Europe. Berlin’s start-up scene is growing at an incredible rate showing no signs of slowing down. Berlin solidified itself as the champion of Germany’s start-up scene in 2017. Venture capitalists invested a total of €4.3 billion into German start-ups with 58% of the investment going to start-ups in Berlin. A total of 233 rounds of financing raised €2.67 billion for Berlin start-ups, putting it just behind London and on par with Paris. 8 out of the 10 most desirable start-ups in Germany are located in Berlin with an estimated 30% of the nation’s start-ups setting up in the city. Berlin has clearly established itself as the prime start-up location in Europe. This can be attributed to a number of influencing factors: International Talent Pool Berlin boasts a highly diverse population with approximately 20% of the city’s residents coming from overseas. This multinational, highly educated workforce breeds creativity and innovation. Infrastructure The city operates a very efficient and affordable public transportation network that is fully integrated. It’s quick and easy to get to anywhere in the city or further afield thanks to the city’s expansive train network and two international airports. Office space is reasonably priced compared to other EU cities facilitating the rise of numerous co-working spaces enabling start-ups to get off the ground. Investment Climate Berlin is home to numerous start-up incubators and centres that help turn innovative ideas into reality. Furthermore, venture capital funding has been increasing year on year providing financial support to start-ups throughout the city. Vibrant City Berlin has a special, non-conformist culture that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The city is steeped in rich history and has since grown to become one of the most unique urban areas in the world. The city’s vast party spectrum has something for everyone from industrial techno temples to up-market cocktail bars and beer gardens. The result, Berlin attracts all walks of life, each bringing their own skills, creativity and resources to the capital. Rent Prices Rent prices in Berlin are much cheaper compared to its EU counterparts such as Paris and London. This lower cost of living has attracted multinationals from around the world to start-up businesses while enticing highly skilled workers to relocate. Success Stories Berlin start-up scene has an impressive track record producing some remarkable “unicorns” in recent years: N26 The German Direct Bank, founded in 2013, has scaled to become a recognised name in the finance game valued at an astounding €2.7 billion as of 2018. Zalando This e-commerce company, founded in 2008, now employs over 15,000 people, operating in 17 countries posting healthy revenues of €5 billion as of 2018. HelloFresh The number one meal-kit company in the world, founded in 2011 went public in 2017 with a sizeable IPO valuation of €2.7 billion. Delivery Hero The online food-delivery service, founded in 2011, now operates in 40+ countries and was valued at €4.5 billion during its IPO in 2017.
Venture Capital (VC) is the key to success for any start-up looking to turn an innovative idea into reality. VC firms provide capital, resources, strategic assistance, networks and much more to start-ups at the critical early stages. In the past, Berlin and Germany as a nation has lagged behind its EU and global counterparts partly as a result of the nation’s culture of avoiding risk. Business in Germany tends to move slowly and in a prudent fashion which doesn’t bode well for start-ups. In 2013, VC investments into Berlin start-ups totaled just €133 million. A snapshot of VC funding in 2018 paints a very different picture. VC funding has skyrocketed in the last few years with future projections conveying a similar trajectory. In 2018, a total of €4.6 billion was invested in German start-ups, a 7% increase on 2017. Berlin took a significant share of this VC funding with an incredible €2.67 billion flowing to start-ups in the capital, a 2000% increase on 2013. This figure accounts for 59% of all VC capital invested in Germany and is an increase of 6% from 2017. Berlin start-ups account for 4 out the top 5 largest financing amounts for start-ups in the nation. Where Was the Venture Capital Invested in Berlin? E-Commerce start-ups have always attracted the highest level of VC investments in Berlin and 2018 followed this trend. A total of €1.64 billion was invested in German E-Commerce start-ups with Berlin start-ups collecting a healthy 67% of this figure. E-Commerce platform Auto1 Group headquartered in Berlin topped the list receiving an influx of €460 million in 2018. An interesting emerging trend is the rise of VC funding for Software and Analytic start-ups. These innovative start-ups that comprise of innovative tech such as SaaS, blockchain, virtual reality, cloud, cyber security and data analytics raised a nationwide total of €670 million with €341 million funneling into Berlin. This 56% increase from 2017 portrays the increasing trust and interest in new, innovative tech start-ups. SaaS accounted for €304 million, almost half of the VC funding. FinTech start-ups also experienced healthy growth with €456 million flowing to FinTech start-ups in Berlin. What Caused this Significant Increase in Venture Capital Funding? German VC firms operate on a prudent basis which is in line with German business culture. In the last few years, many large international VC firms such as Atomico, Balderton Capital, Partech and Mangrove have begun to heavily invest in German start-ups with Berlin attracting most of the attention and funding. This flow of international VC funding has broken the cultural barrier of risk-adverse German VC firms. Furthermore, German VC firms have seen this influx of competition and the rewards experienced by international VC firms causing them to question their prudent methods. The future is bright for start-ups in Berlin as forecasts predict the influx of VC capital to continue to rise year on year.