Visit our Working from Home Hub for lots of content for remote workers and managers such as: blogs, video content, training modules, podcasts and other resources to support people now working from home. The hub has lots of great info and supports for: Working form home, Manageing staff remotely, Wellness at Home Talent Summit Series on working in this new normal Access to free online courses to upskill Netflix recommendations Check it out at https://www.workingfromhomehub.com
Simon Mitchell of Sigmar International chats to Johannes Scharlach, Director of Platform Engineering at Frontier Car Group (now OLX Autos) and Fatos Hoti, Engineering Manager at Klara to discuss “Leading Change in the New Era of Work” chatting about@ Integration from startup into a mature company How to build trust in an integration process Leading cultural changes in an organisation Drop everything process when everybody's remote How to align a team against a goal in a new environment? How to communicate that you're dropping everything and that the team is switching focus, starting now?
In recent times we have seen tech companies go to extreme lengths to provide their staff with incredible workspaces in a bid to attract and retain the best talent in the business. The modern office has experienced a number of changes in the last twenty years or so. We have witnessed the death of cubicle farms with the rise of open floorplans and the tech revolution bringing ping pong tables, beer on tap and a wild array of amenities and designs. In the current tech market, the locus of power resides with the employee. According to Forbes, 93% of workers in the tech industry say that they will stay with a company longer that offers healthier workspace benefits such as wellness rooms, entertainment facilities and healthy food options. We have complied a list of some of the best tech offices from around the world, how does your office compare to these stunning spaces? Etsy Headquarters – Brooklyn, NY Etsy’s solar powered headquarters is a work of beauty. The interior of the office is decorated exclusively with products designed and manufactured by Etsy sellers. Boasting cosy chairs, arts and craft stations and natural wood, the space has a homely feel to it and is full of natural light. Images: Etsy Pionen’s White Mountain Office – Stockholm, Sweden Allegedly inspired by villains’ lairs in James Bond movies, the workspace combines all four elements – earth, wind, fire and water – to ‘bring the outside in’ for workers, according to the architects. This creative office space for the Swedesh internet provider is situated at the base of a mountain, somewhat ironic considering this may not offer the best Wi-Fi speeds. Images: Archive Expo Zynga Headquarters – San Francisco, CA In true Silicon Valley style, Zynga house their 1,700 talented employees in an enormous office complex packed full of entertainment such as ping pong, sketching areas and even zombie shooting areas. This impressive complex has been put up for sale by the social gaming service, just in case you have a spare $600 million lying around. Images: Zynga Airbnb – San Francisco Airbnb’s HQ in San Francisco is truly a work of art. Inspired entirely by the site’s listings, the workspaces are custom made in a variety of ways. Workspaces include house boats, tents, shepherd huts and beach cabins. The underlying concept behind the design is to have employees working in their ‘own home’, allowing staff the opportunity to be their most productive self. Images: Airbnb Google – Everywhere Google, arguably the birthplace of the modern tech office, host their global workforce in an array of stunning complexes across the world. From hanging work cubicles in the Zurich office, to the swings and cars featured in the Mexican base, Google employees are always treated to aesthetic and visual stimuli to keep their brain synapses firing. Images: Google Apple Park, Cupertino, CA Apple’s headquarters looks like something out of sci-movie. The stunning building features 360-degree views with the walls made completely out of glass. The colossal building is a mile in circumference and cost approximately $5 billion to build, yes billion. The interior is flooded with natural light, open plan workspaces and minimalist sleek décor, trademark Apple design. Despite Apple’s significant investment, employees have expressed their concerns with the open plan layout with some threatening to quit if they are forced to work in shared spaces. Images: Apple Facebook, Palo Alto, California Facebook recently completed a major extension of their campus in 2018. Called MPK 21, the space is comprised of numerous flexible workspaces surrounded by tropical plants. The campus also features a central courtyard, the “town square” which is complete with restaurants, amenities and redwood trees. Images: Deezen
Join a start-up or a large corporation? This polarizing question has no clear-cut answer but is consistently debated in the software development world. Both start-ups and established corporations come with their own individual set of advantages and disadvantages. There is no black and white answer, it all depends on what you value most. Method vs Madness This is one of the most distinctive differences between the two. In a large corporation, there are clear and well-established processes in place that dictate everything. All tasks are divided into work items and Gantt charts and then equally spread across the team. Everyone fulfils their specialised job role with changes to the process only occurring with pre-emptive planning. Start-ups on the other hand operate on an ad-hoc, needs must basis. Whatever is needed at that time or in the very near future is prioritised. Tasks are not divided equally among the team, nor are they debated over numerous meetings. Work processes and tasks can change very quickly as the start-up moves into a different direction or it loses investment or something else entirely. Corporations’ organised and clearly defined processes remove a lot of ambiguity and ensure that developers are not overworked. However, it often stifles work productivity as time is lost through constant meetings and ‘going through the motions’ of bureaucracy. In a start-up, developers are afforded full responsibility of their work which is very attractive to many. You are likely to be your own manager removing the time-consuming meetings and bureaucratic processes. However, this does come at a cost. If something goes wrong, it is on you to fix it. It doesn’t matter if its 5pm on a Friday or if you already have an unmanageable to-do list, it is up to you to fix it. Professional Development & Career Advancement This is a grey area as both start-ups and large corporations offer great paths to professional development and career advancement but in very different ways. In a large corporation, you will learn valuable skills such as navigating large-scale projects, how to effectively integrate teams, how to work with mature code and the inner workings of large organisations. In addition, you will have a lot of support from developers within the organisation and from extensive training usually paid for and provided by your company. There are clear paths to career advancement on a merit-basis. Those who have clearly demonstrated that they are the best for the job or promotion, tend to get it. On the flip side, start-ups give you the chance to gain working experience in many, often cutting-edge technologies. You will likely have the opportunity to make important architecture yourself while working in different roles on different parts of projects. The support system will however naturally be lower. You will likely work with a select few very smart individuals, but Google will be your best friend for solving issues. Career advancement can be very quick as you will grow as the start-up grows. The earlier you get in, the higher you will advance all going to plan. If you excel in an autonomous role where you dictate how and what work is done, a start-up will work for you. If you excel in a position with clear direction and a solid support system, a large corporation is for you. Pay & Compensation This tends to be the deal breaker for many. Naturally, large corporations can offer a lot in terms of salary and overall remuneration packages. Heavy hitters such as Google, Facebook and Amazon often offer above market salaries with incredible benefit packages to lure in the best talent in the market. Start-ups cannot afford to match the big corporate outfits. You are likely to do the job of three people for the price of less than one in the early days. You will have to acclimatise to a lower standard of living, however there is always the chance that it could pay off in the future if the start-up is a success. Only you will know which one is for you. Start-ups are risky and require a lot of hard-work but they can pay off in a big way. Large corporations are safe, slow moving but can also offer a lot. It all comes down to what you value most and your career aspirations.
Are you looking to progress in your career? Soft skills may be the key to propelling you to success. According to the Deloitte Human Capital Trends report, 90% of executives rate soft skills as a priority for their employees. You may have every technical skill mastered for your role, but this amounts to little if you don’t work well with others. The modern workplace requires consistent teamwork, collaboration and communication with little room for those who don’t work well with others. Unlike hard skills, which can be easily measured and quantified, soft skills are intangible and difficult to quantify. Soft skills are personable attributes, usually linked to how you work and interact with others. Soft skills are necessary for your success and your career development as they help facilitate human connections and relationships. Effective soft skills make you visible for the right reasons, opening up more career-related opportunities such as a promotion to team lead or management. According to LinkedIn data, the top five most in-demand soft skills in the tech industry are; Creativity Persuasion Collaboration Adaptability Time Management Creativity: Creative employees are always highly sought after. You may think that you’re not creative but there are steps you can follow. Creativity in the workplace is about thinking or doing something slightly different. Approach each task in work with the attitude that the current method is only temporary until it is replaced by something better. Discuss your ideas with people, incorporate their feedback and above all else, don’t be afraid to fail. Put yourself and your ideas out there, failure is necessary for success. Persuasion: Being able to persuade others that your idea or way of doing something is no easy task but it is necessary to achieve your goals and objectives. There are many ways to persuade people, some more shady than others such as nagging and coercion. Successful persuaders get others to buy into their idea. You need to understand how your audience thinks, what makes them tick. Practicing active listening and empathy are excellent ways to discover how someone thinks. You also need to really believe in your idea and communicate it well, don’t be afraid to receive some negative feedback, it is part of the process. Collaboration: Collaboration is essential in work. Within the tech industry, it is the norm to collaborate across departments and teams due to the nature of the work. Building effective collaboration is more than teamwork, it means building trust. It is important to communicate clearly about everyone’s role in the process and agree upon it. It is important to place the overall goal ahead of your personal goals or recognition, true collaboration is about the overall outcome. Recognising others for their work or contribution and offering credit is a great way to build collaboration. Adaptability: Adaptability is one of the most sought-after qualities in an employee as advances in technology continue to accelerate at an increasing rate. The ability to modify one’s thinking, beliefs and behaviours to better suit the current or future environment is becoming essential in the modern digital age. It is almost impossible for organisations to keep up with the rate of change, adaptable employees are the key to future-proofing the business. To be adaptable in the workplace, you need to be open to new projects outside your comfort zone, accept and embrace that your role may change to better suit market conditions and convey calmness and confidence when you are faced with a sudden new dilemma. Time Management: Time is a great equaliser, everyone has the same number of hours in the day and learning how to effectively utilise your time is the key to success. Setting goals and prioritising each goal is a great way to manage time. Before completing any task, assess how urgent the priority is and how much of your time does the task warrant. Consistent planning is an essential element of time management, keep control of your daily, weekly and monthly workflow. For more tips on time management – read this blog (Insert link: https://www.sigmarrecruitment.eu/blog/2019/08/how-to-improve-productivity-at-work).
It’s not breaking news that the cost of living in Berlin is rising as the city has transformed from “poor, but sexy” to the one of the hottest start-up locations in Europe. The phrase cost of living is subjective as it means different things to different people. For the purpose of this blog, I am going to focus on the costs of everyday life such as rent, food and travel. Rent Berlin, once famous for its cheap rental prices is now catching up to its EU counterparts. Rental prices are fluctuating so much between neighbourhoods that it is hard to pin down an average cost, but the following map showcases the price in each area of Berlin for a two-bedroom apartment of 70m squared (without bills and utility costs). Hotspots such as Mitte, Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain and Charlottenburg are very expensive areas to live in, however there are still affordable areas within the city limits. Furthermore, Berlin operates a highly efficient and affordable public transportation system enabling people to live outside of the city centre without having to face a daunting commute to work every day. A full breakdown of the different neighbourhoods is available here. Although rents in Berlin have risen dramatically, they are still very affordable compared to other capital cities such as London and Paris. Food & Drink Food and drink is very affordable in Berlin whether you opt to dine in or out. There are plenty of reputable discount grocery shops, Lidl, Aldi, Netto and Penny to name a few. There is also an abundance of higher end grocers such as Rewe, Edeka or Karstadt, and organic shops where prices are higher but still affordable. The city is also littered with a number of fantastic food markets where you can get some fresh veg for the week for €15 or so. It’s very easy to find cheap beer and wine in Berlin with a Späti (convenience store) at every turn. You can pick up a can of beer for around 80 cents and a bottle of wine from €4. If you decide to eat out, it won’t set you back too much. A basic lunch with a drink within the business districts will cost you between €7-€12 and even less if you opt to indulge in one of the many Turkish kebab shops that populate the city. A mid-range restaurant meal for two (3 courses) will cost around €50 but of course you can decide to spend more or less depending on your choice of meal. A domestic German beer (500ml) in a pub costs around €3.30 with a nice cocktail setting you back around €8. If you’re looking for a caffeine hit to get you through your day, a standard Americano is around €2.20 with cappuccinos/lattes costing approx. €3.30. Travel Berlin is a very cycle friendly city thanks to its (mostly) good cycling infrastructure and flat terrain. However, the weather can be less than friendly during Winter months so public transport may be your only option. The U-Bahn, S-Bahn and bus system all use the same tickets which is handy if you’re buying a longer pass. AB tickets cover the entire city area and Tegel airport and prices are: Single trip €2.80 Four trip single tickets €9 Day Ticket €7 7-day ticket €30 Monthly ticket €81 Overall, Berlin is a very affordable city compared to its EU counterparts. The value for money you get in Berlin is unrivalled by many other cities as its such a vibrant, exciting city located in the heart of Europe.
Throughout history, one of the most basic goals of any business is to increase efficiency and productivity. The more efficient a person or process is, the less time is required to complete a project. The natural by-product of increased productivity is an increase in the bottom line. Within software development, there is always more work to do; new features to implement, bugs to fix, tests to run, the list can feel endless. Here are a few tips to help increase your productivity at work to get more from your workday. Work Fewer Hours This may sound counter intuitive, but significant research has shown that working fewer hours promotes smarter solutions while improving your ability to focus. The very nature of coding presents developers with complex issues on a daily basis that require incredible focus and smart solutions. In reality, working shorter hours may not always be possible if your employer is yet to understand the significant benefits shorter hours offers, if you are very new to a job/inexperienced or if your workload is simply too much. If this is the case, we recommend taking more short breaks throughout the day. Coding is a huge mental drain requiring consistent focus. It is important to give your brain time to refresh and recharge by leaving your desk at intervals throughout the day. Scrolling through your phone or browsing the web is not a mental break, it is just another point of focus. Try going for a walk, chatting with a colleague or getting some fresh air to reenergise your brain. Avoid Distractions According to a survey conducted by Udemy Research — aptly named "2018 Workplace Distraction Report" nearly 3 out of 4 workers (70 percent) say they feel distracted at work. The impact this has is compounded when coding due to the complex nature of the activity. You’re in the zone, ten different variables shooting through your mind and bang your phone rings or your work friend taps you on the shoulder. Instantly you are dragged out of the zone hampering productivity. Research has shown it takes up to fifteen minutes to fully get back in the zone. Similar to when you’re just about to nod off to sleep and something disturbs you, it takes around fifteen minutes to shake off the disturbance. Practical tips to combat this include; Wearing noise cancelling headphones if this is allowed in your workplace Having a clear and open conversation with your colleagues that you can only work effectively when left undisturbed for a period of time Pre-set times to chat with your colleagues or organise set meetings to avoid disturbances Turn notifications off on your phone Have a sign on your desk stating that you are working on a complex issue removing any ambiguity in the situation – open communication about the sign prior to putting it up is key. Automate Writing scripts to automate the laborious time-consuming elements of your job can improve productivity for an entire team significantly. Streamlining your workday enables you to work smarter, not harder. When you face a laborious task, always err on the side of automation but make sure you consider the cost-benefit of automating the task. You don’t want to spend more time on debugging the script than the actual task at hand. Don’t Multitask Despite your self-assessment that you are an expert multi-tasker, the reality is that research from the American Psychological Association among other sources shows that you are not. When your to-do list is overwhelmingly long, it can be tempting to hop from task to task, generating an illusion of control for your own benefit. In reality, you are wasting time as you jump between headspaces, losing the clarity that comes with continuous focus. When working on a task, choose to work on that task until completion. Of course, in the real world, this is not always possible. A solution is simply setting a time-frame or deadline for the task. Allow yourself a certain amount of time to work on the task, then move on to the next. It is important that your full focus is on one task at a time. In the working world, you will always encounter distractions and obstacles to productivity. The key is to implement simple measures when possible to mitigate distractions and to always be mindful of burnout. Our brains work better when they are afforded adequate time to refresh and when they are focused on one task at a time.
When relocating to a new city, it can be very difficult to know what part of the city to move to. You may ask yourself several pertinent questions such as; What is the most affordable area to live in? Where is best to raise a family? What area has close access to public transport? What area has the highest concentration of restaurants, bars and coffee shops? Berlin is very unique city as it is divided up into twelve distinct neighbourhoods, each with their own look and feel. Each neighbourhood offers its’ own set of advantages and disadvantages depending on what you are looking for. Below is map of how Berlin is divided. Rental prices fluctuate between each neighbourhood. Below is a rental price map for the city for a two-bedroom apartment of 70m squared (without bills and utility costs). As with most cities around the world, rental prices rise significantly the closer you get to the centre. Thankfully, Berlin operates a highly affordable and reliable public transport network enabling people to live outside of the city centre without having to face a daunting commute to work every day. Mitte is steeped in rich history being home to the Jewish Memorial and the Reichstag. It is the city centre and government district. In recent times, the neighbourhood has transformed becoming the hotspot for start-ups, particularly around Torstrasse. As a result, rental prices have increased significantly within the last decade as highly skilled and often highly paid expats move to this start-up hotspot. Friedrichshain - Kreuzberg is a very trendy and culturally diverse area in Berlin with endless bars, restaurants, art exhibitions and the infamous Berghain. There’s always something to do in this popular neighbourhood. This area is also very close to many corporate and tech offices which only serve to further increase the already high demand for housing here. This one of the most expensive areas in the city. Charlottenburg is the heart of West Berlin and is more organised and cleaner than the rest of the city. It’s home to the famous food court KaDeWe and the most exclusive shopping street in Berlin, Kurfürstendamm. Charlottenburg is the luxury side of Berlin and rental prices here are also quite high. Prenzlauer Berg is one of the most family orientated areas in Berlin famous for its vast amount of young families located there. It’s quite a trendy area home to a cluster of cool start-ups. Rental prices here are slightly more affordable but have be rising year on year due to the increase in start-up activity in the area. Neukolln is an area in Berlin with relatively cheaper rent than the rest of the city. Neukolln is very close to Kreuzberg and acts as a more affordable alternative to those wishing to live near the trendy, start-up centre of Berlin. Rental prices here are slowly rising year on year. Lichtenberg conveys remanence of its Eastern heritage with countless Eastern German Plattenbauten, massive building blocks that now look a bit outdated. Lichtenberg is slowly gaining traction as the city centre is easily reached by public transportation and the prices of Lichtenberg apartments are still extremely affordable. Hellesdorf is similar to Lichtenberg but also plays host to the famous Gärten der Welt, which is a great park to get away from all the noise of the city. The area plays host to a vibrant mix of people and major renovations have taken place giving the promenade a facelift. Treptow and Köpenick are also great neighbourhoods for families to live in. They are full of green parks and picturesque lakes, perfect for a day trip during the summer months. Rental prices here are more affordable compared to other parts of the city. Templehof is most famous for its now closed city airport. Nowadays the district is a popular location for Berliners to hang out and engage in activities such as skating and kiting. Rental prices here are more affordable on the outskirts but gradually rise the closer you get to Kreuzberg/Mitte. Steglitz – Zehlendorf are quieter districts on the west of Berlin perfectly suited for families. It’s calmer than the rest of the city with noticeable less traffic. Rental prices here average around €750 per month as it is one of the best areas in Berlin for families. Reinickendorf is one of the lesser know areas of Berlin. Tegel Airport (TLX) is located here along with some nice spots such as Tegeler See (lake). Rental prices here are on average much cheaper than other parts of the city. Spandau is unique as its’ inhabitants don’t consider themselves ‘Berliners’. It’s like a separate small town within a city full of nature and lovely lakes. Rental prices are quite affordable here, as you get closer to Charlottenburg, rental prices increase significantly. Looking to work in Berlin? Check out our latest vacancues here.
Frankfurt is emerging as a vibrant European start-up ecosystem supported by its esteemed legacy and finance industries. The city boasts a highly diverse and active network of businesses that are boosted by the region’s exceptional research and education centres. Frankfurt is the finance capital of Europe, dubbed ‘Mainhattan’, the city is home to the European Central Bank, ECB Banking Supervision – SSM, the European Insurance Oversight, the German Stock Exchange (the 10th largest in the world), Bundesbank, the German financial oversight body Bafin, Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank and many more. The finance industry employs over 70,000 people and generates revenues higher than many countries worldwide. The city is also home to a multitude of large corporations such as Schott, Opel, Frankfurt Airport, Merck KGaA, Sanofi, and Deutsche Flugsicherung. This incredible wealth and knowledge within the city have laid the foundations for a thriving technology and start-up scene. Frankfurt’s corporate outfits offer significant benefits to start-ups in the region. Frankfurt has one of the highest concentrations of finance specialists and coders with experience in finance and tax in Europe offering much needed operational support to start-ups. Furthermore, many of Frankfurt’s large corporations have launched some incredible initiatives to position their business at the forefront of technology and start-up activity. Deutsche Bank launched its Digitalfabrik or digital factory, a project for programmers and finance experts to develop digital banking projects; Commerzbank’s initiative CommerzVentures is investing in “the most ambitious young” start-ups; and Deutsche Borse unveiled its Fintech Hub in 2016, an initiative aimed at supporting the fintech community in Frankfurt and in the Rhein/Main region. One of the newest programs to arrive in the city is the iconic Silicon Valley accelerator program Plug and Play, which launched a new European fintech program in collaboration with TechQuatier earlier this year. TechQuatier is an international community, incubator and co-working place comprised of over 100 start-ups and 30 academic partners and academic institutions. Corporate R&D spending totalled a whopping €5.5 billion in 2017. Naturally, Frankfurt is a hub for the FinTech industry with 55% of all local VC investments being acquired by fintech start-ups from 2012-2017. The acquisition of Fintech 360, a trading network for foreign currencies, was the largest start-up exit in German history coming in around €725 million. Interestingly, it was the Frankfurt Stock Exchange that acquired Fintech 360. However, Frankfurt has a lot more to offer than just fintech and finance. The city has a high concentration of AI, Big Data & Analytics start-ups with 8.5% of all start-ups in the region engaging in one of the three innovative activities. These start-ups acquired just over 13% of all local VC capital between 2012-2017. AI start-up Arago recently received €55 million in venture capital funding. These innovative start-ups are boosted by the fact that Frankfurt has the largest internet exchange point in the world, the DE-CIX. Furthermore, there is an abundance of large co-working spaces dotted around the city, twenty-two recognised spaces as of 2018. There is also numerous incubators and accelerators that offer vital support to start-up such as; Main Incubator, Pando Ventures, Unibator, Grundermaschine, Commerzbank Content Shift, Accelerator Frankfurt, E&Y Start-up Academy, Merck Accelerator and UX Accelerator. Lastly, Frankfurt’s high density of research and education institutes provide the talent needed to grow these start-ups into highly successful businesses. 25+ institutions educating over 230,000 students are present in the city and some are infamous for their innovation. Research intense institutions like the University of Mainz are where instruments for Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity were built. At this current time, Frankfurt pales in comparison to other European cities in terms of start-up activity. On the other hand, Frankfurt’s start-up activity is estimated to be growing 50% year on year and with the wealth and knowledge in the city, the future is bright.
Sourcing suitable accommodation is always at the top of your priority list when relocating to a new city. Finding accommodation in Stockholm is no easy task but if you are flexible with your price and location, it is manageable. We recommend finding an apartment to rent for one to three months when you initially move to Stockholm. There are significantly more properties on the market for short-term leases as landlords and tenants may be travelling or working abroad for short periods. During this time, you will the chance to get to know the city giving you a clearer idea of where you will want to live. In addition, you will have time to ask locals or colleagues advice on where to live, how to find an apartment and all the processes that are involved with renting in the city. It is quite difficult to get a long-term apartment to rent in the city like other European cities. In Stockholm, it is the norm to be offered a 6-month lease with a possibility of a 6-month extension. It is possible to get a 1-year contract, but it’s extremely rare that you will find something longer than that. In most cases, if you are looking for a contract that extends over one year, the landlord will have to ask permission from the board of directors of the building. Rentals: There are two types of rentals in Sweden, Fist-hand and Second-hand. First-hand rentals A first-hand Förstahand contract, means that the apartment is in your name and you deal directly with the landlord. This usually requires several years in the housing queue. The housing queue gives people access to rental apartments with capped prices. To join this, you must register with the Stockholm Housing Agency. Second-hand rentals Second-hand rentals are most common in Stockholm. A second-hand Andrahand contract is a sublet. This is where someone that owns their apartment or has a first-hand contract, rents their apartment to someone else. This comes at a cost and the competition is high. These can often have a 1-3 month notice period if the tenant/landlord want to move out/in. It is extremely important to make sure that the tenant is co-operating with the board of the building bostadsrättsföreningen or that the landlord has signed off on second-hand leasing. If you sublet a flat from someone who doesn’t have permission, you could run the risk of being evicted. Where to Live Due to the high levels of competition within the city for housing, it is not only hard to find an apartment, but it can be expensive too. Thankfully, Stockholm operates a very efficient and affordable public transport system that enable you to live outside of the city without facing an arduous commute to work every day. Areas outside of the city such as Sollentuna are only 20 minutes commute by tram and offer more affordable housing. We recommend you look outside of the city centre to boost your chances of finding suitable accommodation. Prices As mentioned earlier, Stockholm city centre is very expensive to rent in with areas on the outskirts of the city offering a more affordable option. Below is a breakdown of monthly rent costa for areas within Stockhom in SEK. Green = Average Price Light Grey = One Bedroom Grey = Two Bedroom Dark Grey = Three Rooms Photo Credit: RelocatetoSweden.com Where to Look There are several housing websites where you can find suitable accommodation; Blocket – blocket.se Bostad Direkt - bostaddirekt.com Qasa Residensportalen Andrahand.se BoPunkten.se There are a number of Facebook groups where you can find shared accommodation; https://www.facebook.com/groups/223360214358564/ https://www.facebook.com/groups/146281422217393/ https://www.facebook.com/groups/139276769508646/ Looking for a job that will enable you to pay rent in Stockholm? See our full list of vacancies here.
Automation is a polarizing topic as despite the benefits and opportunities that new automation technologies offer, the impact on human jobs is a real concern. Regular reports warn that the automation apocalypse is coming within the next decade with studies from Oxford and McKinsey predicting that automation will eliminate 30 – 60% of all workplace tasks. These tasks which are carried out by human workers account for a significant portion of employment in some industries. Not all jobs are created equally, and some are more likely to be automated out of existence in the near future. To truly understand the reality of the threat that automation poses, we must examine examples of jobs that are at a high risk of automation. The long-standing staple of the taxi driver is likely to be a profession of the past. The taxi industry has already been turned on its head in a few short years with the introduction of apps such as Uber and Lyft. The human element of ordering a taxi has already been automated out of existence, is the driver next? Autonomous vehicles are no longer science fiction with major automotive brands heavily investing in autonomous technology. As the technology continues to advance and proliferate throughout society, it’s likely the lone taxi driver will simply be replaced by technology. The ‘Future of Employment’ have ranked taxi driver as one of the ‘least safe’ jobs with an 89% chance of being automated. On a similar note, truck/delivery drivers are likely to be a thing of the past alongside taxi drivers. We have already seen the first warning signs with Tesla’s fully electric autonomous semi-truck entering the market. Imagine; you order an item through a well-known online retailers’ website. All payment is made securely through the website, you provide your delivery address while ordering, but instead of your order being collected from a warehouse by an outsourced delivery partner, which is often the case at the moment, a dedicated robot tracks the order from the warehouse/ It is then loaded into a self-driving vehicle/drone and delivered safely to you, with no human interaction whatsoever. Amazon have already trialled this new tech using drones to offer same-day delivery on small Amazon purchases. US Netflix series Black Mirror provides many insights into the future of our society and how technology influences it. Take episode three of season four, Crocodile. In this episode, an autonomous pizza truck delivers a pizza while cooking it in-transit. It sounds like science fiction yet in Silicon Valley, a company called Zume is pioneering the concept of a ‘robot pizza truck’. An order is placed through the Zume app, the self-driving truck begins its journey to the destination address, and by the time it has arrived at the delivery address, the robot chef will have a freshly baked pizza ready for delivery. Household brand PizzaHut came out in 2018 saying it was teaming up with Toyota to bring the robot pizza truck concept to life. The ‘Future of Employment’ has ranked fast food cook at an 81% risk of being automated. The pizza truck will automate both fast food cook and delivery driver out of existence. As well as the food, e-commerce and driving industries, another area which faces potential extinction in the coming years is that of customer service. Customer service spans across a range of roles, yet a significant portion of these roles are on the way out. UI chatbots continue to proliferate throughout many large organisations removing the need for customer support agents. As this technology continues to improve and become a more cost and time efficient method of customer support, why would companies choose humans? Evidently, automation poses a higher risk to some industries more than others. Jobs that are highly routine with a high proportion of repetitive tasks are most at risk of being automated in the near future. However, this does not mean the job in its entirety will disappear, automation will change how we work. The reinvention and re-engineering of jobs is the key story, not job losses. For example, automating the last kilometre of truck deliveries is an inconceivable task at the movement, the journey still requires a qualified human driver. Customer service agents can upskill and work in other areas of the business such as sales or account management. Technology and automation have always changed how we work throughout history without causing an unemployment apocalypse. Automation will no doubt change how we work but the threat it poses can be mitigated by continuous upskilling and reskilling. Jobs will change, it important that we change as well.
PHP is a staple language in the software development world first appearing on the tech scene way back in 1994. In recent times, we have seen a flurry of articles surface on the future of PHP with some critics arguing that it is a language of the past and that there is no future for PHP professionals on the market. We thought it would be a good idea to present our own take on the polarizing topic. Today’s technology market is evolving at an unprecedented pace, and many critics fear that the times of PHP are long gone. This begs the question; is it worthwhile investing in PHP and creating PHP resources, or are they doomed to become obsolete in the near future? Though many new languages and frameworks are quickly gaining momentum, PHP remains in the top 10 programming languages worldwide according to GitHub, TIOBE, Hacker and Fullstackacademy rankings. PHP was ranked fourth in GitHub’s rankings in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. PHP was given the seventh-place ranking in 2018 and eighth place in 2019 by TIOBE experts. Hacker.io listed it as number eight programming language to learn and Fullstackacademy.com listed is as number six programming language to learn in 2019. Not so bad for a ‘dead language’. The demand for PHP from a business perspective offers an insight into the longevity and future of the language. PHP is a highly versatile language that can be used for a plethora of business applications from website applications to CRM systems to content management systems. PHP is perfectly compatible with a variety of Apache, IIS and MySQL interfaces and it offers a high level of control to the web developer. PHP boasts a high level of reliability and performance coupled with relatively low development and maintenance costs. This versatile nature and variety of benefits offered by PHP means that it appeals to both start-ups and established businesses who in turn then seek to hire experienced PHP professionals. PHP is used by major brands such as Yahoo, Facebook, Wikipedia, Flickr, WordPress, Friendster, Digg, Source Forge, iStockPhoto, and MailChimp as well as being used by approximately 79% of all websites (discounting CMS sites). Short answer, there is a lot of demand for PHP developers. In the current state of affairs, there is high demand for IT professionals across the entire IT spectrum with demand often outstripping supply. Companies are battling for talent leading to a surge in salaries and remuneration packages being offered to IT professionals. This however is not the case for PHP professionals. Approximately 20% of all developers within the EU have PHP in their tech stack according to LinkedIn data. This figure is so high as PHP is a comparably simple language to learn, and practitioners are often self-taught. It can be learnt for free, has a huge community, and is open source. This substantial number of PHP developers has led to lower salaries being offered compared to other IT professionals such as Ruby on Rails developers with salaries dropping by approximately 4% from 2017 to 2018. Despite the surplus of PHP developers on the market, there is always room to optimise and futureproof your skillset to get ahead of the curve. Laravel and Symphony are sought after frameworks on a CV with only 12% and 10% of PHP professionals listing them as a core skill. Recently, we have seen a lot of demand in the market for CMS skills like TYPO3, Drupal and Magneto. There is a clear shortage of suitable candidates on the market with these skills to match the ever-growing demand. Adding these frameworks to your tech stack will make you a highly sought-after candidate and also enable you to command a higher salary. What is most important to perfect within PHP is the same as every other language, your code. Clean, effective code is a priceless commodity, one that will enable you to command a higher salary more than anything else. The future is yet to be written on PHP, current reports do signify a minute decrease in the demand for PHP, however there is no cause for panic just yet. PHP is an incredibly well established language utilised by millions for a variety of applications across the world. Looking for a PHP job? Check out our current vacancies here.
Finding accommodation is a priority when moving to a new city. Historically rental prices in Berlin have been very affordable compared to other German and European cities. This has been a key selling point for many expats relocating to the city to live and work. However, as Berlin's start-up and tech scene has rapidly grown, demand for housing has increased dramatically. The influx of expats moving to Berlin has led to a shortage of affordable housing in some hot spots in the city such as Kreuzberg and Mitte where rents have risen significantly. Berlin is divided up into twelve distinct neighbourhoods with rental prices fluctuating between each neighbourhood. There are still some areas within the city that offer affordable rental prices and with Berlin’s interconnected and reliable public transport network, it is possible to live in a more affordable area without facing a daunting commute to work every day. The average rental prices (in euros) for a two-bedroom apartment of 70m squared can be seen in the image below. These rates do not include heating and utility costs. There has been action taken by Berlin’s Senate to combat the soaring rental costs. The Senator for Urban Development and Housing in Berlin announced that the Senate approved a five-year rent freeze for the city as of June 2019. This rent freeze is set to take effect in January 2020 and will apply retroactively from June of 2019. Securing an Apartment It is important to note that the housing market is incredibly competitive in Berlin, so it is important to maximise your chances of securing an apartment. Prepare and bring all your paperwork to a viewing; Proof of your last three months’ salary OR a copy of your employment contract if you don’t have any payslips yet. Copy of your passport. A Mietschuldenfreiheitsbescheinigung - a letter from your old landlord confirming you are up to date on your rent. A SCHUFA certificate: This is a certificate that is usually issued by banks (or post offices in some cases) and it will prove that you do not have any debt from previous tenancies. Deposit A security deposit must be paid to the landlord prior to moving in. The deposit will usually equal 2 or 3 months cold rent (rent minus heating & utility costs) and by law will never be more than 3 times the rent. Should there be any damage caused to the apartment, the cost of repair will be deducted from the deposit. If there is no damage, the deposit will be returned to the tenant once they vacate the property. Residence Registration (Anmeldebestätigung) Once you have found an apartment, you must apply for a Anmeldebestätigung. This is a piece of paper you receive from the Berlin local authorities to say that you have an official address in the city. You get it from one of the many ‘Bezirksamt’ offices, or local authority offices. The documentation you’ll need: Passport A copy of your rental contract (Mietvertrag) to prove you have an official address A completed copy of the Anmeldung form which can be downloaded at http://www.berlin.de/formularserver/formular.php?52009 Once you have all of the above and filled in your form, you must take it along to your nearest Bezirksamt or local authority office. A list of them can be found here: https://service.berlin.de/dienstleistung/120686/ It is advised to book an appointment online to avoid the queues. Where to Look: These are the 4 main websites to search for and find available apartments: https://www.immobilienscout24.de https://www.immowelt.de/ https://www.immonet.de/ https://www.ebay-kleinanzeigen.de/stadt/berlin/ There is also a number of popular Facebook groups where users post available apartments or rooms to rent: WG-Zimmer & Wohnungen Berlin - 140,000+ members WG, Zimmer und Wohnung in Berlin - 55,000+ members Berlin Apartments - 21,000+ members Apartments/roommates in Berlin - 17,000+ members For more information on websites and housing services, please visit: https://allaboutberlin.com/guides/find-a-flat-inberlin#where-to-look-for-apartments
If you are an EU citizen and plan to stay in Sweden for more than three months you will need a to have the right of residence. This means you must have means to support yourself. You do not need a residence permit and you do not need to contact the Swedish Migration Agency. After living in Sweden for five years with the right of residence you will be granted permanent right of residence. With your permanent residence card, you will be eligible to apply for citizenship. Both EU and non-EU citizens must obtain a Personnummer number if they are living in Sweden for more than three months, this is an identification number that is given to all Swedes. It is obtained after you register in the Swedish population register. This can be obtained at a Skatteverket Office (Swedish Tax Agency). You will be required to have a Swedish address to register, as your Personnummer must be sent to your own Swedish address. You will not be able to open a bank account until you have received your Personnummer. This application is relatively straightforward for EU citizens. If you are a non-EU citizen, you will need a work permit to enter Sweden. An application for a work permit of three months or more is automatically issued with a residence permit application. Citizens of Nordic Countries Citizens of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Iceland may live in Sweden without obtaining a residence permit. All you must do is register with the Swedish Tax Agency to obtain your personnummer number. Required Documents You will need to bring the following documents; Passport or national ID card Documents showing your civil status Birth certificate, if you have children Proof of employment in Sweden 'anstallningbevis' A payslip if you have already started working This must be provided from your employer confirming that you will be working in Sweden. The employment certificate must be signed by your employer and you and must include the following; your name and your address your employer's name and address your employer's corporate identity number - organisationsnummer if you are employed on a fixed-term or indefinite-term basis or on a probationary or temporary basis other employment terms including employment date, period of notice, working hours, holiday leave, salary and benefits description of your duties collective agreement (if applicable) Change of Address If at any time you move to a new address, you must report your new address to the Swedish Tax Agency. It is free of charge to report and can easily be done with the use of the Tax Agency’s e-service. On the e-service you can print out the form and send it to them by mail. Where do I register? In the below link you can locate your nearest Swedish tax agency location; https://skatteverket.se/omoss/kontaktaoss/besokservicekontor.4.515a6be615c637b9aa4acd5.html Leaving Sweden If at any point you decide to leave Sweden again you must notify the Swedish Tax Agency of your plans. If you move to another Nordic country the regulations of that country will determine if you will enter its population register. You will be removed from the Swedish population register after the Nordic country has registered you with their population register.
What is PHP? PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) is a widely preferred server-side programming language. While it is an open-source as well as a platform-independent programming language, it is also simple to use, and easy to understand and learn. From version 1 in ’95, v2 in ’97, v3 in ’98 and v4 in 2000, PHP saw a steady growth in popularity. With v5 in 2004, the community adopted this server-side language to the point that by 2015, around 80% of the websites across the world, were using PHP to some extent. Of these, 0.1% run in PHP v3, 0.7% in v4, 76% are still running in v5.6 and v7 has around 22.8% of the total. The growth of the PHP language as a technology has been impressive and for the last 24 years it’s still one of the most popular languages used by brands like Yahoo, Facebook, Wikipedia, Flickr, WordPress, Friendster, Digg, Source Forge, iStockPhoto, and MailChimp. PHP Workforce Across LinkedIn, there are currently around 3.2 million developers and programmers with various programming skills worldwide. Of these, around 644.000 have PHP as a skillset. Critics often argue that PHP is a dying language, yet 20.1% of developers worldwide have it in their tech stack. PHP is used by developers across the globe; India 16.3%, United States 14.7%, United Kingdom 4.8%, Canada 4.2%, Indonesia 2.5%, Ukraine 2.5%, Italy 2.4%, Spain 2.3%, Pakistan 2.2% and Netherlands 2%. According to LinkedIn, around 2.1% of PHP developers have 1 year of experience in the IT Sector. 12% have 3-5 yoe (years of experience), 22.4% have 3-5yoe, 29% have 6-10yoe and 22% have over 10yoe. It is very hard to verify whether these developers still actively use PHP. Many may have shifted towards other techs and may not even use PHP. Nevertheless, these figures do enable one to get a grasp of the sheer number of PHP developers across the globe. In Europe, there are around 341,000 IT professionals with PHP on their profile with a wide variety of job titles (DevOps, Testers, Designers, Lead, Scrum Masters, Project Managers, Managing roles, etc). 183,245 of this subset are Developers or Programmers and are spread across the EU; UK 17.4%, Spain 8.2%, Italy 8%, France 7.8%, Netherlands 7%, Ukraine 6.9%, Germany 6.8%, Poland 5.7%, Romania 3.6% and Sweden 3.3%. Top Frameworks Used From this total of 341,000 IT professionals, around 35,700 use Symfony 10.4% (of which 20,800 are still devs or programmers). France appears to be the epicentre of Symphony playing host to 16% of all Symphony users. Paris alone encompasses 6.6% of the entire subset. Second on the list is Poland hovering around the 10% mark with Spain coming close behind at 9.9%. The UK (8.9%), Ukraine (8.6%), Germany (7.1%), The Netherlands (5.8%), Italy (4.3%) and Romania (3.9%) are home to the majority of European Symphony users outside of France and Spain. The laravel framework, which is based on Symphony, is used by approximately 40,900 or 12% of European PHP professionals. The highest concentration of laravel users is in the UK (14%) with Ukraine coming in second at 11%. The Netherlands is home to 8.4% of laravel users, Spain has 6.4%, Poland has 5%, Italy has 4.9%, Germany has 4.7%, Romania has 4.6%, France has 4.1% with Serbia finishing the list with 3.1%. Zend also has a big share of PHP professionals with 24,445 of 7.1% of PHP professionals opting to use the framework. Magento is / was used by 19,664 people, CodeIgniter 18,209, Yii 10,700, CakePHP 7,922, Slim 2,247, Phalcon 1,972, Lumen 1,358 and FuelPHP 743. The numbers are clear evidence that contrary to what many critics argue, PHP is not a dying language and in fact still plays a large role within the IT industry. Looking for a PHP job? See our full list of PHP vacancies here.
Work Permit If you are an EU/EEA citizen, you are entitled to work in Sweden without a work permit. If you work and have enough means to support yourself, you automatically have right of residence in Sweden. With that you do not need to register with or apply for a residence permit at the Swedish Migration Board. You are entitled to start working immediately upon arrival in Sweden. You are also entitled to come to Sweden to search for work. More information may be found at www.migrationsverket.se Non-EU You cannot obtain a work permit to go to Sweden to look for a job. To obtain a work permit you must have been offered a job in Sweden, employees cannot enter the country until the permit is granted. To be eligible for a work permit you must; Have a valid passport Have been offered terms of employment that are at least on par with those set by Swedish collective agreements or which are customary within the occupation or industry Have been offered a salary that is at least on par with that set by Swedish collective agreements or which is customary within the occupation or industry Have been offered a position that will enable you to support yourself. In order to satisfy this support requirement, you need to work to an extent that will result in a salary of at least SEK 13,000 per month before taxes Have an employer who intends to provide insurance covering health, life, employment and pension when you begin to work. Where To Apply You need to apply with the Swedish Migration Agency. The easiest way to apply is through an online application at; https://www.migrationsverket.se/download/18.5e83388f141c129ba6312e9d/1535449030680/atinifran_151011_en.pdf Extending Your Work Permit In order to extend your work permit, your salary and other terms of employment must have been at least equivalent to what is stated in the collective agreement or is considered the practice in your profession or industry. You must also have worked to the extent that your wages reached at least SEK 13,000 per month, before taxes. These conditions must have been met during the entire time that you have held a work permit in Sweden. Permanent Residence Permit You must live in Sweden for 4 years on a work permit before you would be eligible for permanent residency. You apply for a residence permit by submitting an application to your local Embassy or Consulate or in some cases directly to the Swedish Migration Board – Migrationsverket. One year after you obtain your permanent residency you will be eligible to apply for citizenship. How long does it take to get a decision from Migrationsverket? You will have to be patient, because processing times are quite long, especially for first time applicants. The current waiting time for first time applicants are between 14 – 18 months. However, processing times for second time applicants are generally shorter, around a work week. Yet, this completely depends on the complexity of your application EU Blue Card If you are a non-EU national and have received an offer of a highly qualified job, you can apply for an EU Blue Card. You must have a university education equivalent to 180 university credits, or five years’ professional experience and a salary equal to at least one and a half times the average gross salary in Sweden. In order to obtain an EU Blue Card, you must have; A valid passport A university education equivalent to 180 university credits, or five years’ relevant professional experience Taken out or applied for a comprehensive health insurance policy that covers health and medical care in Sweden An employment contract or offer of highly qualified employment lasting at least one year No less than one and a half times the average gross salary in Sweden, before taxes. More information To read more information please visit: https://www.eu-bluecard.com/how-to-apply/
If you are living in Sweden for more than 183 days (six months), you are considered a tax resident. You must register to pay tax and submit an income tax return. Types of Income Income from agriculture and forestry Income from business operations Income from self-employed work Income from employed work Income from capital Income from letting property Miscellaneous income. If income does not fall under any of these categories, they are not subject to income tax. Income Tax Sweden has a progressive income tax; this means the rates increase as your income increases. Income tax for residents includes both national and municipal tax. Municipal tax is deducted at a flat rate which varies from one municipality to another, but it is usually between 29-34%. The national tax, for its part, applies at a rate of 20-25% based on how high your income is. Rates: 0 - 455,200 = 32% Municipal income tax 455,300 – 662,200 = 20% National income tax + 32% Municipal Income Tax Over 662,300 = 25% National Income Tax + 32% Municipal Income Tax *In Swedish Kronor Swedish Tax Sweden has one of the highest personal income tax rates in the world, however you will enjoy free education along with subsidised healthcare and public transportation. Tax Year The Swedish tax year is the same as the calendar year, January 1st to December 31st. The income tax return for the year must be received by the Swedish Tax Agency by the 2nd of May at the latest. For more information visit - https://www.skatteverket.se/