IT emigration with the family. And the features of finding a job in a small town in Germany, when you're already there

Going to work in Australia or Thailand, when you are 25 and have no family, is not so difficult. And there are a lot of such stories. But to move when you are under 40, a wife and three children (8 years, 5 years and 2 years) is a task of a different level of complexity. Therefore, I want to share my experience of moving to Germany.

It was said a lot about how to look for work abroad, draw up documents and move - I will not repeat.

So, in 2015, my family and I live in St. Petersburg in a rented apartment. We thought for a long time how we should move, what to do with the school, places in the kindergarten and a rented apartment. We made several important decisions:

  1. We are going for 2 years at least.
  2. We will move all at once.
  3. We will not reserve a rented apartment in St. Petersburg (30,000 per month + utilities - quite a decent amount).
  4. Places in kindergartens and school will leave for a while. For the most emergency.
  5. We take one large suitcase and one small bag for each family member.

For more than ten years of living together, so much of everything needed and unnecessary has been accumulated in the apartment and on the balcony, which is beyond words. What could sell for a month - sold, something was taken by friends. 3/4 of the rest had to just throw out. Now I do not regret it at all, but then it was a great pity to throw it all out (and what if it comes in handy?).

We arrived immediately in the three-room apartment, which we prepared. From the furniture there was only a table, 5 chairs, 5 cots, a refrigerator, a stove, a set of dishes and cutlery for 5 people. You can live.

The first months of 1.5 - 2 we lived in such Spartan conditions and were engaged in the design of various papers, kindergartens, schools, contracts for gas, electricity, Internet, etc.


Almost from the first day of your stay in Germany, your child must attend school. This is spelled out in the law. But there is a problem: at the time of the move, none of our children knew a single word in German. Before the move, I read that a child without a language can be taken one or even two classes lower. Or, in addition, send for half a year to a special integration class for learning a language. At the time of the move, the son studied in the second grade, and we thought that they would not send him to the kindergarten anyway, and a drop by 1 grade is not so bad. But we were easily admitted to the second class without a fall. Moreover, the school principal said that because the child does not know German at all, then one of the teachers will additionally study with him for free !!! Suddenly, isn't it? The child was picked up by the teacher from either the less important lessons (music, physical education, etc.), either on the prodlenka. Still at home for two hours of German classes per week with a tutor. A year later, the son became one of the best students in the German class among the Germans in Germany!

Our primary school is located in a separate building with its own courtyard. Children at the breaks just kicked out into the yard to walk, if there is no rain. In the courtyard there is a large playground with a sandbox, slides, swings, merry-go-rounds, a small playground with a gate for football, table tennis tables. There is also a lot of sports equipment like balls, skipping ropes, scooters, etc. All this can be used without problems. If it is raining outside, then children play board games in the classroom, paint, craft, read books in a special corner, sitting on the sofa with pillows. And children really like to go to school. I myself still can not believe it.

On the first day, the son came to school in classic trousers, shirt and leather moccasins (in the same clothes in which he went to school in St. Petersburg, but in St. Petersburg he still had an additional tie and vest). The school director looked down at us dejectedly and said that it’s so inconvenient for the child to sit in class, let alone play at recess, and at least shoes need to bring other, more comfortable, for example, rag sneakers.

What is very memorable Russian school - an incredible amount of homeworkin the first and second grade. A wife for 2-3 hours every evening did them with her son, since the child himself was simply not overpowered. And not because he is stupid, but simply very much and difficult. Immediately there is a special prodlenka, on which for 50 minutes the teacher makes home with the children. Then they go outside for a walk. At home home almost does not remain. It happens that once a week for half an hour children do something at home, if they do not have time for school. And, as a rule, themselves. The main message is: if the child didn’t have time to do all his homework in an hour, then he was asked too much, and the teacher was wrong, so he must be informed that the next time he asked less. From Friday to Monday, homework is not asked at all. On holidays too. Children also have the right to rest.


In different places, the situation with the gardens is different, somewhere people are waiting for 2-3 years in a queue to get there, especially in large cities (just like in St. Petersburg). But few know that if your child does not go to the kindergarten, but stays at home with his mother, then the mother can receive compensation for this at 150 euros per month (Betreuungsgeld). In general, kindergartens are paid, about 100-300 euros per month (depending on the federal land, the city and the kindergarten itself), except for children going to kindergarten a year before school - in this case, kindergarten is free (children should socially adapt to school). Since 2018, kindergartens have become free in some lands of Germany. We were advised to apply to the Catholic kindergarten, because He was not far from our home and was significantly better than other kindergartens in the vicinity. But we are Orthodox !? It turned out that they reluctantly take evangelicals, Protestants, Muslims to Catholic gardens and schools, and willingly take the Orthodox, considering us brothers in faith. We need only a certificate of baptism. In general, Catholic kindergartens are considered among the best. They get good funding, but they cost more. My younger children also do not speak German. The educators on this account told us the following: do not even try to teach your child to speak German, you will teach him to speak incorrectly. We will do it ourselves much better than you, and it is easier than to retrain him later, and you teach Russian at home. Moreover, they themselves bought a Russian-German phrasebook to find a common language with the child at the beginning. I cannot imagine such a situation with a foreign child who does not speak Russian, in Peter or Voronezh’s kindergarten.

The main differences from our kindergartens:

  1. Children bring breakfast with themselves. These are usually sandwiches, fruits and vegetables. You can't give sweets with you.
  2. The garden is only open until 16:00. Until this time, the child must be picked up. If you do not take - overtime pay for the teacher and a warning. After three warnings, the kindergarten may terminate the contract with you.
  3. No lessons. Children are not taught to read, write, count, etc. They play, mold, build, draw with children - they are engaged in creative work. Classes appear only for those children who next year should go to school (but even there the child will not be taught to read and solve examples, mostly these are classes for general development).
  4. Groups are specifically made of different ages. Together in the group are children 3-6 years. The older ones help the younger ones, and the younger ones are pulled after the older ones. And this is not from the lack of groups or educators. We have 3 such groups in the kindergarten. Separately only nursery group, which is for children from one year to three years.
  5. The child himself chooses what and when to do it. Tied to the time only meals and joint activities.
  6. Children can walk when they want. From each group there is a separate exit to the fenced yard of the kindergarten, where one of the teachers is constantly located. A child can dress himself and go for a walk and walk though all the time. In our group there is a special board divided into sectors: toilet, creativity, construction corner, sports corner, dolls, yard, etc. When the child goes into the yard, he takes a magnet with his photo and moves it to the “Yard” sector. In summer, parents bring money from sunburn, and caregivers smear their children so that they do not get burned. Sometimes they inflate large pools where children can swim (for this we bring swimwear during the summer heat). In the courtyard there are slides, swings, sandbox, scooters, bicycles, etc.
    This is our group.
  7. Teachers occasionally take children for a walk outside the kindergarten. For example, a caregiver can go to the store with children to buy fresh dinner rolls. Can you imagine an educator with 15 children in Pyaterochka or a magnet? So I could not! Now it is a reality.
  8. For children, trips to different places are often organized. For example, in a pastry shop where they knead dough, mold figures and bake cookies together with the pastry chef. Each child then takes a large box of such cookies home with them. Or to the city fair, where they ride on the carousel and eat ice cream. Or to the fire station for a tour. And for this, no transfer is ordered, children travel by public transport. Pays such activities kindergarten itself.


This may seem strange, but every family that officially lives in Germany has the right to receive child support. For each child, until they reach the age of 18, the state pays 196 euros per month (even to foreigners who came here to earn money). For three we get, as it is not difficult to count, 588 euros net to your account monthly. Moreover, if a child at the age of 18 went to study at a university, the benefit is paid until he reaches 25 years of age. Suddenly! Before the move, I did not know about it! But this is a very good increase to the RFP.


Usually when moving abroad wives do not work. There are many reasons for this: lack of knowledge of the language, irrelevant education and specialty, unwillingness to work for substantially less money than the husband, etc. In Germany, the employment service can pay for language courses for a spouse who does not work due to lack of knowledge of the language. As a result, during these three years my wife learned German up to the C1 level and entered this year at the local university for the specialty applied programming. The benefit of training is almost free. She, by the way, is 35. Prior to that, she received a higher education in the field of PR in St. Petersburg and worked in her specialty.


It so happened that our first city to which we arrived turned out to be quite small - with a population of approximately 150,000 people. I thought it was scary. As long as we get comfortable, we will get involved, we will gain experience, and then we will go to Stuttgart or Munich. After a year of living in Germany, I thought about my future career. The current conditions were not bad, but you always want better. I began to study the job market in my city and other cities and I understood a few things that were not initially obvious to me.

  • In the field of system administration and support (my specialization at the time of the move) they pay less than in the development field. Vacancies are much smaller and there are also few prospects for career and salary growth.
  • German. 99% of all vacancies require good knowledge of German. Those. vacancies, where it is enough to know only English 50 times less than those that require knowledge of German. In small towns, there are almost no vacancies with English only.
  • Rent. The cost of renting in large cities is much higher. For example, a 3-room apartment of 80 square meters. m. in Munich (population 1.4 million people) will cost 1400 - 2500 per month, and in Kassel (population 200 thousand people.) only 500 - 800 euros per month. But there is a moment: for 1400 in Munich an apartment is very difficult to rent. I know a family that lived for 3 months in a hotel before renting at least some apartment. The smaller the rooms, the higher the demand.
  • The spread of wages between large and small cities is only about 20%. For example, a portal for a Java job developer in Munich gives a 4.052 € - 5.062 € fork, and a Java developer in Kassel 3.265 € - 4.079 €.
  • Market employee. As Dmitry wrote in the article “Features of finding a job in Europe,” the “employer's market” reigns in big cities. But it is in big cities. In small towns reigns "employee market". I have been tracking vacancies in my city for two years. And I can say that IT vacancies have also been hanging for years, but not at all because companies are trying to remove the cream. Not. We just need normal people who are ready to learn and work. Firms are ready to grow and develop, but this requires skilled employees, but they are few. And companies are ready to take and teach employees. And at the same time to pay good money. In our company, out of 20 developers, 10 were fully trained from scratch by the company itself in the system of specialized secondary education ( Ausbildung). Vacancy Java developer in our company (and in many others) hangs for more than two years constantly.

Then I realized that there was no sense in moving to a big city at all, and I didn’t even want to by that time. A small cozy city with a developed infrastructure. Very clean, green and safe. Schools and kindergartens are excellent. Everything is near. Yes, they pay more in Munich, but this difference is often fully eaten up by higher rents. Also, with gardens a problem. Long distances to kindergarten, school and work, as in any major city. Higher cost of living.

So we decided to stay in the city where we arrived initially. And in order to have more income - I decided to change my specialty, already being here in Germany. The choice fell on Java development, because it turned out to be the most requested and highly paid area, even for beginners. Started with online Java courses. Then self-training for certification Oracle Certified Professional, Java SE 8 Programmer. Passing exams, obtaining a certificate.

In parallel, I studied German for 2 years. Almost 40 years old to start learning a new language is difficult. Really difficult, plus I was always sure that I didn’t have language skills. In Russian and literature, I have always been in the school troika. But the presence of motivation and regular classes gave their result. In the end, I passed the exam on the knowledge of German at the level of C1. In August of this year, I found a new Java-developer job in German.

Job Search in Germany

It should be understood that the search for a job in Germany, when you are already here, is significantly different from that when you are in Russia. Especially when it comes to small towns. All further comments on the job search account are just my personal opinion and experience.

Foreigners. Most companies, in principle, do not consider candidates from other countries without knowledge of German. Many simply do not even know how to arrange foreigners and what to do with them in general. I think that the majority of employers in Russia also, in principle, do not know how to issue foreigners. And why? What could be the motive? Only if the desired conditions do not find a candidate on the spot.

Places to search for jobs have been discussed many times.

Here is a list of the most relevant places to look for work.

I would also like to mention the site of the state employment service: . Surprisingly, there are really a lot of good jobs. I even think that this is the most complete selection of current vacancies throughout Germany. In addition, the site contains a lot of useful information first-hand. On the recognition of diplomas, work permits, benefits, paperwork, etc.

Hiring Process in Germany

This is really a process . If in St. Petersburg I could come in for an interview, and after 2 days I would have to go to work, then this is not how it works (especially in small towns). Then I will tell you about my case.

In January 2018, I decided on the company in which I wanted to work and began to purposefully study the stack of technologies with which they worked. In early April, I went to a local university for a job fair for beginners, where most of the IT employers were represented. You do not feel very comfortable as a novice developer at 40, when there are only twenty-year-old guys around you. There I met the personnel manager of the company I wanted to get into. I briefly talked about myself, my experiences and plans. The personnel manager praised my German and we agreed that I would send them my resume. I've posted. They called me in one week and said that they want to invite me to the first interview as soon as possible ... in three weeks! Three weeks, Carl!?!?

I received an invitation for the first interview with a letter in which it was also written that the employer would be present at the interview with four people: the general director, the personnel director, the IT director and the system architect. For me it was a real surprise. Usually, you will first be interviewed by HR, then a specialist in the department where you are taken, then the boss, and only then the director. But knowledgeable people have told me that this is normal for small cities. If at the first interview such a composition, then the company, in principle, is ready to take you, if everything that is written in the summary is true.

The first interview went quite well, as I felt. But the employer took a week "to think." A week later, they really called me and were pleased that I had passed the first interview successfully, and they were ready to invite me to the second technical interview after another 2 weeks. 2 more weeks!!!

The second, the technical interview , was just a test of my compliance with what is written in my resume. After the second interview - another week of waiting and bingo - they liked me, and they are ready to discuss the terms of cooperation. I had an appointment to discuss the details of the work after another week. At the third meeting, I was already asked about the desired salary and the date when I can go to work. I replied that I could quit in 45 days - August 1. And this is also normal. No one expects you to come out tomorrow.

Total from the moment of sending the resume to the official offer on the initiative of the employer 9 weeks have passed !!! I do not understand what the person who wrote the article “My terrible experience in Luxembourg” counted on when he thought that in 2 weeks he would find work on the spot.

Another unobvious moment. In St. Petersburg, usually, if you are out of work and ready to go to a new job even tomorrow, this is a big plus for an employer, because everyone needed it yesterday. In any case, I did not encounter the fact that this was perceived negatively. When I recruited my staff myself, I also perceived this as normal. In Germany, the opposite is true. If you are sitting without work, then this is really a very negative factor that strongly influences the likelihood that you will not be taken. Germans are always interested in the gaps in your resume. A break in work for more than one month between previous jobs already gives rise to wariness and questions. Again, I repeat, we are talking about small cities and the experience of working in Germany itself. Perhaps in Berlin it's different.


If you are looking for a job while in Germany, then almost anywhere in the vacancies you will not see salaries. After Russia, it looks very uncomfortable. You can spend 2 months on interviews and correspondence to understand that the level of RFP in the company does not correspond to your expectations at all. How to be? To do this, you can pay attention to the work in public institutions. Work there is paid in accordance with the Tarifvertrag für den öffentlichen Dienst der Länder tariff scale . Short for TV-L . I am not saying that you need to go to work in state structures. But this tariff scale is a good salary benchmark. And here is the grid itself for 2018:

CategoryTV-L 11TV-L 12TV-L 13TV-L 14TV-L 15
1 (Beginner)3.202 €3.309 €3.672 €3.982 €4.398 €
2 (After 1 year of work)3.522 €3.653 €4.075 €4.417 €4.877 €
3 (After 3 years of work)3.777 €4.162 €4.293 €4.672 €5.057 €
4 (After 6 years of work)4.162 €4.609 €4.715 €5.057 €5.696 €
5 (After 10 years of work)4.721 €5.187 €5.299 €5.647 €6.181 €
6 (After 15 years of work)4.792 €5.265 €5.378 €5.731 €6.274 €

Moreover, the experience of previous work can also be taken into account. The tariff category TV-L 11 includes ordinary developers and system administrators. The lead system administrator, senior developer (senor) is TV-L 12. If you have a degree, or you are a department manager, you can safely claim to be TV-L 13, and if under your leadership 5 people work with TV-L 13, then Your TV-L tariff is 15. That is. novice sysadmin or programmer gets € 3,200 at the entrance, even in the state. structures. Commercial structures usually pay 10-20-30% more depending on the requirements for candidates, competition, etc.

UPD: as juwagn correctly noted , so much does not beginner sysadmin, but sysadmin with experience.

The tariff schedule is indexed every year. For example, since 2010, wages in this grid grew by ~ 18.95% , and inflation in the same period was ~ 10.5% . In addition, the Christmas bonus is often found in the form of 80% of the monthly salary. Even in state companies. I agree, not as tasty as in the United States.

Working conditions

It is clear that the conditions vary greatly from firm to firm. But I want to tell what they are, again based on my personal example.

My working day is not normalized. This means that I can start work both at 06:00 and at 10:00. I should not inform anyone about this. I have to work 40 hours a week. You can work on one day for 5 hours, and on another -eleven10. Everything is simply entered into the system of the accounting of working hours with indication of the project, application number and time spent. Lunch time is not included in working hours. But you can not eat lunch. I am very comfortable. So for three days I arrive at work by 07:00, and the spouse takes the children to kindergarten and to school, I take them away (she has classes in the evening). And 2 days on the contrary: I take the children and come to work at 08:30, and she takes them. If you work a day less than 4 hours, then you need to notify your supervisor.
Refineries are compensated either in cash or by day off, at the employer's choice. More than 80 hours of processing are possible only with the written consent of the head, otherwise they will not be paid. Those. recycling - it is rather an initiative of the employee than the manager. In any case, we have.

Hospital. Three days can be ill without the help from the doctor. Just call the secretary in the morning and that's it. Remotely while working is not necessary. Cheer yourself calmly. Starting from the fourth day, you will need to be sick. Everything is paid in full.

Remote work is not practiced, all in only in the office. This is connected, firstly, with a commercial secret, and secondly, with the GDPR, since You have to work with personal and commercial data of different companies.

Vacation 28 working days. It is working. If the vacation falls on holidays or weekends, then the vacation is extended by their number.

Probationary period - 6 months. If the candidate does not fit for some reason, he must be notified within 4 weeks. Those. You can not dismiss one day without working out. More precisely they can, but with payment for an additional month. Similarly, the candidate can not leave without a month of working off.

Power at work . Everyone brings food with them or goes to a cafe or restaurant for lunch. Coffee, notorious cookies, juices, mineral water and fruit without restrictions.

This is what the refrigerator of our department looks like.

To the right of the refrigerator there are three more boxes. You can drink beer during working hours. All beer is alcoholic. We do not hold the other. And no, this is no joke. Those. if I take a bottle of beer for lunch and drink it, this is normal, but unusual. Once a month, after a department meeting at 12:00, the entire department goes to the balcony in full to try different beers.

Bonuses Additional corporate pension provision. Sport. Corporate doctor (Something like a family doctor, but for employees).

It turned out a lot. But even more information. If the material is interesting, I can write more. Vote for interesting topics.

UPD: My channel in the telegraph about life and work in Germany. Short and to the point.

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