Being programmer in Europe

Or "Why I'd rather work and live in Sofia than anywhere else"

Here's a short comparison between working as a programmer in Berlin, London, Paris and Sofia.

I don't want to engage anybody with my calculation. You can do it for yourself.

All of the metrics here I've got from websites and friends that are right into the industry.

Some of the websites are:
http://www.salaryexplorer.com/
http://www.numbeo.com/
http://www.payscale.com/

Salaries

I'll compare the salaries in 3 categories:

  • Little or no previous experience (0 - 2 years; Junior)
  • Some previous experience (2 - 5 years; Mid-level)
  • Very good experience (5 - 10 years; Senior)

Yes, all of these can vary, but I take the case in which you are a very good developer.

Why exactly the salaries - because this is the main money source for the people.

Also (very important) I don't care what's written in your paycheck.
It's important how much goes into your pocket (i.e. after taxes).
Maybe for you it'll be good to know what pension you are going to get. For me it's not.
I'll compare only the money that you actually receive now, per month.

Cost of living

First of all the cost of living (COL) in these cities.

Having a very good standard of living and saving a bit each month; no personal limitations at all:

Berlin: €1800

London: €3100

Paris: €3000

Sofia: €1000

For high standard of living multiply by 1.5.

For those of you that are not familiar with the term "Cost of living": Cost of living (COL) is the cost of maintaining a certain standard of living.

Let's start now.

The comparison

Junior level: Typical salary; Most common; % good COL; % high;

Berlin: €1200 - €1500; €1350; 75%; 50%;

London: €2000 - €2300; €2200; 71%; 47%;

Paris: €2000 - €2500; €2250; 75%; 50%;

Sofia: €400 - €800; €750; 75%; 50%;

Seems like for a junior developer it makes no sense in which one of these he's going to live and work. Almost everywhere it's 75% which is some kind of interesting but not bad at all.

Mid-level: Typical salary; Most common; % good COL; % high;

Berlin: €1500 - €2000; €1800; 100%; 67%;

London: €2300 - €2800; €2600; 84%; 56%;

Paris: €2500 - €3000; €2800; 94%; 63%;

Sofia: €800 - €1500; €1300; 130%; 87%;

For a mid-level developer we now have kind-of-clear division of where it's easier to live and work.

Senior level: Typical salary; Most common; % good COL; % high;

Berlin: €2000 - €2500; €2350; 131%; 87%;

London: €2800 - €3300; €3100; 100%; 67%;

Paris: €3000 - €3500; €3400; 113%; 75%;

Sofia: €1500 - €2000; €1750; 175%; 117%;

It's perfectly clear now. In all of the cities you can live well. But only in Sofia you can have the high standard.

I'll say it once again - I don't want to engage anybody with my calculation. You can do it for yourself.

Conclusion

It's not so important how high your salary is but what you can buy with it.

And that's why I'm here, speaking of money.

Lucky giraffe