Finding a job overseas: Software developer

Software development is a big field, and with the ever-increasing demand for software, it’s only getting bigger.

In 2013 there were an estimated 18.2 million software developers worldwide. Employment trends predict that number will increase to 26.4 million by 2019.

With software developers in such high global demand, you’re well-positioned to take on a great overseas role that will advance your career and help you tick some items off your bucket list at the same time. Here’s what you need to know before starting your job search.

What category of software developer roles am I likely to find abroad?

These are the kinds of roles associated with software development currently in demand overseas:

Front-end developers

Skills and knowledge to highlight when applying: creativity, user experience (UX) evaluation, and programming languages like JavaScript, HTML and CSS.

Back-end developers

Skills and knowledge to highlight when applying: industry knowledge, programming languages like PHP, Python or Java, and problem-solving skills.

Full-stack developer

Useful skills: same as front and back-end developers, plus versatility and flexibility.

Mobile developer

Useful skills and knowledge: same as full-stack developers, plus knowledge of web development languages like HTML and CSS.

The most in-demand developer roles

According to data sourced from job search site,, these are the hottest jobs for software developers right now:

  1. Ruby developers
  2. Mobile app developers
  3. Information security software developers
  4. LoT developers
  5. Javascript developers
  6. Cloud developers

What kind of salaries can software developers command?

Good news – software developers are paid pretty well, with a median annual salary of around AU$130,000 and the top 10 per cent earning more than AU$200,000.

So, where should you look if you’re looking for a well-paying job as a software developer?

The highest paying countries for software developers:

According to data sourced from specialist IT recruitment company DAXX, if you want to follow the big bucks, this is where software developers should look.

The U.S.A.: Currently, software developers are paid most handsomely in America earning an average annual salary of approximately AU$80,000 at entry level and AU$150,000 (approximately) in development management roles. Those with C++ and Javascript language skills are most sought after.

Switzerland: If you’re new to the industry, head to Switzerland where entry level roles average AU$100,000 (approximately) a year and senior software developer positions average AU$143,000 (approximately). Here, .NET and C++ programmers command some of the highest salaries in the world.

Israel: Entry level roles in Israel pay AU$72,000 (approximately) a year on average while senior development roles pay around AU$127,000 (approximately) annually. .NET, C++, and JavaScript developers all make an annual average of AU$86,000 (approximately) in Israel.

Norway: Scandinavian countries all remunerate their software developers well however, Norway pays the most offering an average of around AU$85,000 per year to entry level employees and AU$105,000 (approximately) per year to those in senior development roles. Here, .NET and Java developers are most in demand.

Denmark: In neighbouring Denmark you’ll earn an entry level wage of around AU$81,000 a year while those with more experience can expect an average of AU$96,000 per year. You’ll find a job more easily in Denmark if you’re fluent in .NET and PHP programming languages.

Are there restrictions in terms of visas or language?

Most overseas IT jobs are based in the USA, followed by India and China. Written and spoken English will serve you well wherever you’re based, because the IT community is global. People can work remotely from anywhere, so English is often the common language.

Visa requirements will vary according to destination; check the advice on the Australian government’s Smartraveller website.

Qualifications and skills

To gain an entry-level position overseas, you usually need a bachelor’s degree in computer science or software engineering, as well as strong skills in software programming. Knowledge of the industry you want to work in is important too, so you can understand the company’s business needs.

Senior developers must have expert knowledge of a range of computer languages and be familiar with software design methods and techniques. They need the skills to de-bug, write and edit computer programs and be skilled in programming languages such as C and C++. Depending on the type of software being developed, they may also need specific operating system knowledge, such as Windows or Mac OS.

Where to look online for jobs?

There are plenty of job boards and websites where overseas jobs for developers are advertised:

Large tech companies (think Google, Facebook, Apple, Oracle, Uber and so on) have a higher demand for software developers and often have multiple offices around the world. Applying directly with companies like this can be a great way to glob trot while still holding a stable position.

Developer jobs are in demand. How can you make your application stand out from the crowd?

Being active in the coding community is the best way to showcase your programming skills and your passion for software development, so you can land one of the hot jobs. Contributing to open-source projects on GitHub and being active on the Stack Overflow question-and-answer websites are great ways to do this. It’s also a good idea to have your experience verified by a third party, such as CVCheck, before you head overseas. This way, if you apply for a job while abroad hiring managers can more confidently and quickly screen your application.

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