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The story of system engineer Roman’s relocation to Germany

Published in the Random EN group
We continue a special series of materials about the relocation of programmers from Ukraine, Belarus and Russia to other countries. Developers tell you how to find work abroad, move and adapt locally. Our ninth hero is system engineer Roman. Since school, I have been interested in programming and built a career in the IT field. In 2014, he was forced to leave his native Donetsk due to the outbreak of war. First he moved to Western Ukraine, and later he moved to Germany. I am originally from Donetsk. I became interested in programming while still at school. Back then, we were taught Pascal in computer science classes, so that’s where we started. I borrowed books from the library and studied myself. Participated in school Olympiads. Then I began to learn the C language. I entered the university with a degree in “Information Management Systems and Networks.” At the university I studied C++, C# and other programming languages ​​- I combined my studies at the university with my studies at the “Step” computer academy (which lasted then 1.5 - 2 years). While studying at the university, he worked as a system administrator, and after that as an engineer at a large Internet provider. When the war began in Donbass in 2014, he moved to one of the regional centers in western Ukraine. There he got a job work as a chief engineer at an Internet provider. Then I decided for myself that since I had already left my hometown, I should not stop and try to move to another country. I then considered two options for myself - Canada and Germany. Canada soon disappeared, since it is somewhat more difficult for a Ukrainian to obtain a residence permit there. I also did not want to go very far from Ukraine, where I still have relatives and friends. Therefore, the choice fell on Germany.

Job search

I started learning German, which I didn’t know at all before. I taught myself and attended courses. Within a year I reached the initial level A1 – A2. I started sending out resumes to companies whose vacancies I found on German job search sites. Employers in Germany take a long time to review candidates' resumes (usually several months). Some companies sent me a response only after 6 months. There were many refusals. The average German employer is very reluctant to hire a person who does not live in Germany and does not have work experience in Germany. Usually, the larger the company, the easier it is for a foreigner to get a job in it. After some time, I began to receive offers to undergo an interview via Skype. After two such interviews, I was offered to come to Germany for a personal meeting with employers. I chose three companies, selected interview dates so that they would all be in the same week, and flew to Germany. I liked one of the companies, they offered me a contract there and I accepted. I returned to Ukraine and applied for a work visa. To obtain a work visa, you need the original contract from the employer, the original diploma and its certified translation into German, a job description from the employer and travel insurance - only for the first time. The paperwork took a little over a month, since the German Embassy in Ukraine makes a request to the employment center at the employer’s location. To obtain a visa, you must appear in person at the German Embassy. There, only a temporary visa is issued (for 3 months), which then needs to be changed to a permanent one in Germany at the place of residence. To obtain a permanent work visa in Germany, you need the same documents as at the embassy, ​​plus a rental agreement, permanent German insurance, and an additional certificate from the employer. When I was given a work visa, I bought a one-way ticket. In total, a little over a year passed between sending my resume to the company where I got a job and my first day at work.

Looking for housing

You can only receive your salary in Germany into a bank account. To open a bank account, you need to register at your place of residence, that is, an agreement must be concluded with the landlord. And the landlord, when concluding a lease agreement, often asks to provide bank statements confirming the regular receipt of wages. It turns out to be a vicious circle. And this despite the fact that searching for housing in Germany itself is a rather long and complex process. I was looking for an apartment on a private classifieds website. I called a lot from advertisements. Back then I didn’t speak German very well and many people immediately rejected me when they heard my accent. There were refusals due to the fact that I was looking for housing while not in Germany. Ultimately, I settled in a mini-hotel, signing a contract with them for 3 months. And while he lived there, he went to work and continued to look for other housing. Usually the landlord invites several people to view the apartment at once, with a time difference of 10-15 minutes. He compiles a list of applicants for himself and then chooses the “winner” himself and reports the result a few days later.

Work in Germany

My first employer in Germany is a software company in the field of networking and cloud services. My tasks included developing the structure of the relationship of these services, their integration with cloud providers and the concept of information security. I changed jobs once. Now I work in a company that produces software and hardware for collecting, recording, analyzing and processing technological data. I can’t point out any cultural differences in work between Germany and Ukraine. I think at the moment everything is approximately the same as in Ukraine.

Taxes, salaries and prices

Depending on your marital status, there are several tax classes. For example, the first class of taxes is for people who are not married and do not have children. In this class, salary deductions are about 40% (this includes pension contributions, health insurance and unemployment insurance). Salaries in the IT industry can be anywhere from 35 thousand to 120 thousand euros per year (dirty). Much depends on the position, level of knowledge, size of the employing company and the land in which this company is located. The salary is enough. I manage to save most of my salary, even taking into account three or four annual vacation trips. My main category of expenses is paying rent. The size of the amount depends very much on the land and the city in which the apartment/house is located. One of the most expensive cities in Germany by this indicator is Munich. Here, the cost of renting a one-room studio apartment within the city will cost 700-1500 euros per month.


In Germany, everyone is required to have health insurance. There are many insurance companies, but they all have approximately the same conditions and similar premiums. I chose an insurance company and submitted a claim through their website immediately after arriving. I told the employer the name of the company where I took out insurance and the number assigned to me there. The employer pays the insurance premiums on a monthly basis. Insurance covers most medical services. There are a lot of doctors in Germany who work on their own, opening private “praxis” (mini-clinics). When you need to see a doctor, you have to call these praxis to arrange an appointment. One day in August I decided to go to the ophthalmologist. In one of the praxis I was told that everything was already booked until the end of the year and they would only be able to accept me next year. But after calling 5-6 more praxis, I agreed on an appointment in a week (in total!).

English and German

My knowledge of English is good, which helped me at the initial stage of work. Back then I didn’t speak German very well and for the first couple of months I communicated with my colleagues in English.


I like to read, walk, ride a bike, and am learning to play the piano. Sometimes on weekends I can go or fly to another city or country as a tourist.