Developer insights: where are the software developers in Germany? — 2021

Urban centers dominate, but Germany is more decentralized than you might think.

For the newest 2022 insights go here. Find all 2021 insights here.

Overall number

Every year, the Federal Agency for Employment assesses the numbers of all professions in Germany based on certain categories and subcategories. At the end of 2021, the institution found that we have 281,380 employed software developers (category 434) in this country. At the end of 2022, this number had risen to 304,010 developers.

From previous research I know that the number of self-employed technical experts veers between 10% and 20% of the overall numbers. It is safe to assume that we have 330,000 to 350,000 software developers in Germany.

This number has been rising steadily in the last years. In 2017, we counted 205,070 employed developers. That is a rise of almost 100,000 in just 5 years!

Regional spread of developers on Germany

In most other European countries like the UK, France or Portugal the vast majority of software developers is located in the largest urban center, which also happens to be the capital.

This couldn’t be further from the truth in Germany. Historically, German-speaking countries have seen a decentralized organization. This system persists until today, and has been additionally impacted by the separation of West and East up until 1990.

Software engineers mirror that. There are a range of urban centers that channel digital economies and communities. These are:

2022 developer numbers

  • Hamburg — 4.6% — 14,190
  • Berlin & Potsdam — 9.5% — 29,140
  • Bremen — 1.4% — 4,440
  • Hanover — 1.4% — 4,540
  • Ruhrgebiet & Düsseldorf — 5.3% — 16,260
  • Cologne & Bonn — 3.9% — 11,970
  • Leipzig & Halle — 1.4% — 4,440
  • Dresden — 1.4% — 4,480
  • Frankfurt am Main, Wiesbaden & Mainz & surrounding cities —…
Franziska Hauck - tech (people) {code}

Franziska Hauck is a people strategist and leadership coach with a focus on tech. tech (people) {code} is her hub for all things human in tech.