Are you seeking career opportunities in IT? Tech startups in the Netherlands provide an ideal working environment for internationals seeking career opportunities abroad. This guide is here to make the quest of searching and getting a job in IT in tech startups easier through industry insights, useful resources and hacks on how to stand out from other candidates.
The Dutch IT industry
You might be wondering why the Netherlands is an ideal place for tech startups. The answer is hidden behind numbers in the IT industry that contribute to the continuously thriving technology sector across the entire country.
An ecosystem built for success
More than 80 Dutch startups in Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 EMEA list reside in the Netherlands. 400,000 high tech specialists are estimated to generate over €30 billion of added value annually. High tech also consists of over 1.700 firms with multinationals such as Philips, Bosch, Boeing and ASML.
According to LinkedIn, the Information Technology and Services industry ranks #1 in the Netherlands when it comes to emerging jobs.
Europe’s #3 tech ecosystem
In a 2020 report, Amsterdam’s tech ecosystem has amassed a staggering amount of €73 billion in combined value compared to €10 billion in 2015. Amsterdam’s thriving startup scene ranks #3 in Europe’s top tech ecosystems since 2000.
Europe’s largest security cluster
The Hague Security Delta is Europe’s largest security cluster with a network of more than 250 public and private organisations.
Tech jobs make up 14% of the overall employment in Amsterdam, with Dutch-founded tech companies contributing 43,000 jobs and foreign businesses contributing an additional 34,000.
The numbers behind the thriving technology sector of the country are directly impacted by the government’s relentless efforts to stay at the top. Initiatives such as the fast-track immigration process and the Dutch 30% Ruling enable foreign nationals to join the startup scene and thrive alongside Dutch nationals.
Designed to attract and recruit highly skilled migrants, the fast-track immigration process initiative speeds up the immigration process and enables both a faster integration and speedy recruitment of foreign nationals.
Dutch 30% ruling
The Dutch 30% ruling applies to those hired abroad to work in the Netherlands. If conditions are met, the employers can pay 30% of a salary as a tax-free allowance. This initiative is meant as compensation for the foreign employee’s expenses while they work outside of their home country.
Ambitious Entrepreneurship Action Plan
For better access to capital, knowledge, innovation and the global market, the Ambitious Entrepreneurship Action Plan helps support entrepreneurs, including startups.
Dutch Startup Visa
The Dutch startup visa is available for all aspiring foreign nationals outside the EU who want to work in the Netherlands as entrepreneurs by applying for a temporary residence permit. It gives entrepreneurs one year to get started on their innovative business.
In addition to the initiatives, the country’s reputation as a leader of work-life balance, the welcoming English-speaking environment, and Amsterdam (next to four other Dutch cities) as one of the top liveable European cities, makes the job search in IT better, easier, and faster.
IT job salaries in the Netherlands
Salaries vary depending on your level of experience as well as the position you apply for, just like in any industry. Find below the average annual salaries for specific IT jobs in the Netherlands:
- IT Consultant: €48,492
- IT Manager: €68,205
- Web Developer: €32,972
- Support Technician: €35,284
- IT Project Manager: €60,121
The quest of searching and finding a job in IT in the Netherlands is thus, not only appealing but also accessible. The country’s flourishing IT sector combined with its welcoming environment makes it easier for foreign nationals to integrate within the Dutch startup ecosystem.
Starting with research
One of the biggest factors that contribute to landing a job is doing thorough research on the industry, field & company size that you aim to work in.
Industry knowledge is extremely important for key roles at startups. No matter how much experience you may have in the IT sector, it’s equally as important to stay up-to-date with industry trends. Keeping an eye out on the latest industry-related news, opinions of influential professionals, discussions on upcoming technologies, as well as problems and challenges is essential for securing the IT job of your dreams.
Sharing insights & using your critical thinking to discuss recent developments can get you far during the job interview process. Furthermore, go in-depth with doing research on the company you’re applying to, and try connecting the newly acquired insights with them. And remember, industry knowledge can help you identify problems and solve them, which is easily one of the top factors that make you a valuable candidate for an IT job.
IT job roles vary from engineering and design to development and marketing, most of which are considered to be on the list of 10 cool jobs in Amsterdam. IT roles include but are not limited to:
- Customer Success Specialist
- DevOps Engineer
- Growth Hacker
- Sales & Marketing Manager
- Software Developer
- Solutions Architect
Information Technology has a wide variety of sectors to choose from. The three major industry groups within the IT sector are:
- Software & services: provide internet services such as search engines and social networks.
- Technology hardware equipment: divided into communications equipment, technology hardware, storage & peripherals, and electronic equipment, instruments & components.
- Semiconductors & semiconductor equipment: conduct electricity, ideal for controlling electrical currents.
The top prospering cities in the startup scene include:
- The Hague: The international centre of justice and peace is also the largest security and safety cluster in Europe.
- Rotterdam: The second largest city after the capital, Rotterdam is the largest and most active shipping port in Europe. The shipping center is an ideal location for start-ups that specialise in port-related technologies.
- Amsterdam: The capital hosts around 2,700 companies (startups & scale-ups included) and consistently remains at the top of the list of most liveable cities in Europe.
- Utrecht: The city is home to 400 start-ups and a Science Park dedicated to cancer research, sustainable urban planning & bioprinting.
- Eindhoven: The heart of the Netherlands is also the centre for high technology development and design.
Developing your own IT niche
The job-searching process can be extremely frustrating and challenging. Don’t be discouraged, as getting a job in IT requires patience and resilience. This section describes unique ways to increase your chances of getting an IT job by preparing better during your search.
Becoming a part of the tech startup scene requires knowledge of the sector. But that is merely the starting point. It takes a lot more than broad knowledge to set you apart from other equally knowledgeable candidates. This is where you develop your own IT niche by standing out from the rest. Here’s how:
Tailor your CV
If you haven’t worked in IT before, list other past experiences with jobs that are relevant to this field. You can do this by seeking out tasks and responsibilities from previous jobs you did that are related to IT. There are several high-value skills that are relevant to any business regardless of the industry. Examples include critical thinking, project management, and people development. Similarly, if you don’t have a degree that is relevant to the field you are applying to, try seeking out skills and elements from your own studies that offer a similar skill set to that of IT.
Always tailor your CV to the needs of the job position you are applying for. Update it regularly to appeal to the trends within the startup ecosystem by catering to the needs of the company you aim to work at.
Define your personal Needs
First, make sure you know what you want. Once you have done research on the IT sector, you must lay out all your needs. Ask yourself the following questions and make notes on what you expect from your ideal IT job:
- How big is the company? Is it a startup, scaleup, or corporate?
- What is the job role?
- What is the salary?
- What are the benefits?
- Is there diversity in the workforce?
- What are the company values?
Once you know what you expect from a company, you will also know which are the right questions to ask during a job interview.
What if you don’t have much experience? Take training into your own hands.
Although having no relevant past experience can limit the number of opportunities available to you, you can work in this by applying to internships (for students), traineeships & entry-level roles that can help you build your profile. Try seeking out opportunities that can provide you with the experience you need by working temporarily.
Take training into your own hands
Become a more suitable candidate by taking up courses and doing extensive research on the IT sector. Coursera is an online course provider with plenty of free and/or affordable courses that can help you build and improve your skills. At the end of every course, you get the opportunity to acquire a certificate that you can add to your resume.
Other free resources for acquiring & improving IT job skills:
Paid resources for IT job skills:
Update your LinkedIn
Keep your profile up-to-date. LinkedIn is huge in the Netherlands, with a large percentage of people securing opportunities through the platform’s job feature. Make sure you give yourself a headstart when searching for your next job in IT by developing and improving your professional, social presence.
Utilise the power of networking
When you have little to no experience, your search for IT jobs should be focused on networking. Networking is an extremely powerful tool that can land you a job that tailors to your needs. Once you have figured out what you are searching for, you can move on to the next step of asking the right people. This section can help you utilise some networking tips that are essential to expanding your network and reaching out to the right people.
Focus on building relationships
Take advantage of LinkedIn. Found a job that you are interested in? Reach out and connect with employees from the company of your choice. Make use of the advantages of personalising your invitations to connect. Show your enthusiasm and interest in the company and its values if they align with yours. Create a spreadsheet to keep track of your connections.
Alternatively, join networking events. Meet people and share a coffee or lunch with them. Get to know them and connect with them in an offline setting. Networking events are made for building connections among employees and future employees.
Ask the right questions
Refer back to your personalised list of needs to address your questions to employees that work for the company that you are interested in. Ask them about their experience of working there, their challenges & the perks of their job. If they are not available for a chat or if they can’t seem to answer some of your questions, ask them who they would recommend you to get in touch with.
Show you’ve come prepared
During the interview process, showcase your connections and the research you have done by referring to specific insights you received from the company’s employees to whom you previously reached out. Candidates stand out when they showcase the effort they put into their research.
If you land a job with the help of a connection, reach out to them and let them know by expressing your gratitude (or better, tag them in a LinkedIn post!). The second most important thing about building your network is finding ways to maintain it. Keep the conversation going by sharing your experience with the entire process. Don’t lose your connections after all the hard work you put into acquiring them.
Techleap’s IT job board
Have you updated your resume yet? It’s time to step up your search for the perfect IT job via Techleap. As the biggest startup job board in the Netherlands, Techleap is a hub with thousands of roles from startups and scaleups across all of the Netherlands. The startup job board is a perfect place for both veterans seeking senior positions as well as freshers breaking into the IT industry for their very first time via internships and other entry-level opportunities.