Croatia is a Balkan country often seen as a tourism destination, with its Adriatic coastline and stunning landscapes.
But, during the past few years, Croatia has risen as an emerging tech-driven economy.
Companies like Rimac, Include, Nanobit (Croatia’s first major startup exit), and Infobip (the first Croatian unicorn startup!), as well as entrepreneurial initiatives such as the digital nomad visa, are putting Croatia in a strong position in Europe’s tech and startup landscape. Segments like fintech, blockchain, data science, design, and digital marketing are rapidly growing, with well-known experts and companies representing each of them.
Today, the Croatian ICT industry has about 42,000 jobs with revenues of about 40 billion kunas. Croatia is sixth in the Union in terms of the share of graduate engineers in this profession. According to Eurostat, Croatian students are first in digital literacy. Are we using these potentials enough, and how to give this industry a further boost, especially in conditions where the possibility of working from home has become a necessity?
We believe we can do much, much more. Now is the perfect time to start and grow a Tech career in Croatia. Aside from the opportunity to work in rapidly-growing tech companies, you can also work remotely for any company in the world.
Nowadays, a top job in the software industry can be done from anywhere in the world, so why not from Zagreb, Opatija, Osijek, or Djakovo? Working for great clients from around the world, creating solutions that will move the world in the near future, and at the same time stay close to friends and family without having to move to the other side of the globe, is the balance found by most of the hundreds of engineers and other tech experts.
Segments like fintech or data science can give you a real perspective. Data is the initiator of a new industrial revolution, representing a unique resource that enables smarter and more efficient business through professional processing. As a result, there has been a need for specialized experts in new areas such as data engineering and data science, which we can see by simply looking at Google Trends data.
Does all this sound good to you?
Keep reading! We’ll show you how to grow a Tech career in Croatia.
Why choose Tech as a career?
Making a career change is not easy at all, and everyone who has tried such an adventure knows that. The security of what a person knows can hardly be denied by anyone, but sometimes it is necessary to help those who are trying to do just that. That’s why we give a few valuable tips on making a career change that will stick.
It pays well
The first association when IT is mentioned is undoubtedly the high salary. Although the fact that someone has a high salary does not necessarily mean that they like their job, it’s inevitable that the salary of even a junior developer, that is, a beginner programmer, is significantly above the average salary in Croatia, and it can grow a lot if you work hard enough.
It should be emphasized that experience is crucial for advancement in a Tech career and not formal education. So, finding the right courses or other forms of informal education can help you progress quickly, regardless of whether you have IT studies or not.
One industry that provides an endless number of possibilities
The Tech industry opens the door to many jobs with various tasks, from creating databases, websites, applications, and video games, to testing them and creating outstanding designs. Tech professionals who are primarily driven by a love for technology and a desire for continuous improvement have the opportunity to choose projects that are interesting to them and accept a variety of challenges. At the same time, those less passionate can improve in one single area and progress to a senior position.
Your work will be appreciated
Tech professionals really work in a great atmosphere. Good IT companies know that a happy worker is the best worker. Even as a beginner, any young tech professional who is ambitious and willing to learn and improve is a valuable resource to any IT company. Every beginner will quickly and easily find a mentor in the IT team because there is a sense of collegiality, and every effort and progress is appreciated and rewarded, even with bonuses!
You’ll have a real influence
There are many real-life challenges that technology addresses. You will have the potential to contribute to everyday life facets by becoming part of the tech sector. Since technology is inevitably embedded in our lives now, the technologies you will create will have the potential to change people’s lives. Certain types of initiatives that you might focus on to make a difference are TechEd, fund collection applications, second-hand online stores, and environmentally-aware apps.
The DOs and DON’Ts of growing a Tech career
- Decide what you want to do
The options for a tech career are endless. Data science, UX/UI design, front-end, back-end, DevOps, QA testing, and sooo many others. For example, data science is considered to be one of the careers of the future. What is more, it’s also one of the highest-paid jobs. According to Glassdoor, the average pay of a data scientist is $113,309 per year. This means that data science is one of the most profitable career options.
For those who prefer creativity, you can choose to do marketing or UX/UI design. It all depends on your personality and affinities. Don’t choose something you don’t like just because it pays well. If you want to make the right choice, follow your instincts.
- Find an education program
Based on the skills companies are looking for for the position you’ve chosen, you should find a good education program that will give you the knowledge you need. Using realistic industry examples, many comprehensive education programs give you the skills that you need to address specific issues. Through their affiliate programs, these types of programs train you for assignments you will receive at your actual job, providing career support and potential job opportunities.
Admissions are open for the Spring Brainster Bootcamps. Join us and future-proof your career by building a top-notch and job-ready portfolio.
- Start working for free
In the beginning, you’ll have to build up your portfolio to become attractive to employers. Start working on open-source projects or offer your friends some free services to get into the game. Once you make a solid portfolio, everything will become easier.
- Leverage networking opportunities
Meetups, conferences, groups, and various industry events are the places where you’ll meet experienced professionals you can learn a lot from. More importantly, these are the spots where you can meet your potential employers and attract their attention. We provide a list of some tech communities you can join to grow your career in Croatia.
- Low self-confidence
Many young people, looking at fabricated biographies and lives on the Internet, conclude that they are simply not valuable enough and that it is best to sit in a corner. If you have worked hard on yourself, with your professional and practical knowledge, and values and attitudes, I see no reason to believe that an instant celebrity is worth more than you.
- High self-confidence
Going to the other end also doesn’t serve you much. It is necessary to be honest, both with yourself and others, because the fake it till you make it strategy is reserved only for over-ambitious bad students.
- Thinking that people are smarter out there
People with the same age or profile as you in the US or the EU know the same or even less than you do. And that’s why there’s absolutely no reason to assume you’re less valuable than them, especially when you get in a position to work directly with them.
- Being too impatient
Nothing comes immediately. Your personal development lasts throughout your entire life. And when someone with 20 years of experience in the industry tells you that things don’t really work that way, they didn’t say that to belittle you, but because it is most likely correct. That’s why you need to respect people with more experience than you because they’ve probably already been through what you’re surviving at the moment.
- You don’t know what you want
Nobody says that now you have to sit and think for days about what you want to be when you grow up. Still, it is recommended to have at least some idea or direction, a reference point to which you are going and which you will, if you are diligent and successful enough, in some moment reach.
Tech communities in Croatia
Digital Lab.in is a 2-day ICT conference about web, mobile, and software design and development that brings you top of the line keynote speakers. In addition, they have technical workshops, several events for networking, and a party (when that’s possible :). The 2019 edition welcomed speakers from Booking, Bornfight, Google, FIVE, Infobip, and others. The next event is planned for 2021 in the town of Labin.
Shift Dev is a two-day single-stage developer experience, combining educational and inspiring conversations, presented on the gorgeous Mediterranean coast with side workshops and networking activities. Here, you can meet some of the world’s most famous tech names and chat with them about the hottest subjects, innovations, and buzzwords in IT. Previous speakers included the creator of PHP, the creator of CSS, developers from Google, GitHub, Microsoft, and many others. The next event is planned for September 2021 in Split.
Zagreb WordPress Meetup
Zagreb’s WordPress community has over 500 members who hold several meetings throughout the year, discussing the hottest subjects in the WordPress world. Their panels are hosted by various tech companies, including Bornfight, Infinum, Q Agency, ForgeBIT, etc. Currently, they hold their meetups online due to the pandemic.
LEAP Summit is a free tech and entrepreneurial event that lasts for two days, with two pre-summit days. This event brings together more than 3,000 entrepreneurs, young people, and leaders from 40+ countries who are transforming the world. To address the most critical issues of our day, the LEAP Summit gathers people from around the world to learn and network together in one venue.
UX Meetup Zagreb
Zagreb’s UX meetup is organized by the IxDA community, which aims to promote the design of interactions locally. The community has over 800 members who’ve attended 28 UX meetups.
CX Meetup Croatia
The CX meetup group organizes events where customer experience enthusiasts discuss various topics about customer-oriented design. The community has almost 300 members and covers topics such as CX in times of corona crisis, buying with emotions, experience management platforms, collecting feedback, etc.
Data Science Croatia
This is one of the most significant tech communities in Croatia. The Data Science group, with over 1,500 members, hosts regular events where data scientists and data science enthusiasts gather to discuss many topics related to data. Predicting customer behaviour, machine learning for production, AI, robotics, deep learning, and sports analytics are only some of the topics they cover.
Tech companies in Croatia to watch for
No Croatian tech list can go without this company. Rimac Automobili produces electric hypercars and supplies automobile designers around the globe with technical solutions. This company makes the fastest electric cars in the world. The Croatian Elon Musk, Mate Rimac, started in his garage, where he restored his 1984 BMW E30 323i at the age of 20. The gasoline engine exploded during a race with this car, so he wanted to make it an electric one. He has been chasing his childhood dream of creating the fastest car since then.
The flagship model is Concept-One, which the company has completely designed, built, and manufactured. It is working with the ambition of being a full electrification partner with other industry OEMs.
Photomath is a start-up for EdTech. It has climbed the educational charts of the App Store and Google Play Store and is valued by millions of people. Photomath is a winner of Barcelona’s 4YFN competition, the world’s largest competition for startups focusing on mobile technologies and business models, and of the Netexplo Forum Award due to its work in EdTech.
Amodo is a Croatian company that has developed an IoT-based platform to produce car data by using smartphones. Information such as the number of kilometres passed, average speed, oil and fuel consumption, etc., is obtained by this platform. This data helps automotive ecosystem enterprises to gain a greater perspective into how their products are being used, understand what they can optimize, and explore potential markets for sale. At the same time, car owners have more control over their cars, allowing them to optimize their assets.
Gideon Brothers are designing an AI-based robot autonomy that uses camera-based sensing to layer deep learning and establish a stable vision for the robot. The first product is an electric indoor transport vehicle capable of moving 800kg, assisting businesses in the logistics and production markets. Among other awards, the startup has won the European AI Rising Star at the 2018 Founders Forum in London, the Startup Germany Industry 4.0, and the Business Leader in Robotics-as-an-Entrepreneurial Field awards.
Founded in 2014, Include created Steora, a smart street bench with energy-generating photovoltaic modules, allowing smartphones and other devices to be charged. The bench can also connect to the Internet, capture environmental information, create ambient light, and has a cooling system. Smart cycling point Monna is the second startup product.
The company now has more than 1,000 items deployed globally, partnering with major companies such as Coca-Cola, Nokia, Red Bull, etc. The team consists of people working in R&D, marketing, finance, distribution, as well as development, and production.
Infinum is an independent design and software development agency that focuses on mobile and web development. The company employs over 250 tech professionals in three offices, delivering outstanding products for over 14 years.
Big brands, insurers, insurance providers, media publishers, telecom carriers, and other businesses with the need for professionally built and created mobile applications are among Infinum’s customers. The company covers all aspects of software creation – planning, design, programming, testing, and releasing. To its employees, Infinum provides competitive salaries, tech equipment, performance-based bonuses, and an educational budget.
Infobip is a world pioneer in omnichannel engagement that drives a wide variety of innovative customer engagement, authentication, and compliance communications platforms, tools, and solutions. They help their customers and partners navigate the complexities of consumer communications, develop their business, and improve customers’ experience, all in a quick, healthy, and consistent manner through their global cloud communications platform.
The benefits of a Tech career in Croatia
A tech job can fulfil all your demands. Would you want to be your own boss and work anytime you feel like it? All right. Want to work from the comfort of your own home for clients from across the globe? Yes, yes! Want to work with lots of coffee and treats in a relaxed office? That’s also possible!
The Croatian tech scene can provide all these benefits. Although maybe in the media shadow of other industries, the ICT sector grabbed the highest growth rates. Without a dedicated ministry or agency, the Croatian ICT sector generated a revenue of 5.4 billion euros, of which 1.2 billion were exports. Although the coronavirus crisis is stagnating the country’s economic growth, the tech industry is considered to be the gazelle of the Croatian economy.
According to the Croatian Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, the average salary in the ICT sector is 1,687 euros. As segments like fintech, data science, design, and digital marketing are emerging, this means that if you decide on a tech career, you’ll be working on very exciting projects for some of Europe’s tech leaders.
IT companies are aware of the tech talents of the Croatian workforce and are investing a lot of resources in growth and development. For example, Infobip built an IT campus in Vodnjan that proved too small for its unstoppable growth, so it is building two others in Zagreb and Sarajevo.
Almost all bigger cities in Croatia have tech companies, which means that you don’t have to go far away from your hometown to pursue the career you want. Aside from Zagreb, towns like Rijeka, Split, Dubrovnik, Varazdin, and others can also offer you valuable tech opportunities. Thanks to the rich tech landscape the country has to offer, you can choose whether you want to work for an emerging startup or a well-known tech giant. If you still prefer working from the comfort of your own home, you can easily find a US company to work remotely.
So, are you ready for a career in Tech?
Once you embark on this life-changing adventure, make sure to:
- Decide what direction you want to take
- Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) goals for your learning period
- Spend at least 4-5 hours in the day on acquiring new skills
- Visualize your goals in order to remain motivated
- Regularly follow industry news and influencers to keep up with changes
- Join a community and go to networking events
- Always stay hungry for knowledge
To take a career direction that suits your life priorities, combine your creativity and problem-solving skills. You may start by studying in parallel with your current job or choose the conventional approach to commit your whole time to the next phase of your life.
What is really important is to start now. Not from Monday, not from the next month. In the future, the career you’ll love depends on the steps you take now!