When people talk about Slovenia, they mostly refer to its beautiful nature and stunning tourist destinations.
Yes, it’s one of the greenest countries in Europe and the perfect destination for nature lovers.
However, Slovenia is also famous for many other things. For example, this year, there was a lot of buzz about establishing the UNESCO-supported International Research Centre on Artificial Intelligence (IRCAI). This first-of-its-kind global AI centre means opening an entirely new page in Slovenia’s AI landscape. We can’t wait to see the inventions and discoveries that will take place here, in Slovenia!
Events like this prove that Slovenia is way beyond just a tourist destination. They open new doors to prospective and ambitious people who want to do something exciting in their lives. They open new possibilities for growing stunning tech careers right here, in Slovenia.
In fact, tech careers have a great perspective, especially now that the Slovenian startup scene is booming. The exits of some of the most ambitious and recognizable startups, such as BitStamp, have raised public interest and increased the tech industry’s attractiveness as a feasible career option for young people. According to Salary Explorer, a person working in IT in Slovenia earns an average of around 1,980 EUR per month.
So, regardless of whether you’re deciding which career to choose for the first time or you want to make a career switch, it’s crucial to see if the career you want is in demand. Even if you just throw a quick glance at the Slovenian job market, it’s very easy to see that tech jobs have great potential.
Careers like Data Science are in especially high demand, considering that Slovenia has a rich data science landscape. What is more, it looks like every country in the world will need more data scientists. Quanthub predicts that by 2030, we’ll have a global shortage of 85 million data scientists.
In this guide, we’re showing you why and how to grow a tech career in Slovenia.
Why should you pursue a career in Tech?
Technology is taking over our lives. That’s why every company needs at least one tech professional to survive. This makes the demand for all tech professions grow. For example, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that “employment of web developers is projected to grow 13 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations,” with an explanation that the rise of smartphones and e-commerce will drive the demand.
But, aside from the growing demand, there are some significant reasons why a tech career could be very fulfilling:
A lot of space for innovation and creativity
If you’re a creative person who keeps coming up with new ideas, tech is the right industry for you. The dynamic work requires many creative solutions that will make every day different from the previous one. What is more, you’ll be surrounded by like-minded creative and tech-savvy minds that will help you widen your perspectives.
Most companies in the industry are very flexible and open to new ideas, especially startups. This means that you’ll get a lot of opportunities to innovate and to make your ideas a reality. Technology is all about breaking new ground. In a culture of change, advancements, and transformation, technology professionals grow rapidly. Their working environment is a place where fresh and innovative ideas are born.
Making an impact
Technology solves many real-life problems. Being a part of the tech industry, you’ll have the opportunity to contribute to aspects of real life. As technology is now inevitably rooted in our lives, the solutions you’ll develop could have the power to transform people’s lives. TechEd, fund collection apps, sustainable e-commerce stores, and environmentally-aware apps are only some types of projects you could work on to make an impact.
Working on challenging projects
For those looking for endless opportunities and challenges in their career, the technology industry is a great path. Tech professionals strive to address nearly any challenge faced by individuals and also provide new solutions for problems that we never knew required solving.
As remote working technologies expand, work becomes more flexible. Cloud storage, video calls, and widely available fast internet allow you to work from anywhere, at any time. Some companies are even fully-remote, as they don’t really have a reason to go to the office.
Most tech companies allow you to create your own schedule and work whenever suits you, achieving a better work-life balance. So, if you’re more productive at night, this is the way to go.
No need for academic education
It may be shocking that a four-year bachelor’s degree isn’t essential for such a dedicated career. Now, companies emphasize alternative, intensive educational programs that focus solely on, for example, front- and back-end web development, data science, or UX/UI design.
The benefits of hiring individuals who represent their local communities are recognized by these businesses. They offer unique viewpoints and ideas while still allowing companies to fulfil their demands for diversity. Most importantly, a personalized talent development program guarantees that these talents are prepared for the job since day one, as well as given the skills to adjust to an ever-changing environment.
At the end of the day, we’re all here for the money. And, tech professionals get high salaries because they are always in high demand. As long as companies require software solutions, having tech skills will be a valuable asset for any team.
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How to start a career in Tech
After you’ve decided that you are the right person for a tech career, here’s where to start.
Research roles and decide your direction
Growing a career in tech offers countless opportunities. You could decide to be a front-end, back-end, or a full-stack developer, or DevOps, machine learning, or a cloud engineer. You could also become a software tester, a data scientist, which is today’s sexiest profession, according to Harvard. For the extra creative ones, we have a digital marketing and UX/UI design.
Researching the available roles and jobs allows you to consider which ones might be a good match for your current talents, ambitions, and career goals. The best part is that there’s literally a position for every character type.
Make a plan
Once you’ve decided which direction to take, check out job ads for these positions, and find out the skills companies require from their potential hires. Make a list of the core skills and prioritize them, starting to learn from the basic ones and then going more in-depth in technical details.
Choose an education program
Now that you know which skills you need to acquire, start looking for an education program that will help you learn in a focused and practical way. As we mentioned before, you don’t need to spend four or five years obtaining an academic degree.
Instead, many intensive education programs provide you with the knowledge that you need to solve real problems through practical industry examples. These kinds of programs prepare you for tasks you’ll be getting at your workplace, providing career support and potential employments through their partner programs.
Start working on open-source projects
Starting or contributing to existing open-source projects and sharing your knowledge with other tech professionals is a great way to acquire expertise. This not only builds your skill base, but it is also a great experience to add to your CV and portfolio. Some free work at the beginning of your career path will show potential employers that you have initiative and are a hard-working person.
Network with other industry professionals
Find chances to network with other tech professionals before you embark on your tech career
path. You boost your odds of receiving a career recommendation and finding new opportunities by joining networking activities where you’re likely to find like-minded individuals. These referrals are essential because they can highlight you as a professional in a very competitive industry.
Through checking with the local industry groups, online publications, and tech enthusiast, you can easily find networking activities. We’ve provided a list of suggested tech events in Slovenia later in this piece.
Get ready for a technical interview
You’ll need to be able to answer technical questions and, in some situations, address technical challenges when you start taking interviews. To test your IT skills, practice for your interview by studying common IT interview questions that are highly technical. To prepare even more specifically, practice solving challenges in the coding language that you’re applying for.
Tech communities in Slovenia
To grow your career successfully, you need to network with fellow Tech professionals who can get you in the game faster. Here are our suggestions for tech events, communities, and meetups you should follow:
By gathering and networking renowned foreign investors, existing companies, and start-ups & scale-ups from the Alps-Adriatic and Western Balkans regions, Podim provides real value to the Slovenian tech community. This annual conference limits the number of participants to 1,000 so that those who attend get a real networking opportunity. The next Podim event will take place in May 2021 in Maribor.
Data Science Meetup
The Community of Data Science in Slovenia aims to provide learning and networking opportunities for those interested or already working in data science. It consists of entrepreneurial, academic, and corporate community professionals who share ideas, discusses big data analysis tools, methods, and technologies, gains predictive insight, and take advantage of data products’ business opportunities. If you’re interested in Data Science, don’t miss their events.
Virtual DragonPy Meetup
This is an event by Ljubljana’s Python User Group. This community of Python enthusiasts counts over 1,000 members and organizes the monthly DragonPy meetup to discuss Python and its uses, as well as many other related subjects. For example, in their last event for the year, they’re talking about the TailwindCSS framework, which means that you can really learn some new cool stuff here.
SD x UX Drinks
If you’re into design, this is the community for you. Ljubljana’s Service Design & User Experience group unites the city’s design community, talking about different design topics. From software roll-out design and UX for food vs. UX for digital products to accessibility and copywriting, this community covers topics every designer should know.
Slovenia Games Meetup
Slovenia’s Games Meetup is a game development community from Slovenia that began in 2003. It was initially a forum for exchanging experiences and chatting about games, then they started holding semi-regular meetings, and finally founded the Slovenian Game Developers Association – Games Slovenia. During their sessions held on a monthly basis, the members discuss various game design topics with experienced designers from many prominent studios.
ProductTank offers an opportunity for product managers in Ljubljana to share insights and perspectives about product management, market analysis, analytics, user experience, and all the other stuff related to digital businesses. Events provide debates on subjects related to product management, as well as networking opportunities through drinks with exciting speakers.
Scrum Slovenia Meetup
The Slovenian Scrum Meetup includes enthusiasts who talk about Agile, Scrum, XP, Kanban, Lean, etc. Their topics include Scrum in a remote environment, mindfulness in Scrum, spikes, creativity, toolboxes, product ownership, etc. The group has around 500 members and currently holds its meetings online.
Open Research Data Conference
This is an in-depth data conference that focuses on research data, aligning with the National Strategy for Open Access to Research Data and various individual fields within the Slovenian research community. Institutions, researchers, research decision-makers and professionals, leaders of university and research institutions, and others are included in the discussion.
Slovenia Dribble Design Community
This is a place for all creative souls where you can find real inspiration for your future designs. Some of Slovenia’s best designers post their work here, so make sure you follow it regularly.
If you have ever thought about a future-proof career in UX/UI Design or Data Science, have a look at our remote Bootcamps.
Tech companies in Slovenia to watch for
Zemanta is an advertising technology firm that operates a programmatic native advertising platform owned by Outbrain. They focus on content distribution, offering their product to media agencies and brands who want to leverage content power. To help its clients, Zemanta has gathered a team of outstanding tech professionals and continually looks for new Data Scientists.
Plume is the developer of a Consumer Experience Management tool for rapid-scale curating and delivering innovative Smart Home services. The company has offices all over the world, employing outstanding tech professionals. Data scientists, software engineers, QA engineers, and other tech profiles are part of the Ljubljana team.
Celtra‘s Creative Automation platform helps creative and marketing departments work together, creating digital campaigns through various platforms, ad forms, combinations, and audiences. With branches in New York City, San Francisco, London, Singapore, and Ljubljana, Celtra is headquartered in Boston.
Bitstamp is the longest-standing crypto-currency exchange in the world, promoting the Bitcoin economy consistently since 2011. With an established track record and a mature commitment to the industry, Bitstamp offers more than four million customers a convenient and open location and helps partners enter new crypto markets via time-tested infrastructure. Employing a dynamic team that sets standards in the industry, Bitstamp offers great employee conditions, personal and professional development options, team building, highly competitive compensation, and a chill environment that’s open to new ideas.
ICONOMI, a leader in the blockchain revolution in Slovenia, helps consumers make their first crypto-currency investment phase. Built as a digital asset portal across a range of digital asset arrays, cryptocurrency funds, and indices with differing degrees of estimated yields and risk profiles, it offers consumers the ability to invest in various cryptocurrencies with a single click.
Viberate is a crowdsourced ecosystem for live music and a marketplace built on blockchain, where artists are paired with booking agencies and event organizers. So far, over 450,000 artists, 130,000 venues, 2,000 booking services, and 500,000 music activities have entered the network.
DEWESoft provides data acquisition systems, test and measurement instruments used in the labs worldwide to develop rockets and satellites for fast worldwide communication, safer vehicles, and other tech products. The company employs 200 people in more than 50 counties around the globe. The company offers a competitive salary and a commission to its employees, together with a positive work environment, high-tech projects, internal training, etc.
CargoX is an independent provider of blockchain-based Smart Bill of Lading, a comprehensive list of a ship’s cargo in the form of a receipt. Its technologies offer a speedy, safe, secure, and cost-effective way for Bills of Lading to be handled anywhere in the world. CargoX has a centralized platform based on Ethereum and provides a pipeline of future products in the supply chain.
The benefits of a Tech career in Slovenia
A Tech career can meet all your demands. Want to be your own boss and work whenever you feel like it? Okay. Want to work for an American company from the comfort of your own home? Yes! Want to work in a cool office with tons of coffee and snacks? That’s possible too! The Slovenian IT sector offers all these opportunities.
What is of great importance to young professionals is the flexibility of working hours, which is generally an accepted norm in the Slovenian IT industry. On the other hand, overtime is usually not a practice.
Where in Slovenia do IT people work? As expected, the concentration is in Ljubljana, and other popular locations are Maribor, Celje, Koper, Novo Mesto, Ptuj, Kranj, and Velenje.
Beginners in Tech usually start with an internship. For hard workers and enthusiasts, climbing up the ladder is relatively easy. Anyone who wants to continue to develop their potential will like the fact that most companies organize internal and external training for their employees, and you can generally count on the company to address your career development plan.
According to the portal Placa.si, the range of IT salaries in Slovenia is usually from EUR 1,449.00 (minimum salary) to EUR 3,301.00 (highest average, the actual maximum salary is higher).
However, although salaries in this sector are high, Slovenia’s IT industry is yet to grow. This means that there’s a lot of room for new entrepreneurs and innovative startups. With an entrepreneurial spirit and technical knowledge, starting your own Tech business in Slovenia can be a starting point towards great success and a great life.
In Slovenia, years of the startup ecosystem’s structural growth have already built an atmosphere that can provide start-ups with competitive conditions and multiple benefits. Slovenia is becoming one of the most enticing places to live and work, according to many popular entrepreneurs and startup employees’ views and experience. Slovenia is the home of many emerging startups and a significant number of success stories. The most recent one is TAIA, an AI-based language service provider, which raised EUR 1.2 million in October 2020.
So, are you ready for a career in Tech?
Once you embark on this journey that’s going to change your life, make sure you:
- Choose the right Tech domain
- Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) goals for your learning period
- Organize your time, spending at least 4-5 hours learning on a daily basis\
- Keep motivating yourself towards an exciting career
- Follow industry news and influencers to stay up-to-date with industry development
- Join a community to meet people with the same mindset as yours and find out about new opportunities
- Build an outstanding online portfolio that will show companies what a talent you are
- Never stop asking questions because there will always be something you don’t know
Use your creativity and problem-solving skills to take a career path that can best align with your key life goals. You can start by learning parallel with your current job or use the traditional way and dedicate your entire time to the next chapter of your life.
However you decide to do it, don’t put it off. The career you’ll love in the future depends on the steps you take today!