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The Nordic Tech Scene

It’s tempting to be a bit reductionist about the Nordic tech scene. Spotify and Facebook in Sweden, Nokia in Finland, job done, right?

The Nordic Tech Scene

Well, those are certainly among the highlights in the Nordic tech scene. However, once you start digging a little deeper, you’ll find it’s rather more varied than that. According to Forbes Magazine, the Nordic region as a whole is only behind the big hitters of the UK, Germany, and France when it comes to venture capital funding, the bulk of which goes to tech investments.

Tech in Sweden

Even Sweden’s Facebook connection is a bit of an esoteric one. Facebook chose to place its major server farm in the smaller northern town of Luleå. What started as a mining community is now a burgeoning software hub. And being as far north as it is, the harbour freezes over every year and the locals use it as an extra stretch of main road. The Arctic Circle is less than an hour’s drive away. It’s not your typical technology campus…

Sweden, however, is famous for the number of unicorn businesses in Stockholm. According to Agile Search, it’s second only to Silicon Valley for the number of billion dollar startups. Think Spotify, SoundCloud (founded in Stockholm) and Skype (co-founded by Niklas Zennström from Sweden), and all of a sudden, you’ll realise that Sweden offers even more than IKEA to the rest of the world. Candy Crush is another phenomenon that can be attributed to the country.

The need for Software Developers in Sweden

Finland – the deep tech region

But let’s look away from Sweden for a moment, and cross over the Gulf Of Bothnia to Finland. You’ll find there’s a bit more than just Nokia going on. In fact, according to a survey by Startup Genome and the Global Entrepreneurship Network, Finland is one of the world’s leaders for incubating companies specialising in ‘deep tech,’ in artificial intelligence, and in gaming — let’s not forget that Rovio, the company behind the gaming behemoth that is Angry Birds, is based in Helsinki.

Helsinki was also praised for its growing health and life sciences sector, especially genomics medicine researchers FinnGen and BluePrint Genetics. There are major opportunities to be had in Finland, too. As with several other European nations, the Finns are currently seeing a major gap between graduates and the numbers of software developers that it needs. Estimates indicate that the skills gap costs the country as much as €3.4-billion a year in lost GDP and earnings. Speaking of earnings, there’s good money to be had in Finland too — the average monthly salary for someone working in tech (according to the Association of IT Sector Employees) is €4,300, with many earning north of €5,000.

Norway & Denmark

Let’s not forget Norway in all of this. The home of the fjords has traditionally lagged behind its Nordic neighbours when it comes to tech investment and job creation, but that does seem to be changing, and Norway is now reckoned to have the fastest-growing tech sector of all the Scandi countries. It probably doesn’t hurt that, as a nation, Norway is swimming in money from its oil reserves. It is therefore able to push investment from a national, as well as a private, level.

Denmark is also well worth a look for budding software developers. It helps that the famous Oresund Bridge links it to Sweden’s growing tech hub around the city of Malmö, and 2018 saw record funding in tech in Denmark. Globally-renowned startups such as Universal Robots (yes, they’re hiring…) doesn’t do the local Danish rep any harm either.

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