What are Berlin’s CTOs thinking? We have some answers.

Silicon Allee has released their first report, focusing on CTOs in Berlin’s tech ecosystem and their current needs, wants … and favorite coding languages.

It’s no longer news that Berlin is one of the top tech ecosystems in Europe. One of the reasons for this is the top coding talent that the city attracts. Companies like Zalando constantly champion their development teams’ coding chops and even US-based companies like Kayak host their largest developer workforce in Berlin.

At Silicon Allee, we have been watching this trend. I have also been deeply involved in it myself. Being a developer and having been CTO (Chief Technology Officer) of several startups, I’ve had to recruit coding talent, manage technology stacks and keep up with the latest software trends. One of the most interesting things in this role is to compare what you are doing with others; what technology is their backend built in? What are they paying their iOS devs? Are they using scrum?

For the first half of this year, with our friends from Vertalab, we have been surveying tech executives and diligently compiling a report of just this kind of information. While most reports we found on the Berlin tech scene were focused on things like financing, we sought to provide an up-to-date snapshot of the current software attitudes, technology stacks, job figures, and development-related facts from the viewpoint of the CTO.

Included in the full report is information on:

  • Platforms, technologies and methodologies used
  • Development team makeup and gender ratios
  • Attitudes on outsourcing
  • Hiring plans and recruiting
  • Salaries and equity
  • Legal, visa and policy issues

Below are some highlights of our findings and a link to download the full report. We hope this document will be useful for tech executives in making decisions on how to run their company as well as service providers like recruiters and outsourcing agencies to better target their offerings to us.

Ecommerce, AdTech, Web and Mobile dominate Berlin

Our report shows that e-commerce and ad tech are the two most popular sectors for Berlin tech companies. That being said, there is a wide array of sectors underneath these two that shows the breadth of the Berlin tech scene. Berlin is not just #fintech or #fashiontech it’s all technology sectors.

Predictably most tech companies are focused on web and mobile as well, showing Berlin still has a ways to go to compete as a hardware or manufacturing technology ecosystem.

Female developers needed–desperately!

Women are still severely underrepresented in the development teams in Berlin, mirroring a trend that is endemic worldwide. This percentage unfortunately doesn’t change as companies get bigger — in fact it tends to shrink.

The size of development teams also shrink in comparison to other employees as firms get larger. This likely reflects the fact that adtech and e-commerce (the two largest sectors in Berlin) require less developers and more sales, marketing and operational employees.


PHP is the most dominant language used in Berlin. It was surprising for me to see Java so far down this list as I was under the impression it was much more widely taught and used in Germany. Perhaps the “cooler” languages have finally overtaken the “practical” ones. We’ve also discovered that the rise of Javascript frameworks has also taken Berlin by storm.

Policymakers are still not getting through

We’ve been part of several delegations and round tables over the last years and one thing we keep saying is that policymakers are not talking with startups enough. Now we finally have the data to prove it. It should be disturbing to policymakers that most CTOs are not even aware of the legislation that they are passing that deeply affects tech startups.

There is plenty of other very detailed information in our report — from what salaries companies are paying to what percentage of companies have rewritten their codebase from scratch. We’d love to hear your thoughts on the report and our findings or questions here in the comments or over on Twitter.

Full disclosure: Vertalab, a very friendly and talented development shop, helped finance the research of this report so they could provide better offerings to their customers. The research was conducted and analyzed entirely independently by our team, though.

For more information visit vertalab.de