It is a well-known fact that companies across Europe and beyond are competing for the best tech talent – specifically developers and data scientists. And front- and back-end developers are at the core of every tech team, which will be the case for years to come. Yet, the world’s ICT companies claim that good data scientists are almost impossible to find. Developer and data scientist vacancies across the world are constantly open, and it usually takes a company up to 12 weeks to fill these positions. The largest barriers for attracting talent – apart from the obvious scarcity – are housing, local competition and cultural fit.

Amsterdam’s talent proposition

The good news is that Amsterdam has some great advantages when compared to other tech hubs. Its high quality of life, its 30% tax ruling for highly skilled migrants, its unmatched work-life balance and its strong international orientation make the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area a magnet for talent.

The great transportation system, well-connected airport and 180 nationalities undeniably make Amsterdam a vibrant city; yet, its canals and relatively small size give it a certain village-like charm. And work, friends and amenities are usually just a short bike ride away. In addition, many of the city’s biggest tech firms employ over 70% non-Dutch employees for their teams. This is why – for the majority of these companies – the main language has become English.

The city’s proactive approach

In addition to Amsterdam’s already attractive employment benefits, the local government is now experimenting with addressing the demand for talent hands-on. For example, October saw the development of several programmes aimed specifically at attracting more Dutch and international talent to Amsterdam’s tech and startup scene, and one of these solutions was Next Gen. The overall goal of the initiative is to put Amsterdam at the top of graduates’ minds when they embark on their tech careers

Local and international computer science students (in the last year of their study) took part in Next Gen’s intense three-day programme, which happened from 4 to 6 October 2017 (during the world-renowned eWeek). The 35 participating students – made up of 12 nationalities – came from universities in eight different countries; the schools included Oxford University, Saint-Petersburg State University, the University of Amsterdam and the University of Porto.

The Next Gen team took the students on a tour through Amsterdam’s tech and startup scene, and invited eDay speakers to talk with the participants, discussing new developments such as AI and VR with founders and CEOs of startups, scale-ups and corporates. The participants also visited creative makerspaces and startup hubs, including Makerversity, VRBase, B. Amsterdam and Startupbootcamp.

Amsterdam-based job opportunities for tech graduates

If you are a student with an interest in Next Gen – but were unable to take part – here are some helpful links to the participating companies (who hoped to meet you!) One of the main sponsors of Next Gen was ING, one of the largest banks in the Netherlands. They are hiring, so check out their vacancies. The other main sponsor was Bol.com, the Netherlands' largest e-commerce website. They are currently offering a traineeship for young ICT professionals, but they also have a selection of other great job opportunities.

Other tech companies that contributed to Next Gen (and are hiring!) include: 3D Hubs, Payvision, Ohpen, WeTransfer, Usabilla, Picnic, Lab15.io, Bynder, Bloomon, Takeaway, HPE, Braincreators and Crunchr.

Next Gen 2017 was a pilot project, so the team will check in with the students after they graduate to see whether they decided to work in Amsterdam – or even at some of the Next Gen companies. The project was a joint effort of StartupAmsterdam and Emerce.

Take part in Next Gen 2018

If you’re an Amsterdam-based tech company that is regularly looking for developers and computer science majors – and would like to open your doors to students from all over the world during the next edition of Next Gen – please contact Dré Kampfraath at [email protected].

If you’re a computer science student and interested in taking part, please contact Dré Kampfraath at [email protected].