What Is It like To Live And Work In Tallinn As A Software Engineer?

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Are you planning on living in Estonia? You should definitely consider Tallinn, one of Europe's hottest startup hubs, as a relocation destination. In this interview, Vita A. shared her experience of living and working in Tallinn as a software developer. You’ll learn from her there are plenty of developer jobs in Tallinn. Read on.


Short bio

Current position: Full Stack Developer @ Perforce Software
Time in the industry: 3 years
Favorite tech stack: Java, ReactJS
Passions outside of work: Yoga and swimming


What made you decide to relocate to Estonia? How long have you been here?

I’ve been living in Estonia for seven years. At first, I came to Tallinn as an Erasmus student, then I came back to study for a Master's degree. I fell in love with Tallinn very quickly and decided to stay here.

This small city has so much to offer in terms of career opportunities, especially if you’re an IT specialist.

Are Estonians proficient in English?

Estonia ranks high for English proficiency, which is, without a doubt, a distinct asset for international talent. It’s also the leader in the number of tech unicorns per capita.

How did you search for a tech job in Estonia? Any tips for those seeking similar work?

CV Keskus and CV-Online (CV.ee) are the two largest job portals in Estonia. Companies also hire through universities and employee referral programs. Personally, I was referred by my friend for my current job. It is a common practice here.


How to Improve Your (Tech) LinkedIn Profile Before Relocation →

What was the visa process like?

 had a study permit at first, and it had its benefits. For example, after the permit expired, I could still work full-time and stay and work for half a year more in Estonia. I decided not to extend my study permit and apply for a temporary residence permit for work, just because it was valid for five years instead of one. 

My employer prepared an invitation letter for the Police and Border Guard Board, and that was all I needed. Once you meet the salary criteria (your salary has to be not less than the average salary in Estonia, with some exceptions), it is easy to get a work permit. What’s more, for most skilled professions in high-demand sectors, such as the IT sector, the quota system is no longer a problem.


Read Expat Advice: Moving To And Living In Estonia →


What are three things that impressed you the most about Tallinn/Estonia?

To me, it feels that IT is the number one priority in this country. Everything possible is made digital. There is minimum bureaucracy here because you can do pretty much everything online. I also like the Baltic Sea and Tallinn’s beautiful old town :).



What has been the most helpful thing in adapting to your new home abroad?

Estonian classes helped me to read labels in supermarkets and understand basic conversations. Also, going out and meeting with friends helps me not to feel homesick.


What have been some of the most challenging moments so far?

I am still getting used to the Nordic weather. Sometimes, it feels that winter will never end. Because of the lack of sunshine during the winter months, everyone has to take vitamin D supplements. But, Estonian summer days are long and very pleasant.


According to Numbeo, the average cost of rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the center of Tallinn is €660 + €280 for utilities (electricity, water, etc.). Is that true?

Not precisely, €900 is the average price for a good one-bedroom flat in Tallinn, according to Airbnb. However, you can find cheaper and still nice options. The cost of utilities usually depends on the building you live in, but it is approximately €50 in summer and €100 in winter.


In general, is it hard to find an apartment for rent in Tallinn? Could you name a few websites to search on?

Flats for rent are published on KV.ee and City24.ee. There are also several Facebook rental groups. In my opinion, it is neither easy nor hard to find an apartment in Tallinn. If you have any budget limitations or a cat, or maybe in case of searching for a place with no broker fee, then it might take some time to find a suitable apartment. Otherwise, there are various offers on the market.


Share a few words about public transport in Estonia. Is it essential to have a car?

Public transport in Tallinn is accessible and free for citizens, so I don't feel the necessity to have a car. Generally, everything is so close here, that you might just walk :). At the same time, Estonia is rich in natural attractions, and the best way to get to some National Park or a lake is by car. I’d like to be able to drive outside of Tallinn, but it is definitely not essential to use a car every day.


In your opinion, what makes Estonia an attractive place for software developers?

Estonia for software engineers, is like Milan for fashion designers. It offers lots of career opportunities for tech professionals, there are many IT conferences, hackathons, and meetups happening, in other words, a lot of fun. I would say living in Tallinn is a very smart choice for techies.


What is the average software developer salary in Estonia?

Depending on experience and location, a software developer in Estonia earns approximately €2–4k monthly. The average salary in Estonia is around €1,300-1,400 net per month.


Get an idea of what your net salary in Estonia with our net pay calculator →


How has relocation affected you (your life, your career)? Is it worth moving to Estonia?

The quality of my life and my career have improved significantly here. I have zero regrets about my decision to move to Estonia. It is a well-developed, modern, and safe European country. I really enjoy Tallinn life.


If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone relocating here, what would it be?

Be prepared for long dark winters. The weather here is a painful topic :D.


Convinced about starting a new life in Tallinn? Start by looking for a job!

The best way to relocate to Estonia and live the Tallinn life is to get to the Baltic–Nordic country with a job. Relocate.me is the best place to finding developer jobs in Tallin that will make living in Estonia possible. It’s a niche job board for techies who want to relocate. Every company that lists a job on Relocate.me is open to hiring international talent—and will help candidates relocate. Moving to Tallinn is considerably easier if you have a job helping you settle over there.

Curious to see who is currently hiring in Tallinn and what software engineering positions are available? Have a look at Relocate.me’s job board for developer jobs in Tallinn. You can also visit our Estonia page.

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