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Jerusalem Life

| The Israeli Programmer Shortage Is Sky High

Zev Stub    
Thursday, 06 December 1:01 PM
Photo: Bootcamp students learning to code @ Israeli Tech Challenge (ITC) in Tel Aviv, Israel

By Sara Kirsch for Olim In TechOriginally posted on Medium

It’s no shocker that there is a huge shortage of programmers & software engineers working in Israeli High-tech. Senior programmers are in such short supply & high demand that in general multinational corporations such as Amazon are paying tons of money for experienced programmers! Right now, Israel is commonly referred to as “Start-Up Nation” & is certainly leading the world in terms of High-tech!

In Israel, Several Factors Are Contributing To The Programmer Shortage:

Historically, Israel’s geopolitical situation & geographic location created certain situations that necessitated the need to develop advanced tech. The land mass is small, natural resources were incredibly limited when the country was established & Israel is surrounded by potential threats.

So, historically, Israel had problems, then developed technology-based solutions for them.

Water is a great example. Israel is in the Mediterranean & has a very dry climate especially in the South. Water was obviously needed in Israel & in short supply. So, Israel developed advanced water desalination techniques to deal with this problem. Now, this technology is being used around the world including places like Cape Town!

Now, Israeli High-tech is certainly blooming! Not only is there technology everywhere, but Israel has a culture of innovation & technology. According to Adi Shmorak, who is the VP of Product Management for an educational coding product called CoderZ, “Whether it is automotive, medical, education, or cyber security markets, Israeli tech companies are leading the world. The situation has created a high demand for computer programmers that does not seem to be fading away any time soon.”

Multinational corporations are currently buying talent & there simply aren’t enough programmers working for local companies & start-ups. Adi explained, “since tech giants like Intel, Apple, Google & now Amazon are all doing R&D in Israel, the shortage of skilled computer programmers is critical. The shortage is to a point of which it inhibits the growth potential of the High-tech industries.” Adi continued to explain why filling programmer positions is critical to the entire Israeli economy. Israel needs more Junior & Senior programmers working in local start-ups & in big multinational corporations. There is quite a large programmer hole to fill! Adi told me “More programmers mean more innovation which means more Venture Capital (VC) investment in Israel’s economy & more exports of technology. Certainly, the most important part of the Israeli economy is tech. This is also becoming the case around the world!”

To help fill the programmer gap, CoderZ hosts free virtual cyber robotics competitions for kids in Israel & around the world!

So, expanding the Israeli High-tech sector not only promises better-paying jobs for individuals but filling the programmer gap can result in more private sector spending. That could be a catalyst in terms of moving the entire Israeli economy forward! This is exactly why the Ministry Of Labor & Education “are both working hard to increase the supply of computer programmers and engineers,” Adi explained.

Senior Programmers Are In Demand & The Pay Is Good

Programming is a very desirable career in Israel for many reasons. Companies specifically want quality Senior Programmers with great experience. Why is this such a desired career path?

  1. There Is A Constant Demand For Senior Programmers — experience & a unique skill set are highly sought after by High-tech companies. Junior positions are scarce & difficult to get without experience, but the government & independent organizations are working hard to help fill the shortage & qualify more people for both Junior & Senior Programming positions. According to Oren Toledano, the CEO & Co-founder of Israel Tech Challenge (ITC), “It is harder to get a Junior Position especially without any experience, but the industry is working on addressing this problem. A Junior Programmer has about 1–3 years of experience, & if you work hard, you won’t stay a Junior Programmer for long! In the world of code, everything is about time & experience. It’s great if you are highly educated & went to an excellent university, but you need to invest time & hours into mastering coding & learning. You need to code & make mistakes. Making mistakes & learning from them makes a good coder.”
  2. The Pay Is Good — But It’s Not All About The Salary — If you are just starting out here & transitioning, I strongly suggest taking your time for any job, not just those in High-tech. Start out in Israel by building a life, making friends, adjusting to the culture, learning & try your best to stay optimistic! Immigrating to a new country is no small feat, & it takes time to adjust. Only through learning & different experiences will you truly know what you like, what you want & where you can envision yourself in several years.

So, What Is The Salary Differential Between Junior & Senior Programmers In Israel?

Remember, if you are switching careers in Israel, don’t make your decision only about the salary. As I said in my previous post, figure out if you even like to code through some free online courses before you invest any time or money into developing a career as a Programmer. I personally tried out CoderZ’s free trial for some coding experience & you can also give that a try!

CoderZ is an online learning environment developed in Israel, that helps students get up to speed with coding through cyber robotics.

If you have considered Computer Science as a profession, consider doing a free course or the CoderZ free trial! From my experience, neither will independently qualify you to become a programmer, but you’ll get some hands-on coding experience & perhaps be able to better determine if it’s something for you.

Again, It’s NOT ALL ABOUT THE SALARY — but here are some earning potential estimates:

Only Computer Science Degree Fresh Out of College= 12,000–15,000 NIS, if you’ve done internships, have work experience & completed projects perhaps more

Straight out of Bootcamp With No Prior CS Background — 10,000–12,000 NIS is possible depending on your level of motivation & experience, getting the first Junior Position is difficult, but possible if you are highly motivated & passionate

Junior Programmer — 1–3 years of experience, 15,000–22,000 NIS depending on the size of the company

Senior Programmer — Depends on how many years of experience, Starts at 25,000 NIS+, individuals can earn even more at multinational corporations

Remember, there is a huge shortage. Oren Toledano of ITC told me, “most companies don’t want to invest too much time in a person who doesn’t know how to build software & lacks experience, but there is a need to fill these positions. The market is quite volatile right now. Less than 8% of the population is working in High-tech & there is a growing shortage. Currently, there are about 10,000 positions unfilled.”

In conclusion, take your time & think. Remember, be flexible about the way to success. There is more than 1 pathway to success in life & in Israel. Get experience & understand what you like to do. Becoming a programmer isn’t the best decision if you aren’t passionate about it. You need to love technology & love to build things. You need to be motivated to learn something challenging & difficult. Learning to become a programmer doesn’t happen overnight. It is a long process that you need to commit yourself to. Once you are committed, yes, it can be a very strong career path in Israel. It is a very good way to make a living in Israel, but ultimately the decision is yours!

I hope this was helpful! I hope to see you at our Thanksgiving Happy Hour Event @ Drama on November 29th!

❤ Sara

Founded in 2017, Olim in Tech is a volunteer-led community geared towards empowering and connecting olim who work or want to be working in hi-tech. Compared to native born Israelis, who grow up in Israel and spend time in the military, olim often find themselves at a major disadvantage when it comes to finding a job, networking, and generally advancing their career. Olim in Tech aims to bridge the gap by fostering a supportive community of open minded olim through our online presence and by hosting frequent events. Past events include happy hours and speaker events with speakers ranging from members of the community to top VCs and CEOs, who also immigrated to Israel.

***Disclaimer: This is a personal weblog and the opinions expressed here represent my own views and not necessarily those of the entire organization.


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