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The Pearl of the Danube: Why Budapest is a top destination for tech workers

Budapest is also a relatively cheap city to live in.
Budapest is also a relatively cheap city to live in.   -  Copyright  Canva

By Sandra O’Connell

Whether you want to relocate for a tech job or already have one and want to work remotely from someplace new, here’s why Budapest might top your wish list.

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The “Pearl of the Danube” has loads to commend it, so much so that its very riverbanks are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s got beautiful architecture, from Buda Castle (also on the UNESCO list) to the upscale stores of Andrássy Avenue (ditto).

Famously two cities for the price of one – quieter, hillier and more residential Buda plus livelier, and (mercifully) flatter Pest – the nightlife is buzzing, the public transport system good, and as a tourist city which also attracts migrant workers and digital nomads, English is widely spoken.

Its continental climate gives you crisp cold winters and properly hot summers and, whatever the season, after a day’s work toiling over a hot computer you can unwind at one of its famous thermal baths.

More affordable than other cities

Budapest is also a relatively cheap city to live in. According to Mercer’s 2022 Cost of Living City Ranking, Budapest was the 180th most expensive city for international employees to live in, out of 227. That indicates just how far cheaper it is than London (15), Paris (35) or Berlin (46), for example.

Comparison sites indicate that the cost of living in Budapest is 50 per cent less expensive than Paris and 61 per cent cheaper than London.

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The Hungarian capital also scores highly as one of the world’s best cities for digital nomads, cited for having plenty of cafes with excellent WiFi and a good choice of affordable coworking spaces. It’s also considered pretty safe, relative to other cities of its size (population 1.7 million).

Though it’s not a Euro country, the Hungarian Forint being the national currency, for comparison’s sake you’ll find a variety of accommodation options open to you for €800 a month and you can rent a hot desk for around €10 a day.

While the country went into recession in the second half of last year on the back of higher energy prices and monetary tightening, annual GDP growth is predicted to pick up again, to 2.8 per cent, by 2024, making it a good time to go.

Moreover inflation, though expected to rise slightly next year to around 16 per cent, is due to fall back to 4 per cent in 2024, making your money go further. Unemployment is low, at around 4 per cent, effectively full employment. That makes it a great option for jobseekers.

A future worth investing in

It’s not all golden, of course. The country, which has a population of 9.7 million, has only produced one unicorn, LogMeIn. Its population is in decline too. On top of that, the EU has serious concerns about encroachments on the rule of law by Hungary’s right-wing government.

On the plus side, it appears as if Hungary’s leadership is making the changes required to see it unlock billions of euro worth of EU funding.

Budapest’s tech sector prospects are strengthening. According to Seedtable, last year the city’s startups raised $160 million (€149 million), up from $150 million (€139 million) the previous year, an indication of growing employment opportunities.

Overall McKinsey, a global management consultancy firm, reckons Hungary is already ahead of its central European peers in having the region’s highest share of ICT specialists.

Innovations are happening among established companies too. Nokia invested millions of euros in an R&D centre there. UK chipmaker Arm has an office on the Pest side of the city, while San Francisco’s HTEC Group plans to develop a presence in the city too.

There’s plenty of local talent, including businesses such as 3D specialist Formlabs and Prezi, a maker of virtual presentation and video conferencing tools. IBM bought out local hero Ustream, and now hosts an IBM Lab in Budapest, focused on video streaming and enterprise content delivery.

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Thinking about your next move? Check out the positions available on the Euronews Jobs Board and choose to work remotely or explore new destinations.

Implementation Engineer (remote), Tulip

Toronto-based Tulip has developed a retail mobile software platform that powers leading retailers such as Mulberry, Chanel, Saks Fifth Avenue, Kate Spade and Coach, giving mobile devices to store assistants, elevating service, selling more and providing a personalised experience.

As Implementation Engineer, you'll collaborate with its clients, architects and team leads to translate business needs into detailed specifications for the Tulip Delivery team. This role is fully remote.

Engineering Manager Data Platform, Bolt Technology

Why not stop in Berlin on your way to Budapest with a mobility company that services 100 million customers in more than 45 countries.

If you're an experienced engineering manager passionate about building data-intensive applications and leading high-performance technical teams, this position is for you. You’ll be leading and growing a team of talented and motivated software engineers.

Senior IT Transition Manager, Computacenter

Computacenter is a leading independent technology and services provider that is trusted by large corporate and public sector organisations. It is seeking a Senior IT Transition Manager w/m/d to join the team.

To entice top talent, Computacenter is offering great terms and benefits for this role in Stuttgart, including mobile and flexible working options.

For even more inspiration on remote work opportunities or to apply to open positions across Europe, visit the Euronews Job Board today 

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