February 21, 2024

There are an estimated 3 million software engineers in Europe, depending on which reports you want to believe, but finding the right engineer for the job at hand isn’t that simple. London or Paris may have the highest concentration of software engineers, but knowing which areas are best suited for a particular discipline is an entirely different matter, especially in a geographically dispersed continent like Europe.

That’s what venture capital (VC) giant Sequoia Capital is seeking through a Atlas Of these, while primarily considering their own portfolio founders, it was also released to the public today.

Atlas blended a variety of qualitative and quantitative data collection methods, including a talent survey of 1,035 participants; a survey of 125 recruiters from European tech companies; 17 “in-depth” interviews with founders and recruiters; and Aggregated data from third-party sources such as Dealroom, SeekOut, Remote, Ledgy, and GitHub. At its core, Atlas attempts to present a picture of the current tech talent landscape in Europe, which includes the 27 member states of the European Union plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway (collectively known as the European Economic Area (EEA)), in addition to Switzerland, Ukraine and the United Kingdom

peak talent density

In terms of the number of engineers, London tops both overall (i.e. ‘all disciplines’) and each discipline (e.g. AI, DevOps, Security). However, Atlas’ point is that the cities with the most talent aren’t necessarily the best places to find a particular skill set. Thus, the Atlas shows the densest concentration per capita (i.e. the broader software engineering population) in a given specialty in the local talent pool, highlighting two dozen cities in Europe and their respective density peaks in 14 specialties.

“So these cities are prominent in certain types of engineering specializations,” explained Zoe Jervier Hewitt, Sequoia Capital’s European talent director, in an interview with TechCrunch.

Sequoia's Atlas in action

Sequoia’s Atlas in action image credits: Sequoia

For example, Atlas data shows that, in terms of the number of engineers with four- or five-star GitHub ratings, the general engineering quality of all specialties in Dublin is only 37%. But when filtered to engineers with AI expertise, that number jumped to 60%. This makes the Irish capital one of the hottest places for AI talent, along with several other major centers in Europe, consistent with separate reports In recent years, Dublin has emerged as a top AI talent hub.

Artificial intelligence talent density per capita

Artificial intelligence talent density per capita image credits: Sequoia Atlas

A curious omission from Atlas is that while it gives the percentage of GitHub users in a city with four- or five-star ratings, it doesn’t do it at the top level for the overall talent density of engineers with a particular skill set in the city. To this point cities — regardless of their level of experience, what their GitHub rating is, or whether they use GitHub or not.

Indeed, while dashed circles are useful visual indicators of the largest outliers in talent density—the larger the circle, the greater the talent density—it’s impossible to know how they actually compare to each other. How much higher is Dublin’s AI talent density than Zurich, Paris, Berlin or Edinburgh? It turned out to be a deliberate design decision, according to a Sequoia spokesperson who said the percentages didn’t do a good job of conveying the contrast between the densities, instead dividing them into broad “significant” , “prominent” and “top city” make it easier to parse the differences.

Cities with the highest density of engineers per specialty

professional density image credits: Sequoia

In addition, it is worth considering Why A place with a higher density of engineers with a particular talent is more useful than another city with a lower density but a higher overall population. A Sequoia spokesperson said that the correlation between specialization density and engineer quality (as defined by their GitHub star ratings) is one of the reasons this is important — Dublin’s four-star rating when filtered by And the five-star GitHub rating jump is a testament to artificial intelligence as their specialty.

“We’ve seen this pattern repeat across different professions,” the spokesman said. “(Furthermore) the unusual talent density of a particular city means that there is a relative abundance of available talent from which to recruit for a particular skill set. Amsterdam, for example, has the highest density of DevOps engineers, which means that locally, it has the richest supply of DevOps talent. Although London may have more DevOps engineers overall, but they are relatively underrepresented in London’s overall talent pool, which could make recruiting them more difficult, especially for early-stage startups competing with established tech giants.”

Other notable tidbits from the research provided by Atlas are that Germany (specifically Stuttgart and Munich) is a hotbed for engineers focused on robotics, drones, and self-driving cars, while Gothenburg, Sweden, is an outlier for systems engineers.

At the same time, Helsinki means a lot to top game and graphics engineers.

Graphics and Games

Graphics and Games image credits: Sequoia

Of course, if a fledgling startup is really just looking for high-volume hubs, they can use Atlas to pick places that might not be obvious, like Madrid, which apparently has the largest number of engineers outside of London and Paris for all specialties .

Engineering Talent Hotspots

Engineering Talent Hotspots image credits: Sequoia Atlas

Users can also drill down to specific hubs to see how the land has the number of engineers; primary and secondary skills; percentage of female engineers; number of accelerators; and “tech ecosystem value.”

While these various data points may prove useful, Atlas may benefit from proper data sources. For example, Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital, apparently has a “tech ecosystem value” of €9.3 billion, but without knowing where that figure comes from, it’s hard to understand exactly what it means.In this case, Sequoia did confirm to TechCrunch that it was part of its integration with tech data provider Dealroom, which definition The “ecosystem value” is:

The sum of the valuations of all startups in the ecosystem.Using estimated valuations based on recent venture capital, public market and publicly disclosed valuations.

However, it might be more useful if Atlas showed exactly where its various data points came from using small, clickable icons on the screen.

Sequoia's Atlas: Vilnius

Sequoia’s Atlas: Vilnius image credits: Sequoia


While knowing where to find the best robotics or hardware or systems engineers is a big selling point of this tool, it can also be used by remote-first companies looking to set up satellite offices, for example, or even set up their entire headquarters.

Founder of one of Sequoia’s portfolio companies Rocco, a German robotics startup that recently raised $14 million, is relocating from Boston to Munich apparently because of the abundance of robotics talent there. That’s the type of scenarios Hewitt thinks startups, scale-ups, and even big tech recruiters might use Atlas for, which is especially important at a time when the remote work trend shows few signs of easing.

“I think founders can use Atlas as a lens to understand things like ‘where should we put our headquarters‘ or ‘where should we put our main office,’” Hewitt said. “I think another use case will be around how founders think about and develop their philosophy around remote and hybrid work. I think this will help founders understand whether they choose to run a fully remote engineering team or a hybrid team. So we hope it helps, as many companies are struggling to achieve a balance of hybrid and in-person. “

brewing for a year, gallery available Anyone can use it today. But all of this leaves us with at least one lingering question. According to Hewitt, the shift in attitudes toward remote, hybrid, and office-based work they’ve seen in the process of developing Atlas itself makes us wonder how useful the tool will be in a year or two, given the diversity in Europe The distributed technology workforce continues to evolve.

In short, is the plan to make Atlas a living reflection of the European tech talent ecosystem?

“I think we want to see a response from founders,” Hewitt said. “I mean, we think it’s a really great tool, and I hope it creates value for a lot of recruiting teams. Whether we’re going to update it every year or not, I think we’ll wait to see what the initial response is.”