4 min. read

Transforming Unemployment Into a Tech Career Opportunity in Germany

Redefining unemployment as a launchpad for women to begin thriving tech careers


For many of us, being unemployed can be a time of uncertainty and anxiety– a phase we’d like to move past as quickly as possible.

But what if we could reframe this period? What if this temporary pause could serve as a starting-step towards a rewarding and vibrant new career? This is especially true for all of us living in Germany today, where unemployment can truly open doors to exciting prospects within this ever-evolving and exciting tech industry.

Recently found yourself unemployed or could you soon be? 

In Germany, being unemployed means also being registered with either the ‘Agentur für Arbeit‘ or the ‘Jobcenter’. While it might seem like a daunting process, these government organisations are designed to serve not just as a safety net for those in between jobs, but also as a launchpad into new career opportunities.

A crucial part of the support provided by these agencies is the ‘Bildungsgutschein‘ – an educational voucher. These vouchers are aimed at fostering upskilling and reskilling, serving as a catalyst for individuals, who wish to transition into the dynamic world of technology or other trades. By leveraging the Bildungsgutschein, you could turn this period of unemployment into a transformative opportunity to redefine your professional journey.

The Bildungsgutschein is not just a voucher but an initiative aimed at re-energising the workforce by fostering continuous & needed skills learning.

The idea is that no one should be left behind in this rapidly changing digital age. These vouchers cover not only course fees but can also extend to cover travel costs, learning materials, and even child care. To receive a Bildungsgutschein, one needs to consult with a career advisor ‘Arbeitsvermittler’ at the employment agency. It’s typically granted if the training leads to enhanced employment prospects, or if the individual is in need of vocational training.

With this opportunity – the challenge lies in navigating the plethora of educational programs and courses these vouchers are applicable for. This is where the process can become overwhelming:

– which career or technical skill should you take steps towards learning?

– how do you select the right career bootcamp from hundreds,
even thousands of course options available?

So what can you do?

That’s why we asked the StartSteps team to collect some tips for women who are looking to break into tech:

Tips from Sarah Cordivano

Advisor @ StartSteps and Xena’s D&I Leader Tech Award Winner 2023

Connect and Learn
Connect with friends working in tech, invite them for coffee, and ask about their experiences. Find out what they like and dislike about working in the industry. This will provide you great insights as you prepare to join the tech field.

Balance is Key
When you are driven by excitement and ambition to study for a new career, it’s easy for it to consume all of your time. Create a study schedule that allows for rest, breaks, and time off, ensuring you maintain a healthy and sustainable learning pace.

Expand Your Toolbox
Explore resources and materials beyond what is provided in your courses. Explore amazing online resources like Stack Exchange, books on coding, interesting blogs, and YouTube content to complement your studies and broaden your tech knowledge.

Start Exploring Opportunities
Before you are even ready to apply for a job, explore job openings at companies that spark your interest. Identify a few dream positions and see how your skills align with their requirements. Create a list of skills you still want to develop and concentrate your efforts on building them.

Portfolio Power
Create a portfolio of projects that showcases your skills and represents work you’re proud of. This could include a mix of personal projects, open-source contributions and tech-related achievements to demonstrate your expertise and passion to potential employers. Make sure you put a bit of your own personality in there too!


Tips from Marzia Farina

Women in Tech Program Manager @ StartSteps 

Seek coaching or mentorship
If you’re undecided about your next steps into the tech world, seek advice, guidance and support from a professional coach or mentor expert in the field.

Especially at the beginning (and not only) it’s important to inform yourself about the different careers, job roles and training opportunities which are available.

Focus on your skills
Once you have decided which path to take, focus on finding the right training program for you. Reskilling or upskilling is the main step towards your new career.

Join women in tech communities
Networking online and in-person can help you exchange ideas and knowledge with people of different backgrounds and experiences.

Don’t give up
Changing careers and starting from scratch can be very scary and bring many uncertainties with it. There might be days where you think you made a bad decision, but don’t forget that you took a brave step which could be very rewarding in the end.

Venturing into the realm of tech, especially for women and those not typically drawn to this path, is sometimes an intimidating journey.  It should not be.
I see digital skills as the tool kit for anybody to shape, redefine, lead and build. By enabling this I am hopeful that we can see an industry equally lead by women in the next years.

Paddy Hall

Co-Founder at StartSteps

Take the leap. Take some action. 

Unemployment should not be viewed solely as a period of waiting. Instead, see it as a unique opportunity for exploration, learning, and redirection towards a promising new path.

By making the most of the opportunity to use a Bildungsgutschein and leveraging the vast array of tech programs available, you can transform this period into a significant step towards a fulfilling tech career.

The tech industry is dynamic, challenging, and brimming with opportunities- But we also know women remain underrepresented. It’s literally our full-time job here! BUT if you are ready to take the bold step of joining the tech world, you are not just creating opportunities for yourself, but you are also contributing to a much-needed shift towards diversity and equality in tech.

What we love about StartSteps is that they envision a tech industry that thrives on diversity and innovation – an industry where women are not just participants, but leaders. With the resources and opportunities available today, it’s a vision can become a reality. Here at Xena, we couldn’t agree more and can’t wait to see it happen!

Need a guiding star for voucher-funded courses & tech careers?

If you’re considering a digital or tech career, StartSteps is a go-to for finding a government-funded education course.

StartSteps developed a comprehensive bootcamp finder tool which lists over 45 digital career bootcamps, each eligible for funding through educational vouchers. Meet top bootcamp names like WBS Coding School, Stackfuel, CareerFoundry, Code Academy Berlin, Syntax, IronHack, 42Wolfsburg …

If you’re having doubts or struggling with any decision-making; StartSteps also offers an Orientation course called ‘Compass‘. This introductory 22 day course allows you to explore various tech fields with a hands-on approach providing a taste of each before you commit to a specific bootcamp. Try coding, app development, cybersecurity, UX/UI design, online marketing, and data science, all in one month with a laptop sent to your door. StartSteps believes it’s crucial to understand what you’re diving into, and the Compass course is designed with this philosophy in mind.

The Digital Compass course allowed me to better grasp the most in-demand skills in the tech industry. The classes were dynamic and hands-on. The teachers are very knowledgeable, and the team accompanies you throughout the whole process. After this course, I have a clearer vision of the path I want to pursue.

Virginia Perdomo Cordero

Graduate at StartSteps

I recommend StartSteps to anyone considering a new career path for its supportive community and exceptional instructors. Changing careers can be a daunting and challenging process, but StartSteps provides the necessary support and confidence-building tools. The instructors possess excellent technical expertise, ensuring high-quality instruction and mentorship.

Fatima Akbar

Graduate at StartSteps

StartSteps always gives you the best and most valuable advice. They want to help people grow into the correct career path. They always help you and always stand by you if you face problems. ⁠Although I majored in Computer Science, they still guided me every step. They even gave me tips on how to break into the German market and groom me on how to give interviews and how I could showcase my work.

Sana Naz

Graduate at StartSteps

StartSteps x Zalando

Learn more about Startstep’s first Talent Accelerator program in partnership with Zalando. This 6-month Zalando-curated course for Backend Engineering focused women in tech

Apply Now

Related content

Breaking Barriers: How to Write Inclusive Job Descriptions

Read more

Building Bridges: The Power of D&I Partnerships

Read more

Finding Common Ground: Strategies for Successful D+I Conversations

Read more

Frontend & Backend Salaries in Berlin, 2023

Read more