An insider’s guide to living and working as a software engineer in New Zealand
If you’re up for a challenge, New Zealand can offer you a happy and satisfying career as well as a lifestyle that software engineers in most countries can only dream of.
Great opportunity for software engineers
Your skills are highly sought-after in New Zealand – there are software engineer shortages throughout the country, and demand is growing.
New Zealand’s booming tech sector could give you a rewarding career with a large tech exporter or a cool digital startup, as well as the kind of lifestyle most software engineers can only dream of.
Be part of a collaborative, highly connected tech scene and experience a more relaxed, human way of living in one of the world’s most beautiful countries. Working conditions are excellent and New Zealand encourages a work-life balance.
Software engineers are on New Zealand’s skill shortage lists, so if you have a full-time job offer – and the right experience and qualifications – it may be easier to apply for a visa.
If you find a job in advance, have the right qualifications and have at least three years’ post-graduate work experience, you may be able to enter New Zealand on a Skilled Migrant Category visa. You can have your qualifications assessed by IT Professionals New Zealand.
Software engineers in New Zealand have a varied case mix, opportunities to work flexibly, and the support they need to thrive professionally and personally.
New Zealand’s tech sector is the country's fastest growing industry, and software engineers are needed to fuel its growth. But the high growth is matched with flexibility; with more than 41% of tech workers with flexible hours.
It’s a supportive high-tech environment with extensive investment in digital infrastructure that encourages an innovative, creative, entrepreneurial spirit.
There are vacancies around the country, so you may be able to choose what size of organisation you want to work in and whether you’d like to live in a big city, a fast-growing regional centre or a relaxed country town.
Many software engineers work part-time, especially those with young children.
Interested in coming to New Zealand?
Take the first step to a new life by registering your interest with Immigration New Zealand. We’ll send you personalised emails about job opportunities in your profession, life in New Zealand and choosing the right visa.
Working hard and getting ahead is important to us. We’re a well-developed, well-connected country with all sorts of opportunities to advance your career. But New Zealanders also believe life is for living. It’s about balancing a good day’s work with time for family and friends plus easy access to some of the world's most stunning landscapes.
Safe and secure
New Zealand is rated as the world’s second safest country to live in on the 2017 Global Peace Index.
New Zealand consistently rates at the top of lists of the world’s most peaceful and least corrupt countries. While feeling safe is a luxury in many places, it's one that New Zealanders are accustomed to. Our strict border controls and low level of crime means safer communities, greater personal freedom and peace of mind for you and your family.
New Zealand ranked second on the 2017 Global Peace Index of safest countries to live and topped Transparency International’s 2017 Corruption Perception Index.
New Zealand is the world's second most desirable place for families - HSBC 2015 Expat Explorer survey
If you have a family, New Zealand is probably one of the best choices you could make. Along with affordable, quality education, your children will be able to get close to nature and enjoy an incredibly diverse range of activities.
It’s why so many Kiwis living abroad come back home when it’s time to start nesting. They know that children here enjoy many things other countries just can’t offer.
We make fitting in and getting set up in your new country easy. And less commuting plus a better work-life balance means you get to spend more time with your family.
New Zealand is the world's second most desirable place for families, according to HSBC's 2015 Expat Explorer survey. One family-critical topic of the survey covered was 'healthcare', where our system was rated as the best in the world.
Space to breathe
We're similar in size to the UK but with only a fraction of the population
We're similar in size to the UK and have all the benefits of an advanced Western economy - but with only a fraction of the population, so you'll have space to breathe.
Auckland, our largest city, was ranked third in the 2016 Quality of Living survey conducted annually by the global HR consultants Mercer.
New Zealand’s renowned natural beauty is never far from view. Over thirty percent of New Zealand is dedicated to national parks, boasting fertile green countryside, majestic forests and snow-capped mountains, and no part of New Zealand is more than seventy-five miles (120km) away from the ocean.
A very warm welcome
Nine out of ten migrants find the welcome they receive meets or exceeds their expectations
New Zealanders open their hearts to newcomers. The Maori people have a saying “He aha te mea nui o te ao. He tangata, he tangata, he tangata” which translates to “What is the most important thing in the world? It is the people, it is the people, it is the people.”
Our warmth and hospitality are a product of our size. Living on the edge of the world as we do, it’s second nature for New Zealanders to reach out and make connections.
It's not surprising then that nine out of ten migrants find the welcome they receive meets or exceeds their expectations.
There may be a number of visas you are eligible to apply for – each with its own criteria and application process.
Your 5 step plan to make it happen
1. Find your niche
Whether you’re interested in a software engineering role with a large tech exporter or a digital start-up, New Zealand’s diverse and advanced tech sector has a wealth of opportunities.
Growth areas include high-tech manufacturing, telecommunications, game development, web and mobile development, cybersecurity, agritech, fintech and wireless infrastructure.
Tech firms say the technologies most likely to have an impact on their businesses in the near future are artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, along with augmented reality and virtual reality.
You can choose to work in the kind of intensive environment you might find in Silicon Valley, yet with all the advantages of the unique New Zealand lifestyle.
2. Find a job
Software engineers are needed all around the country - from Auckland's big data and fintech to Wellington's mobile and game development. You may be able to choose what size of organisation you want to work in. Whatever you prefer, you’ll need a job offer before you can apply for a work visa. To discover where you could work as a software engineer in New Zealand, check out these job websites:
Good news - software engineers are on New Zealand’s skill shortage lists. That means applying for a visa may be easier, providing you have a full-time job offer and the right work experience and qualifications. You may also be able to bring your partner and children with you. Work visas | Immigration New Zealand
4. Investigate your costs
The cost of living may be different to back home, depending on where you’re from and where you plan to live in New Zealand. Use our calculator to find out what your income and expenses might be in New Zealand. Cost of Living Calculator
5. Plan your move
To make your move hassle-free, try NZ Ready. This free online tool gives you a personalised task list to help you plan your move to New Zealand and make settling here easier. NZ Ready
You love your job as a software engineer, but does it come at the expense of time with your family and friends? Do you want to make a create something brilliant, while still having the time and energy for a life of your own? New Zealand could well be the answer.
NZ Ready online planning tool
NZ Ready is a free online tool to help you plan your move to New Zealand, ensuring you know how things work here and have a hassle-free move.