FAQ: Moving to Australia for Software Developers


I am a ruby developer based in Melbourne. And quite a few friends have asked me the same question(s) related to the title of this post. Hence this post. It MIGHT be useful to you if you are software developer (there is a bias towards Ruby) looking to move to Australia.

Do I need to get PR before applying for a job?

No. You can get a job with a employer who is willing to sponsor your 457 visa.

How easy/hard is it to find a job without PR?

TLDR: Depends. It depends on you and the market in Australia (supply and demand). If your occupation is in high demand it will be relatively easy to find a job. As for Ruby/JS developers the job market is pretty good (at the time of writing). So if you are a decent developer you should have a good chance of finding working without having PR.

That said, it’s definitely easy to find work if you already have PR. As hiring an employee on a sponsored visa is more time consuming and cost intensive for an employer.

How easy/hard is it to find a job before coming to Australia?

For software folks, it’s shouldn’t be too hard. But then again this depends. I’ve met quite a few developers who managed to get a job before landing in Australia. Most of them got PR before they got their jobs though.

However, that said I also happen to work with many developers who found jobs before coming to Australia, without having PR. So that’s possible as well.

What’s the pay/salary like for software developers?

TLDR: Depends. It depends on your skill level, the location and the market. For a general salary guide look at Hays salary guide. For a more ruby/developer specific guide look at these very informative discussion on ruby oceania mailing list:

Location (Melbourne/Sydney/Brisbane or X?)

Most tech jobs are in Sydney. Followed by Melbourne and then Brisbane. There are also quite few companies open to remote workers. One thing to keep in mind is that the cost of living is also different for these different cities. So take that into account before you make a decision. Also consider how important the locations tech community is to you. All three big cities have a lot of tech meetups. However, if you choose to based out of Gold Coast you will find that the tech community there is quite small and meetups are few and far between.

This discussion on ruby oceania might be helpful.

How to get a job?

There are quite a few ways to go about this, your milage may vary.

Apply Directly

Find out what companies interest you. And then just write to them. Most software companies are hiring most of the time. And if you contact them directly and you both like each other, your prospective employer wouldn’t have to pay a recruiter (this can be a competitive advantage if you are competing against someone who come through a recruiter, give everything else is equal).

Here is a list of companies using:


Go out to meetups and talk to people. You can find a list of some tech meetups that I attend here.

Mailing Lists

Most mailing list traffic is companies advertising jobs. So it’s naturally a good place to look for jobs.


There are a few good ones, some bad ones and a lot of mediocre ones. IMHO if you can find a gig without a recruiter, go ahead do that. If not give recruiters a try. Before doing so brush up your linkedin profile.

I can recommend Lookahead (and no I am not getting paid for this link).

Also Read this thread: Is your recruiter screwing you?

Interview tips

Sorry I don't have any secret tips. However, it's a good idea to brush up your technical interview skills. Try https://www.interviewcake.com/ and the like (Google it! I am too lazy to do it for you).

Culture fit???

IMHO most good (subjective) companies look for people who are passionate about what they do. The word is abused quite a bit though (passionate might mean work tons for peanuts to some employers, but that's not what I am talking about here). If you have a desire to continuously improve and learn and become a better developer, that helps too.

Beyond that, I am afraid the words 'Culture Fit' can mean anything your prospective employer wants it to mean.

Can’t find what you are looking for?

Ask me directly (if you know me personally) or comment or even better send a pull request and I’ll do my best to answer (if I am not feeling too lazy).

Good luck on landing your dream gig in Australia! Don't forget to check this out before you get here :)