Study Computer Science in Germany
Why study computer science?
To be in the business of computers is to be into every business: almost every business – not just the e-commerce companies – is powered by computers today. On top of that, individual identity itself is shaped by networked computers in this age of smartphones and omnipresent internet; that creates jobs even for the software developers who don’t serve any corporation. In short, if you can acquire marketable expertise in the field of computer science, and almost all kinds of expertise in this field are highly marketable, you are not going to lack employment opportunities – no matter where you are.
A computer science expert can work for a company based in Silicon Valley, California, USA, while he or she lives on tiny atoll in the Bahamas if the place has a reliable internet connection. And thanks to our pandemic experience, that doesn’t sound like a fanciful thing any more. In a world where the whole economy had retreated into a work-from-home bubble, the computer expert was absolutely at home.
Why study computer science in Germany?
Germany has been a manufacturing powerhouse for over two centuries thanks to a constant flow of innovations. Indeed, economic growth has not been as proportionate to the merit of breakthroughs achieved by the country’s scientists in any country in the whole world as it has been in Germany. It is no wonder then that the Germans welcome technological talent from all over the world with open arms.
At the end of the Second World War, the country was cut in two and was not made one again until 1990. Since the reunification, it has been the largest economy in Europe by a great margin. Naturally, good jobs aren’t hard to come by for those who study technology. As far as computer science is concerned, some of the biggest names in business of hardware or software – for example, Siemens or SAP – are headquartered in Germany. Such large organizations always give rise to a number of smaller organizations – an army of suppliers who multiply employment opportunities.
Last but not the least, many of the major colleges in Germany offer instruction in English which makes it easier for South Asian students.
You don’t need to take any standardized aptitude test (like SAT or ACT) and score good marks therein but you need to secure good marks in the science subjects in high school. If you have secured good marks consistently in exam after exam, you have a much better chance than you do with good marks only in the latest ones.
If your high school marks aren’t in the European format, they need to be converted when you apply.
Cost of doing the course
Public universities in Germany do not require their students – even international students – to pay a tuition fee. Private universities charge between €10000 and €36000 for the entire course.
Top universities to study CS in Germany
Altogether, about 125 German universities offer courses in computer science. Many of them offer instruction in English. Among them all, the top 10 places study CS most probably are the Technical University of Munich, the RWTH Aachen University, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, the Technical University of Berlin, the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München or LMU Munich, the University of Freiburg, the Technical University of Darmstadt, the Heidelberg University, the University of Bonn and the Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg.
Top CS courses in the Germany
BSc in computer science, cyber security, web design, film and motion design, software engineering, UX-UI design, information technology, computational science, communication and information systems, computer science and mathematics, electrical and computer engineering, mobile application development, and computational linguistics are some of the most popular undergraduate courses available in German colleges in this field.
Work while you study
Non-EU/EEA students can work in Germany for 120 full days or 240 half days per year. If you take a job as a student assistant or research assistant at your university, you have no such limitation but you must notify the Alien Registration Office if you take up that type of work.
If you take up an internship during a semester break, the number of days will be counted and adjusted against your quota (120 days per annum) even if the internship is unpaid. However, internships taken up as part of the course doesn’t eat into your quota. Furthermore, you can work only when don’t have classes to attend. If you study a language or a do preparatory course (Studienkolleg), you have to meet some more conditions.
Please note that non-EU students cannot freelance or be self-employed in Germany.
Students in Germany aren’t taxed unless they earn in excess of €450 per month. If you earn more than this, you will receive an income tax number and get the tax deducted from your salary automatically. Some employers may deduct tax despite the salary being lower than €450, but you can reclaim this part of the salary after submitting your income tax statement.
If an international student wants to work in Germany post the completion of studies, he or she can extend her stay for 18 months during which period he or she must find full time employment.
Healthcare benefits for international students
German law requires every international student to have their health insured. While students enrolled in degree programmes can avail public health insurance, students in preparatory or language courses and students over the age of 30 are required to purchase health insurance private providers.
Other than international students from within the EU, those from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iceland, Israel, Liechtenstein, Morocco, Macedonia, Montenegro, Norway, Switzerland, Serbia, Tunisia and Turkey are not required to obtain health insurance from German insurers if they are covered by the public insurance plans in their home countries because those plans remain in force in Germany. However, those insurance schemes might not cover in Germany all that they cover in the source countries.
Internships and placement opportunity
Plenty of opportunities in what they call the mittelstand, the famed small and medium sized corporations – many of them family businesses – that constitute the recession free backbone of the German economy. Indeed, international students rarely take up internships outside Germany. They are so spoilt for choice that they don’t even look for offers in the neighbouring countries other than Austria.
Just one word of caution: your career really benefits from interning if you understand German to an extent. However, this applies less to people in the field of computer science than to those in other fields.
Postgraduate study opportunity
German universities offer postgraduate courses in computer science in a huge number of specialized fields which include networking, data systems, game development, telecommunications, artificial intelligence, robotics, cryptography, simulation and modeling, and mobile app development. Most of these entail a job as a teaching assistant, which makes masters in Germany an effectively self-financed course.
Very importantly, German universities – while sorting the applications for postgraduate courses – favour international students who have done their undergraduate studies in Germany itself to the international students who have not.
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