I'm a software developer considering moving to Spain for non-career-related reasons. That said, the job opportunities there are a huge factor in whether I'll actually go.
I've narrowed down to Madrid and Barcelona as the two best options, at least regarding jobs. So I'm asking for the opinions and advice of HNers who have lived & worked in both those cities:
What shape is the tech sector in?
What types of work are available?
What do salaries look like, vs London/Berlin/Paris levels?
How limiting is it to not be fluent enough in Spanish for use at work, beyond chit-chat?
Is contracting/freelancing possible, without Spanish fluency?
Is there is an obvious leader between the two cities, tech-scene wise?
Are there any unintuitive factors to consider?
A bit of personal context, if it helps the advice to be a bit more concrete:
* I'd be going for senior developer roles. Most likely at small-mid size companies. Larger ones possibly, for the right job.
* My past jobs have been in the capital cities of Europe's strongest economies. I'm aware that moving to Madrid or Barcelona will likely involve a pay cut in absolute terms. But this is a trade off I'm more than happy to make.
* I'm currently functional in Spanish but I have a long way to go until fluency. That's one of my goals in moving to Spain. So I'm not put off by the language barrier for day to day life. It would be more of a near term concern if non fluency is severely career limiting, for example if it becomes a problem once you are anywhere above entry level positions, as is the case in some countries.