When we hear nearshore software outsourcing, the first thing that usually comes to mind is cost-effectiveness. According to the 2018 Deloitte Global Outsourcing Survey, 87% of business in the IT sector choose nearshore outsourcing for cost-cutting purposes.
However, budget is no longer the only reason why US companies are looking to Latin America when it comes to finding great up-to-date tech talent. The region has earned the reputation of being a great place to reach high-level developers through nearshoring.
One of the biggest headaches that CTOs usually suffer is talent shortage. Machine Learning (ML) experts, UX/UI designers and many other hard-to-recruit profiles are financially out of reach or difficult to find for many companies, especially in the US. At the same time, Latin America has a growing number of specialized profiles ready to join new challenging projects.
One example is Colombia, a country where a growing population of young graduates is entering the market, and where almost 13,000 software development students graduate from excellent universities each year. Between 2001 and 2013, the Colombian talent pool produced over 340,000 IT professionals.
Another country that is known for its talent in Latin America is Uruguay, where the tech industry has grown to export over $1.5 billion in products and services annually, 66% of which to the United States.
The Uruguayan government guarantees free access to education from preschool to university and 4.5% of its GDP is invested in education.
If you’re curious about this booming software development industry, keep reading to find out the latest trends for outsourcing software talent in Latin America, its advantages and what sort of tech profiles you can find in the southernmost part of the continent. We’ll break it all down for you!
Why choose Latin America?
For starters, the region shares overlapping time zones with North America, facilitating real-time collaboration. English proficiency is on the rise in the region according to EF English Proficiency Index 2018, with most high school and university students enrolled to learn the language.
There are also cultural similarities that are very important when it comes to collaborating in a work environment. Adherence to deadlines, open communication and attentiveness are just as strongly valued in the region as they are in the US.
Machine learning (ML)
Smart apps are on the rise and this trend won’t go away any time soon. Netflix, Spotify, Google, Facebook, Uber, Paypal… name any of the world’s most beloved platforms and you’ll realize that they’re already using ML to improve their products and services.
Big Data scientists are not only the best paid tech professionals nowadays, they are also the hardest to find. Several companies struggle as well when it comes to recruiting ML programmers, since the majority of them are quickly hired by tech giants, so turning to nearshore outsourcing has become the ultimate solution for many US companies.
At UruIT we started working alongside an LA company that offers ML based software products to big name studios such as Disney, HBO and Fox. Their platform uses AI to facilitate the editing process by recognizing certain patterns in long hours of footage. When they first came to us they were facing the enormous challenge of having to put together a team of highly trained data scientists with a limited budget.
That’s when nearshore outsourcing came to the rescue. Together, we assembled a team of five highly qualified data scientists from Uruguay that have now been successfully working alongside the in-house staff in the US for several months.
Other professionals that can be challenging to find are UX designers. According to the Onward Search Digital, Creative and Marketing Professionals Salary Guide, this was the number one in-demand role for 2018.
UX/UI skills usually command high rates, therefore, turning to Latin America has become a more budget-friendly option in recent years. There are several reasons to outsource this essential role, as any good agile process with a continuous delivery demand should count on a UX designer in the mix.
In our case, last year we were pleased to help build a custom analytics app based on Xamarin, aiming at building a culture of health and wellness in the workplace.
In this project, our UX team conducted activities such as risk matrices, demographics, journey mapping, sitemaps and user-story mapping. These provided some of the initial research groundwork to understand the business context and objectives, that later became crucial data for taking decisions in the design and development process.
Internal user testing sessions allowed gathering feedback at early stages, assessing hypotheses related not just to the app itself, but the whole user journey throughout the program. The synergy between designers and developers in this project was another positive aspect, since the team was used to working together and complement each other’s perspectives.
Discovery phases for better solutions
Last but not least, we can’t ignore another great ongoing trend: outsourcing talent for the discovery process of a development project.
A discovery phase is an adaptable process that a development team may take at the beginning of the project in order to understand the app’s business model, discuss risks, prioritize the most valuable aspects of the product to build, and finally estimate time and costs more precisely.
Recently we had the chance to collaborate with a very well-known US life coach during a discovery process. His company offers personal development programs through digital and one-on-one experiences reaching a span of millions of people worldwide. When the client came to us, it wanted to improve the effectiveness of its mobile app and update its branding. As soon as we started working, we put together a team of UI/UX designers that worked in collaboration with some of our developers and Product Owners to discuss how the app’s development process should go
This Discovery Phase aimed at understanding the application, its context, its users and its business goals. After three months we were able to identify the main usability issues, users possible problems, and the tool’s strong points and weak points so that later we could build upon these findings for the new version.
Make the most of these nearshore trends
In conclusion, Latin America is filled with qualified IT professionals of various highly demanded profiles, English proficiency and the urge to jump into new and exciting projects with US companies. Some areas of software development that more and more North American companies are nearshoring to Latin America in 2019 include machine learning, UX/UI, and discovery phases for successful product development.