Nearshore Americas
software ecosystem

The 3 Assets that Give Bolivia’s Software Ecosystem a Big Boost

As competition increases in the Nearshore software development sector, countries will need to demonstrate how they provide additional value to the ecosystem and stand out from the crowd.

The core selling points of the Nearshore market—strong English capabilities, cultural affinity with the US, cost-effective services, and similar time zones—are critical. Still, they’re pitched verbatim by almost every country in the region.

Nearshore success now hinges on each country’s ability to communicate what makes them unique and how they can bring differential value to the US market.

Companies in Bolivia have recognized this challenge and are responding with an evolving software development ecosystem built on a strong foundation of education, quality, and engineering ability. Here are some of the more unique elements of Bolivia’s software ecosystem and their significance in the broader Nearshore market.

Historic Strengths

While large offshore development countries like China and India undoubtedly possess the human resources to deliver code rapidly, countless software products have come back to US soil plagued with bugs and functionality issues, leading to extremely high maintenance costs.

In the 2000s and early 2010s, Bolivian software companies would regularly receive low-quality code that originated from more significant offshore destinations in Asia. Faced with products that were not maintainable, Bolivia’s engineers stepped in. They took charge of the migration process, returning code to client companies that they were able to maintain more easily.

This trend took place because the country’s software development ecosystem has been built on a foundation of quality assurance (QA). The first notable software development firms emerged from La Paz in 1998 and Cochabamba in 2001. Thanks to these two decades of experience, Bolivia’s talent pool is well-versed in both manual QA and automation, along with software development, with a lot of seniority in these disciplines.

With its deep history of QA, Bolivia takes a unique approach to software development, as the whole industry’s foundation is built on a philosophy of maintainability and high-quality. This approach is top-of-mind for the country’s developers from the very beginning of the software development lifecycle, resulting in products with enhanced user experiences across the board.

Systems Engineering Baked Into Education

More than 9 out of 10 software developers in Bolivia have at least five years of educational background in systems engineering, as opposed to what we see in other countries where developers are admitted with only a standard programming course for specific coding languages. A developer in Bolivia is highly likely to have strong knowledge and capabilities in systems optimization, infrastructure pipelines, or database design and analysis, to create new scalable and maintainable apps following best practices.

The additional knowledge that comes from these engineering studies makes it easier for Bolivia’s developers to work with in-depth technical projects that might be found in such areas as the Internet of Things, microservices, and cloud migration.

Along with its background in engineering, the country is well-versed with maintaining and updating legacy code to bring it into the digital transformation age. Most developers in the country can work with new JS frameworks and libraries, for example, which is part of many university courses due to the foundational programming knowledge it provides.

Across the board, developers have core, substantial expertise to offer robust and scalable solutions in different technologies. Public universities kick off from an academic language such as Java, from which the students will branch out to languages of their interest. At the same time, many of the private schools lean towards .NET. Meanwhile, the engineers themselves and the country’s outsourcing companies are focusing heavily on JS Technologies to keep current with the international trend.

Bolivia’s software development providers have become an essential way for engineers to stay on top of the latest technologies. Many institutions have certifications and courses, both offline and online, to keep people up-to-date.

Reflecting US Tech Culture into Bolivia

Along with the general cultural affinity that Bolivia has with the US (Go Kansas City Chiefs!), companies within the country’s software development ecosystem take massive inspiration from both the technological and entrepreneurial aspects of the largest US tech companies.

In recent years, the talent pool in Bolivia has been heavily focused on Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft-related tech stacks. From their studies and into their professional years, engineers are interested in these significant players from a technological point of view, analyzing their approach to innovation, and the determining factors that led to their success.

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This understanding of the US software market is helping to drive the future of Bolivia’s industry. Engineering students and development companies are not only mastering the technology used in Silicon Valley, but also regularly discuss strategies for emulating the culture of these global giants.

Without question, Bolivia shares the classic benefits of its Nearshore competitors, but the country’s software development ecosystem has some uniquely strong foundations that define its position in the market. With its two decades of experience in quality assurance and software development, its engineering-centric focus on education, deep capabilities in both contemporary and legacy languages, and a keen understanding of the secrets behind Silicon Valley’s success, Bolivia is set to continue developing its reputation as a worth Nearshore development player, producing code for the world.

Pedro Lima

Pedro Lima is the Founder of Nearshore Code, a Bolivian IT services company with offices in La Paz and Cochabamba. Specializing in mobile and web development, Nearshore Code offers complete development teams for fixed-price software development services, as well as specific resources for staff augmentation. Along with expertise in JS, .Net, Java technologies, QA, and automation. We are experienced with establishing nearshore development centers for international customers, enabling us to build sustainable win-win relationships with partners around the world.

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