Nearshore Software Development to Colombia: A Definitive Guide

Nearshore Software Development to Colombia: A Definitive Guide

Colombia has an exciting and quickly growing software development industry that’s taking the development world by storm. All the news I could find regarding the Colombian offshoring market is shouting that this mid-sized country in South America is churning out extraordinary new software projects and products.

With top-tier development talent and a thriving tech and startup scene, Colombia is transforming into a major force to be reckoned with in the global software development industry. As I found when studying this location, whether they’re working for U.S.-based tech companies –  or creating their own startups – Colombian software developers are getting noticed and putting their stamp on the worldwide innovation ecosystem.

Let’s take a look at what’s happening ‘down south’ in this comprehensive guide to nearshore software development to Colombia I prepared for you.

Table of Contents

Key facts about Colombia's software development scene:

Colombia Country Profile | TurnKey
  • Many countries outsource software development services to Colombia due to their competitive pricing and successful offshore track record, with the United States making up 33% of the outsourcing volume.
  • Valued at $8.52 billion in 2021, this thriving industry is projected to reach an impressive $12.98 billion by 2026, with a CAGR of 8.8%.
  • Bogota and Medellin are the most popular locations in Colombia for hiring software developers due to their reputation as being Silicon Valley equivalents within Latin American countries.
  • Since 2010, the Colombian tech sector has seen cumulative growth of 24.5%, currently contributing almost 3% to the country’s GDP.
  • With 11 submarine communications cables, it ranks second in the Americas for telecommunications infrastructure
  • Rappi and LifeMiles are two of the most well-known unicorn companies from Colombia that have contributed to its success in the tech sector.
  • The Colombian government has invested millions into software training programs with an aim to close the gap between those who possess digital skills versus those who do not, while also modernizing offshore development services through laws like “The ICT Sector Modernization Law.”

Colombian Tech Workforce: Key Skillsets, Facts and Trends

Everything you need to know about building a high performing offshore development team in Colombia.

The Main Benefits of Offshoring Software Developers to Colombia

Startups and tech companies are flocking to Colombia to reap the benefits that come with hiring their software developers there, such as a broad talent pool, simplified compliance requirements, competitive salary ranges, and more. 

If you’ve been wondering why so many companies have started looking to Colombia for offshore software development services, here is the top factors to consider:

The Main Benefits of Offshoring Software Developers to Colombia

Large and growing talent pool

Colombia boasts one of the largest populations of skilled software developers in Latin America.  These engineers also span a wide variety of programming languages and technologies, ensuring that companies can find the specific development talent they need.

And perhaps even more importantly, the Colombian government is doing a fantastic job of supporting its technology sector.  This support comes in the form of tax incentives, venture capital funding, loans, and grants, as well as educational events to encourage innovation. The Vive Digital program is a great example of this commitment to igniting growth through special technical and financial resources dedicated to startups and tech companies. Thanks to increasing investments by the government, Colombia is becoming a hub for software development that presents many opportunities for those looking to expand their business globally.

Convenient time zone for U.S.-based startup and tech companies

Colombia is an ideal destination for companies looking to outsource software development services due to its convenient time zone (Eastern Standard Time) for U.S. based companies. This means that companies in the US can rest assured that communication delays and other problems caused by time differences won’t be a problem. Not only that, but the strong English proficiency in Colombia makes it easy to ensure the message is getting communicated properly.

High Retention of Local Tech Talent

Staying ahead of the competition in the tech sector can be difficult, especially when recruiting local talent. Fortunately, by taking advantage of software development in Colombia, companies can tap into an incredible pool of expert engineers and creative coders.

Colombia’s well-established tech community also ensures that high retention rates of talent can be maintained as experienced developers prefer working with experienced peers. This means that companies won’t have to worry about losing their best talent and can spend more time focusing on their projects instead. Ultimately, Colombia is a great option for those looking to build successful tech teams with real diversity and longevity.

Cost Effective Salaries and Labor Rates

Colombia is becoming an increasingly appealing destination for software development projects, in large part thanks to the comparatively lower labor rates of software developers there.

Colombia’s software development industry has been growing steadily since 2012 and its software developers offer high quality services. Offshoring software development efforts to Colombia not only helps you cut software development costs but also improves your overall software development efficiency as Colombian software developers are well-trained professionals whose expertise often exceeds that of their peers from other countries.

With TurnKey doing all the heavy lifting, you can quickly hire super talented software developers in Colombia without any of the hassle.

Excellent Price-Performance Ratio

Software development in Colombia offers the perfect balance between economical pricing and excellent, up-to-date software development skills.

Colombian software developers have a unique standing in the software development market; their software engineering capabilities are highly sought after, yet they are available at very competitive prices.

This unbeatable price-performance ratio means that software projects will be completed with speed, cost, and expertise in mind—a triple win for any organization looking to offshore software developer resources.

From reducing operational costs to hiring premium software development talent, Colombia is an awesome choice for organizations looking to get their software development efforts done on time and within budget.

Extensive software development infrastructure

Colombia is a software development powerhouse. With 11 submarine communications cables, it ranks second in the Americas for telecommunications infrastructure, and its pool of software developers boasts top talent. And if that weren’t enough to get your attention, the US-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement supports software efforts too.

Thriving startup ecosystem

Colombia’s software development scene has been experiencing significant growth in recent years, with investors pouring in and the government introducing numerous initiatives to fuel innovation.

Startups are raising significant venture capital, and large companies (like Gilead Sciences, Google and Vestas) have made sizable investments in Colombia to support software development projects.

Colombia has also made headway with medical technology startups such as Wejya, which created low-cost automatic respirators for tackling complex medical emergencies – proof that Colombia’s startup and development ecosystem is bubbling with life.

Strong reputation among tech investors

Colombia has become one of the shining software stars of South America due to its robust economic standing and improved security. Its growing trade and investment ties with many countries have been fuelling foreign direct investment (FDI).

And in order to attract even more investors, Colombia has actively implemented a number of crucial reforms that reduce bureaucratic red tape, streamline taxes, and open its economy up for foreign investors.

From agriculture and tourism to software development and renewable energy projects, investors will reap plenty of benefits from all the opportunities available here. With numerous incentives like tax holidays, fast-tracked customs procedures, and access to special economic zones, Colombia is certainly worth considering for any investor looking for reliable returns!

Possible Risks of Hiring a Software Development Team in Colombia

Finding software developers that you trust to bring your software project to life can be difficult, and developing software in a foreign country can be even more nerve-wracking. If you’re considering hiring software development services in Colombia, here are some of the risks you should be aware of, including:

Possible Risks of Hiring a Software Development Team in Colombia

Potentially lower English proficiency

Lower English proficiency is a definite risk to consider when hiring software development teams in Colombia (or anywhere outside the United States for that matter!).

In software development, technical communication is paramount. If there’s a language barrier due to low English proficiency, it can obstruct progress — causing delays and errors that could potentially cost the company dearly.

When evaluating software development teams and engineers in Colombia, it may be wise to check their overall English proficiency and don’t forget to include language skills tests as part of the recruitment process. At the end of the day, software developers must have sufficiently high levels of communication competence or all the coding experience in the world won’t be that useful.

Politically unstable past

Despite the inherent software development talent in Colombia, political instability remains one of the main risks associated with software production in this country.

Like many Latin American nations, Colombia has experienced periods of civil unrest, making it difficult to maintain a consistent software production schedule due to sudden outages or power interruptions. This could result in software projects taking longer than expected and delays in launching products on time. The political context can also prove unpredictable meaning feasible software development contracts can suddenly change without warning, putting investors at risk.

All of this said, however, the Colombian government has gone to great lengths over the last 10 years to put these fears to rest.

Complicated labor laws

For software projects undertaken in Colombia, employers must adhere to laws around wages, working hours, and other terms of employment that can be difficult to navigate. Additionally, software developers may be subject to taxation if they are classified as permanent employees rather than independent contractors – another tricky situation.

Although proper research and planning can help avert potential issues, any risks should be carefully weighed against the benefits of offshoring software development to Colombia.

With TurnKey, you don't have to worry about hunting for developers or dealing with legal or administrative headaches in Colombia.

How to Hire an Offshore Software Developer in Colombia

To make sure that you get the most out of your offshore software development efforts in Colombia, you must first take the time to find and vet experienced software engineers there. Here are the key steps to follow:

#1. Define Your Project Requirements

If you’re considering software development in Colombia, first things first: make sure you clearly outline your project’s tech requirements. Map out exactly what skills your project needs and the types of technical specialists that will be required.

Comparing software developers based on their ability to fulfill those specific criteria will make it easier to hire the perfect fit—and get an offshore software development expert who can take your project from concept to reality.

#2. Determine the Budget for Software Development

Once you’ve laid out your software development goals and timeline, the next step is to decide what budget you have to hire software developers in Colombia. Depending on your project size and complexity, the number of developers will vary along with the cost. Of course, knowing your financial limits and average software developer salary in Colombia beforehand can help you stay within a reasonable budget when estimating costs for the entire project. Just make sure that you not only keep those numbers in mind but also take into account additional expenses like travel and legal fees.

#3. Select the best working model

Deciding how to hire software developers in Colombia can be tricky, so it’s important to consider all of your options.

Offshoring vs. outsourcing is the key question and you will need to determine which solution fits your situation best. Note that a third way – Yourshoring with TurnKey –blends these two models to get you the best of both with none of the downsides.

But overall, here are your options:

FreelanceOutsourcingHire Directly in CountryOffshoring/ Yourshoring with TurnKey
Generally lower due to no overhead costs.Can vary depending on the company and the scope of the project. Generally more expensive on a per-hour basis.Most expensive option due to the cost of hiring full-time staff, infrastructure, and equipment purchases.Cheaper than in-house and better access to talent globally at lower prices.
Usually best for short-term or project-based needs and can be hired relatively quickly.Usually best for short-term or project-based needs though need to vet the agency heavily.Longer ramp-up period due to paperwork, training and onboarding protocols that need to be followed.Flexible timeframe that can be tailored for each individual case; allows you to scale up or down quickly depending on needs.
Quality can fluctuate wildly due to the freelancer’s experience level and relevant skillset for a particular job/project.Agencies usually have quality assurance procedures in place before delivering the final product or service but software is usually built with a short term mindset.You get direct control of workflow so you can ensure quality standards are met every step of the way.Developers are embedded in your internal teams so quality control is at the same high level.
Limited control of the freelancer and when deadlines will be hit.Limited control of the process since developers work at the agency.You have direct access and control over all processes associated with your software development efforts.Developers are under your control and work within your framework and culture.

#4. Choose a programming language or framework

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution when talking about programming languages, it is helpful to take into account the particular technologies that are used in your core business activities. For example, if you are an eCommerce company then JavaScript might be the best way to go about it. Similarly, Java is usually ideal for mobile and enterprise solutions; Python for data analysis, machine learning, and artificial intelligence tools; and Ruby on Rails if you need a fast turnaround and agile development methodology.

In any case, keep in mind that the technology expertise of each developer can vary significantly. That’s why it is also important to make sure there is a continuous flow of communication between you and your team during the project as they can help you understand which solutions would better fit the requirements of your software development efforts.

#5. Partner with an offshore expert like TurnKey

Going global is an essential part of most software development efforts, and hiring offshore software developers in Colombia is often a key piece. But unless you want the hassle of a Do-It-Yourself-Approach, it’s important to choose an offshore partner that has the experience and infrastructure to make you successful (aka TurnKey!).

We have unique access to top tier software developers in Colombia–and we make it easy to hire candidates quickly, so that you can accelerate your speed to market.  TurnKey is your go-to provider for the best software developers that Colombia has to offer.

Ready to build your dream development team in Colombia?

#6. Launch your software development process

As you start hiring remote developers in Colombia, get ready to be blown away by their knowledge in highly demanded development stacks, project management skills, and most important – dedication to delivering solid tech solutions.  You will soon be off to the races!  Enjoy the ride…

Comparison of Colombia to top Latin American Offshoring Countries

Key Considerations When Hiring Colombian Developers

Before we start, watch our CEO’s guide on when offshoring is a great solution:

When hiring software developers in Colombia, there’s more than meets the eye. Informed decision-making can give your development efforts the upper hand by focusing on certifiable aptitude over a wealth of credentials alone. All said and done, when hiring Colombian developers take your time by considering the following factors:

Technical requirements

In a country known for its cutting-edge technology, there is no shortage of qualified software developers – but even so, not all software developers are created equal. By making sure you hire qualified individuals who meet your technical standards and have a proven track record in their field, you can ensure the best possible hire.

Keep in mind the amount and type of knowledge needed for success and be sure to always check and double-check candidates’ technical profiles before making your final decision. Doing this will give you peace of mind that your hire is well-equipped to handle whatever challenges may come their way.

Also, make sure both parties have realistic expectations on timelines. Successful collaborations are usually built on trust and transparency, so setting clear expectations upfront helps to ensure realistic results in terms of output and expected delivery timescales.

Cultural fit and values

It’s important to hire software developers for any project, but it’s especially important to hire software developers in Colombia with keen attention to detail regarding their cultural fit and values.

Colombia is home to diverse cultures, languages, and ethnicities, and its workplace culture reflects that diversity. In order to ensure the success of your project in Colombia, hire those who have experience working with different cultures while still maintaining strong core values. Employees that demonstrate an understanding of cultural differences while holding onto their own personal beliefs can be incredibly beneficial in ensuring the successful execution of your initiative.

Awareness of cultural fit is also essential when engaging in conversations with third-party clients or stakeholders in Colombia. A cross-cultural bridge between you, your employees, and influential members of the local market can greatly improve the return on investment for all parties involved.

Previous work experience

Apart from technical prowess and qualifications, it pays to check the portfolio of their past work and inquire about successful projects they’ve been part of — including whether or not they have experience with companies similar to yours.

When it comes to hiring software developers in Colombia, having the right expertise and a portfolio to back it up is essential. The key to successful software development lies in a combination of technical skill and creativity, and there’s no better way for potential employers to gauge the ability of their hire than by taking a look at past work.

Not only does a portfolio give hiring managers an indication of the skills and talents possessed by their prospective hire, but more importantly, it speaks volumes about their dedication; after all, putting together a comprehensive portfolio is time-consuming and painstaking work in itself!  So don’t settle for empty promises: when hunting for your next software hire in Colombia, make sure you pay particular attention to their past successes.

Soft skills and teamwork

The best hire for software development in Colombia isn’t necessarily the one with the most experience – it comes down to soft skills and the ability to work well as part of a team. When looking for a software developer for hire, Colombia is full of candidates with great technical qualifications, but it’s the right combination of interpersonal attributes and teamwork skills that will make the hire really stand out.

A successful software development project needs an agile, motivated team willing to collaborate and learn from each other; building relationships within the team will create an atmosphere conducive to creativity and innovation. Ask relevant questions during your interview process to determine if potential hires have these qualities before making a decision, as these are essential ingredients for success!

Why TurnKey is Your Best Bet for Hiring Offshoring Software Development Teams in Colombia

With the growing demand for software development, hiring a dedicated team of software developers in Colombia through TurnKey can be a great way to tap into top talent and eliminate much of the hassle commonly associated with managing distributed teams.

TurnKey hires the Top 3% of talent in Colombia at an affordable rate – and all while paring down costly bureaucracy, providing personalized services such as recruiting, and creating transparent business agreements.  On top of that, we manage administrative headache like legal and payroll too, so you can focus on what’s important: creating great software. 

For anyone looking to hire experienced software developers in Colombia while remaining firmly within budget, TurnKey is undeniably the best choice – here’s why.

Take the example of a global software company that managed to successfully navigate the challenges of time zone differences. However, by going nearshore, the company ensured seamless communication, timely milestones completion, and a balanced work-life environment for its developers.

So, what did they do? They partnered with TurnKey to establish a nearshore software development team in LatAm.

Within a mere 30 days post signing the contract with TurnKey, they welcomed the first batch of hires for their innovation center. The onboarding process was seamless and expedited. Encouraged by the early successes, they’re now broadening the initial plans for the innovation center, which has eliminated the time zone challenges.

We started with 8 hired deelopers and there have been no problems with any of the hires. We are currently monitoring them as we do all engineers but there is nothing to report that would make us consider this arrangement with TurnKey anything but successful. The transparent pricing up front as well as the gunuine desire to continue improving with each hire we make is a big difference maker for us.
Chris Oh Chief of Staff, CTO at Headspace (70+M Downloads)

TurnKey gets you the very best development talent in Colombia.

How many developers are there in Colombia?

As of 2021, there are more than 80,000 software developers in Colombia. This number is expected to grow significantly in the coming years as the country continues to invest in its talent pool and attract more developers from abroad.

Why outsource software development to Colombia?

Outsourcing software development to Colombia offers a number of benefits. First, Colombia has a large and talented pool of software developers, with over 80,000 developers and 11,100 tech companies. There is also a favorable time zone overlap between Colombia and the US, allowing for more efficient communication and collaboration. Additionally, Colombia has a well-established infrastructure and education system, which means that software engineers are well-equipped to deliver high-quality projects. Finally, the cost of outsourcing software development to Colombia is typically much lower than in other countries, making it a great option for businesses looking to save money.

What is the best way to hire software developers in Colombia?

If you're looking to hire the best software developers in Colombia, look no further than TurnKey. With years of experience serving both international and local clients and being in startup founders' shoes ourselves, we are committed to helping tech companies hire the top software development talent in Colombia. Take the hassle out of finding reliable developers – just call TurnKey and we make it easy.

How much is it to hire a software developer in Colombia?

Hiring software developers in Colombia is surprisingly affordable! Low overhead and smart business tax regulations mean that companies are able to hire high-quality engineers at competitive rates. Whether you're looking for a single coder, a team of developers, or consultants to help with strategic decisions, Colombia has you covered.

January 7, 2024

TurnKey Staffing provides information for general guidance only and does not offer legal, tax, or accounting advice. We encourage you to consult with professional advisors before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business or legal rights.

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