What is a typical company interested in software development outsourcing looking for? Surely, they need quality developers. They also need people with great communication skills, which include experience in outsourcing projects and lack of language barriers. Last but not least, they are hoping to save up and find all of that at a possibly lowest cost. Is there a way to tell where in the world there are most software developers that fit the description?
Last year, the popular Q&A portal Stack Overflow released yet another of its yearly reports based on survey data they gathered from its users. More than fifty thousand developers participated in what may be called the largest developer survey of this kind. Its wealth of information include the most popular technologies used by Stack Overflow users, employment information, age and gender details and much more.
While the report itself is most interesting, it’s worth pointing out that in some ways, its results are quite biased. The most obvious bias concerns the language. Since Stack Overflow uses primarily English, its vast user base that consists of millions of professional and amateur developers from around the world include people that are quite comfortable speaking it. At the very least, it’s safe to say that an average developer that uses Stack Overflow speaks English better than an average developer in general.
All flaws of this bias aside, this time around it will be very helpful. By studying the geographical data produced by the survey, we can find out in which part of the world it’s easiest to find software developers that speak English well (out of about 16 million professional software developers that use Stack Overflow – according to the survey’s data). If we combine it with data on average developer salaries and developer proficiency by country, we can find an answer to the question asked in the title. Let’s go for it step by step, or, should we say – continent by continent.
Africa – a largely underrepresented developer community
While many African countries still struggle to translate their digital economy ambitions into reality, a shortage of skilled software developers being one of many reasons, the continent as a whole is still largely underrepresented in the Stack Overflow report. For example, in countries such as Burkina Faso or Benin just a few hundred professional software developers can be found out of about the estimated number of 16 millions worldwide that use Stack Overflow. Africa’s strongest countries include South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria. Still, it’s roughly about 120 thousand developers that speak English. While African software development outsourcing companies can offer low rates, a shortage of development capabilities and limited language skills are still a problem.
Asia – shortcomings made up by sheer numbers
With a population of over 4 billion, it’s only natural that Asian developers should make up a large part of the Stack Overflow community. However, while it contributes well over 2 million users, it’s still disappointing considering its potential. What’s more, the vast majority of these users – about 1,859 million – come from just one country – India, a very well known destination for software development outsourcing. Due to its history, it’s easy to find out why India would have this many developers that feel comfortable speaking English. What’s more, this is also one of the cheapest traditional outsourcing destinations. Unfortunately, this country’s position as a software development center suffers from a varying quality of development services.
Australia – great outsourcing potential at high cost
As an English speaking country and one of the most developed countries in the world, Australia contributes a fine force of over 240 thousand Stack Overflow users considered to be professional developers. While Australia definitely stands out as a worthy outsourcing destination, it is held back by high cost of hiring employees. If you consider the additional costs of outsourcing over local employees, an average New York-based company doesn’t save anything by moving its development to Australia.
Northern America – more of the same
Just two countries, the U.S. and Canada combined, account for over 4 million of Stack Overflow users. It’s to be expected considering that these two English speaking countries are among the most developed and innovative economies in the world. Due to high costs of living, however, when it comes to software development outsourcing, both usually find themselves venturing abroad to expand their teams.
Southern America – tremendous potential… but still a long way to go
Countries of South America are visibly underrepresented in the Stack Overflow community. Only Brazil contributes a sizable force of almost 300 thousand developers. The remaining countries, even put together, account for just over 200 thousand. These figures show that software developers from South America are far less likely to use Stack Overflow than an average developer worldwide. These findings correspond with a popular opinion that software developers from South America find it difficult to erase a language barrier that keeps them from becoming a very attractive target for international software development outsourcing.
Western Europe – all you need… if you are willing to spend
Since the Western and Eastern parts of Europe are so different, and at the same time so close to us, as a Polish software house, it’s natural for us to think of them as separate areas when it comes to software development outsourcing.
Relative to its population, the countries of Western Europe contribute a very large part of the total of 16 million professional developers active on Stack Overflow. The U.K. is a definite winner with almost 800 thousand specialists. It’s only natural for an English speaking country. Countries such as Germany, France, Italy, Spain or Austria also offer a very fertile ground for those who search for software developers comfortable with English. However, due to high costs of hiring employees, Western Europe is rarely considered a typical outsourcing destination. More often than not, these are companies from the Western Europe that try to bolster their ranks abroad.
Eastern/Central Europe – unbeatable return on investment
According to data from Stack Overflow, relative to its population, countries of the Eastern and Central Europe are very well suited for software development outsourcing. Poland
contributes over 230 thousand users, which, compared to its size, is one of the most impressive results among non English speaking countries. When further accounted for relatively low living costs and an overall quality of Polish programmers, it makes sense why Poland has been recently hailed as one of the most exciting outsourcing destinations.
While it’s certainly possible to find great software developers everywhere, when it comes to outsourcing, every piece of intel that decreases the likelihood of failing is of tremendous value. We’re hoping that this article will make it easier for you to find a software house that has all the ingredients needed to become a perfect software development outsourcing partner for you. And if you share our opinion that we, the Software Mind software house, can take the spot, just contact us and tell us all about your next exciting project.
About the authorSoftware Mind
Software Mind provides companies with autonomous development teams who manage software life cycles from ideation to release and beyond. For over 20 years we’ve been enriching organizations with the talent they need to boost scalability, drive dynamic growth and bring disruptive ideas to life. Our top-notch engineering teams combine ownership with leading technologies, including cloud, AI, data science and embedded software to accelerate digital transformations and boost software delivery. A culture that embraces openness, craves more and acts with respect enables our bold and passionate people to create evolutive solutions that support scale-ups, unicorns and enterprise-level companies around the world.