25 Nov 2021

13 reasons why… Kraków is still a top outsourcing destination in 2021 (Update)

Some places just make sense as top destinations in specific fields. Although Kraków excels in several categories, this article focuses on the one that’s closest to us. For several years Kraków has not only kept its position as one of the top outsourcing destinations for entrepreneurs, but has increased its attractiveness year after year.

Since the world of software development outsourcing is changing at a fast pace, we decided to update our original list so you can keep abreast of all the reasons that make Kraków an excellent location to outsource your software development. If you’d like to know what these are, just keep reading.

1. Kraków is a treasure trove of talented tech people 

Quality – that’s one of the most important things when it comes to software development outsourcing. In Kraków quality goes hand in hand with quantity, as this city attracts developers and other tech people with top learning and employment opportunities. As well, it’s a great place to live with many perks – some of which are described in the following paragraphs.

Keeping the quality and quantity together the number of students in Kraków is estimated to be around 160,000. Jagiellonian University (one of two Polish universities listed in the top 500. of the famous Shanghai List) and AGH University of Science and Technology (considered the 4th. Best Polish University in 2020), are just two of the more than 20 higher education opportunities young people in Krakow have to choose from.

2. Ways of working you’re familiar with 

Many years of cooperation between specialists from Kraków and foreign companies has produced a business culture almost identical to what you will find in the German, British or American markets. Ability to perfectly understand business partners expectations, top-notch tech skills or creativity are only examples of abilities valued by companies from all over the world in the partners from Kraków. All of this helps build trust between both sides involved in projects outsourced to Kraków. This is reflected in the “Tholons Global Innovation Index 2021” report in which Kraków ranked 20 among so-called “Super Cities” – the fourth-highest ranked destination in Europe.

3. “So close no matter how far” or rather – the reasonable distance for cooperation 

The biggest question mark of software outsourcing, apart from the skills of the developers you choose, is the distance (and issues connected with it) between you and your partner. Kraków’s location makes outsourcing cooperation easy – especially for companies with European presence. The time difference is never more than one hour, which allows teams to sync their work perfectly.

Even though the distance to the US is not as small, it’s still suitable for a call, online meeting or real-time cooperation. In our partners’ opinions, that’s a big competitive advantage over contractors from Asian countries. Wonder what time difference separates you and Kraków? Use this time zone converter to easily find out.

 4. Krakow – a city you want to visit

Apart from remote collaboration and its benefits, you may need, or just want, to visit Kraków. While now the traveling may not always be possible and we should be keeping social distancing (we even wrote an article about launching a cooperation 100% remotely),  we believe that in a matter of months the pandemic will be behind us and we would be able to meet and shake hands once again. You can reach Kraków by different means of transport, and due to the size of the city, you will not have any problems getting around. Selected as the best European city for a short visit by British “Which?” Kraków is a place where you can easily combine employment with enjoyment – tons of cultural attractions, famous places to see like the Market Square or Wawel Castle, excellent infrastructure and mouth-watering regional food are just some of what makes this city so special.

5. Krakow’s start-up ecosystem speaks for itself

Kraków is a place where not only the biggest have their offices but it’s also a home of many successful start-ups. Talented tech people, business opportunities and specific “vibe” of this city makes the start-up ecosystem in Kraków so thriving and energetic. And of course – the large number of start-ups is followed by all kind of software houses and conferences/meetups happening almost daily. All this helps shape this specific culture of Kraków that just loves innovation.

6. The best of the best of Polish software developers

Unfortunately, the HackerRank ranking which we mentioned 4 years ago does not have an updated version (for those of you that haven’t read it – Poland ranked 3rd in the world for the quality of software developers). But that’s not all. Polish developers are among the youngest in the world to start learning to code – in the 2018 Developer Skills Report you can find Poland in 4th place, with 7.7% of programmers starting to code between the ages of 5-10. These are just a few examples that demonstrate the quality of Polish developers. And for all the reasons mentioned above, as far as Poland goes, there’s no better place than Kraków to get the most out of this tremendous potential.

7. Agile to the bone 

In Krakow we take Agile seriously – this city hosts the biggest Agile conference in Central Europe – ACE! Conference.  We know how important it is to have a mutual understanding between the two parties engaged in software outsourcing. Want to know more about our approach to Agile at Software Mind? Check out our outsourcing toolbox – a set of practices we developed to adapt to any outsourcing partner – regardless of their structures and habits.

8. Flexibility and adaptability 

There are no two identical products, teams and organizations. Every situation needs a tailor-made approach – and the expert specialists in Kraków, are ready to match your specific needs. How do we, at Software Mind, do it? If you looked at our toolbox mentioned in the previous paragraph, you already know, but if you didn’t – now is the time to do it 😉 And don’t forget about “kombinować” – Poles’ magical ability to adapt and deal with anything, described in more detail here.

9.  The price-quality ratio is fantastic

We’ve already mentioned lots of advantages software developers in Krakow offer, but, like Steve Jobs used to say, there’s one more thing: the price to quality ratio. When choosing an outsourcing partner for software development, you’re no doubt looking for a good return on investment (ROI). And you don’t have to look any further. The monthly cost of living in Kraków for a single person is estimated to be around USD 447 (excluding rent). For comparison, a basket of identical items would cost you around USD 841 in London and USD 1,203 in San Francisco, which is more than twice as much. And the same applies to the hourly cost of developers work. An hour of a Polish developer’s time costs less that than his/her counterpart in the UK or US, while the quality is at least at the same level.  And that’s why the excellent price to quality ratio allows you to achieve the ROI you’re looking for.

10. Word-class English-speaking skills

Apart from tech skills, you will need to be able to communicate with your outsourced team. Even if you have never experienced problems cooperating with outsourcing partners that speak English poorly, you’ve probably heard of this problem. Poland is one of the highest-ranked countries when it comes to English speaking abilities. In an EF EPI ranking, Poland can be found in 16th place out of 100 countries classified as “high proficiency”, which is the second highest rank a country can get. Choosing Kraków, or Poland in general, is a great way to be able to communicate without any language barriers.

11. EU membership ensures stability and legal compliance

Fortunately, in the case of this paragraph, nothing has changed over the last 4 years. Poland is still a member of the EU and provides legal protection to all companies on par with what you would expect in your country of origin. Still boring, still wonderful, because you won’t have to deal with any surprises.

12Security first 

Being in the EU, and under its regulations, means we need to talk about General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). GDPR is the regulation that should matter when choosing an outsourcing destination, since it shows we’re aware that keeping all your data or invoice details safe is important. If you’re convinced only when precise numbers support a statement, we can compare Poland to popular outsourcing destinations in the  US Chamber of Commerce IP index 2020. Poland scored 70.56 out of 100, while Ukraine scored 39.66, India 38.46, Mexico 54.38 and Argentina 35.74.  So to keep it short – we keep your data safe.

13. Your outsourced team in Kraków will laugh at your jokes 😉 

Lastly, we would like to cover a very important issue that’s often overlooked – the culture gap between you, your employees and your outsourced team. Apart from English skills and acceptable time differences mentioned before, this is a really important factor when it comes to effective cooperation. Here in Kraków, and throughout Poland to be honest, we binge-watch the same shows on Netflix or HBO, wait for the same movies and so on. Why does it matter? We share a similar culture so it will be much easier to get along and work together effectively. And if you visit us in Kraków, we can show you our own dragon – we even had one before “Game of Thrones” 🙂

If you want to add your own story to the collection of success stories of companies that entrusted Kraków software houses with their projects, or just think it’s too good to be true and want to check us – don’t hesitate to use the contact form below.

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Witold Gawlowski
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Jacek Szmatka
VP of Business Development
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