9 Reasons Latin America Is the Ideal Place to Outsource Software Development

April 15, 2020 Gorilla Logic

9 Reasons Latin America Is the Ideal Place to Outsource Software Development

Even organizations experienced with offshoring discover challenges in outsourcing Agile software development. Traditional offshore locations such as India or the Ukraine may be a solid choice for projects that require minimal teamwork or communication, such as code maintenance. With complex or custom projects, or Agile development practices that require real-time collaboration, the different time zones, languages, and cultures can derail projects. Outsourcing providers that lack experience and infrastructure to support teams that may be working from home for extended periods of time in crisis situations can also threaten project success. Frustrations mount, while work quality and team morale declines. It’s your bottom line that may suffer most.

Nearshore locations in Latin America, such as Costa Rica and Colombia, put the goal of successful Agile outsourcing within reach. Outsourcing in Latin America offers the ideal combination of location, language, culture, education, and innovation you need to support Agile development.


1. Real-time collaboration and communication

Agile software development requires real-time collaboration and clear communication between team members daily. Unlike offshore outsourcing, nearshore locations in Latin America, such as Costa Rica and Colombia, offer the right mix of location, language, and culture:

• Latin American locations are in the same or adjacent time zones, so you can have collaborative meetings within your normal operating hours.

• Latin American countries invest in developing strong English language skills so you can communicate clearly with everyone on your team.

• With a strong sense of service and community, Latin American cultures make it easy to build teams that collaborate well in real-time and problem-solve with creativity. 

The alignment between our clients and our Gorilla developers in Costa Rica and Colombia is so good, our clients often can’t tell the difference between the U.S. team members and their Gorilla teams.


2. Language fluency

When your teams can share fluency in a common language, you realize the best outcomes in Agile development. Many global businesses use English as their primary language, so most Latin American countries invest heavily in English language development, starting with primary education. In fact, for countries like Costa Rica and Colombia, English has become the official second language.  

In Costa Rica, the government promotes English language skills from primary to post-secondary education programs, and 88% of primary school students attend English lessons. Costa Rica now ranks ahead of countries like Brazil, Chile and Mexico in English proficiency. 

In Colombia, the government aims to become fully bilingual by 2025


3. Cultural similarities

Latin American countries align well with North American culture including business practices, science and technology education, infrastructure, and more. 

As one of the oldest democracies in Latin America, Colombia is deeply committed to promoting security, prosperity, and democratic governance. Cultural affinity is one of the key factors that puts Colombia consistently in the top of outsourcing locations lists. You can count on Colombian developers to know how to work well with U.S. workplace culture. 

Costa Rica mirrors North American culture through its business practices and dedication to science and technology education. The tech community pursues certifications that North American businesses value, such as PMP, Six Sigma, ITIL, and more. Renowned for its role as a global leader for environmental policies, Costa Rica was recognized for its role as a global leader in environmental policies and pioneering fighter against climate change when it was named UN Champion of the Earth in 2019. It is also one of the safest countries in Latin America.


4. Time zone and travel proximity

When your project timelines are tight, you can’t lose time waiting for answers to simple questions. Located in the central time zone (UTC/GMT -5 hours), our Gorilla teams in Costa Rica and Colombia make real-time collaboration easy, a major perk of outsourcing in Latin America.

Another bonus? When you want to visit your nearshore team (and we recommend you do!), traveling to Costa Rica or Colombia is safe and easy, with plenty of international flights every week. Travel time from Dallas to San José is only four hours. It’s just 3.5 hours from Miami to Medellín. To get to offshore outsourcing locations on the other side of the world, you could be flying 20 hours or more.  


5. Highly educated workforce

Education drives economic opportunity. Latin American countries recognize this and invest heavily in preparing students for the workforce. Costa Rica and Colombia are no exception.

Latin America has High Education Levels

Costa Rica ranks as one of the most highly educated countries in Latin America. With an adult literacy rate of 97.98%, Costa Rica:

• Graduates over 4,000 engineering students every year

• Has over 60 private and public higher education institutions

Colombia spends 4.4% of its GDP on education, higher than many countries (the U.S. spends 3.5% of GDP). Colombia’s adult literacy rate is 94.65%, and the country counts:

• Over 30 award-winning universities and leading technology centers 

• Over 13,000 graduates from tech programs each year 

• The highest number of engineering graduates in Latin America


6. Vibrant local developer communities

You’ll see the enthusiastic and energetic spirit of Latin Americans reflected in its developer communities.

The developer community in Costa Rica may even rival the community in Silicon Valley. From meetups to hackathons, and through programs such as MenTe that promote women in science and technology, Costa Rica’s vibrant software culture attracts many foreign companies looking to establish development centers. There’s also a burgeoning startup ecosystem which helps foster a creative, entrepreneurial culture.

With 64,000 developers, Colombia’s high-impact developer communities are active in all major cities. Colombia also hosts the largest JavaScript community in Latin America, and the largest Spanish-speaking JavaScript community in the world. In Medellín, the developer community is booming. The Facebook group Digital Nomads Medellín has more than 7,000 members. Groups like Colombia Startup and FCP Innovation foster a very robust entrepreneurial and developer ecosystem.


7. Stable, favorable business environment

Latin America may be one of the best kept not-so-secret secrets in the business world. Over the last several decades, many Latin American countries, including Costa Rica and Colombia, have pushed reforms and new initiatives designed to attract foreign investment and jobs. 

Costa Rica ranks in the top five and Colombia ranks number one of Latin American countries for ease of doing business and cultural affinity. 

Costa Rica is one of the most politically and economically stable countries in Central America and has shown sustained economic expansion for over 25 years. 

Colombia aggressively pursues foreign investments, offering tax incentives, Free Trade Zones (FTZs), and other hiring and investment benefits to attract top-tier businesses. The long list of US and international companies outsourcing in Colombia puts proof behind the country’s long-standing commitment to business values. In 2019, Medellín won the Nearshore City of the Year award from Nexus.


8. Innovation focus

As a region, Latin America enthusiastically embraces innovation, and Costa Rica and Colombia shine brightly.

Costa Rica ranks in the top three of Latin American innovation leaders, according to the WIPO 2019 Global Innovation Index

Medellín has won international recognition for its innovation focus. The city invests 2.14% of its GDP in science, technology, and innovation-related activities. Medellín is also one of only five cities in the world (including San Francisco, Tokyo, Beijing, and Mumbai) to host a Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. These Centres are World Economic Forum hubs for regional and global cooperation to promote science and technology. 


9. Great neighbors

Tech giants such as IBM, HP, and Intel have all discovered Latin America, have well-established presences throughout the region, and continue to expand their operations. 

Gorilla Logic clients, including Finish Line, Home Advisor, and Maxar have leveraged our nearshore development teams in Latin America for years. In addition to our clients, nearly 300 high-tech companies, 24% of which are Fortune 100, have established operations in Costa Rica. In Colombia, there are over 200 foreign companies (not counting franchises) with current operations, including HP, Kimberly Clark, Amazon, and UPS. Ruta N, the showcase of Medellín’s technology and World Innovation Center hub, hosts over 320 companies from over 30 countries.

It’s clear that when outsourcing in Latin America, you’ll be in great company. For complex software development projects that require real-time communication and collaboration, as well as the very best technical skills and creative minds, Latin America is the game-changing answer. Our Gorilla teams in Costa Rica and Colombia bring together the exceptional combination of location, language, culture, education, and innovation focus you need for Agile outsourcing success.  


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