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What Makes Central and Eastern European Developers So Competitive

Outsourcing has become more popular than ever before. The skill gaps have further increased the outsourcing trend across the tech ecosystem. Today, many companies face significant skill gaps that affect their ability to maintain a highly competent team. Nearshoring and offshoring have helped these companies navigate the skill gaps in the labor market.

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Nearshoring involves hiring candidates from a nearby country. On the other hand, offshoring involves hiring competent professionals from faraway countries, regions, or continents. In the latter case, a company headquartered in New York can decide to hire developers from China. However, offshoring has become a costly option for some companies. This is because while wages are significantly lower in Asian, Middle Eastern, and African locations (compared to Western standards) administrative costs often outweigh the benefits of lower wages. Administrative costs in this sense refer to language and cultural barriers, as well as time zone differences. These issues make it challenging for companies to achieve any form of synergy across their team.

The huge costs of offshoring have led companies to explore possible alternatives to their talent shortages. Central and Eastern Europe has been the primary focus for companies seeking alternatives. Today, Eastern and Central European developers are at the forefront of the nearshoring strategy of many companies. In fact, most big tech companies have a sizeable number of developers from Eastern and Central Europe. This influx of Central and Eastern European developers has raised significant questions on the root cause of the competitiveness of these developers. However, the rise of Central and Eastern European developers is not due to a single factor. It is mostly a combination of different factors that have increased employers’ interest in Eastern and Central European developers.

Why are Eastern and Central European Developers So Competitive?

1
Saving Time and Costs

Eastern and Central European countries are globally recognized for their high-quality STEM and computer science education. This is primarily due to the Soviet-influenced educational values which place a strong emphasis on computer science and computer literacy. Today, many Eastern and Central European countries are at the forefront of STEM and computer science education. For instance, Ukraine recently ranked fourth in the International Students’ Competition in Mathematics. Countries like Poland and Hungary also have world-class computer science institutions where developers are trained to be competent problem solvers. 

2
Ample Support for the IT Industry

The governments of many Eastern and Central European countries have been particularly intentional about enhancing the IT sector and creating an enabling environment for IT investments to thrive. These strategies have attracted prospective tech employers to the region. The drive to improve the IT industry has also been beneficial for the developers in the region. Moreso, many European governments actively encourage a tech-oriented lifestyle, even among non-developers. Some of the initiatives launched by Eastern and Central European developers include a digital development strategy released by the Polish government to enhance the growth and adoption of digital technologies across the country. Romania also recently released a Digital Agenda to promote the development of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector. These initiatives have largely paid off. Poland currently has over 250,000 software developers. Romania also has over 190,000 developers. This means that employers have a wide pool of prospective candidates to hire.

3
Absence of Cultural and Language Barriers

Cultural differences are a significant challenge for companies that intend to outsource or hire from other geographical locations. These challenges are often more prominent with developers from continents like Asia and Africa that are culturally different. However, many Eastern and Central European developers rarely ever experience language or cultural barriers in Western-oriented development teams. For instance, Poland has a strong reputation for its high rate of English proficiency. According to the most recent EF English Proficiency Index, Poland has a very high English proficiency with a score of 600 points (far above the global average of 502). This means that teams with Polish developers will rarely experience miscommunications occasioned by language barriers. 

4
Time Zone Advantages

As stated earlier, offshoring has proven ineffective for many companies due to the inability to achieve team synergy. Countries like Poland operate in the same time zone as Western Europe. Moreso, most Central and Eastern European countries share the same working days with many US locations. This makes collaboration easier for companies. 

5
Cost Efficiency

On the surface level, offshoring seems like the most cost-effective option for companies. However, when the accessory costs of offshoring are factored into the equation, offshoring becomes way too costly to undertake. On the flip side, Eastern and Central European developers offer companies the opportunity to reap the cost benefits of hiring outside their locations while also experiencing administrative ease. Essentially, since there are no cultural, language, or collaboration bottlenecks, companies can get the best quality hires at considerably lower costs. 

In addition to these factors, Eastern and Central European developers are known for their technical competence. Many of these developers excel immensely at competitive coding. This trend has further built their reputation in the tech ecosystem.

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Conclusion

Your company stands to gain numerous benefits from having Eastern or Central European developers on your team. However, you also have to be intentional about your hiring process. This means that you must still take the same precautions you would ordinarily apply to hire developers from your geographical location. While Eastern and Central Europe have a large pool of competent developers, the level of technical competence differs across the tech sector. Thus, it is advisable to conduct coding tests and pay close attention to the presence of soft skills before making hiring decisions.

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