In the last few years, Colombia has consolidated itself as Latin America’s favorite outsourcing destination. The country ranked second in Latin America for ease of doing business by the World Bank.
This entity also pointed out that the Colombian government is aggressively promoting foreign investment into the region by offering tax incentives, Free Trade Zones (FTZs), and other hiring and investment benefits.
According to a recent report published by International Data Corporation, Colombia is the third largest delivery market in Latin America for supporting and delivering global IT services (after Brazil and Mexico).
What have US companies seen in this upbeat caribbean nation? In this article, we will break down everything you need to know about nearshore outsourcing opportunities in Colombia.
Connectivity and Infrastructure
Colombia possesses one of the best submarine cable connections in the Americas with over 10 cables equipped with 4G technology.
With over 57% of Colombians connected to the web, the country has one of the most widespread connections across the region and ranks second in smartphone user penetration in Latin America.
It’s estimated that under the Vive Digital program, an initiative created by the Ministry of Technology to encourage the development of the national digital ecosystem, more than 2,000 mobile apps have been developed in Colombia since the program began.
Furthermore, over 60,000 entrepreneurs have created or renewed projects or companies with a focus on software and IT.
Because of their high levels of connectivity and modern infrastructure, Colombia ranks second in “readiness for business in the cloud” in Latin America.
There’s more than one reason why Colombia has become Latin America’s hottest spot for tech. In the last decade, there have been several initiatives that aimed at developing the tech industry in Colombia.
Due to these efforts, soon, the city of Medellín will join San Francisco (USA), Tokyo (Japan), Beijing (China) and Mumbai (India) as one of the few in the world to become a headquarter for The Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
In this project driven by the World Economic Forum (WEF), the participant cities are meant to be hubs for global cooperation to develop policy frameworks and advance collaboration that accelerates the benefits of science and technology.
The Medellín Center will be located in the famous “Ruta N” building, a hub created in 2009 to consolidate a knowledge environment and generate conditions that favor business and entrepreneurship.
Official operations started on March 31st, requiring an investment of$1.5 -2 million per year. According to the WEF, IoT, AI and Blockchain are some of the many technologies that the center will work with.
Young IT talent everywhere
Colombia has a steadily growing population of young, highly educated and motivated individuals specializing in software engineering and other tech related fields.
The Ministry of Education estimates that each year, over 13,000 students graduate from Colombian universities with degrees in engineering and IT. Furthermore, over 14% of the country’s university students graduate in areas related to technology.
As a matter of fact, from 2001 to 2013, the Colombian talent pool produced over 340,000 IT professionals who not only work with a wide range of technologies, but are also very familiar with CMMI and agile methodologies.
Colombia has the largest technology careers graduate population compared to other Latin American locations. While most countries in the region have talent concentrated in one or two cities, Colombia has multiple attractive tech locations outside of its capital city, Bogotá.
There’s substantial availability of IT talent in blooming cities such as Medellín, Cali, Barranquilla and Cartagena.
Completing a degree in software engineering in Colombia can take between 5 and 7 years. However, there’s a wide offering of shorter, tech related educational programs and degrees all across the country, both from public and private universities.
Academic programs are designed to be up to date with the latest technologies and programming languages, and students are trained to be able to work with scrum and similar agile methodologies.
Great english skills
Colombia is the second largest Spanish-speaking country in the world, but English has become prevalent as a second language for many Colombians. In fact, this is one of the reasons why Colombia has become one of the most business-friendly countries in the continent.
In order to strengthen English language proficiency among the population, the Colombian government has adopted multiple initiatives like the Foreign Languages Competencies Development Programme (PFDCLE) which aims to make the country bilingual by the end of 2025.
Colombia’s trendiest tech cities
- Bogotá (Population: 8 million): With extensive, modern infrastructure and plenty of tech talent, the capital city has gained a reputation for being the center for development of banking and financial software services.
- Medellín (Population: 2.5 million): Recognized in 2013 as “The World’s Most Innovative City” by the non-profit, Urban Land Institute, Medellín has become more well-known globally as an attractive location for cutting-edge companies and startups.
- Bucaramanga (Population: 521.857): At the heart of the Colombian oil industry, the city serves as the center of activity for development of software and IT services for the oil & gas industry.
- Barranquilla (Population: 1.2 million): This caribbean city has a large presence of companies providing software and IT services for the logistics and transportation industry as well as project management software for infrastructure projects.
- Cartagena (Population: 971.592): While the city is a well-known beach and tourist destination, Cartagena is also a major center for companies fulfilling regional demands for IT and Digital Services, especially in the transportation industry.
With 12 international airports, Colombia provides easy access to global markets with excellent connectivity:
- Flight time from L.A to Bogotá: 7 h 15 min
- Flight time from N.Y to Bogotá: 6 h
- Flight time from Miami to Bogotá: 3 h 40 min
- Flight time from Miami to Medellín: 3 h 30 min
- Flight time from N.Y to Medellín: 5 h 45 min
Colombia shares a full workday overlap with the US, facilitating real-time collaboration.
The country’s official world time zone is GMT+5 which is the same as EST time for most of the year.
Holidays and mandatory leave days
Labor laws in Colombia provide 15 mandatory leave days per year for every worker. In addition, there are 17 national holidays during the year:
Great connectivity and infrastructure, competitive rates, travel proximity and a workforce of thousands of highly educated IT professionals makes the perfect combo for an outstanding nearshore software outsourcing experience.
Nearsure works with and scouts the best of Colombian tech talent. For more information on hiring amazing developers and taking advantage of Colombia’s growing talent pool for your project, Contact us!
- “Colombia’s Value Proposition for Global IT and Digital Services Delivery”, Everest Group, MinTIC, ProColombia