The Belarusian IT sector has been flourishing over the last decade. Its share in Belarus’s GDP is expected to grow to 7.5 % by 2025 compared to 6.2% in 2019. The decisive factors in the success of the Belarusian IT industry include a strong engineering basis, continuous governmental support, relatively low cost of living, and high demand for development services from Western European and US companies.
So, is it a good idea to hire developers from this country for your next project? This article outlines the main benefits of software outsourcing to Belarus and points out some common pitfalls that companies might come across when they go with this option. But first, let’s look at other popular outsourcing destinations, so you can grasp the big picture.
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When it comes to IT projects, there are quite a few destinations where you can find and hire remote developers. Each of them has its own advantages and drawbacks. Below we shortlisted the top five countries to outsource software development.
Poland is one of the biggest tech hubs in the CEE region. Since this country has either a zero or a minor time zone difference with other European countries, it provides perfect conditions for collaboration with local businesses. There’s also a clear cultural affinity with Western Europe, which facilitates effective communication.
In general, the Polish IT/ICT industry (IT equipment sales, software, and services) employs about 430,000 professionals. But it’s not only about a number. Polish developers have a good reputation for strong performance and coding skills. They usually rank high on the HackerRank and TopCoder lists.
Poland’s major shortcoming, though, is that its rates are higher than those charged by developers from Asia or the country’s neighbors, including Ukraine and Belarus. So businesses tend to look for cheaper alternatives before outsourcing web development or mobile development to Poland.
Companies hire programmers from Argentina for several reasons. First, the country has a favorable time zone for North Americans. Being just one hour ahead of the East Coast, Argentina eliminates one of the main software outsourcing challenges—an inability to communicate with a development team in real time.
Aside from the time zone advantage, Argentina has a budding community of qualified IT professionals. Employment in the Argentinian tech sector increased by almost 50% between 2009 and 2018, according to the Netherlands Enterprise Agency study. Today, the local IT industry offers salaries that are 38% above the national average. So there’s always a large pool of candidates looking for positions in software development companies and eager to improve their skills to become a good fit.
That said, foreign businesses might have a hard time navigating regulations in this country. For example, the Argentinian government announced considerable tax incentives for the hi-tech sector in 2019. But just a year later, it suspended the relevant law with no official explanations offered.
India is the largest location for software development outsourcing worldwide. In fact, it was among the first countries to catch the outsourcing wave triggered by Western companies. In 2020, the number of employees in the Indian IT-BPM sector totaled 4 million, and this figure keeps growing steadily. So, when it comes to the available workforce, no other outsourcing destination can compete with India.
Businesses usually pick India because it’s a cost-effective option. You can find an Indian freelance programmer who is ready to work for $8-10 per hour. On top of that, in India, English is one of the official languages of higher education and government, so there’s little chance of running into a language barrier.
However, Indian IT outsourcing often equals poor quality if the projects are delivered at all. Too many Indian developers are either self-taught or schooled en masse at different courses and training programs, so the risk of hiring someone technically incompetent is rather high. Some studies show that nearly 95% of programmers in India are not fit for software development jobs.
Ukraine is a leading destination for outsourcing software development to Eastern Europe. It has a large talent pool compared to other European countries—by late 2021, the number of Ukrainian IT specialists is expected to grow to 200,000. The abundance of an experienced workforce is not the only factor that attracts businesses from all over the globe. Companies choose Ukrainian programmers because they provide world-class services at reasonable rates.
On top of this, developers from Ukraine are recognized by trusted industry rating organizations. For example, SkillValue reports often put Ukraine in the top 5 software developer nations. In the same vein, Ukrainian software development teams racked up an 88.7% average across all HackerRank challenges.
In general, outsourcing to Ukraine means collaboration with qualified specialists, a convenient time zone, and seamless communication.
Just like Ukraine, Belarus is a popular outsourcing destination in Eastern Europe. The country has a sizable workforce, strong technical education, a time zone comfortable for Western Europe, and competitive rates. Over the recent years, multiple statewide tech-friendly initiatives, including public subsidies, tax incentives, and free economic tech zones, have been implemented in Belarus. All these factors make outsourcing software development to Belarus an appealing option for businesses from all over the world.
So, let’s take a closer look at the current state of the Belarusian IT sector, its capacity, growth potential, and some other essential stats.
Belarus is home to more than 40,000 developers, and it has about 7,000 students graduating from local universities annually. These numbers are quite impressive given that the population in Belarus is comparably small (9.6 million people).
The Belarusian IT sector attracts top talent and lures professionals from other industries for several reasons. First, it opens up a lot of career opportunities, including international networking and business travels. Second, IT professionals have relatively high salaries. Belarusian IT specialists make about $1,800-2,000 per month, while average salaries in other sectors are four times lower ($450-500).
Overall, about 1,000 Belarusian IT companies are concentrated in the country’s urban areas, including Brest, Grodno, Minsk, and Gomel. The capital of Belarus, Minsk, is considered the largest tech hub in the country. A city with the highest number of developers in Belarus, it’s also the home of the largest Belarusian IT cluster, Hi-Tech Park.
However, Hi-Tech Park is not only a physical location with hundreds of resident Belarusian software companies. It’s also a special extraterritorial tax regime that provides substantial tax benefits for businesses registered with it. Since Hi-Tech Park creates favorable conditions for industry development and IT outsourcing to Belarus, local media and government often proudly call it “the Silicon Valley of Eastern Europe.”
Most programmers in Belarus (60,5%) work in software development and design outsourcing. It means that there are thousands of highly trained specialists ready to take up projects from offshore clients. Some of the biggest IT outsourcing companies in Belarus include EPAM, Itransition, ISsoft, and Intetics.
The market share of product companies in Belarus is smaller, but it’s still significant (39.5%). Internationally renowned digital products that were developed in Belarus include Viber, Flo, and World of Tanks.
Being one of the largest Eastern European software development outsourcing destinations, Belarus attracts significant investments from foreign companies. For example, the volume of foreign investments in Hi-Tech Park resident companies amounted to $263.2 million in 2019. That same year, Hi-Tech Park generated about $2.2 billion in export.
Now that you know the key facts about the Belarusian IT industry let’s have a closer look at the main benefits of outsourcing to Belarus.
At this point, you may already have a general idea of why many companies choose to hire developers in Belarus, but let’s delve a little deeper.
The cost of living in Belarus is much cheaper compared to the EU and the US. While the American companies have to pay their software developers $105,575 a year on average, Belarusian developers earn about $31,500. This allows Belarusian software companies to charge lower rates for the same scope of work than IT vendors from Western Europe or the US would do. So, by outsourcing to Belarus, businesses can cut their development costs while maintaining the quality of work.
Software companies in Belarus rely on the Western approach to product development, so their workflows are similar to the processes their clients are used to. Other than that, the programmers in Belarus show a great work ethic. Businesses hiring them for development projects rarely have to worry about missed deadlines or unmet requirements.
Belarus is known for its high-quality tech education. Every year, thousands of STEM specialists graduate from Belarusian universities. On top of that, some IT companies in Belarus collaborate with higher education institutions, giving students a chance to build job skills while still in college. What’s more, many companies offer in-house training courses open to everyone.
Most Belarusian software engineers speak English at an intermediate or upper-intermediate level. Besides, Belarusian culture shares a lot with the European one. People communicate and do business just as they do in Europe and the US. This creates a perfect environment for efficient collaboration.
As mentioned, Belarus and Ukraine are both popular outsourcing destinations in Eastern Europe. Things they have in common include not only location, but also rates, work attitude, and English fluency. However, there are some significant differences between these countries. So, if you think about outsourcing to Europe and cannot decide between these two options, it’s best you consider the following aspects.
The current political crisis in Belarus affects its IT sector, too. During the mass protest actions in the follow-up of the latest presidential election, Belarusian IT companies experienced internet access restrictions and mobile network disruptions. Some of them decided to move their offices to other countries. But even those companies that stayed are going through hard times since many individual developers have relocated to Ukraine or Poland.
Ukrainian software development teams, on the contrary, have perfect conditions for the development of their IT sector, which is booming despite the coronavirus crisis. The country keeps sharpening its competitive edge and growing its global reputation.
Choosing your outsourcing destination is only half the battle. The second half is finding a qualified tech partner that you can trust. It is even more important for the outcomes of your project than picking a country where your development team will be located.
Relevant has a track record of implementing the most challenging software development projects. Our extensive experience and strong expertise allow us to tackle outsourcing tasks of any complexity, be it web development, mobile development, or UI/UX design. If that sounds like something you’re searching for, contact us.
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