I recently had the pleasure of visiting several Polish software development companies, and I was impressed with what I found. We do a good job pre-vetting development teams before we do a site visit, so I wasn’t surprised that the teams were skilled, stable, and well-managed.
What did strike me was the degree to which Polish culture and history have come together to make Poland a perfect place for U.S. startups to outsource their development.
What Makes Poland Desirable
Like many Eastern European nations, Poland has excellent universities and is particularly strong in engineering and mathematics. This provides a steady supply of well-trained IT grads joining the workforce each year.
Also like most Eastern European nations (especially post-Communist countries), Polish culture celebrates science and engineering, and computer science has become a reputable, desirable, and popular career choice for young people. It’s a nice, virtuous circle of motivation, support, study, and workforce advancement.
But here’s the part that makes Poland so interesting for U.S. companies: Despite the supply of great developers, there aren’t that many mature Polish IT startups or technology product companies.
There are few exciting startups and a handful of great product companies, but beyond that Poland exhibits a typically continental European attitude regarding business-creation; they rank a tepid 85th in ease of starting a business (World Bank).
Given that the virtual circle doesn’t yet extend to include a vibrant startup or VC-fueled tech ecosystem, U.S. clients don’t have to compete with local companies to get their hands on a great developer team.
Finally (and I heard this a lot from Polish software developers), the culture of Communism into the 80s, when combined with the economic environment of the 90s, prevented Poland from developing a generation of seasoned IT managers who are aligned with current IT culture. The city of Krakow may be a startup hub for Poland, but that culture still needs years of growth before local firms can digest all the great technical talent.
Poland has a new generation of great software engineers who are looking for jobs where they can use new technologies to make cool things – and most of the shops that offer that kind of work are outsourcing companies.
A Perfect Opportunity For U.S. Startups
The alignment for outsourcing between the U.S. and Poland is excellent. Young Polish software developers “get” the startup world. They speak Agile, Scrum, and Kanban. The time difference isn’t so bad. They love Ruby, Node, and Angular.js. All the startup buzzwords are in full effect, but most of the best developers are already working at services companies, building MVPs and tech products for U.S. clients.
As offshore destinations go, Poland has a few other advantages, too. Travel to Poland is easy. You can find developers who can speak English well. Smaller boutique shops that understand startup culture are common, at least in Krakow and Warsaw. The infrastructure is good, trains are on time, and the Internet connections are solid.
There is one disadvantage to Poland – it’s pricey. The currency exchange is favorable, but Poland is far from being a poor, developing nation that is desperate for foreign currency. Expect rates for premium developers to be more along the lines of Moscow or Kiev prices, sometimes even higher.
Are Polish Software Developers Worth The Higher Price?
This isn’t a yes-or-no question, but certainly Poland is a great choice for startups that are willing to pay a premium price for a team that will stand and deliver 100% of the time. Most startups want the absolute best developers and they’re would be willing to pay premium prices, but in reality, many startup companies can’t afford to hire top U.S. developers – that’s why clients go offshore in the first place. For these startup clients who need to take advantage of overseas savings but are still willing to pay rates near the top of the market, Polish software developers can be an excellent choice.
When we connect clients with the best developers and we can work with a wide variety of price ranges. For our clients who are looking for a hot startup development team and need to have great quality, cultural alignment, and a generally easier outsourcing effort, Poland is now a top recommendation.
Photos by archer10 (Dennis)
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