What Is the Maturity of IT and Software Development in South America?

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Dave’s answer to this Quora.com question:

At SourceSeek we are constantly researching and traveling the world to keep abreast of the IT industry around the world. So we’ve been watching S. America for years now and have a number of great software partners there.

Outsourcing to South America is a very mixed bag, varying by country and even within individual countries.

Here are a few things we’ve observed:

  • The big player is Brazil. There are tons of great software companies in Brazil and loads of extremely mature developers. The educational system is strong enough to feed the industry with new grads. The majority of the ‘great’ developers are working with large, mature, IBM-time companies who are primarily working on domestic efforts. So, while the industry is very mature, we aren’t seeing a lot of startup or boutique action in Brazil, and not many companies are accepting outsourcing work from out of the country.
  • Another big player is Argentina. Argentina is fairly mature and has enough critical mass to support a ‘real’ IT industry. Education is good, and quite a few shops are emerging that cater to offshore outsourcing clients. Argentina is an inconsistent region, so it’s hard to pin down exactly what is happening there but it’s certainly fair to say that the industry is mature.
  • Then we see the smaller players, who are less mature but rising quickly. We see small/emerging IT industries in Uruguay, Peru, Chile, and Colombia. These smaller IT industries are lacking the infrastructure and community to produce a huge number of mature developers, but that is slowly changing. A lot of smaller shops are emerging in these regions, mostly catering to offshore clients.

An interesting scenario is occurring in Central America, where the influx of expats from the US and Europe is fueling the IT industry and attracting a lot of talent. While there are plenty of very mature developers there, it’s a bit inconsistent and the local education system isn’t producing enough skilled grads to build the region into a powerhouse. The industry is quite healthy in Costa Rica in particular, and quite mature developers are definitely available there.

It really makes a difference whether you are looking at this from the perspective of an employer or a developer, but from any perspective, S. America is a big and varied area!

SourceSeek will be spending 5 weeks in S. America this year, meeting with software companies and learning more about the state of the software industry there. Feel free to contact us if you have any more questions and subscribe to our newsletter for all the latest industry news!

Originally published as SourceSeek’s answer to the Quora question:  What Is the Maturity of IT and Software Development in South America?
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Dave Hecker

Co-Founder at SourceSeek at SourceSeek
Dave is a seasoned technology executive focused software delivery, quality, process, and helping clients succeed at international software outsourcing.