Costa Rica Software Outsourcing and Nearshore Talent (Report)

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Costa Rica Software Outsourcing and Nearshore Talent (Report)

Costa Rica is a software development paradise. The “Tico” teams here are highly skilled and affordable – but that’s just the start. For long-term partnerships, Costa Rica is well-equipped to succeed, as it has a strong IT ecosystem, world-class pool of top software developers and great cultural compatibility.

Gain insights on Costa Rica’s software outsourcing and acquire the tools to hire software developers in Costa Rica in our ultimate guide below.

Table of Contents

Watch a Video Summary of the Report:

Costa Rica at a Glance

  • Capital: San José
  • Currency: Colón (₡)
  • Time zone: GMT-6
  • Population: 5 million
  • Software developers: 22,000+
  • Software development companies: 98 startups
  • Official language: Spanish
  • Democracy index: 8.07/10
  • Business climate: A3
  • Ease of doing business: 74/190

As the #1 exporter of IT services per capita in LATAM, Costa Rica is an ideal choice for companies who want the best talent. At last count, this country had about 22,000+ software developers, but this number is rapidly growing. In addition, Costa Rica is consistently rated high for English skills, facilitating excellent collaboration between Costa Rica and the U.S.

The IT Ecosystem in Costa Rica

It’s no wonder that software developers in Costa Rica are highly skilled. The IT ecosystem is buzzing with new infrastructure and initiatives, as well as community and company leadership. Let’s go through the main aspects of Costa Rica’s IT landscape to get a good sense of this country’s deep tech roots.

High-Quality Tech Infrastructure

Over the last decade, Costa Rica has aimed to become a powerhouse for software development. This country has built up government programs to encourage tech skills and software investment. According to CINDE, Costa Rica has succeeded in becoming:

  • #1 exporter of IT services per capita in LATAM
  • #1 valued-added IT services in LATAM
  • Hosts 119 IT companies in-country
  • Hosts 16 of the top 100 companies in IT globally

To reach these key milestones, Costa Rica has leaned on government and private initiatives such as:

  • San José tech hub project: The local government is renovating old abandoned buildings into a tech hub for offices and collaboration. Microsoft and TEC have already signed on.
  • “Skill-Building for Shared Services” initiative: Tech skills training program aimed at young adults to prepare them for the knowledge workforce.
  • Free Trade Zones, such as the American Free Zone and Global Park: These include tax exemption programs and industrial parks that attract multinationals worldwide.
  • Startup ecosystems: A variety of startup incubators and programs, such as the Founder Institute, have promoted Costa Rican internal investment.
  • MenTe: MenTe is a program to encourage women in STEM fields to graduate and get top jobs.
  • Alliance for Bilingualism: A program to increase English and get 15,000 students in low-opportunity areas to complete a B2+ level by 2022.

Strong Startup Community

Strong Startup Community

(Source: Statista)

In addition to the IT ecosystem, Costa Rica software outsourcing is backed by a strong startup and developer community. It’s typical for Costa Rican developers to participate in hackathons and meet-ups.

While Costa Rica developers are at the heart of this innovative IT community, startups are also a big part of it. There are currently 98 startups in Costa Rica, with $80.7 million raised in capital. Some best-in-class startups sweeping the country include:

  • Yo Viajo
  • M.A.E.
  • GreenCloud
  • Zero Army
  • Salvaje Swimwear
  • Trip Fab
  • Leaf Grow
  • SaborStudio

In addition, Costa Rica developer spaces are everywhere, including 64 co-working spaces, 35 startup incubators and 26 startup labs in Costa Rica. These include Startup Costa Rica, which brings together mentors and partners for better startups, as well as The Startup Grind Costa Rica Chapter, which hosts virtual events and networking opportunities for developers.

Extensive Outsourcing Experience

(Source: CINDE)

It’s clear that Costa Rica software outsourcing is world-class. To start, Costa Rica leads in value-added services in LATAM, with a whopping 7.6%.

In addition, tech companies are flocking to set up offices here. These include 119 global IT companies, including Fortune 100 companies. Some of these Costa Rica based IT companies include:

  • Intel
  • Microsoft
  • Hewlett Packard
  • IBM
  • Amazon

This is just a short list of companies currently outsourcing software development to Costa Rica. For a full list of industry leaders with offices in Costa Rica, click here.

Stable Business Environment

Finally, Costa Rica’s IT ecosystem is successful because of the stable business environment nationwide. This country is known for ranking high in ease of business (74 out of 180), which can help facilitate nearshore outsourcing needs.

In addition, Costa Rica has a high global innovation score (56 out of 131), which means it has  the potential to develop new technologies and achieve high performance. It’s even ranked #3 for innovative outputs in Latin America, according to WIPO.

Take your IT team to the next level. Hire pre-vetted Costa Rican developers on TECLA today.

The Costa Rican Software Developer Profile

Of course, the most exciting part of Costa Rica software outsourcing is its talent. Overall, Costa Rica has invested a great deal in its people power. For example, Costa Rica spends 7.4% of its GDP on education and has achieved a literary rate of 97% nationwide. Let’s go through even more facets of Costa Rican talent for a full picture of their skills and benefits.

Concentrated Talent Pool

Concentrated Talent Pool

(Source: CINDE)

Costa Rica has a small yet mighty tech talent pool. Many STEM candidates are graduating from top institutions such as TEC (Costa Rica Institute of Technology), ULACIT (Latin American University of Science and Technology) and the INCAE Business School.

Costa Rica is also actively expanding its tech prominence with partnerships. Texas Tech University is opening a campus in Costa Rica as a part of these initiatives. Other STEM-related partnerships aren’t likely to be far behind.

Versatile Tech Talent

(Source: Coursera)

The typical Costa Rican developer is highly skilled. According to the Coursera skills tests, Costa Rica ranks “cutting-edge” in tech areas such as:

  • operating systems (97%)
  • data analytics (88%)
  • statistical programming (79%)
  • mobile development (67%)
  • databases (66%)

Moreover, Costa Rica developers have a range of programming skills. According to past market share research, their top most demanded languages include PHP, ASP.NET and Java. However, their skills are diverse and also include popular languages today such as JavaScript, Python, and SQL.

Great English Proficiency

Great English Proficiency

(Source: EF EPI)

Finally, the typical Costa Rican developer is multilingual with a high level of English. In fact, Costa Rica scored #1 on TOEIC and TOEFL tests in Latin America, as well as #4 on the EF EPI exams.

This goes to show that Costa Rica developers have world-class English proficiency, according to multiple rankings. They’re able to communicate clearly during projects and easily collaborate with Costa Rica software outsourcing partners.

Ready to hire Costa Rica developers? Contact TECLA to leverage our top pool of IT professionals in Costa Rica.

Why Costa Rica-U.S. Collaboration

Top tech talent isn’t all that Costa Rica has to offer. Given Costa Rica’s unique location, the potential for collaboration is endless. There are a few reasons why Costa Rica software outsourcing partners are better prepared to serve U.S. companies and create great IT products.

Close Time Zones

First, the overlapping time zones between Costa Rica and the U.S. make it easy to bridge an international partnership. Developers here can see up to 8 hours of overlap with the U.S., which is significantly different from other regions worldwide. For this reason, Costa Rica is great for working parallel with U.S. companies during their office hours.

Few Cultural Barriers

Costa Rica has excellent global working skills and often aligns with Western workplace values. Because of this country’s proximity to the U.S. and top English skills found here, Costa Rican developers can easily navigate the U.S. workplace culture. Costa Rica nearshore developers share expectations for deadlines, communication style and quality standard of work.

Perfect for Agile Development

Costa Rica is also an ideal setting for outsourcing data engineering, especially when working with agile development. The agile method often requires quick responses and pop-up meetings in order to react and iterate. Through great communication skills, Costa Rican software developers and U.S. partners can constantly be in close contact.

Software Engineer Salary in Costa Rica

When it comes to hiring great IT talent, Costa Rica is quite affordable. Let’s go through key cost concerns for a fuller understanding of software developer salaries in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica Software Engineer Salary

Software developer in Costa Rica Monthly salary Annual salary
Junior 1,220,000 CRC ($1,848 USD) $22,176 USD
Middle 2,300,000 CRC ($3,484 USD) $41,808 USD
Senior 3,500,000 CRC ($5,300 USD) $63,600 USD

Software developers in Costa Rica involve more reasonable costs than hiring domestically in the U.S. According to the U.S. News & World Report, the lowest-paid 25% of software developers in the U.S. made $82,430. That’s still significantly higher than the average Costa Rica software engineer salary of $41,808 per year (according to Salary Explorer).

Salary Range Based on Popular Technologies

Of course, the final Costa Rica software engineer salary will depend a great deal on experience, expertise and technologies. For an idea of salaries for the most senior Costa Rican engineers working with some of today’s most popular technologies, check out this table below.

Technologies Average Salary for Equivalent (Top-Rated) U.S. Talent Rates of Top Developers from Costa Rica on TECLA platform
Python $175,000 - $195,000 $72,000 - $104,000
JavaScript $165,000 - $185,000 $74,000 - $100,000
Node.js $165,000 - $185,000 $71,000 - $96,000
Ruby $175,000 - $200,000 $72,000 - $120,000
PHP $135,000 - $145,000 $60,000 - $78,000
Java $152,000 - $175,000 $71,000 - $91,000
iOS $150,000 - $182,000 $72,000 - $90,000
Android $150,000 - $185,000 $66,000 - $86,000

Summary of Costa Rica Software Outsourcing Benefits

The IT Ecosystem Software Developer Profile Costa Rica-U.S. Collaboration Cost of Hiring Costa Rican Devs
- High-quality tech infrastructure

- Strong startup community

- Extensive outsourcing experience

- Stable business environment
- Concentrated talent pool

- Versatile tech talent

- Great English proficiency
- Close time zones

- Few cultural barriers

- Perfect for agile development
- Reasonable average salaries

Though there are countless software outsourcing destinations worldwide, Costa Rica strikes the perfect balance of top developer talent at affordable rates and within U.S. time zones.

If you’re ready to hire Costa Rica developers, reach out to TECLA. Our mission is to connect U.S. companies with vetted IT talent from Latin America – including Costa Rica. Let us help you find the top developers you need to fulfill your nearshore outsourcing needs.

Nadia Hlebowitsh


Nadia Hlebowitsh

Nadia Hlebowitsh

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