Costa Rica Developer Working

How To Hire Software Developers in Costa Rica | DevelopersLATAM


From the bustling streets of San José to the emerging tech hubs scattered across the country, Costa Rica offers a unique blend of cost-effective, highly skilled, and diverse tech talent. Whether you're a startup founder, an enterprise organization, or somewhere in between, understanding the nuances of Costa Rica's software development industry is key to making informed hiring decisions if you want to start nearshore outsourcing. We'll guide you through the process, ensuring you're well-equipped to tap into this rich talent pool. By the end of this article, you'll not only be versed in the 'how-tos' of hiring Costa Rican developers but also be inspired by the potential they bring to the global tech landscape. Keep reading to learn how to hire software developers in Costa Rica!

Why Should You Hire Developers in Costa Rica?

Known for their cost-effectiveness without compromising quality, Costa Rican developers offer a sweet spot for businesses looking for a high return on investment. But it's not just about the savings; the skillset and expertise of these developers are on par with global standards, making them a competitive choice for various projects.  Whether you're developing cutting-edge applications, tackling complex software challenges, or simply expanding your tech team, hiring from Costa Rica could be the game-changer your project needs.

For starters, the time zone alignment with North American countries is a key advantage. Costa Rican developers work in a similar time zone to many U.S. and Canadian cities, with Costa Rica’s time zones being only a couple of hours away from EST. This facilitates real-time collaboration, making project management more efficient and reducing the lag in responses that often occurs when working with teams in vastly different time zones.

Another compelling factor is the considerable cultural compatibility. Costa Rica's work culture shares many similarities with that of North America, which helps in bridging the cultural gap. This alignment in work ethics and business practices can significantly enhance project workflow and team dynamics.

In terms of cost, hiring developers from Costa Rica can be more economical compared to other regions. The cost of living in Costa Rica is lower than in many Western countries, which translates into competitive salaries for high-caliber talent. This cost-effectiveness is paired with a strong commitment to quality and professionalism.

Overall, hiring Costa Rican developers offers a blend of skill, cost-efficiency, and cultural compatibility, making it an appealing option for businesses looking to enhance their tech capabilities. Now, let’s dive into the specifics you should know before nearshoring to Costa Rica. 

A Quick Dive Into Costa Rica’s Software Development Sector

number of developers in costa rica

Costa Rica's tech scene is a dynamic and rapidly evolving landscape, distinguishing itself as one of the IT leaders in Central America, and understanding this growth is key to recognizing the value Costa Rican developers can bring to your business. The country's commitment to education and innovation has paved the way for a tech ecosystem brimming with potential. The country is increasingly becoming a hub for various technological sectors, from software development to green technology. This diversity means Costa Rican developers are often well-rounded, with experience in a range of tech-related fields.

in fact, The World Bank highlights Costa Rica as a development success story, with steady economic growth over the past 25 years, partly due to its openness to foreign investment and trade liberalization. GDP expanded by 7.8% in 2021 and 4.3% in 2022. The strong rebound in manufacturing, particularly in medical equipment, and the gradual recovery in services and agriculture were significant contributors. As of October 2023, Costa Rica's active portfolio included six projects totaling US$1371 million in net commitments, which include investment projects and development policy operations​.

An important aspect of this growth is the large international influence at play in this country. Many global tech companies have set up operations in Costa Rica, such as Databricks and Intricon, attracted by its skilled workforce and strategic location. This influx has not only boosted the tech economy but also exposed local developers to international standards and practices.

The tech community in Costa Rica is also notable for its collaborative spirit. Tech events, meetups, and hackathons are common, fostering a culture of knowledge sharing and innovation. This environment encourages continuous learning and adaptability among developers, essential traits in the fast-paced world of technology.

Now, what really sets Costa Rica apart within Central America is its balanced approach to the IT sector. While technology and innovation are at the forefront, there's a strong emphasis on sustainable and socially responsible development. This holistic view resonates in the tech community, influencing how solutions are developed and implemented.

It’s undeniable that Costa Rica's growing tech scene is marked by a robust educational foundation, diversity in tech sectors, international influence, a collaborative community, and a commitment to sustainable development. These factors combine to create a tech ecosystem rich with opportunities and talent, making it an attractive option for businesses worldwide looking to hire Costa Rican developers.

IT Education for Costa Rican Developers

Costa Rica's commitment to IT education and training is a key reason behind its thriving tech ecosystem. With a national strategy that prioritizes STEM education, the country has established a solid foundation for cultivating top-tier software developers. The government's dedication to education, particularly in STEM fields, plays a crucial role. A significant portion of the national budget is allocated to education, fueling a tech-savvy workforce. This investment has resulted in a flourishing talent pool, adept in the latest technologies and methodologies.

Since 1940, the Costa Rican government has established four state universities notable for their IT education programs. These include the Costa Rican Institute of Technology, the Distance State University, and the University of Costa Rica. Still, other universities and technical institutes in Costa Rica offer comprehensive programs in computer science, software engineering, and related fields. 

These programs are not just theoretical; they often include hands-on training and real-world project experience. Four schools are already offering a specialization in AI, with plans to expand the curriculum to 10 more institutions by 2024. This program, developed in collaboration with Intel and the Ministry of Public Education, focuses on skills in Machine Learning and AI, along with their ethical and legal implications. This approach ensures that graduates are not only academically qualified but also ready to tackle practical challenges in the tech industry.

Collaboration between academia and the industry is a key feature of Costa Rican IT education. Many universities partner with tech companies to provide internships and co-op programs, giving students direct exposure to the industry's demands and practices. This synergy between education and industry fosters a workforce that is well-versed in current technologies and methodologies.

Average English Proficiency Level in Costa Rica

ef epi index costa rica

The English proficiency level of Costa Rican developers is generally quite high, which is supported by Costa Rica's performance in the EF English Proficiency Index (EF EPI). In the 2023 EF EPI, Costa Rica ranked 38th out of 113 countries globally, with an EF EPI score of 534. This score is notably higher than the global average score of 493. Additionally, Costa Rica holds the 3rd position out of 20 countries in Latin America in terms of English proficiency​​.

This high level of English proficiency among Costa Rican developers is advantageous for North American companies looking to hire in the region, as it facilitates effective communication and collaboration in software development projects.

How Much Can It Cost to Hire Developers in Costa Rica?

When North American companies consider nearshoring their software development to Costa Rica, they can expect to encounter a range of rates that offer significant cost advantages compared to local hiring in North America. The expected pay rates for Costa Rican developers are influenced by various factors, including the level of expertise, the complexity of the project, and market demand. Despite the variety, nearshoring to Costa Rica is much more affordable than hiring North American developers. 

When exporting their services, entry-level Costa Rican developers charge an average of approximately $10 to $20 per hour. This price is notably lower than the average hourly rate in the U.S. For more senior roles such, this can go up to $30 to $40 per hour, with the average monthly salary being around $3,450. 

Beyond base salaries, North American companies should also account for other potential costs associated with nearshoring. These may include administrative overheads, taxes, potential legal fees for contracts, and any investments in communication tools or travel expenses for in-person meetings or training. Despite these additional costs, nearshoring to Costa Rica remains a cost-effective solution for North American companies and one of the main advantages of engaging with LATAM talent. It allows access to a pool of skilled developers at a fraction of the cost of hiring locally, without significant compromises on quality, work culture compatibility, or communication. 

Most Popular Technologies in Costa Rica’s Software Development Sector

Costa Rican developers work with a variety of tech stacks, from the classic coding languages to the newer LATAM development trends. These developers are good at picking up cutting-edge technologies and quickly incorporating them into their workflow and various projects. 

Getting to specifics, JavaScript remains a cornerstone in the tech world, and in Costa Rica, its popularity is evident. These stacks offer versatility and efficiency, making them suitable for a wide range of web development projects​​. Python, known for its simplicity and comprehensive library support, is also a top choice in Costa Rica, especially for data science and machine learning projects. Python's popularity is driven by its ease of use and the powerful capabilities it provides for complex data processing and algorithm development​​.

In the enterprise world, Java continues to hold a significant position, with its Spring Boot framework and integration with databases like MySQL. Java's appeal in Costa Rica stems from its stability and scalability, making it a reliable choice for large-scale and long-term enterprise projects​​.

Alongside these established technologies, Costa Rica is also witnessing the rise of new and emerging tech stacks. For instance, JAMstack (JavaScript, APIs, and Markup) is gaining traction among developers focusing on speed and performance, indicating a move towards more agile and modern development methodologies​​. Technologies like Rust, Go (or Golang), Kotlin, TypeScript, and Swift are also gaining popularity. These languages and technologies are being increasingly adopted due to their specific advantages in various domains of software development​​.

These tech stacks reflect Costa Rica's alignment with global technology trends and demonstrate the country's tech sector's adaptability and expertise. By leveraging these technologies, Costa Rican developers are well-equipped to handle a diverse array of software development challenges, from mobile and web applications to complex, data-intensive solutions.

How To Hire Software Developers in Costa Rica

Hiring developers in Costa Rica from North America can be accomplished through several effective methods, each with its own set of advantages. Here are six popular ways to approach this:

Nearshoring Agencies: 

Engaging with a nearshoring agency like ACL is a straightforward method. These staff augmentation companies take care of all necessary procedures and paperwork, simplifying the hiring process. They specialize in connecting top development experts from Latin America to clients in the United States, handling everything from recruitment to project completion​​.

Freelance Platforms: 

Utilize specialized hiring platforms that connect businesses with freelancers and individuals globally. These platforms, like UpWork or Fiverr, make finding IT professionals looking for work easy, giving you access to cheap rates. It's crucial to evaluate their reputation, cost, quality of services, and project implementation methodology​​.

Remote Contracting Websites: 

Explore local job boards in Costa Rica for posting job offers and finding developers. Websites like Buscojobs and list numerous job offers and can be a resource for connecting with local talent​​.

Traditional Referrals:

Direct referrals can help you find software developers in Costa Rica who have already worked with trusted colleagues or people close to you. This is a great way to ensure you’re partnering with an IT professional you can trust while speeding up the recruitment process and not depending on any third parties. 

Marketplaces for Hiring Individuals and Teams: 

Platforms like YouTeam offer a solution for rapid engineering staff augmentation, leveraging a network of vetted engineers. This marketplace model allows for hiring individual developers or entire teams, providing flexibility based on project needs​​.

Direct Hiring through Online Networks: 

Leveraging professional networks like LinkedIn or tech community forums can be another way to directly reach out to Costa Rican developers. This approach allows for personal interaction and direct assessment of potential candidates, though it may require more effort in terms of screening and verifying qualifications.

Each of these methods offers different benefits, from the streamlined process and legal compliance of nearshoring agencies to the flexibility and direct control of marketplaces and online networks. The choice depends on the specific needs, resources, and preferences of the hiring company.

Hire Costa Rican Developers with ACL’s Nearshoring Services

When looking to hire software developers in Costa Rica, our team at ACL offers a tailored and efficient solution. We specialize in nearshore staff augmentation, connecting businesses with exceptional Costa Rican tech talent. This process simplifies hiring talented professionals and takes the entire procedure off your back, ensuring a match that meets your project's specific needs. Our technical recruitment team is known for its individualized approach, focusing on understanding your project's unique requirements and pairing you with developers whose skills and expertise are ideally suited to your project goals. If you’re ready to hire developers in Costa Rica, contact us today to schedule a free discovery call and learn more about our nearshoring services!