Nearshoring Software Development: Why Serbia is a Tech Talent Hotspot


Nearshoring software development throughout the EU is common practice. More than ever, companies big and small alike are turning to nearshoring as a means to expand their team and diversify their capabilities.

Many countries across Europe are traditionally known for their technical skills and the nearshoring opportunities they can present, but few would put Serbia in this category. Yet despite the relative lack of reputation, the country is rapidly growing its tech sector and scaling its ambitions to meet the rising demand for high quality software nearshoring projects. 

This sudden emergence can largely be attributed to the country’s historic embrace of technology. After many years of conflict combined with political and economic turmoil, Serbia enthusiastically turned to the opportunities presented by emerging technologies and this has now positioned the country at the very forefront of modern IT and software development. 

This pursuit of high tech industries has even been extended and endorsed from the very top with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic claiming: 

Information and high-end technologies and the digital agenda are the future of our economy. Serbia’s IT sector is the product or our own intelligence… we have to continue to train as many people as possible to work in this sector”.

As you can clearly see, Serbia has placed great emphasis on technical skill sets and has reinforced its words with actions, implementing supporting policies designed to rapidly evolve and upskill the native workforce. This strategy has been so successful that tech services are now one of Serbia’s top three exports, alongside automobiles and agriculture. As a result, it’s easy to see why Serbia is now such a growing hub for high-quality tech talent. 

In the space of just a decade, the country has expanded from just under 700 tech companies, to over 2000, 67% of which are focused on developing for 3rd parties. With significant investment in university education and a rejigging of the syllabus to focus on technical subjects (IT, Maths, Science etc.) Serbia has built the foundations to continue technological expansion far into the future. 

Let’s take a look closer at just why has Serbia been such an emphatic success story so far. 

Serbia and software development nearshoring - a match made in heaven? 

With the infrastructure in place, significant governmental support and a clear aptitude to deliver, Serbia has quickly risen through the ranks of the tech world, particularly for those looking for nearshore software development teams. 

Offering high quality technical skills and expertise (in most cases), at a price below competitors across Europe, the country is quickly developing a reputation for efficient tech partnerships. This is in large part enabled by the low cost of living in the country, allowing teams to deliver good quality for less, without underpaying or demotivating the individuals who are producing the final product. Further strengthening the merits of Serbian tech teams is their language skills, most speak excellent English and typically have very few issues communicating with external partners. This is a major positive and plays a significant role in the overall success of a development project. 

Beyond cost advantages and language skills, the attitude and respect Serbians show towards  software development is extremely positive and this is reflected in the work they produce. Technical jobs are regarded very highly within the country and so it attracts a lot of the very best local talent to work within the space as well. 

Educating and ensuring a steady stream of software development talent 

With a curriculum skewed towards highly technical themes and subjects, Serbia’s education system has been purposefully designed to effectively develop a high-quality, technically minded workforce. Over time this has created a diverse and ever-growing pool of talent. 

By making software programming courses mandatory in primary schools and increasing the number of tech places available at university, Serbia has managed to get 13% of all students to pursue further studies in Maths, IT and computing. Comparatively, the UK’s own student figure in these fields is less than 10%. Serbia is future-proofing it’s workforce and this is opening the door to excellent nearshoring opportunities. 

Culturally inclined to tackle problems head on

Problem solving lies at the heart of many of Serbia’s capabilities. Most of the country’s inhabitants have a very direct, no nonsense approach to fixing issues. This lends itself extremely well to software development projects and is often considered a significantly positive quality in a nearshoring partner. Proactivity towards problems is a common trait and so most Serbian teams fix issues as and when they appear. 

Culturally Serbians typically take a highly structured approach to problem solving, using highly refined logic to justify their actions. This philosophy is perfect for the highly iterative world of nearshore software development. Proactivity and commitment to fixing problems both majorly contribute to the success of a development project. Having these characteristics as standard is not only highly positive, but also gives Serbian development team’s a major competitive advantage over other European competitors.  

The future of Serbia in the world of software development 

It’s easy to see why Serbia is already regarded so highly in the technical world and this is only set to continue. With the infrastructure in place to further enhance and grow the tech-focused workforce, it’s likely to become a flagship nation for nearshore software development opportunities, sooner rather than later. 

The country’s decision to focus support, investment and education on the tech sector is set to pay off significantly, with a highly skilled workforce, ready to deliver projects remotely across the globe. For young people entering the tech sector, the incentives are high with salaries up to three times the national average, great benefits on offer and attractive working environments too. It’s become a high interest sector and this will further propel its development and success. 

At this moment in time, one of the countries few weaknesses lies in its underdeveloped commercial skills, but these too are improving, and once they’ve caught up with their tech capabilities, it’s likely we’ll see more enterprising activity, maximising the value their high demand tech skills can deliver. 

Serbia has a highly collaborative culture and this is extending well into the tech sector. Companies and professionals alike are helping each other develop and grow, and are creating tight-knit communities to enhance the rate of evolution on a macro scale. This in itself is driving the country’s capabilities forward at a rapid rate. 

Taking all of these factors into consideration, it’s no wonder that Serbia’s tech industry is booming. The country’s nearshoring potential is growing on an almost weekly basis and this is opening up new opportunities for forward thinking organisations across the continent. Serbia is without a doubt one of the future tech leaders of Europe and a worthy option to consider when nearshoring your next software development project. 

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