Finding remote software development partners has never been easier. The internet is flooded with companies offering services from every corner of the world. But finding safe, professional and reliable remote software development partners? That’s a different challenge altogether.
Software outsourcing has traditionally been associated with India, but that is now changing as some of the world’s emerging economies come into play. Software developers in China, Brazil, Poland and Ukraine, for example, have all acquired questionable reputations over recent years, undermining the opportunities it can deliver.
This global market offers untapped potential for fast, high quality and cost-effective work. Yet this can only be secured with significant care and due diligence. The output quality of software developers varies greatly, so a series of pertinent questions and checks can help you to find and secure agreements with exceptional remote tech talent – whether in Asia, Latin America, Africa or Europe.
Unearthing these ‘gems’, though, requires patience and attention to detail. The remote development market is noisy, saturated and largely unregulated. Software engineering vendors compete for contracts with an alarming lack of transparency over their true delivery capabilities, project capacities and overall levels of expertise. That’s why finding world-class software development partners you can confidently integrate into your team and workflow relies on knowing precisely where to look and, importantly, asking exactly the right questions when you get there.
Why Europe Should Be Your Priority
In recent years, Europe’s reputation as the true hub of quality remote engineering talent has grown ever stronger with many companies including Botl, Herbalife and Revolut seeing success. In fact, iIt is now typically considered to offer the highest chance of success for companies looking to find remote software development partners, with an explosion of industry-leading teams emerging in Baltic, Balkan and Central European states.
Serbia and Ukraine, for example, both offer sizable populations of high-quality developers. In Poland, almost 280,000 software developers operate from the country’s main IT hubs of Warsaw, Kraków, Łódź and Wrocław. And government initiatives in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have also encouraged a fertile ground for start-ups, creating an inevitable bank of freelance software developers who are ready to work either on-site in these countries or remotely for organisations looking for external support.
Where technological focus is high, such as in the Baltics, the infrastructure is already in place to develop world-class talent.
Three other factors make Europe a hugely attractive talent pool:
1. STEM Foundations
It’s no coincidence that Europe is now producing some of the world’s leading technology practitioners: its educational system has been designed to create generations of graduates with strong foundations across science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
In Eastern Europe, in particular, this educational approach dates back to the Soviet Union. Maintaining a high level of attainment across these subjects has remained the backbone of several Eastern European countries. For the IT industry, the rewards are obvious: these subjects are all ideal bases from which to launch a career in computer science and software engineering, equipping students with the skills and critical thinking capabilities needed to navigate a competitive industry with relative ease.
2. No Hand Holding Required
Perhaps because of a relatively shared cultural outlook, many Western clients find remote software developers across Europe do not need the ongoing micro-management and step-by-step instruction that can drain valuable time and resources.
The ‘bullet point’ management approach that can sometimes be required when recruiting in Asian markets, particularly India, is generally an overreach and an unnecessary effort when it comes to overseeing European teams. Entrepreneurial mindsets, creative and critical thinking, problem solving and pragmatism are all common traits in software developers educated and trained across Europe, instantly alleviating the pressure on clients to manage every tiny step of the process. Furthermore, the European entrepreneurial and creative mindset often aligns within European developers, helping both parties relate and work efficiently together. This is particularly valuable at the early stages of the relationship.
3. A Thriving Start-Up Culture
Baltic tech start-ups are among some of the most exciting in the world, grabbing headlines, attention, funding and customers at an almost unprecedented rate. This in-built hunger and innovation among the region’s software developers shows their ambition and determination to play on the global market, making those developers without permanent contracts – or those deliberately operating as software development teams for hire – open to approaches from remote clients looking for high quality work at relatively affordable rates.
4. A Large and Growing Talent Pool
Western Europe has struggled with a talent shortage for many years and so consulting alternative talent options has been necessary to maintain growth. With the number of technical specialists in Eastern Europe rising and a need for more developers in the West, the opportunity for Eastern remote software development partners to work with Western clients is growing every day - to the benefit of all involved.
How to Find the Best Software Development Partners in Europe
Identifying Europe’s most capable remote software developers is undoubtedly a significant challenge. Large and diverse, Europe encompasses vast differences in languages and engineering talent.
To start with, speak to your wider network and ask if they have any recommendations. As with most professional services, often the best software engineering partners are not the ones that shout the loudest with constant promotional activity. In reality, the most able developers are often so busy – and their schedules so far booked in advance – that they rarely find time for marketing. Instead, they generate most of their business through referrals, so seeking the opinions of your peers and contacts is key to discovering the market’s best talent.
However, while personal recommendations are key, there is still nuance to uncover. A good fit for someone else but might not be a good fit for you, so take time to conduct proper due diligence across both a developer’s professional and personal attributes. What are their technical capabilities? Is there cultural alignment with your team? Will their processes and project management methods integrate with yours?
Taking the time to visit Eastern Europe and meet face-to-face with its large pool of software engineers might also be beneficial, forging personal links and giving you a much deeper understanding of the likelihood of you being compatible professional partners.
Finally, remember that great developers charge an appropriate market rate – wherever they are based. Using remote software development partners simply to cut costs is an almost-certain way to ensure you receive low quality work.
The Benefits of Using a Pre-Vetted Network
For more than four years, Digital Knights has been vetting and assessing technical partners, matching dedicated software development partners to the precise needs of companies around the world. We have audited almost 1,000 boutique engineering partners across Eastern Europe, giving us an unrivaled knowledge of the region’s software development landscape. For our clients, the result is a process that is faster (no more extensive talent searches required), cheaper (lower recruitment and management costs) and safer (all developers’ skills and abilities have been rigorously assessed).
By amassing thousands of data points on each potential partner, we have one of the industry’s most robust and accurate systems for determining who is good – and who isn’t worth your time.
We ‘peel the onion’ on each partner, looking in detail at their inner workings over a six-week audit process that covers everything from data collection and management screening through to team interviews, documentation reviews, client satisfaction calls, face-to-face meetings and trial projects.
This ensures we identify red flags that may otherwise be missed by a less thorough due diligence process. Only the top 7% of potential partners meet our benchmarks and become certified members of the Digital Knights network.
That granular approach means we’re ideally positioned to help you navigate the convoluted and saturated market of software partners in a streamlined and data-driven manner. We can introduce you to more than 4,500 talented product managers, UX/UI designers, front- and back-end engineers, data scientists and data engineers that have each been vetted and verified to the highest possible standard, while our efficient RFP process with in-depth datasets enables quick and educated decisions on final partner selections.
Working with a remote partner offers significant opportunities to deliver finished products quicker than ever without compromising on quality. But with so many suppliers to choose from, only detailed due diligence can minimise the risks and ensure the relationship makes sense from the start.