Colombia and Brazil are recognized powerhouses for nearshore technology outsourcing and team extension in Latin America. Brazil is the biggest country in Latin America by population and GDP. Its software industry makes up 36% of the total regional market. On the other hand, the Colombian IT market has taken advantage of recent technological trends: cloud computing, IoT, and AI; and has increased its size by nearly 25% in the last two years . Both countries have competitive advantages, and the choice between them often depends on specific project requirements and business objectives.
Let's look at Colombia vs Brazil for nearshore technology outsourcing based on time zone overlap, talent pool, English proficiency, developer specializations, and business climate.
Key traits of the Colombian and Brazilian ICT markets
North American companies often seek to outsource their software development to Latin America because of its convenient location, competitive pricing, and big talent pools. All three reasons are valid for choosing both Colombia and Brazil. To help you choose, we have compared Colombia and Brazil based on parameters where they differ:
Time zone overlap
One common reason for choosing a Latin American country does not apply to Brazil. Unlike other countries in the region, Brazil has a time zone difference of two hours from the East Coast and five hours from the West Coast. These significant time zone differences can affect real-time collaboration and coordination. In contrast, Colombia shares the same time zone as the East Coast and has a three-hour difference with the West Coast.
Effective communication is essential for smooth collaboration, a clear understanding of requirements, and successful project outcomes with international clients and teams. Although Colombia has a lower average score of English proficiency, software developers in Colombia are one of the most highly educated groups. When isolating major IT hubs, Colombia shows an advantage over Brazil.
While the score can give a general picture, in Latin America, the ability to communicate fluently in English varies greatly from individual to individual. This is because most people achieve their level of proficiency on their own.
Colombia boasts over 150K tech experts, including data scientists, software developers, and tech consultants, making it the third-largest country in the region. Conversely, Brazil is the most populous country in Latin America and has the highest number of professionals at 750K.
The Colombian government is continually investing in the growth of ICT education. These efforts have resulted in 13K graduates of technology in 2021. Brazil cultivates around 46K ICT graduates from its multiple high-ranking technical schools. Seven of Brazil’s universities are in the top 400 best institutions for engineering and technology degrees. The University of São Paulo is the best university in Latin America, hosting nearly 100K students and offering 180 programs. Having access to a big pool of young talent ensures that nearshore technology outsourcing projects in Colombia and Brazil can tap into a labor market capable of delivering high-quality work.
Coursera's ranking designates Colombia as the sole South American nation categorized as "cutting-edge" in terms of expertise. This means that Colombian learners on Coursera are proactive in increasing their qualifications and achieving very high levels of expertise in their fields. Brazil is ranked a “competitive country”, with its learners achieving relatively lower levels of expertise. However, Brazilian developers secure first place globally in a number of specific areas of expertise.
According to the same report by Coursera, Colombian developers excel in operating systems, computer networks, and statistical programming. Brazilian professionals are the best in the world for data visualization and have top-level expertise in Data Science.
Regarding programming languages, both countries are dominated by C++ and C# developers. The second most popular specialization in both countries is Java.
Latin American markets are connected to the US with a number of agreements. Colombia has signed a Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement, establishing a free trade zone between the two markets. Brazil is a member of similar agreements with the US and the EU. This makes technological cooperation between the two regions administratively streamlined.
The US International Trade Administration (ITA) has recognized Colombia as an exceptionally appealing market for trade and investment within the ICT sector. The Colombian government has committed to enact reforms to maximize its attractiveness to American companies, foster knowledge exchange, and promote innovation. Additionally, Colombia plans to keep its currency undervalued in 2024, making its exports, including services, even more competitive.
Regarding Brazil, ITA recognizes the impact of government initiatives in keeping pace with the global standard. Brazil has an official IoT, cybersecurity, digital governance, and AI strategy. São Paulo is the absolute regional leader for the number and size of tech startups, incubating unicorns in finance and retail.
In summary, comparing Colombia vs Brazil for nearshore technology outsourcing shows the merits of both countries. Colombia has the advantage of more compatible time zones and a well-educated population of software developers. Brazil has the biggest pool of talent in the region and is also highly skilled in data science. English proficiency may differ but is high in both countries. Both countries have favorable business environments and trade agreements with the US.
Get a complete overview of the 2023 software development market in Latin America!
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Why choose N-iX as a nearshore technology outsourcing partner in Latin America?
- Country guides, International Trade Administration, US Department of Commerce
- Global Skills Report, Coursera 2023