Software development has only become more and more popular over the last few years and if you’re looking for developers odds are sooner or later you’ll look outside your own country. This is particularly true for technologies like React, which are so widely adopted and finding devs isn't an issue. Before deciding to outsource your project thought, it's good to think about what region you would like that company to be from. While obvious factors like costs and time zones are usually taken into account, it's really worth it to do a bit of a deeper dive to know a bit more what market you’re getting into. One such market we can take a closer look at happens to be in central Europe, namely Poland.
Cheaper devs means lower quality?
If you don't know anything about Poland or the software development here, fair enough. Odds are you’ve heard about CD Projekt or maybe 11 bit studios as well if you're into games, but probably not much aside from that. A common stereotype is that Polish software houses charge less because they’re less skilled than those elsewhere. If you do a bit more digging you’ll find out this isn't actually true. HackerRank checked the skills of developers from 50 countries and Poland came in strong at third place, excelling particularly at Java challenges. The Pentalog reports paint a similar picture as Poland came in 4th in 2019 and 7th this year, the only country to keep its place in the top 10 in both rankings. The reports additionally state any country ranked above 30 by HackerRank or 20 by Pentalog can be considered excellent. On the other hand, lets be honest, price is a big draw, and the fact that it will still be significantly lower than in Western Europe or the US is quite enticing.
Late to the game?
This might sound surprising as Poland and other countries in central and eastern Europe were pretty late to the game when it comes to IT and programming. You would think countries in western Europe should be ranked above them. The Pentalog reports actually point to a couple good reasons as to why that isn't the case. Developers from old IT countries, like western Europe, often come from older technologies with older working methods. Devs from countries without much IT legacy have started with a clean slate, they were learning the ropes only with the newest tools, technologies and practices in mind. This is a big advantage, as anyone in IT knows devs aren't too fond of adapting to the newest trends and often prefer to stick with what has always worked for them. So it makes sense that those who started out using the newest tech have a bit of an edge over those who with time had to switch over from older tools and change their practices.
Anybody know English?
Setting up meetings also shouldn't be an issue as Warsaw is in the same timezone as Paris, Madrid or Berlin, sure the 9 hour difference between west coast US and Europe might need some working around, but it's manageable. The bigger misconception has to do with language, as a lot of people equate Poland with poor or barely any knowledge of the English language. While this might’ve been true 20 years ago, the situation has changed drastically since then as English has been compulsory in schools since 1989. The EF English Proficiency Index has consistently ranked Poland around the top 15 countries by English skills, putting it in the ‘high proficiency’ group. Obviously it isn't some country of English language experts, but for business related communication you can be pretty sure everything will be fine.
More bang for your buck
All in all Poland is currently rapidly advancing in the software development sector, dev earnings have already eclipsed most countries in the region aside from the Czech Republic and obviously Germany. The prices are still significantly lower than in the US or western Europe though, while the developers are just as skilled, if not in some cases better. So if you’re looking for the right mix of quality and cost-effectiveness it's in the sweet spot: not too expensive, but also not sacrificing quality to be cheaper. After all, price is just one of the factors and while you might want it to be as low as possible, ultimately it's far more important that you get exactly what you ordered.