Minsk, Belarus is offshore development destination

6 reasons for outsourcing software development to Belarus in 2021

A beautiful European country known for its scenic landscapes, manmade salt mountains, and a special love for delightful confectionary, Belarus is also increasingly known these days for rapid development in the technology and IT services space in particular. With a steadily growing crop of talented developers who can speak English well and a close time zone to the UK among other factors, it is becoming a popular choice to hire software developers from the country lately.

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Advantages of Belarus as a destination for offshore software development

🔸 Vast talent pool supported by tech education in Belarus

Belarus produces thousands of talented and high-quality professionals every year, and this is made possible greatly due to the increasing focus the country has been giving on education. the country boasts of a very exemplary high literacy rate of above 99% for both male and female populations of all age groups Also, rate of survival to the last grade of primary school, which is a very crucial stage of education and often a determinant of future education stats, is high at above 98%.

In addition, higher studies are encouraged greatly by universities and institutes in the country such as the renowned National Academy of Sciences, which has received acclaim for excellent courses in a variety of subjects and extensive R&D efforts in everything from science and technology to the humanities. Creating more room for future IT specialists and spurring the growth of talented developers are the tech universities in Minsk, such as the Belarusian National Technical University and the Belarusian State Technological University. Therefore, UK companies can be assured that the Belarusian IT specialists and developers they hire for software development projects are of the best quality because they have had such strong schooling and have grown up in an environment based on research, focused studies, and innovation.

🔸 Growing infrastructural strength of Belarusian IT

The information technology industry in Belarus has been growing rapidly over the past decade. With a large number of R&D labs situated in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, around 60.5% of developers in the industry today are working in offshore software development. Among other eastern European countries, Belarus is also known for leading the industry in R&D, innovation in the tech space and the Belarusian IT industry is estimated to be growing four to five times faster than the global IT growth scale, which is impressive and spells a very bright future for information technology in Belarus.

The Belarus government has been continually investing in R&D, particularly high in the field of technology, coming to as much as 71.89% of the gross investment as of 2018. The IT sector is further supported by tax laws such as the tax benefit offered by the Belarus High Technologies Park, wherein resident tech companies are exempt from several taxes such as income tax and Value Added Taxes incurred from software development outsourcing. The Park itself, located in Minsk, is a grand hub for tech innovation, surrounded by emerging tech startups and tech companies that employ thousands of IT professionals yearly. Knowing all this, Belarus indeed comes across as one of the top outsourcing providers currently on a global scale, particularly for UK companies.

🔸 Close time zones between Belarus and Western Europe

One concern companies in the UK and US have when outsourcing software development to other countries is regarding the difference in time zones. If the time zones between the client and offshore development company are more than a few hours apart, it makes back and forth communication difficult and causes unnecessary delays in the business processes. However, with a country like Belarus in Eastern Europe, UK companies don’t have to worry about this because the country is only two hours ahead of the UK, which makes quick communication possible and allows the developer team and the company to collaborate easily. This way there is no wastage of time waiting long hours for the other side to reply, and there is no delay in moving ahead with the project either. This makes Belarus and its IT sector a great choice to get outsourced software development services from. 

🔸 One developer team throughout the project In Belarusian outsourcing companies

Belarusian developers are currently enjoying working in a very swiftly growing and thriving software industry, and since there are ample opportunities to succeed in their current jobs and teams as developers, they tend to stay with that job/team for a fairly long time. This is beneficial to UK companies who want to outsource developers from countries in Eastern Europe like Belarus, as it means that the chances of getting the same developer team to work on the project throughout till the end are very high. Every company that is into IT outsourcing knows that whenever a developer leaves the team and moves on in the middle of a project, there is a definite risk of losing technical knowledge and disrupting the entire project’s progress and the business processes on the whole. But in the case of Belarus, this is not likely to happen as the developer team members you start the project with will most likely be the same ones you complete the project with.

🔸 Multilingual and skilled Belarusian developers

Often when looking to outsource development teams from European countries, many companies are plagued with the worry that the developers from the outsourcing company they hire will have trouble communicating due to language barriers and the inability to speak English fluently. However, that is not likely to be a concern when outsourcing from Belarus, as Belarusians have higher English proficiency than their neighboring countries, Ukraine and Russia, and scored a decent 52.39 on the English Proficiency Index as of 2019. Belarus has a good understanding of how in-demand it is in terms of software development outsourcing, and the developers are accordingly learning English more often and are fluent in English communication. Thus, you don’t have to worry about language being a barrier as Belarusian developers can communicate well in English.

Another concern companies tend to have is related to the quality of work by the software developers, but rest assured that when you hire developers from countries in Eastern Europe like Belarus, the work they do is very high quality and professional in nature, and moreover, they are known to be very skilled with regards to the use of agile software development and top development practices. Even better, when you choose to hire developers via YouTeam, you can actually test these qualities out for yourself, as you get to pick the developer team you want on your project. This can help you really determine if the developers are as skilled as you expected, and to see what they can do for your project.

🔸 Major cost-benefit of hiring software developers in Belarus

Saving on hiring cost is actually a key factor because of which companies choose to get outsourced IT services. Hiring in-house software developers can get pretty expensive for UK companies, as the hiring process includes not just providing a high salary, but other costs such as those incurred in onboarding, training, etc. It is typically a better decision to outsource software development because of this. Choosing Belarus as an outsourcing destination can yield great benefits with regards to cost, as an average Belarusian developer earns about BYN 20,000 (£6,136) while a software developer in the UK makes around £30,974, which is a highly significant difference. In the end, even after paying extra costs like bonuses and total hiring costs, hiring developers from this country will cost you a lot less than it would, to get in-house developers for your project. The market for outsourcing services is still growing for Belarus, so this is a good time to hire developers from the Belarusian IT industry and save a lot of money in the process.

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What to watch out for if hire remote development teams from Belarus 

Whenever you decide to hire outsourced teams for development, there are some key points to remember and implement before proceeding with the actual hiring process. These tips apply to all remote outsourcing for development, irrespective of whether you hire software developers from Belarus or any other nation.

  • Before you proceed with IT outsourcing for web development or any other services, it is important to ensure that you have gone through the entire profile of the software developers carefully. Studying the developer profile and reviews of their work in previous projects, if possible, will help you understand whether that developer has the skills you will need for your work. It is essential to do this before hiring the development team, because otherwise you may be stuck with developers who don’t fully grasp what you want, or can’t completely deliver what you expect.
  • In terms of software development outsourcing, logistical details are more important than they might seem. Deciding upon fixed timelines for project completion, delivery dates, and other important milestones is a very important thing you should do before hiring the development team, and it is equally important to convey these dates and times to the team in advance to avoid confusion.
  • It is often hard to test the skills of a developer if you don’t have a person with technical knowledge in your own team. Therefore it is recommended that you should keep a technical person with you who can accurately assess the developer’s work capabilities so that you get the best possible developers for your project.

While the above pointers are quite important to remember while hiring software developers, there are a few things to consider after the hiring has been done and before or during the project phase as well.

  • Communication is the key to getting the best out of your IT outsourcing experience with remote developers, be it web or mobile app development, custom product development, or any other service. During the project, it is good to keep regular communication between your side and the development team members so that both sides have a clear idea of each other’s progress, requirements, and problems if any. This way there is no misunderstanding, a lot of time is saved and the project can be completed smoothly.
  • As important as it is to have a technical expert test a developer’s capability before hiring, it is equally essential to have such a person on board during the software development project until the end. The presence of this person ensures that any mistakes in the development process can be caught at the early stages and massive loss of time, precious effort, and valuable resources are all avoided.
  • Now it is already known that having both teams on board with the logistical details such as delivery timelines and milestones is very important. But along with that, it is also a good practice to emphasize the fact that these dates should be maintained strictly unless there is some crisis due to which a delay occurs. In the event of such a delay in offshore software development, the responsible team must inform the other side immediately so that there is no disparity in knowledge and communication between the two teams. 

Over the past few decades, the IT market has developed significantly, and more options have come up for companies seeking a quality outsourcing partner globally. However, hiring a remote team for development can be tricky even with the above-mentioned pointers used, because every country that exports outsourcing services, has certain associated drawbacks and difficulties that a company might face when hiring from there. It is important to know fully well about these disadvantages before investing in custom software development services. 

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Disadvantages of software outsourcing to Belarus

When the IT outsourcing business boomed at the close of the 20th century, India and China were at the top of the list of countries to get offshore software development from, as hiring was cheap and there was no dearth of professionals to choose from. However, this popularity peaked and dropped quite a bit because of several factors including but not limited to the massive timezone difference, scams and scandals in the IT sector, and some data violations. At the same time, eastern European countries like Belarus started rising in demand and popularity due to the growing number of skilled software professionals, fairly low hiring cost, and for UK companies, very little difference in time zones. However, there can be some drawbacks and issues with hiring developers from this country, which every company should know about.

While Belarus offers great high-quality solutions for software outsourcing, the developers aren’t known to be as focused and as skilled as developers from neighboring Ukraine. Often, the qualification of the developer and the overall active skill set aren’t paid that much attention to by Belarusian IT companies, which may present quality issues later during projects.

It has also been observed on some occasions that although the IT industry of this country is inclined towards R&D and innovation, the culture is still strict and normative, and as a result, the solutions might seem less creative than those offered by competitor countries such as Ukraine and Romania. So, UK companies should thoroughly verify the developer’s skills and test them before hiring to avoid falling prey to this difficulty.

Another possible disadvantage that a company might or might not face depending on the services they need, is regarding Belarusian law. While it is known that the government has created several laws to encourage foreign entry in the export of outsourcing, the entire system of the country is surrounded by many complex legalities and laws that have to be strictly adhered to. Every company should familiarize themselves with these laws, particularly relating to the entry and exit of foreign firms, before they proceed to outsource software development from this place.

And last but not least, is that 2020 became a revolutionary year for Belarus and brought certain instability to the country. At the same time, Belarusian outsourcing companies that work with international clients value their chance to keep the job during an unstable situation in the country and do all the best to keep delivering on a high level.

Key Takeaways

As the focus for global outsourcing continues to shift away from Asia and towards Eastern European countries like Hungary, Romania, Ukraine, Poland; one of the most attractive options for outsourced development is emerging to be Belarus. The country offers a lot in the outsourcing space for software development, from a growing talent pool of skilled developers, increasing tech and development capacity, to the high comparative cost advantage of hiring. Here are the key takeaways as to why exactly Belarus is a worthy outsourcing partner for UK companies.

  • A growing talent pool of developers. The growing education sector in the country maintains a high literacy rate for the whole population, encourages higher studies through excellent courses offered by technical universities, and provides the impetus for the growth of skilled software developers.
  • Increasing tech infrastructural strength. The IT sector has experienced exponential growth and demand for Belarusian IT outsourcing companies has risen globally. In response, the Belarusian focus on R&D in tech has grown considerably, making it an attractive country for outsourcing software development. 
  • Similar time zones. Since Belarus is only two hours ahead of the UK, it makes real-time communication and collaboration easy for both the development team and the client, facilitating the progress in the project and avoiding wastage of time.
  • One developer team throughout the project. Belarusian developers are working in a growing and prospering IT industry, where they don’t feel the need to shift jobs and teams frequently, and hence companies hiring developers from there can expect a smooth, interruption-free experience working with the same developer team and project manager throughout the project.
  • Multilingual and skilled developers. Developers from Belarus have good proficiency in English and can communicate fluently in English, so there is no fear of miscommunication during the execution of the software development project. They are also highly professional and skilled at their jobs. 
  • Cost-benefit. A major advantage of hiring team members from a Belarus software development company that you save a lot of hiring cost since the cost of hiring Belarusian developers is much less than that of hiring UK developers.

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Written by
Svetlana Shevchuk

Digital Marketing Specialist at YouTeam, a Y Combinator-backed marketplace for building remote dev teams.

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