7 reasons for outsourcing software development to Hungary in 2024

When you search for the best software development outsourcing destinations, Hungary is one of the countries that is often mentioned, and rightly so. The country is home to thousands of expert developers and many software development companies, and the IT sector, in general, is a booming industry in Hungary.

But outsourcing software development to any country is not a simple decision, and you need to perform an in-depth analysis of many aspects of the country. That’s why we have analyzed various factors in Hungary and compiled them together in a clear and concise list. Here are six reasons that make Hungary an excellent outsourcing destination for software development.

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Country overview

  • Capital: Budapest
  • Official Languages: Hungarian
  • Currency: Forint (HUF), Ft
  • Population: 9,709,786
  • Timezone: Central European Summer Time CEST, UTC +2
  • Number of developers: 80,100
  • Average developer’s salary: $54,291 ⁽*¹⁾
  • Business Climate: A3 ⁽*²⁾
  • Risk Assessment: A4 ⁽*³⁾
  • Political Stability: 0.9 ⁽*⁴⁾
  • Ease of doing business: 73.4 ⁽*⁵⁾

⁽*¹⁾ according to Glassdoor, Senior Software Engineer, 7-9 years of experience.

⁽*²⁾ according to Coface. It includes the ease of running a business, the political situation in the country, and whether the legal system provides fair conditions and business protection for companies. Rating scales: A1, A2, A3, A4, B, C, D, and E.

⁽*³⁾ according to Coface. It refers to the country’s ability to transfer currency for foreign payments. Rating scales: A1, A2, A3, A4, B, C, D, and E.

⁽*⁴⁾ according to The World Bank. These statistics show the political stability and absence of violence. It ranges from -2.5 (lowest) to 2.5 (highest).

⁽*⁵⁾ according to The World Bank Doing Business 2020 report.

Hungarian tech talent pool

The number one factor you need to consider when outsourcing to any country is the quality of tech freelancers. And Hungary has a good record in terms of the country’s talent pool.

There is a constant influx of fresh Hungarian developers in the country as about 3,000 IT students graduate annually on average in Hungary. About 70 institutions offer IT and computing programs in Hungary, and six of their universities have been listed in the QS World University Rankings. It’s safe to say that they have a reliable education system that produces thousands of potential developers every year.

As of 2022, Hungary had a little over 80,100 professional developers among its population of over 9.7 million people. And it’s not just about the numbers; they are equally impressive in terms of quality and talent. Comparison and ranking of IT skills conducted by Coursera in 2022, Hungary in the top 30 with a score index of 72% in technology and 78% in data science, which indicates that most developers in the country are incredibly skilled at their profession. In addition, according to the Global Innovation Index 2022, Hungary is in the top 50 among the most developed countries in terms of technology and science. 

In terms of the most popular programming languages and technologies, Hungary follows world trends. The majority of Hungarian developers are skilled in JavaScript, HTML/CSS, Python, Java, PHP, SQL, and React. Most of the outsourcing companies will suggest web and mobile app development (on Android or iOS).

So the talent pool of IT specialists and software developers in Hungary maintains impressive standards in terms of quality and quantity. They produce sufficient IT graduates every year and already have a decent population of skilled and talented engineers active in their workforce, freelancing or being involved in outsourcing development services.

Infrastructure of IT and software development industry of Hungary

Hungary has seen growth and progress in its IT and software development industry in the past few years. Revenue generated by the export of ICT services in Hungary reached $3,12 millions in 2022, and continues growing at an average of 14% each year.. Budapest, the capital of Hungary, is the primary IT hub of the country, where most of the developers and companies are situated. Debrecen, Pécs, Szeged, and Miscols are some other cities that also serve as important IT hubs after Budapest.

There are many well-established software development companies in Hungary that work with such well-known companies as Borta, Agemni, GSK, Ericsson, Philip Morris, T-Mobile, Kodak Alaris, Microsoft, Avon, McDonald’s, T-Mobile, and many others.

These are just clients of a few of the top web development software developing companies, and there are many other companies, too, with teams of expert developers with years of experience and impressive portfolios. Hungary also has a favorable environment for IT startups, so new, energetic, and potential companies also regularly enter the industry.

Such a progressive system and infrastructure of the IT industry in Hungary is also backed equally by their government. There are tax relief schemes and plans for the R&D sector in Hungary, and the government even doubled the financial aid for the 2016-2020 session in the R&D sector. Now, Hungarian R&D offices perform at 37.9% of the UE average.

Suitable time zone of Hungarian development companies

When outsourcing any services to offshore locations, it’s essential to coordinate the workflow, and that is where time zones play an important role. Considerable differences in time zones make it difficult to coordinate with outsourcing companies. So for workflow optimization,  it’s always preferable to select a destination where time zones are close enough.

Hungary is appropriately situated in the GMT+2 time zone, so it’s just a few hours of difference from Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries. Even the USA and Canada are only 6 hours behind Hungary, which is an acceptable difference. There will even be instances where you might need to visit the software company to personally monitor the work. In such cases, the flight time from CEE countries to Hungary is about 2 hours, and around 4 hours from Western European countries. Flight time between the USA/Canada and Hungary ranges from 12 to 14 hours, which is also a manageable journey.

Thus, Hungary is perfectly located in a time zone that is easy to coordinate with most European countries. Those in the US will not face difficulty coordinating with software development companies in Hungary. This is a big factor that improves project management and regular communication between both parties when you outsource to Hungary.

Low staff attrition rates in Hungarian software outsourcing companies

When you’re outsourcing services, another crucial element to look upon is the attrition rate of companies. Low attrition rates indicate that employees tend to stick around longer in one company, while a high attrition rate means that staff is often leaving and being replaced. It’s a no-brainer that outsourcing to companies with low attrition rates is always preferable. Even a single staff member resigning during an ongoing project can create many problems and disrupt the workflow.

Keeping that in mind, why it comes across as good news that the major IT hubs in Hungary have significantly lower employee attrition rates? In 2022, statistics regarding business services in Hungary showed that the voluntary employee attrition rate in the country was 22.7%. It indicates that most Hungary application development companies tend to retain their workforce, and employees find satisfaction in working for many years in the same organization.

E-commerce software development projects are usually long-term. It can take anywhere from 5 or 6 months to more than a year to complete the development of good quality software for different types of applications. With a lower attrition rate, it’s highly unlikely for the project to be disrupted by the sudden departure of one or more people involved. Developers in Hungary are mostly satisfied with the companies they work for, so you can rely on them to see the project to the end smoothly.

English proficiency

The population of Hungary is generally comfortable with the English language. They are among the most fluent and well-versed non-native English speakers. They will be able to explain their ideas clearly and understand the ideas of others, which will help them to collaborate better and create better software.

Professional service delivery from Hungarian outsourcing partners

Technical expertise is not the only decisive factor when outsourcing software development. The project management skills and work ethics of companies is also important factor that determines how capable they are of delivering the work professionally and fully meeting the client’s expectations.

Full-stack software development companies in Hungary hold high standards when it comes to delivering professional services. You can find here small teams of up to 10 employees that worked with big names like Microsoft and Avon. At the same time, there are plenty of big companies with more than 250 developers on board that work with top clients like GSK.

It shows the proficiency of software companies in Hungary to deliver professional services as per the client’s demands regardless of their workforce. The team of freelance developers is equipped with not just technical expertise but the experience and management skills required to take on projects for some of the biggest clients and still deliver top-quality services.

Cost of outsourcing software development to Hungary

Lastly, it’s time to discuss the cost of outsourcing in Hungary and how cheap or expensive it can be to outsource software development projects. Hourly rates for PHP and Android software developers in Hungary range from $40 to $60. These are average figures, and experienced senior developers, DevOps, team leads, and architects may charge more than $60/hour, or you may find some new and emerging developers occasionally willing to work below $40/hour.

In Western Europe and North America, high-quality backend and frontend software development rates start at $58/hour, even at a basic level. They can go as high as a few hundred dollars if you look for experienced developers.

According to Indeed, an average developer in Hungary earns about $43,7K a year, while in the US, this number can reach almost $119K per year, and in the UK, it’s more than $61K per year.

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Comparatively, Hungary is a cheaper destination while still maintaining a similar level of technical skills. One of the main reasons for it is that cost of living in Hungary isn’t too expensive. So it proves to be an excellent outsourcing destination for software development where the rates and project costs will be cheaper than countries in the Western part of Europe or the USA.

Hungarian developers’ rates based on technology

We compared the average hourly rates of developers for various technologies in demand, to the corresponding rates in Hungary and the United States. We also include average rates for software developers from the YouTeam database, in addition to local job boards and services such as Glassdoor, Payscale, and Indeed.

The average salary of Hungarian and US developers are compared in two columns. The total does not include bonuses, hiring costs, or expenses (e.g., for equipment/tools/software) – these figures only represent the base salaries of engineers hired from their local markets. The total cost of hiring a software developer from an outsourcing agency can be seen in the YouTeam rates column.

Technology Average Hungarian developer’s rates Average US developer’s rates Average rates in YouTeam
JavaScript $16 $78 $59
Python $22 $73 $62
Java $19 $64 $55
PHP $22 $68 $60
ReactJS $23 $65 $55
NodeJS $17 $68 $62

Source: Erieri, SalaryExpert, PayScale, YouTeam

Hourly rates to hire senior developers from Hungary

Hungarian programmers who have the necessary skills and experience in developing sophisticated software are highly sought-after by many well-established companies.

Data gathered about hourly salary rates for senior developers in Hungary is displayed below. You can also see the comparison with US rates, as well as the cost of hiring a Hungarian software developer through YouTeam.

Technology Senior Hungarian developer’s rates Senior US developer’s rates Senior rates in YouTeam
JavaScript $33 $91 $65
Python $35 $92 $68
Java $47 $82 $67
PHP $54 $83 $67
ReactJS $38 $85 $64
NodeJS $42 $87 $65

Source: SalaryExpert, Glassdoor, Indeed, YouTeam

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Some things to watch out for when outsourcing development to Hungary

Despite all the benefits of outsourcing machine learning software development to Hungary, there are several things to watch out for, such as:

Financial and tax regulations

Hungary is a part of the EU, so if you’re based in an EU country as well, the financial and tax laws may not be a big deal. But if you’re based out of the EU, it’s essential to be acquainted with the tax rules applicable in Hungary, as it will also influence the cost of outsourcing your web applications project.

Be wary of low-quality developers

Hungary indeed has an impressive talent pool of developers, and its IT sector is also growing successfully every year. However, you still can’t rule out the possibility of coming across below-average developers and agencies occasionally that might tempt you with lower rates and high hopes. It’s unlikely to happen but not wholly impossible, so perform a thorough background check on any software development agency before deciding to outsource to them.

Small vs. big agencies

When you decide to outsource to Hungary, you’re bound to face confusion – whether to hire a small team of developers or a bigger development team from a company with over 100 programmers. The benefit of outsourcing to a smaller team of developers is that you can easily coordinate with them and get their full attention to your project. On the other hand, larger companies bring a lot more experience and project management skills to the table. Still, you won’t be getting their undivided attention as they probably take on multiple projects.

If deadlines are tight for you and the project needs to be done within a shorter timeframe, an agency with a bigger team may be the right fit. On the other hand, smaller agencies are suitable for projects where you desire complete attention from developers, and you can afford to bend the deadlines as long as the project comes out top-notch.

Disadvantages of outsourcing to Hungary

There’s no denying that Hungary is a superb outsourcing destination for software development, but realistically speaking, there are some disadvantages as well, which must be openly discussed before hiring software engineers.

Lack of options for IT hubs

When you’re outsourcing to Hungary, the best location is clearly going to be Budapest. Apart from that, you have 2 or 3 other cities worth consideration. The majority of Hungary’s IT talent is concentrated in its capital, so you have few options to explore in terms of location.

Less number of developers

Hungary is one of the less populated countries, and though they have thousands of talented developers, the total numbers are not as big compared to neighboring Eastern European countries. So if you were to compare with countries like Ukraine, Poland, or Romania, the overall quantity of developers is lesser in Hungary.

Summary and key takeaways

So, to sum things up, here’s a recap of all the things that makes Hungary an excellent outsourcing destination for software development:

  • They have thousands of talented developers with a high level of technical skills. Their education system also produces many promising IT graduates annually.
  • The IT industry in Hungary is growing rapidly. Budapest and a few other cities in Hungary are home to many exceptional software development agencies.
  • Time zone differences between Hungary and other European countries and the North American region are relatively small, making it easier to coordinate outsourced projects.
  • Hungary has very low staff attrition rates, so there are fewer projects getting disrupted by the departure of employees and team members.
  • Software agencies in Hungary maintain very high standards of professional services and are highly capable of delivering the needs of clients.
  • The cost of outsourcing and average hourly rates of developers is comparatively less in Hungary.

Of course, along with these benefits, there are a few downsides to outsourcing to Hungary. There might be minor issues with English communication skills, and there are very few IT hub locations in the country as well as a smaller pool of developers compared to other Eastern European destinations. However, the pros mostly outweigh the cons, so it’s definitely an excellent decision to consider outsourcing software development to Hungary.

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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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