How To Find and Hire Offshore Software Developers to Build an Enterprise Application
Pros and cons of a remote team employment and our experience on taking advantage of the offshore collaboration model.
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Enterprise application development differs from creating an app for a single general end-user; thus, your team should fit a bunch of special requirements. That's perfect if you have an in-house team of developers to build an application for a company. If you don't, consider outsourcing the process of hiring a dedicated team or individual engineers with specific skill sets to a trustworthy partner. In this article, we focus on the pros and cons of a remote team of programmers’ employment and share our experience on taking advantage of the offshore collaboration model.
Why Developing an Enterprise App Is Special
Development of any software product requires high-quality tech expertise and effective team coordination. Yet, solutions for companies are more demanding. To build an enterprise app, one needs a deep knowledge of the business domain and the ultimate understanding of the company's needs.
Let's consider CRM development as an example since this kind of software for enterprises is one of the most widespread. To manage sales processes and communication with customers, companies use the basic patterns. However, in each company, this side of the business has peculiarities. For example, the CRMs for a private clinic and for a marketplace are drastically different.
First, let's consider some factors which are crucial for building an enterprise app; they are taken into account while planning the development, budgeting, and hiring programmers:
- The industry. Enterprise apps for healthcare, marketing, retail, insurance, financial services, and many other fields mirror the industry's peculiarities in management.
- The company's size and structure. The bigger hierarchy entails the bigger app complexity; the number of technologies increases and the requirements for the team's capacity enhance.
- The nuances of business processes. Company A uses five templates for sales documents; to draw an invoice, a sales rep should do three steps. In company B, there are eight types of sales documents; an invoice can be made in one step. Two CRMs for these two companies will be different since they should reflect the procedures, schemes, and algorithms of each business.
Enterprise software products differ in all facets of app development: UI/UX design, software architecture, data organization, and tech stack. The excellent product is optimized for the company it's built for and meets security, scalability, usability, and cost-efficiency requirements.
So, software projects for businesses differ considerably; the peculiarities between two types of apps – consumer (developed for an end-user) and enterprise – are much more significant. It's arguable that consumer app development is, to say roughly, simpler. An app of high quality requires much tech expertise; its development is time-consuming and costly, regardless of the business model and the target audience. However, an enterprise app is usually more cumbersome since the requirements for security and the data pipeline capacities are higher. An enterprise app should allow the business to scale up easily. Adaptability to an enterprise's existing software is crucial for boosting the company's productivity.
To build an outstanding software product for an enterprise, you need a team of programmers versed in all aspects of developing this kind of apps. The more experience your team has, the shorter your path to success.
Benefits of Hiring an Offshore Development Team
You hire offshore when your staff works remotely from another country. The region is distant, and the time zone difference between the two countries is considerable. (If the region that provides you with people is in close proximity, you hire nearshore). The widespread notion on why companies contract offshore teams of developers is that it all comes down to cost-effectiveness. This point of view is well-founded; however, it's just a part of the truth. When you choose a dentist, you hardly use a price list as a single or key criterion for comparing the alternatives. The same is with app development. When the profit and the company's survival are at stake, you're inclined to back up your decision with more than one argument. Let's provide a bigger picture of the benefits of collaboration with an offshore software development team.
“When you choose a dentist, you hardly use a price list as a single or key criterion for comparing the alternatives. The same is with app development.”
By hiring developers offshore, an employer takes advantage of comparatively lower pay rates considered adequate by developers in Eastern Europe or Asia. Devs whose salary expectations are lower than those of Google engineers can have enough experience to contribute to developing innovative projects. Hence, companies can benefit from a good balance of investments and profits.
Remote work itself is a factor in cost reduction. According to a Capgemini Research Institute survey, a business owner can save up to 43 percent of the real estate expenditures with a remote team. As FlexJobs data claims, full-time remote mode saves up to $12,000 per year. It's worth trying out, isn't it?
Bigger Pool of Candidates
When you choose the offshore model, you open up broader opportunities for your team. The amount of potential fits increases significantly since you can reach out to devs in any region. The benefits from the increased availability of talented engineers are apparent:
- higher chances of finding a programmer with the required tech skills, professional background, seniority level, communication skills, and command of English;
- reduced time of the search; the project starts without delays.
Contracting devs from different countries feels like the world is your oyster. According to Statista, the number of developers worldwide will reach 28 million by 2024. All of these professionals will be your pool of potential candidates as soon as you're ready to hire engineers overseas.
The effect of social diversity on a team's performance is multifaceted. At least, such an idea comes to mind after studying the notions review made by scientists from the Institute for International Business (Vienna). Cultural diversity is a double-edged sword. It could cause conflicts; at the same time, it's a source of innovations.
While the topic is still on the researchers' radars and the debates are ongoing, we get inspiration from studies highlighting diversity's perks. For example, a Boston Consulting Group study states that the higher diversity in leadership teams results in more innovations and better financial performance.
We couldn't say it better to describe STARNAVI's experience than Priyanka Sharma, Executive Director at Cloud Native Computing Foundation, did: "I see the world of open source software development embodying the very essence of what I call diversity-powered resilience, which means that the more diverse something is, the more resilient it will be".
Hiring developers overseas is a magic bullet for long-term projects when a team needs specific tech expertise in certain steps of software product creation. You plan to fill such positions in advance; however, your intentions can clash with the labor market capacities. Team augmentation is an opportunity to hire a dev with the required skill set for a fixed period. By hiring developers remotely, you provide your team with outstanding flexibility that, in turn, gives you extra power to outshine the competitors.
Offshore developers are used to pitching themselves in the highly competitive market. They are accustomed to requirements of American and Western European companies; hense most of them meet employers' expectations. Devs from Eastern Europe show high motivation and work ethics, which make them comfortable in communication and reliable in dealing with deadlines. All these features add up to distributed team productivity.
Challenges of Offshore Enterprise Software Development
The potential drawbacks of hiring developers offshore can be overcome; the benefits usually outweigh the risks. However, one should see the vulnerabilities to get the most out of collaboration with a remote team.
Time Zone Differences
When a project manager in New York enjoys a morning coffee while planning the working day, a developer in Kyiv is happy to accomplish the lion's share of the daily tasks. Scheduling meetings can be challenging when the difference in time is up to nine hours.
How to overcome
In many cases, the time difference won't be a challenge at all. Developers who are eager to contribute to American projects are flexible. They are ready to adjust their schedules to the employer's timing. Such tools for project management as Jira, Asana, Trello, and many others allow a distributed team to coordinate work productively despite the limited opportunities for online meetings.
Weaknesses of Remote Management
When you work with a distributed team of developers, managing it can feel like not-so-tangible. This feeling is especially keen in the case of an augmented team when part of your staff is in-house, and the other one consists of remote engineers. You communicate with the latter less often. Communication is based predominantly on emailing, which is far as comfortable as in-person meetings. Sometimes you're not sure if your remote developer works or slack off.
How to overcome
You can always track your remote engineers’ activities using special software tools to make sure what they are busy with. However, you hardly need such surveillance if the job is done properly and within deadlines. The first couple of weeks usually shows if a developer is so highly motivated and professionally mature that micromanagement is excessive. (A reliable staffing partner finds it out while vetting and introduces to you developers able to work productively as a part of a distributed team).
From the project management perspective, remote team coordination rests on the same principles as any other software development team supervision, either in-house or outsourced. You succeed by setting the tasks properly, providing the resources, keeping your team's motivation high, and exchanging feedback. Much experience, plenty of rapport, powerful software tools, and a significant fraction of mastery – nothing extra :)
The Lack of Face-To-Face Communication
People still need in-person conversations with colleagues to stay engaged and motivated. As neuro-scientists from the University of Iowa discovered, touch incentivizes trust. From this point of view, a handshake is a versatile deal-maker; it builds rapport subconsciously while you appeal to logic by rational reasoning.
How to overcome
One can't provide a handshake during a meeting in Zoom or Google Meet. The good news is that you can still make your online communication effective. If the words themselves transmit about 7% of the information, and the other contributors are the way we talk (38%) and the facial expression (55%), then the goal is to provide high-quality sound and picture.
Of course, it's not that simple. To deeply engage your team in developing a software product, you need special events – the online substitutes for face-to-face meetings. Celebrate birthdays, play games, and work out together. And don't forget about feedback. Your developers will tell you gladly what they need to feel inspired.
Hiring people is challenging anyway. The number of details one should focus on doubles when you hire offshore. An employer needs expertise in the legislation of two countries: where the business is conducted and where developers dwell. To hire offshore, one needs a legal entity – a company that takes responsibility for salary and taxes payment and provides other services according to the local laws.
Needless to say that legal compliance is essential. Refraining from signing just one of the documents – such as the NDA, for example – undermines the business's position in the market, damages reputation, and, finally, can cost a profit loss.
How to overcome
You can either use your own expertise to handle legal issues or outsource the job to a reliable partner. The most beneficial solution is to collaborate with an IT recruitment company that operates in the same market where you're going to find your software development gems. Such a partner will help you avoid a great many hurdles and hidden costs.
There are two facets of the endeavor when it comes to providing security. The first one is technical. You share sensitive information with your distant developers via emails and other channels for data exchange; your team members use the company's apps and other tools, and access to them is the point of vulnerability. Human factors cause another group of risks. Developers work with sensitive data; hence, data leakage is possible when people aren't accurate while using or sharing information.
How to overcome
Cloud services, VPN, custom solutions for security assurance allow companies to use encrypted tunnels for data exchange, ensure multi-factor authorization, and prevent accounts from takeover and fishing attacks. So, there is no need for business to compromise on flexibility while keeping the high level of security. As for the individual aspect, an NDA is a magic wand. By signing such an agreement, both parties eliminate the risk of sensitive data loss.
Step-By-Step Process of Hiring the Best Offshore Development Team
If you're inclined to hire developers using your in-house resource, be ready for a marathon; chances are it will be tiring. Unless you have a team of recruiters, you may want to outsource some tasks, vetting in particular. You'll definitely want to delegate legal issues and paperwork to a staffing partner since it optimizes hiring a lot. It's up to you – to decide what model is the most cost-efficient and allows your team to fill positions within outlined deadlines. We are going to sketch for you the general schema and dwell your attention on the crucial details.
Step 1. Set the Requirements
Start with making a clear vision of what kind of developers you need. Focus on the following criteria:
- tech stack;
- seniority level;
- background and previous experience;
- personal traits and values;
- level of English.
There are other essential details. Since you will work with engineers from different time zones, it's wise to take care that your working hours overlap. How many common hours would you like to have?
Another important question is: What tech skills do you consider essential, and which are optional? It's possible that you won't find the perfect fit; by excluding just one point from your list of requirements you broaden the pool of devs worth contacting and speed up the search.
Step 2. Make Up Your Mind on Where to Search
What sources of information you'll find helpful depends on your approach to hiring remote developers. Is your goal to find freelancers one by one, or do you expect to hire the whole team? Or, you're interested in partnership with an IT staffing agency to get the all-in-one solution. For all these destinations, the paths are different:
- Upwork is suitable for searching for freelancers; it's also possible to find a team of engineers here, like classic outsource agencies;
- Clutch is perfect for hiring dedicated teams from a diverse list of agencies;
- LinkedIn allows networking with remote developers and staffing companies.
Why not google sites, platforms, and groups in social media where you can find devs for your projects? Communication with potential candidates is time-consuming, and after a week of chatting and elaborating on the details may seem routine; however, staying excited and inspired while meeting with IT savvies is up to you.
Step 3. Vetting
After CVs screening and email exchange with the most prominent devs, it's time to narrow down the number of candidates you're ready to meet online. Companies estimate developers' skills through vetting – the well-structured and honed procedure used by recruiters and senior developers to hand-pick potential team members. The core part of vetting is the hard skills assessment. STARNAVI's piece of advice is to avoid the one-dimensional appraisal. To get a well-rounded impression of a developer's skill set, engage more than one examiner and more than one test. At STARNAVI, to obtain multidimensional estimation, recruiters and internal examiners with solid practical background use code reviews, live coding sessions, and tech interviews.
Step 4. Hiring and Onboarding
First, you negotiate with potential fits and make an offer to the best one. It's highly desirable to offer a competitive salary and benefits package to keep a developer motivated from the very start.
Then, you sign a contract, an NDA, and other documents required by employment legislation. An employer sets up accounting for a new team member.
The next stage is onboarding. A team welcomes a new teammate. A developer masters the tools needed for communication and managing the routine.
When you hire a dedicated team, you skip the step of a newbie's adaptation to the rest of the gang. You get a group of engineers able to work as a whole, providing a synergy effect and boosting productivity.
Things go easier if hiring a programmer offshore is guided by an experienced IT staffing partner representing the region you're hiring from. Such a partnership ensures reliable vetting, legal compliance, and business process support in signing contracts and accounting.
Where to Find Offshore Development Team
Size of programming language communities worldwide as of 2022 (in millions)
Unless you're not ready to play a lottery, you can rely on the notions backed up by the IT industry evolution and a bit of statistics.
When companies are interested in hiring software developers overseas, the key criterion is a cost-revenue ratio. The second part of this balance implies that not only developers' salary expectations meet your budget, but also programmers are skilled enough to make outstanding software products. In today's world, three regions are considered capable of providing talented devs whose expected pay rates are lower than those in the U.S. or Western Europe. These are Eastern Europe, Asia, and Latin America.
How to find the perfect destination for hiring a remote team of developers? If we were you, we'd pay attention to the following factors:
- an average pay rate – an easily estimated criterion that remains essential;
- the developers' community strength – the number of hubs, successful teams, and ambitious projects brought to life;
- top positions in IT ratings;
- English literacy;
- working hours overlap;
- cultural proximity.
As for the ratings, here is one of them – the top of the countries which deliver the best developers, according to the 2022 Pentalog report. As you can see at a glance, four positions out of the top ten are occupied by Eastern European countries. The number of software developers in the region reaches 1,051,000 experts. Engineers from Eastern Europe stand out with reasonable pay rates and a command of English from moderate to high (table 1).
Table 1. Pay rate and English literacy level of software developers in Eastern Europe.
*According to YouTeam.
**According to EF English Proficiency Index.
Engineers from Eastern Europe have lower salaries than those in the U.S. (table 2).
Table 2. Software developers’ salaries in the U.S. and Eastern Europe.
Eastern European software engineers’ level of English literacy varies from moderate to very high, according to EF English Proficiency Index. Another feature that makes devs from the region attractive for hiring offshore is a culture code close to the Western European one and a strong work ethic.
English Proficiency Index, Europe, 2022
The rate of revenue in the Eastern European IT outsourcing domain is expected to grow to $5.94bn by 2027, so the world is ready to entrust responsibilities to the IT companies from Eastern Europe and invest in the projects.
Ukraine is the first of the top countries in the region with the largest pool of software engineers; Poland is the runner-up. Since 2007, Ukraine has taken place in the TOP 30 of Gartner's list of the best countries for offshore outsourcing. Despite difficulties, Ukrainian teams handle energy shortages and grow their expertise. With STARNAVI, you'll find your dream team of developers in Eastern Europe with full support while searching, negotiating, and hiring.
Build Your Offshore Development Team With STARNAVI
STARNAVI's expertise in hiring offshore dates back to 2016, when two company's founders, developers themselves, set up a business, keeping in mind a goal to provide all-inclusive staffing services instead of fragmented recruitment duties.
Since then, STARNAVI has become a remote team of experts ready to pave your way to developing competitive software products. From the first call to the happy ending when a developer comes aboard and brings you the first ROI, we're here, right next to your team, immersed in your challenges, and eager to get the result.
Before we became seasoned staffing experts, we went through the tribes and tribulations of the competitive market and optimized the processes in our own company to provide you with cost-efficient and full-fledged solutions. Today we're proud to tell you about our strengths since they are confirmed by practice.
Give us a hint about what developers you expect to see in morning meetings – and we'll add the gems to your collection of gifted professionals. We stay in touch with a large pool of devs who represent all software domains: web, mobile, and enterprise apps; sites, platforms, and tools. Should you need a front-end or back-end developer, a QA specialist, or a DevOps engineer, STARNAVI is on a mission to find a perfect match for your projects.
We've developed a time-efficient, goal-oriented, and comprehensive procedure for developer's skill set estimation. Vetting goes naturally, and all the participants feel elated – while STARNAVI's recruiters and tech experts map a candidate's strengths and weaknesses to provide you with the best team of remote developers. Well-structured interviews, multidimensional evaluation, and the tech examination provided by senior engineers are STARNAVI's hallmarks.
Our legal entity in the EU allows our clients to hire in Eastern Europe with full compliance. After you outsource the hiring formalities to a reliable partner once, you'll make it a habit, since it saves plenty of time and effort. Feel free to get accounting services, payroll, and benefits management as a bonus.
Why STARNAVI, all in all?
If this question were a challenge, a password would be “warranties”. Partnership with an IT staffing company is secure. When you shake hands with a freelancer, your business plans depend on your new team member's intentions. Not so solid ground you'd like to launch, does it? We'll back up your trust with warranties. An engineer can't quit a project out of the blue. If you find a new teammate not as skilled as you expected, we'll make a replacement to avoid even a short-term dip in your expertise.
STARNAVI's business process outsourcing services are also an advantage you can benefit from. Focus on the issues that bring you profits and leave the legal issues and paperwork to us.
Mentorship is what makes us different and allows our clients to assimilate the new developers smoothly. We stay in touch with our devs and are always ready to help them keep up with tech trends and stay updated with IT industry innovations.
What makes STARNAVI's team special, beyond skills and expertise, is our eagerness to provide comprehensive solutions that cover most of our clients' needs in hiring remote developers. We're happy when your team is productive, flexible, and able to move mountains!
An opportunity to hire developers offshore could be a silver bullet for teams that need easy scaling up, cost-efficient contracting, and legal issues assistance. While considering the destinations for search, a team should use such criteria as the average pay rate, quality of expertise, English proficiency, working hours overlapping, and mental proximity.
Today, three regions are considered advantageous for hiring software engineers overseas: Eastern Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Employers from the U.S. and Western Europe prefer to work with developers from Eastern European countries. The reasons for that are as follows:
- reasonable pay rate;
- skillfulness at the broad array of technologies;
- the versatile mindset with a great potential for adaptability.
Ukraine obtains the top positions in ratings of the most beneficial destinations in the region.
The hiring process includes several steps; each requires recruitment and tech expertise. A company can handle the task by itself or outsource the search, vetting, and signing of contracts to an IT staffing partner. The second option helps save time and costs and allows an employer to streamline the effort to develop the business instead of tackling CVs screening, interviews, appraisals, and the pile of paperwork.
STARNAVI has proficient expertise in hiring software developers overseas. The team of IT recruiters and tech experts provides a comprehensive set of services in searching, vetting, and hiring developers and dedicated teams. The key advantages of STARNAVI as an IT staffing partner are the multidimensional vetting procedure, strong expertise in business process management (accounting, payroll, signing contracts and NDAs), a legal entity in the EU, and ability to provide full legal compliance. STARNAVI's experts are happy to help you build a strong team of developers able to create competitive software products.