What an Increased Technology Workforce From Latin America Means for US-based IT Companies Your next nearshore team may be closer than you think.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
With the increasing demand for niche software development skills and the number of smaller tech firms popping up, talented programmers and project managers may be in short supply. Latin American countries are seeing a surge in remote development opportunities for workers, with the prime employers being US and Canada-based firms.
Many experts believe that "upskilling," or providing workers with more advanced skills through additional training and education, is the key to solving the economic problems in many Central and South American countries. According to Hernán Zocco, Director of Communications of Junior Achievement Americas, 80% of Latin American young graduates find it difficult to secure a job, while 40% of companies are complaining that they face difficulty finding skilled workers to carry out jobs. The demand is strong, and thus many software and tech training companies are quickly filling the void for supplying mentoring and education.
Education programs and their effect
One education trying to fill this demand is Oracle Next Education (ONE). With an intensive 6-month training program, the graduates from Oracle's program will have the basic skills needed to build further into niche technology areas of programming. A similar program to Oracle ONE is the IDB Boot Camp, executed by IDB's training arm.
These boot camp programs focus on real-world problems and teach students how to solve them. They also encourage innovation for creative problem-solving, all while attendees learn valuable IT skills. Programs last between three and six months, and the schools work with partner companies to remain up to date on the needs of the software industry as a whole. The curriculum therefore may change as the industry's needs change.
The future of the Latin American IT industry
Like their counterparts in countries across the globe, Latin American IT professionals are primarily work-from-home professionals, although some may be working in a hybrid office environment. For US companies seeking near-source partners, this workplace arrangement may be ideal.
What does this mean for US-based IT companies?
Many smaller IT and software development companies have already realized the benefits of a hybrid workforce, combining in-house project management teams with nearshore specialists to complete certain project phases or provide niche services. The rise in the number of technology specialists in Latin American countries, which are within the same time zones as their US counterparts and have similar work habits and customs, means that smaller development companies have a greater pool of talent to draw from.
The largest challenge for innovative, boutique IT firms is their ability to compete with larger companies that may have entire departments dedicated to specific tasks. Budget-wise, it often doesn't make sense for smaller firms to have the same staffing infrastructure. The increased availability of near-source professionals reduces a company's risk when outsourcing some of its work.