June 19, 2021

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Software development services in South Africa

Software development services in South Africa


As early as 2007, South Africa was identified by IT experts as a promising destination for the provision of outsourcing services. In 2021, it is clear that the forecasts were spot on: today SA has a strong presence on the map of the main outsourcing hubs.

What’s in the market that encourages top companies like Accenture, IBM, Deloitte and others to rely on software development companies in Johannesburg? In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the software development services South Africa has to offer, discover the benefits and limitations of hiring a local workforce, and help team managers decide if it’s the right destination for their. needs.

The overview of IT in South Africa

In 2021, the South African economy is relying on the service sector. Statistically, income from a service-based economy (for example, custom software development in South Africa) accounts for two-thirds of the country’s GDP. The government is proactive on creating a business-friendly environment for both local and international entrepreneurs.

Lately, South Africa has a lot to show as proof of the country’s progress and unstoppable growth – here are some impressive facts and figures:

  • The country ranked 60th in the global competitiveness index published by the World Economic Forum, jumping 7 places from the 2018 survey.
  • Tech giants like Google recognize the digital potential of the market: Recently, Google held its first ever “Google in South Africa” ​​conference in Johannesburg.
  • South Africa ranks 12th in the EE English Proficiency Index, a position described by the survey’s creators as an indicator of “very high” language proficiency.
  • South Africa’s custom software development companies are worth $ 1.4 billion and growing at a rate of 13.1%.

We help companies find true talent for projects of any complexity. If you are looking for developers to boost your business, Mobilunity is ready to help you!

The government is well on its way to harnessing the country’s IT potential. Recently, South African leaders announced their goal to train over 1 million professionals in robotics, artificial intelligence, cloud computing and programming.

If you want to hire a remote software developer, South Africa is a viable choice as the IT market is rapidly developing, not fully mature yet. Data protection and security are some of the major weaknesses of the local tech community. According to a PwC report, 32% of local IT companies admitted they were victims of cybersecurity attacks – only a third of these teams had a response plan.

Country profile:

Time zone: GMT + 2

Talent pool: over 410,000 professionals

The largest technology hubs: Pretoria, Lesotho, Cape Town, Durban.

Salary for software developer in South Africa: 32,700 ZAR ($ 2,683)

Innovation level: # 34

Main programming languages: Java, JS, Python, C #

Outsourced development in South Africa: advantages and limitations

As a nascent IT outsourcing market, South Africa has undeniable benefits to offer to business owners: the enthusiasm of South African software developers, agility of operations, and many more. However, along with that excitement and thrust come the limitations fueled by the region’s immaturity as a technology service provider.

To make informed decisions regarding outsourcing, entrepreneurs should carefully examine both the advantages and disadvantages of hiring contractors for custom software development in South Africa.

Benefits of Outsourcing to South Africa:

  • Qualified software developers in South Africa
  • High level of knowledge of the English language
  • Affordable rates
  • The plethora of government-backed initiatives to improve business friendliness
  • Westernized corporate culture

Limitations of Outsourcing to South Africa:

  • Security and data protection issues
  • Smaller talent pool than in other markets
  • 6 hours time difference with the United States
  • Outdated CS education programs

South Africa market alternatives for outsourced software development: Eastern Europe

While South Africa is well on its way to digitization, the local IT environment is, in many respects, unstable or outdated. In general, experts believe that the SA tech talent pool is not large enough to build a complete digital economy.

What does this mean for entrepreneurs? Simply put, if you are looking for a (remote) software developer, it is worth staying on South Africa’s radar, to launch a project earlier, it is better to hire developers in other more stable markets.

As they seek reputable and mature destinations for software outsourcing, more and more business owners recognize the benefits of outsourcing in Eastern Europe. Here is a brief overview of the local IT landscape.

Poland Hungary Romania Ukraine
Talent pool 250,000+ 80,000+ 100,000+ 200,000+
Average salary $ 3,300 $ 3,100 $ 3,100 $ 2,400 *
Knowledge of the English language 16th in the EE EPI Index 14th in the EE EPI Index 17th in the EE EPI Index 44th in the EE EPI Index
Top technologies Java, JS, SQL, PHP, Python SQL, Java, JS, PHP, Python PHP, Java, JS JavaScript, Java, C #, Python

* Ukrainian rates are based on data from our internal recruiting team

Eastern European countries allow entrepreneurs to access larger talent pools and mature outsourcing infrastructures to hire a software developer – South Africa is not yet that well established. In particular, tech hubs like Ukraine attract big tech players like Samsung, Oracle and Amazon have R&D centers here.

What makes Ukraine so attractive to developers compared to Eastern European markets? Let’s explore the benefits of hiring local developers!

Advantages of outsourced software development in Ukraine

Here is the breakdown of the main factors that turn Ukraine into a highly attractive software development outsourcing destination:

  • Large talent pool – Over 200,000 available professionals are working in web and mobile app development and in data science, AI, robotics and IoT.
  • Robust technological infrastructure. There are many tech hubs across the country that nurture and educate tech talent. Cities like Kharkiv and Odesa also have a strong presence on the local startup scene.
  • Business friendliness. Last year, the government enforced the 2020 Strategic Action Plan which overturned a number of outdated regulations and simplified international collaboration with local businesses.
  • High number of technology graduates. With over 36,000 IT graduates annually, Ukraine ranks 4th globally in terms of certified IT specialists. There are nearly 700 technology programs across the country – these courses provide the economy with over 130,000 STEM graduates each year.
  • Cultural affinity to Western values. Due to the country’s geographic proximity to Western Europe, local developers feel a strong bond with peers from Poland, the Czech Republic, the UK and other EU-based hubs, visiting conferences abroad and acquiring best practices in software development. On the other hand, Ukrainian programmers are exposed to programming practices adopted in other Eastern European countries – combining both, and the local workforce is extremely adaptable and diverse.

Ukraine vs. South Africa: where should you hire developers?

Both Ukraine and South Africa share similarities: both economies are heavily dependent on the digital sector. There are vast pools of software developers that South Africa has to offer and they aim to build a presence in innovative fields – AI, robotics and data science, and you can find such a software development company based in Cape Town, in South Africa.

However, there are differences that distinguish Ukraine and South Africa. To determine which market is best suited for your project, take a look at this comparison table side-by-side of Ukraine and South Africa:

Breaking the link between Ukraine and South Africa depends on the needs of the entrepreneurs and the head office of the company.

You should hire a software developer in South Africa if:

  • Your team is working on small-scale web and appr projects.
  • Ease of communication is an entrepreneur’s priority over a solid technological infrastructure.
  • You want to establish a presence in Africa.

You should choose Ukraine rental programmers if:

  • You want to develop innovative projects in the field of games, artificial intelligence or data science.
  • You want to hire reputable suppliers with a solid set of development practices.
  • The company’s headquarters are located in the EU (in this case, Ukraine is a convenient strategic location).

Hire a reliable supplier of software developers in Ukraine – contact mobility

If you have decided to choose Ukraine as your South African outsourcing provider, be sure to hire a supplier with a stellar reputation and years of experience behind the team. Mobilunity is a leading provider of outsourcing services in the region, specializing in application and web development for companies of all scales and sectors.

Here are the reasons to consider outsourcing IT services to Mobilunity:

  • Over 10 years of experience in IT outsourcing.
  • Recognized by Clutch as one of the best B2B companies for 4 consecutive years: 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021.
  • Flexible collaboration that meets the needs of entrepreneurs and is easy to synchronize with core team activities.
  • He has built dedicated teams for over 40 clients from various countries.

Looking for reliable and affordable software developers in South Africa? Hire in Ukraine and get stable IT outsourcing services with Mobilunity!