For a commercially successful software engineering project, location matters. You might know that moving offshore has been an ongoing trend in the IT industry since the 2000s. Whether it was using IT for arranging remote departments for manufacturing goods or for creating software, the primary motivation behind engaging the expat specialists was cost management.

Global hiring should get even more attention after software engineer demand has grown by 17% in 2023. The highest average compensation for developers is:

All those figures could be the reasons for tech business owners to increase hiring budgets (which is not always possible) or to negotiate developer’s compensation. Yet, we’d opt for expanding the hiring geography as a proven optimization strategy.

In this article, we'll take you on a journey through some of the best countries for software engineers to consider in 2024 and the upcoming years. We'll explore why Poland, the Balkans, Armenia, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Spain, and the Baltic States stand out as hotspots for tech teams (and not only in terms of lower expected incomes).

What is The Best Country for Software Developers: 7 Options

In the remote era, one can build a software engineering career from any part of the world. So, it’s possible to hire developers with strong tech backgrounds literally everywhere. At the same time, when a company narrows down its search to several geographical areas with the biggest IT clusters, it wins a bunch of time.

Where Do Skilled Techies Crowd: Best Countries to Work as a Software Engineer

#1. Poland

Poland: a technological gem

Poland has an ideal blend of cost-effectiveness and a supportive legislative environment.

  • Polish robust data protection laws and cybersecurity regulations ensure the safety of software projects.

  • With its nearly 600,000 IT specialists, Poland is the “Silicon Valley of Europe”, making it an enticing destination for companies looking to gather a team for software development projects.

  • Google has pledged to construct a Cloud Data Hub in Warsaw with a budget of two billion US dollars.

  • The Warsaw campus for startups curated by Google has welcomed over 100,000 startups and community members.

#2. The Philippines

The Philippines: a resilient IT location

Here are some reasons for mentioning Philippines when talking about the best countries for software developers.

  • In 2021, The Philippines was named 18th of is the top 50 digital nations, as nearly 1 million people work in the IT sector here.

  • This region demonstrated resilience amid the pandemic by implementing adaptable work arrangements to ensure uninterrupted operations.

  • It is one of the outsourcing destinations preferred by Hewlett Packard, Google, and IBM.

  • The Philippines stick to data privacy regulations like GDPR and are more cost-friendly in contrast to some Latin American countries.

If you like those benefits, seek for developers in Manila, Cebu, Davao City, Bacolod City or Santa Rosa.

#3. Armenia

Armenia: a hidden IT potential

Nestled in the South Caucasus region, Armenia may not be the first country that comes to mind when you’re thinking about the best countries to work as a software engineer. Yet, it's a hidden IT hotbed worth exploring. With a booming IT sector, Armenia has been attracting attention due to its innovative startups and government support for the IT sector.

  • The country's legislation supports intellectual property rights and data protection, making it a secure environment for software development.

  • Armenia's competitive pricing and skilled professionals are driving the growth of its tech industry.

#4. The Czech Republic

The Czech Republic: the heart of Europe’s Tech

With a strong emphasis on STEM education and a favorable legislative environment, The Czech Republic belongs to the best countries for software engineers.

  • Data protection and intellectual property rights are rigorously enforced, ensuring the security of software projects.

  • Czech corporate income tax is 19%. It’s flat and one of the lowest in Europe.

  • The country's competitive operational costs, combined with its central location in Europe, make it a strategic choice for software development.

#5. Portugal

Portugal: where innovation meets lifestyle

Portugal, with its picturesque landscapes and rich history, has more to offer than just tourism. It's rapidly becoming a nominee for “The Best Country for software developers”, known for its balanced lifestyle and skilled specialists.

  • The country's legal framework is pro-business, with incentives for tech startups and foreign investment.

  • Developers in Portugal benefit from a high quality of life and relatively affordable living costs, making it an attractive place to code their way to success.

Portugal stands out as one of the most welcoming countries for cryptocurrencies in Europe. By hiring developers in a country with a positive attitude towards cryptocurrencies, you may gain access to a pool of talented professionals with a deep understanding of the technology and its applications.

  • Portugal provides a tax-free status for crypto assets, attracting crypto traders and investors.

#6. Spain

Spain: a tech hub with a Mediterranean flair

Spain, renowned for its vibrant culture, is making its mark as a tech hub for software engineers. With supportive government policies and initiatives aimed at boosting the tech industry, Spain is gaining traction in the global software development scene.

  • The country's legal framework is well-structured, offering strong protection for software projects and intellectual property.

  • Spain has one of the best telecom infrastructures in Europe, and robust network coverage is one of the decision-making factors when assembling a remote team.

  • Spain's unique blend of tech innovation and the Mediterranean lifestyle provides a compelling reason for software developers to consider this sunny destination one of the best countries to live in as a software engineer.

#7. The Baltic States

The Baltic States: stable economy as a must

Politically, Estonia stands out as one of the most stable countries in the Central and Eastern European region. The country actively adopts e-government solutions and prioritizes cybersecurity.

  • Estonia is the host of NATO's cybersecurity center and the IT agency of the European Union.

  • Skype, TransferWise, and Pipedrive were born in Estonia.

  • Microsoft, Parallels, and SAP have located R&D centers there.

Moreover, the use of cryptocurrencies is sanctioned within Estonia, and the price for crypto licensing is relatively low, which makes this jurisdiction a country of choice for numerous cryptocurrency companies and startups.

  • Transactions involving crypto assets are subject to taxation like traditional business assets.

  • Estonia meets KYC requirements for crypto-related services.

The list of benefits for Latvia and Lithuania is also attention-worthy.

  • Such tech behemoths as Google, Nasdaq, Uber, IBM, Wix, and HP collaborate with Lithuanian specialists and host their R&D centers in this country.

  • Latvia has chosen the Estonian pass to success, so it’s better to pay attention to the Latvian programmers before this destination becomes too popular. Thus, you will have fewer competitors who want to hire your potential Latvian team members.

Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have nearly 150,000 IT specialists working in the actively developing companies and about 3000 students graduating from tech educational institutions each year. It looks like those countries have the potential to be included in your personal chart of the best countries for a software engineer and nearshore or offshore destinations for software development.

Best Countries to Live as a Software Engineer

If you aim to increase the developer’s life cycle within your tech project and get the most stable outcomes possible, think of your team’s recharging. Vacations are a great invention of humanity, but what if specialists are satisfied with their daily lives? Then, they don’t build up the fatigue waiting for the certain dates and prevent burnout as a result.

Wonder if the best country for software engineers could be not less comfortable than the USA or Canada? Well, we’ve outlined those IT-friendly jurisdictions which go side by side with the USA and Canada in the world ranking by the Quality of Life Index.

Quality of Life Index in IT-friendly Zones: Comparison

Country Position in the global ranking by the Quality of Life Index (mid-2023)
Spain 10
Estonia 11
The USA 16
Slovenia 18
Portugal 20
The Czech Republic 23
Croatia 24
Lithuania 25
Canada 27
Latvia 31
Slovakia 33
Poland 38

Hiring Abroad: How to Make It Robust and Simple

Whether you're a software engineer looking for exciting career opportunities or a business owner seeking a cost-effective and innovative destination for software development, the countries we’ve observed are the places to explore. Each of them has its own unique appeal: Poland's Silicon Valley-like ecosystem, the Balkans' emerging powerhouse status, Armenia's hidden gem potential, Portugal's work-life balance, the Czech Republic's central tech hub, or Spain's Mediterranean charm.

In each of the destinations, you can spot unicorn companies and tech startups leveraging AI, gaming, blockchain, and fintech. That means you can spot specialists with strong niche experience.

Moreover, most part of tech specialists in IT-friendly locations fluently speak English, so you can build an international team with ease.

But what if you’re already doing your IT business in the USA, UK, or Germany, for instance? In such a case, it’s also possible to reap the benefits of hiring developers in those 7 IT hubs from the list. Basically, you have 2 options.

Translating EOR into the business benefits: you get an official representative who hires specialists internationally and is the only party responsible for the legal relationships with your hires. Yet, you fully control the workload of those hires and directly shape the project results.

If you choose Outstaff Your Team as your EOR partner, we also can:

  • Define the best country for software developers hiring according to your unique business goals;

  • Analyze talent market taking into account developer rates and tech stacks you specify;

  • Recruit and onboard the best matching candidates;

  • Provide full-cycle talent management services to retain your specialists.

  • Get a high level of data protection due to our certifications like GDPR and CCPA.

FAQ

Which country pays the highest salary for IT jobs?

The USA is one of the best countries for a software developer in terms of expected income. There, the high demand for programmers and relatively expensive living result in the average annual compensation of up to $117K. Outside the USA, it’s possible to find tech specialists with the same skill levels and lower compensation expectations.

Which country pays software engineers the least?

Emerging countries such as Nigeria have the lowest annual pay at $7,255. A lot of Western companies consider India as a destination for tech talent search for its typical compensation of $7,725. In general, we recommend hiring developers from countries which have 1) more optimal development budgets compared to the USA and Canada; 2) more robust IT infrastructure and higher client satisfaction rates compared to India and Nigeria.

Which country is the best for doing software engineering?

You can spot the best country for software engineers among these: Poland, The Philippines, Portugal, Spain, The Czech Republic, Armenia, and the Baltic States. There, you’ll find a mix of skilled professionals, supportive legislative environments, and a high quality of life which boosts software development.

Kateryna joined the IT industry 3 years ago. Reviewing B2B software and related frameworks, she concluded that the best-in-class programs need well-built teams and started to write about tech teams scaling. Her natural habit to improve texts and search for alternative visions comes from working at the publishing house in early youth.

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