Costa Rica and its Success in Software Development
It is a reality that Costa Rica is one of the main countries for software development. Many companies in the United States and other countries focused their sights on this small Central American nation.
The reason for this “success” in this matter has a lot to do with its history and how it came to possess and, even, be at the level and even above other countries that have historically been preferred for software development.
So, what does history and political decisions have to do with the success of software development in Costa Rica?
The market may not be as tough as Silicon Valley in San Francisco or Silicon Alley in New York, United States, but it is competitive nonetheless. There are dozens of outsourcing software development companies based in Costa Rica, and many major companies have a large presence there.
Costa Rica is home to five million people and a strong workforce that places a lot of emphasis on education. With a mission to become a fully bilingual nation in the next decade, Costa Rica is encouraging students to pursue careers in the technology sector, and the results so far are impressive. Technology exports are high and hundreds of technology companies have established offices in the country.
In fact, this data is quite interesting and also helps to measure a little of what we are talking about: 29 of the Fortune 100 companies have operations in Costa Rica, including Dole, Amazon, P&G, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Intel and IBM. More than 97% of Costa Rica’s population is literate, one of the highest rates in Latin America.
Good education, stable government, and a great business partner. In 1948, Costa Rica dissolved its army and redirected its funds towards education. With an education first philosophy, Costa Rica’s younger generation began learning English very early and have been using it for most of their lives.
Costa Rica and the United States have a long and formal diplomatic relationship, and trade between the two countries is strong. High-quality agricultural exports, such as coffee, bananas, and sugar, make Costa Rica a strong trading partner, and the country’s political stability and relatively high levels of education make foreign investment in Costa Rica very attractive. Costa Rica ensures one of the highest levels of foreign direct investment per capita in Latin America.
The combination of external investment, strong educational systems, and high levels of English proficiency creates an environment that produces a talented workforce and provides an excellent source of recent job-seeking graduates.
Added to all this is the fact that this country has shown constant economic growth over the last 25 years, based on openness to foreign investment and gradual trade liberalization. Although the COVID-19 pandemic will affect tourism and trade, and will see a contraction in areas such as agriculture and construction, what is expected is that this year will have a significant rebound hand in hand with the recovery in the United States. Costa Rica was the first country in Latin America where a confirmed case was reported, it is now being hailed as one of the most successful nations in the world in its fight to control the virus.
The truth is that the decision to strengthen education, above other interests, has paid off. While in many other countries they allocate large budgets to the purchase of weapons and to grow their armies, others like Costa Rica took a different course and their software development is one of the many proofs of how well it works.