Software Development Services South Africa: Overview, Pros, and Cons

Back in 2007, South Africa was spotted by IT experts as a promising outsourcing service delivery destination. In 2021, it’s clear that the forecast was spot-on – today, SA has a powerful presence on the map of top outsourcing hubs. 

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

The Overview of IT in South Africa

In 2021, the South African economy relies on the service industry. Statistically, the income from a service-based economy (e.g. South Africa custom software development) accounts for two-thirds of the country’s GDP. The government is proactive about creating a business-friendly environment both for local and international business owners. 

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

  • The country ranked 60th in the Global Competitiveness Index released by the World Economic Forum, jumping 7 positions from the 2018th survey. 
  • Tech giants like Google recognize the digital potential of the market – recently, Google held its first-in-history “Google in South Africa” conference in Johannesburg. 
  • South Africa ranks 12th in the EE English Proficiency Index – a position described by survey creators as an indicator of “very high” language fluency. 
  • South Africa custom software development companies have a $1.4 billion value and grow at a 13.1% rate. 

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

The government is on track to leveraging the IT potential of the country. Recently, South African leaders announced a goal to train over 1 million professionals in Robotics, AI, Cloud computing, and Programming. 

If you want to hire a remote software developer, South Africa is a sound choice since the IT market is rapidly developing, it hasn’t fully matured yet. Data protection and security are some of the major pain points of the local tech community. According to a PwC report, 32% of local IT firms admitted to being cyber-security attack victims – only a third out of these teams had a response plan. 

Country Profile: 

Time zone: GMT+2

Talent pool: over 410,000 professionals

Biggest tech hubs: Pretoria, Lesotho, Cape Town, Durban.

South Africa software developer salary: 32,700 ZAR ($2.683)

Level of innovation: #34

Top programming languages: Java, JS, Python, C#\

Outsourcing Development to South Africa: Benefits and Limitations

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

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

Benefits of Outsourcing to South Africa:

  • Skilled software developers in South Africa
  • High level of English proficiency
  • Affordable rates to hire SW developer
  • The plethora of government-backed initiatives to improve business friendliness
  • Westernized business culture

Limitations of Outsourcing to South Africa:

  • Security and data protection concerns
  • Smaller talent pool compared to other markets
  • 6 hours of time zone difference with the US
  • Outdated CS education curriculums

South Africa Market Alternatives For Outsourcing Software Development: Eastern Europe

While South Africa is on track to digitalization, the local IT environment is, in many aspects, unstable or outdated. Generally, experts believe that the SA tech talent pool is not wide enough to build a full-on digital economy. 

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

As they look for renowned and mature software outsourcing destinations, more business owners recognize the benefits of outsourcing to Eastern Europe. Here’s a brief overview of the local IT landscape. 

Talent pool250,000+80,000+100,000+200 000+
Average salary$3,300$3,100$3,100$2,400*
English proficiency16th on the EE EPI Index14th on the EE EPI Index17th on the EE EPI Index44th on the EE EPI Index
Top technologiesJava, JS, SQL, PHP, PythonSQL, Java, JS, PHP, PythonPHP, Java, JSJavaScript, Java, C#, Python

*Ukrainian rates are based on the data of our internal Recruiting Team

Eastern European countries give business owners access to larger talent pools and mature outsourcing infrastructures for hiring a software developer – South Africa is not yet as well established. In particular, technology hubs like Ukraine attract big technology players like Samsung, Oracle, and Amazon have R&D centers here. 

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

Benefits of Outsourcing Software Development to Ukraine

Here’s the breakdown of top factors that shape Ukraine into a highly attractive software development outsourcing destination:

  • Wide talent pool – over 200,000 available professionals are working in web and mobile app development and data science, AI, robotics, and IoT. 
  • Robust tech infrastructure. There are many tech hubs over the country that consolidate and educate tech talents. Cities like Kharkiv and Odesa also have a powerful presence on the local startup scene. 
  • Business-friendliness. Last year, the government enforced the Strategic Action Plan 2020 that canceled a series of outdated regulations and simplified international collaboration with local businesses. 
  • High number of tech graduates. More than 36,000 IT graduates annually, Ukraine ranks 4th globally in terms of certified IT specialists. There are almost 700 tech programs around 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 geographical proximity to Western Europe, local developers feel a strong connection with peers from Poland, Czech Republic, the UK, and other EU-based hubs, visiting conferences abroad and acquiring the best software development practices. 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 highly rely on the digital sector. There are wide pools of software developers South Africa has to offer and aim to build a presence in innovative fields – AI, robotics, and data science, and it’s possible to find such software development company based in Cape Town, South Africa.

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

South AfricaUkraine
Time zonesGMT+2GMT+3
Size of a tech talent pool134,000200,000
English proficiency12th on the EE EPI Index44th on the EE EPI Index
Education level112,000 yearly tech graduatesOver 130,000 tech graduates
Talent availability13,000 IT companies are running within the countryOver 4,000 running IT companies. 11 outsourcing providers are included in the Global Outsourcing 100 list 
Risks related to natural hazardsAnnual multi-hazard loss – $1.5 billionExtremely low

Breaking the tie between Ukraine and South Africa depends on business owners’ needs and the main company’s headquarters location. 

You should hire a software developer in South Africa if:

  • Your team is working on smaller-scale web and appr projects. 
  • Ease of communication is a business owner’s priority over a robust tech infrastructure. 
  • You want to establish a presence in Africa. 

You should choose rent coders in Ukraine if:

  • You want to develop innovative projects in gaming, AI, or data science. 
  • You want to hire reliable vendors with a robust 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 Software Developer Vendor in Ukraine: Reach Out to Mobilunity

If you made up your mind to choose Ukraine as an outsourcing vendor over South Africa, make sure to hire a vendor with a stellar reputation and years of experience under the team’s belt. Mobilunity is a leading outsourcing services provider and Rust engineering company in the region, skilled in web and application development for companies of all scales and industries. Mobilunity is a trusted source for all your outsourced IT projects. To hire MERN stack programmers, erlang engineer or order NodeJs consulting services talk to a dedicated member of our development team.

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

  • Over 10 years of IT outsourcing experience. 
  • Recognized by Clutch as one of the top B2B companies for 4 consecutive years – 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021. 
  • Flexible collaboration that meets the needs of business owners and is easy to synchronize with the activities of the main team. 
  • Built dedicated teams for over 40 clients from various countries. 

In search of reliable and affordable South Africa software developers? Hire in Ukraine and get stable IT outsourcing services with Mobilunity!

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