Offshoring and Latin American Developers – David Hemmat
For this episode of Ruby Rogues we have Jason Sweat and Brian Hogan for our panel along with Charles Max Wood and a special guest, David Hemmat from BlueCoding.com. David and the Blue Coding team work to connect developer talent to businesses in need through a thorough process of vetting as well as a database collection of potential developers. Check out this episode to learn more!
How did you get started?
David talks about going to school in the Dominican Republic worked locally, but later found work with US companies. He also set up a friend with a US job and they realized that there may be a demand as someone to bridge the gap. Developers did not have the access or a way to reach opportunities aboard so he started BlueCoding.com.
About Blue Coding
BlueCoding.com has clients in the US and Canada. They focus on Latin America due to having close timezones in relation to the majority of companies that would be looking for developers. Also, Blue Coding helps in regard to bridging the cultural gap. Latin American work culture can be different that US or Canadian culture. David talks about how it’s much of a communication difference. Developers sometimes will agree to jobs they are unable to do and are timid to communicate and often just disappear. Despite this, many Latin American companies spawned from United States companies and will tend to have a similar working environment and culture as US companies.
The General Experience With Offshore Hiring
David and the panel chat about their offshore hiring experiences. David expresses that there is sometimes an issue of many developers taking on work, and then seemingly disappearing. Often times coming back with excuses or in some cases actually over committing to work and just failing to communicate properly from the start. In some cases, like with countries like Venezuela, has a less reliable environment for the developers with things like power outages.
“Not All Good Developers Are Good Freelancers.”
Freelancers tend to need a different skillset. Extra communication and need tools in place like time tracking and daily reports , etc. Companies that hire freelancers or offshore hiring in general need to have tools setup as well. David expresses that the best developers often are the ones that already have full time jobs. Blue Coding tries to help those developers find a better opportunity and has structured systems to create a workflow that works for both parties. David talks about having those tools in place for the developer including the time tracking and daily reports.
The Companies Tools.
Blue Coding will also check with the client companies to make sure they have tools as well to help both parties have a smooth workflow. Project management software for the developer to see what they should work on next.
Rates vary between $30 and $45 an hour. David tries to stay away from junior developers, looking for developers with 3–4 years working experience. Some companies pay $30 to $60. Latin American countries generally see a starting rate of $30 an hour. Asian countries can start as low as $10 an hour, but in rare cases. Some developers on the opposite side of things charge $100 an hour.
Getting Offshore Developers
Most people start with upwork.com or Freelancer.com or something like that. Lower overhead but very limited vetting. Buyout fees are very high as well on these sites. There are companies similar to Blue Coding that are staffing companies that exist. Also, direct networking. Networking directly is extremely efficient. If you have a bad work history, networking also comes into play. David talks about their biggest source for developers are other developers, reaching out to find good hires by networking through the community.
Dealing with ‘Boom and Bust.’
Freelancers tend to run into boom and bust cycles, loads of work followed by slow spells. David tries to avoid this by hiring carefully and picking clients carefully. Looking for long term projects, either be a continuous flow of projects or one large projects. With this focus on long term relationship building, BlueCoding is able to have much lower rates. Other companies usually don’t have safety from downtime, offering internal work to make up for it.
Finding Companies that Hire Offshore
Most countries have job boards to help. Also, technology specific job boards. But it’s hard to compete there. US companies won’t hire offshore developers for the same rates and the same skills. You have to be really good. David pushes developers to have plenty of experience.
How to Get Noticed?
Companies can be prejudice, but isn’t seen too often. Becoming a top level talent is key. Being average is harder. As an average or novice in an area with no community, finding online communities, Facebook groups, LinkedIn communities, working on open source projects, and going to events can help.
Working remotely and being good at it [22:02] It’s a two part effort. Companies can have tools to make things easier, but as a developer, you can request them. Communicate all online. All of the office talk should be online via Slack or some other documented system. Code reviews and Peer programming helps remote developers feel like a part of the team.
Onshoring vs Offshoring
Some companies are hiring remote developers from the US. Why would someone want to hire from outside the country? Ultimately it comes down to finding a developer that fits in with what a company needs as well as matches the budget. Cost of living can change the rates for developers as well as where the company is located. David expresses that he wants to find really good developers, even if it means reaching out to Brazil or other parts of Latin America.
Medical, Taxes, and Benefits
Each country has different laws. For example Dominican Republic has a law that states if you contract someone for over 3 months, they are considered employees and require benefits. Some countries allow Freelancers to work long term. Health care varies between companies.
The Finical and Risks.
Freelancers and hourly workers tend to have less working time, spending some time each day to chase down work as well as managing time. Developers in general should notice that projects in general can have budget cuts and even end prematurely. In general a developer working as an employee will need to account for the benefits and extras thrown in when considering their rates.
What kind of companies are looking for this as a solution to their staffing problem? Most companies are smaller companies, 1 to 20 employees with a lot of long term development work. Generally three sectors, non tech companies that need tech work, digital agencies, and tech startups or established companies that already have a software product that needs to be maintained.
How to find the Companies?
It’s a work in progress. References are vital, David talks about how vetting for developers ends with a very happy client that gives references. Also they spend a lot of time networking, conferences, meeting people online as well as cold calling. David mentions that it’s hard to express the quality of their service through email.
Getting Started with Blue Coding?
Go to BlueCoding.com and find the link that says “join the team if you’re a developer” and you can connect that way. Just reach out to them and they will set up a conversation with you and see if there is a good fit. Then once a project comes in they will set you up with the vetting process.
BlueCoding will want to set up a call with you. Reach out to them and setup a call. They will work through if you need a developer and what that developer looks like in regard to technical skills, personal skills, and general ability.
Then the developers and clients have a meeting to make sure everyone is comfortable. Being comfortable is the most important part for this connection to end in a long term relationship.
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