What to Look For In a Nearshore Development Partnership

More and more throughout the United States, development work for web-based companies is moving out of the country. The reason that a company decides to look for offshore or nearshore developers is different from situation to situation. Some reasons for looking into nearshore outsourcing can include budget restrictions preventing the company from expanding in-house or office spacing being too limited to hire additional in-house developers. Regardless of the reason that a company decides to enter a nearshore development partnership, there are things to look for in the hired team.

Location

One of the main motivators behind web-based companies using nearshore outsourcing for development work is the fact that nearshore developers are usually in the same time zone as the company. If they aren’t in the same time zone, they are in a time zone with operating hours more similar to the company’s. This has a lot of benefits in regards to communication than working an outsourcing company located in India or another country on the opposite side of the world. Nearshore development partnerships are often established for this reason.

By operating in the same, or similar, business hours companies enjoy the benefit of being able to discuss problems in real time with their development counterparts. Being able to quickly address and resolve development issues results in faster turnaround times and happier clientele. When looking for a nearshore development partnership, consider the time zone potential teams are in and how that will affect your business.

Communication

When considering nearshore development companies to partner with, it is also important to consider if there will be a language barrier. While most nearshore development companies employ people who speak fluent English, some do not. Clear communication is a huge part of a successful partnership and a necessity for getting development work done quickly and correctly. Being able to communicate clearly and effectively will also affect how the business operates between the onshore employees and their counterparts. Without an open line of communication, it doesn’t really matter whether the nearshore development team is operating in the same hours as the onshore company or not. If the two teams cannot work together without a language barrier then the IT project will ultimately end up failing.

Quality

Companies searching for a nearshore development team to partner with should also assess the quality of the development team’s work. Does the team you’re considering partnering with have a portfolio of previous work they’ve done? Can they offer you statistics on how many projects they’ve successfully completed? It’s difficult to forge a successful partnership with so many miles between locations. Therefore, it is important that the team you choose for a nearshore development partnership is a strong one. Companies should trust their developers to complete projects on time and turn around workloads in a timely manner. There is nothing wrong with asking for statistics on project completions, turnaround times, and more. High quality work from a nearshore development team will be pertinent to your success as a company. Don’t be afraid to ask for proof of the quality of a company’s work.

Turnover

In a recent study, the 7th Annual Conference on Information Science, Technology, and Management revealed that the turnover rate of software developers in India falls between 30 and 40 percent. In comparison, the turnover rate of Americans in the IT industry sits at 13.2%. By choosing to forge a nearshore development partnership, your entering into an IT sector with a substantially lower turnover rate. This, in turn, opens up opportunities to work with the same development team over multiple projects. Familiarity with how a team member communicates, delivers work, and executes tasks only improves project turnaround time. It also improves the business relationship, in general. Being able to establish a long-term business connection is one of the biggest benefits of a nearshore development partnership.

Deciding to enter a nearshore development partnership has its benefits and its risks. Thankfully, we feel like the benefits highly outweigh the risks. No matter how perfect a situation may seem, you will want to look at some specific metrics. If you are thinking about hiring nearshore developers to outsource some of the work at your company, be sure to ask these 12 questions before you hire anyone. For more information on outsourcing benefits, visit our blog archive to read countless articles on the benefits of a nearshore development partnership.

At Number8, we pair onshore businesses with a dynamic nearshore development team that will effectively get complete development work. Our entire team of nearshore software developers are based in  San Jose, Costa Rica. They are fully trained in agile product development and will produce the solutions your company needs to succeed. Interested in learning more? You can learn more about what we do on our website or call us at (502) 890-7665 today!

 

How Business Practices in Costa Rica Differ from Those in the United States

business practices in costa ricaBusiness, like language, varies from country to country across the world. From common practices to appropriate communication techniques, there are a lot of nuances to take into consideration when working with someone from another area. In some countries, like Japan, silence is valued over constant conversation. In others, like Germany, punctuality is preferred over flexibility. While some differences are vast, others are minor. When it comes to how business practices in Costa Rica differ from those in the United States, the differences are vast.

Costa Rica could not be much more different than the United State. From the landscape to the climate, there aren’t many similarities to be found between the two. However, both countries have growing populations with even faster-growing interests in web-based work and software development. Because of this mutual interest, Costa Rica is quickly becoming a go-to for U.S.-based companies needing nearshore development. Due to this growing interest centered around international business, it is important to understand business practices in Costa Rica and proper business etiquette.

7 Important Business Practices to Remember When Working with Costa Ricans

1. Appointments Are Always Flexible

Costa Ricans are not known for being the strictest of people when it comes to punctuality. Due to their more relaxed approach to time management, business appointments do not always start right on time. In fact, some websites who cover business practices in Costa Rica recommend bringing a book to your next meeting in case you have to wait for an extended amount of time. Due to this approach, business meetings often last longer than scheduled.

2. Consistent Reminders of Meetings Are Necessary

This differentiation between Costa Ricans and Americans stems from the Costa Rican pura vida lifestyle and their flexibility with time. Due to their busy lifestyles, Costa Rican business partners need constant reminders of pre-scheduled meetings. It is recommended to send appointment reminders a week before the meeting then two days prior to the meeting, with a final reminder going out the day of.

3. Put An Emphasis on Small Talk

Most differences between how business is done in the United States and Costa Rica stem from their pura vida lifestyle. While businesspeople in the United States often get straight to the point, Costa Ricans like to take their time. It’s important to emphasize small talk during business meetings with Costa Ricans. Speaking on topics like the weather, general news, or the latest sports scores are completely acceptable and welcome.

4. Networking is Highly Important

When compared to the United States, the population of Costa Rica is small. With only 5 million people in the country, networking plays a huge role in business growth. It’s important to get out there and discuss current business ventures and possible future business endeavors with the community. The small, tight-knit community can open up partnerships and opportunities with fellow businesspeople that may have gone unnoticed without networking. Due to the closeness of the Costa Rican community, and the importance of networking, it is crucial that you keep your comments respectful and your intentions honest.

5. Business Attire is Still Preferred in Professional Settings

Costa Rica’s beautiful beaches and lush jungles may lead you to think that casual attire is acceptable throughout the country; however, the opposite is true in a business setting. Despite their laid back lifestyles, Costa Ricans still hold looking professional to high regard. Men are often found in dress pants paired with long sleeve shirts. Most opt for a jacket over a tie, unlike businessmen in the United States. Women’s wardrobe choices vary from business suits to more fanciful dresses, with plenty of accessories, depending on the event.

6. Titles Are Very Important To Costa Ricans

Titles are very important to Costa Ricans, especially those that hold professional or political titles. While professional titles are important to businesspeople in the United States, too, the titles of Costa Ricans differ greatly. Costa Rican men use both their father’s and mother’s names in correspondence, but only use their father’s names when introducing themselves. While businesspeople in the United States often have one surname and are fine with being called by their first name, in Costa Rica one must be invited to refer to the other by their first name. It is even seen as rude to call a Costa Rican by their first name without being invited to do so.

7. Negotiations Will Take Time

Business decisions are expected to take longer in Costa Rica than they are in the United States. This is because business decisions are made between all involved parties within the business which means there is a lot of bureaucracy to navigate. Additionally, because of the close community of networkers, business decisions and negotiations are often made over dinner, in a more relaxed environment, which can stretch out the process.

While Costa Rica is not on the other side of the world, business culture in Costa Rica is quite different when compared to the United States. With the more relaxed approach to time management and decision making, Costa Ricans do business at a slower pace. The close-knit community throughout the country means that there is a personal level to the business whereas there is often a strict line between business and personal life in the United States. Despite the differences, partnerships between businesses in the United States and Costa Rica continue to thrive in web-based work and software development.

At Number8, we connect businesses in the United States looking for development work with nearshore developers based in Costa Rica. We focus on assisting companies with improving their internal IT processes to ensure smoother business for everyone. If you are interested in learning more about what we do at Number8, give us a call at (502) 890-7665 today!

5 Programming Languages for Beginners

There are so many programming languages in the tech industry, that for the average layman it can be overwhelming. Generally speaking, these languages are how we communicate tasks to a computer. They’re a tool to help computers quickly and efficiently process data no matter how large or complex it may be.

As technology evolves, so do it’s languages. Whether you’re looking for someone who can code or are interested in learning yourself, starting with a basic understanding of the languages used to code is important in order to stay up to date with most relevant methods of programming. 

For beginners, it’s best to focus on languages that inherently teach basic computer science concepts. Languages that are dynamic and don’t have any strict rules on how they have to be written tend to be the most suitable for those just beginning to dip their toes into the world of coding. 

Here to help you get started, are 5 programming languages we recommend for beginners:

1. HTML

While HTML is considered the most basic and commonly known language, everyone has to start somewhere. Used to create web pages, HTML is a markup language that defines the structure and layout of various electronic documents. For example, when formatting the content on a website or email, HTML is utilized to ensure that both the text and graphics are displayed correctly. 

2. Python

Perhaps the most popular introductory language, Python is object oriented and used to integrate systems or automate tasks. Known for it’s easy to learn syntax and flexible semantics, Python is a good beginners language because it focuses on readability. It’s a script language that reads like English. With Python, programming is often more manageable because fewer lines of coding are required. 

3. Ruby

Ruby is also an easy to read general purpose scripting language and therefore similar to Python. It features a web application framework called Ruby on Rails that provides some shortcuts. While Ruby is more flexible when compared to Python, it is also less direct and explicit in it’s approach. 

4. JavaScript

JavaScript is a fully compatible scripting language and as such is already built into most web browsers. It’s used to create dynamic and interactive web pages for a more user friendly experience by translating static elements into animations.  JavaScript code also helps load new content without having to reload the entire page and is run on only a browser.

5. Java

Java gets it’s syntax fro C and C++. (While these are more difficult to learn, they do impact most programming languages and as such are also a good way to place to start in order to grasp the basic concepts of multiple coding languages.) Java has it’s own platform and is known for it’s ability to run in any virtual machine or browser. It’s a standalone programming language, and is statically typed; meaning it has more structure than the others listed above and needs to be compiled before it can be executed.

At Number8, we connect companies with IT talent and software developers that are fully trained in product development. By encouraging talent to come up with creative solutions, they remain motivated and positively contribute to a healthy company culture. If you’re interested in learning more about Number8 and what we do, give us a call at (502) 890-7665, or check out our information page.

The Most Exciting & Innovative Tech Projects of 2019

With recent advancements in artificial intelligence, cutting edge security threats and more devices than ever connected to the Internet, 2018 proved to be a memorable year for the tech industry. Wondering what 2019 will bring?

Here are our top picks for the most exciting tech projects set to debut this year, featuring a few notable head turners from the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES):

The First Flying Car

Tech has certainly had it’s way with transportation as of late. Even among the reinvention of scooters, Ubers, bullet trains and electric planes, self driving cars have no doubt grabbed the headlines. That is, until now. Terrafugia has combined the features of an automobile and aircraft in it’s latest flying car dubbed the Transition. All of our childhood visions will become a reality when the vehicle comes to market this year. 

A Portable Solar Charger

Thought solar panels were just for your roof? Though still in it’s Kickstarter days, SolarCru’s foldable solar panels intend to have us all re-imagining what we think we know about eco-friendly energy sources. This revolutionary device is slated to offer an outdoor charging option and is compatible with a range of devices. 

Powered Exoskeletons

Samsung’s lower body exoskeleton made a splash at this year’s CES. The wearable device known as the Gait Enhancing Motivational System is intended to help in the rehabilitation process and can even provide a gentle boost during a workout by adding resistance or allowing it’s wearer to walk with less effort. Because if we can’t beat the robots, we mine as well become them.

Flexible Mannequins

The one size fits all mannequin may be in the past thanks to a start up called Euveka who’s mannequins are able to be reshaped in a matter of seconds. Whether it’s liquid or air pressure driven, this feat of genius will help showcase a multitude of body types and allow designers to scale up or down their designs to fit truly everyone. 

In House Concerts

Sony’s latest concept, 360 reality audio is working to incorporate a spatial dimension so that when songs are played through Sony’s new speaker, they will sound like they are being performed live. The company also intends to bring this new level of sound to other speaker systems, headphones and even streaming services.

Musical Coding

Sphero’s Specdrums aim to teach kids to code through music. The “app-enabled rings allow children to create and play music by using colors on a variety of surfaces as their instruments.” This tactile way of turning color into sound is groundbreaking in it’s ability to infer problem-solving skills that are necessary in the world of coding. 

At Number8, we connect companies with IT talent and software developers that are fully trained in product development. By encouraging talent to come up with creative solutions, they remain motivated and positively contribute to a healthy company culture. If you’re interested in learning more about Number8 and what we do, give us a call at (502) 890-7665, or check out our information page.

 

The Top 3 Locations for Outsourcing Software Development

Outsourcing software development has become an increasingly popular path for startups and small businesses alike. Instead of taking on the overhead of hiring employees in house, utilizing a remote workforce allows you to focus on your core business functions while growing at an affordable rate.

When it comes to outsourcing, there are a myriad of options available. One can opt to go Offshore, Nearshore or Onshore in terms of finding a remote workforce. Countries farther away are Offshore, those nearby are considered Nearshore, and Onshore means operating within your own country. Depending on your company’s origin, there are many pros and cons that come with selecting a specific location to outsource your software development needs.

While the U.S. and Canada each have tech reliant economies, the cost associated with doing business there tends to be higher and the demand for skilled workers has resulted in a shortage. Therefore, most businesses are left with the option to take advantage of the resources of a more global market. Here are the top 3 countries for software development in terms of quality and cost:

Latin America

While many South American countries including Peru, Brazil, Colombia and Bolivia are becoming increasingly adept in the tech world, Costa Rica is a popular choice when outsourcing software development work. Their top notch IT programs produce good programmers and their culture has embraced innovation in technology as well as the agile methodology of project management. 

Asia

While India and the Philippines are known for their IT services, China is the leader when it comes to the outsourcing industry in Asia. China produces twice as many graduates as the United States, and as a result has a vast tech advanced work force. Coupled with it’s growing economy, China is a hot bed for outsourcing software development tasks. 

Eastern Europe

In Eastern Europe, Poland and the Ukraine dominate the field of outsourced software development work. Both have an abundance of educated software engineers as a result of rich STEM educational programs. 

Before outsourcing your company’s software development, you’ll want to properly vet each agency to ensure a high quality of work. Take language, cultural barriers and possible travel expenses into account as well. Countries with a stable and supportive government offer a more favorable business climate to operate in, and a difference in time zone could reduce the time to market or make communication difficult. 

At Number8, we help businesses optimize their operations with onshore, nearshore, and offshore outsourcing. Our teams–both foreign and domestic– provide effective communication and service that allow your business to grow at a rate that keeps up with your market. If you’re interested in learning more about Number8 and what we do, give us a call at (502) 890-7665, or check out our information page here!

IT Job Prospects in 2019 and Beyond

As we kick start the New Year, many of us are looking to see how we can adapt and evolve our current skill set to better fit the future job market. Innovations like the cloud and artificial intelligence are transforming business operations as we know it and when it comes to careers in software and information technology in general, job opportunities are growing at a pace unmatched in other industries.

If you’re on the hunt for a new prospect, here are a few of the jobs and career sectors in tech that we anticipate to be the most in demand in 2019.

Business Intelligence Analysts & Data Scientists

Data is king and companies are now collecting it more than ever before. However, in order to best utilize the data that is being gathered, business’s of all kinds will need someone who is able to understand and see the patterns within it. Business intelligence analysts and or data scientists help process data and communicate trends to stakeholders in order to keep up with competitors, as well as grow and cut costs. These personnel typically bring to the table experience in analytics and reporting.

Security Specialists

While careers in security are certainly not a new addition to the job market, they remain an important component in software and IT.  From new finger and eye scanning procedures to the development of drones, security professionals are tasked with protecting customer data and company assets from sophisticated attacks and threats. As technology is implemented at every level of daily activities, it’s crucial that companies make doing business safe and transparent. Those looking to grow in the field of cyber-security must be knowledgeable of current compliance laws and regulations.

Developers & Engineers

Advancements in artificial intelligence, biotechnology, augmented and virtual reality as well as robotics and automation are vastly reshaping the job market in many industries. While most fear a loss of jobs looming, the integration of these applications makes way for more developers and engineers. From the Internet of Things to 3D printing of artificial limbs, there are a wide range of career possibilities available to those with a deep understanding of machine learning and complex algorithms.

Cloud Architects & Engineers

As more companies transition to storing and accessing files online, managing the cloud and hybrid systems alike are becoming a prominent responsibility in doing business. Cloud architects and engineers are in charge of developing, maintaining and supporting IT cloud systems and therefore need a wealth of programming and security skills.

At Number8, we connect companies with IT talent and software developers that are fully trained in agile product development. By encouraging talent to come up with creative solutions, they remain motivated and positively contribute to a healthy company culture. If you’re interested in learning more about Number8 and what we do, give us a call at (502) 890-7665, or check out our information page.

How To Design Your Office to Be More Productive

Where you work is just as important as what you do. Office designs have come a long way since the early 20th century and are still changing year to year. What makes for a productive office environment? There are plenty of details, both big and small, that can contribute to office productivity or create a distracting environment. From the lighting to the desk layout to the color of the walls, the environment you’re in is important for your success at work.

Open office space designs have received a recent uptick in popularity. The open design is thought to enable users to be more collaborative. It is also thought that open spaces prevent employees from slacking off due to the visual accountability they are held to. However, for some, open office spaces are seen as distracting and chaotic. There are plenty of companies out there who stick to the cubicle set-up or closed door offices and that method works for them. While it has been proven that office design affects employee productivity, the design of the space itself isn’t actually as important as the details within the design. There are certain aspects of the office environment higher ups should be paying attention to if they want to improve productivity.

Design Details That Influence Office Productivity

1. Lighting

Employees spend 8-10 hours a day in their office environment, so it is crucial that the office is adequately lit. Working in a well-lit area reduces eye strain, headaches, fatigue, and irritability. In a recent study, it was proven that productivity increases as much as 16% when employees are placed in a well-lit workspace.

2. Ventilation

Just like lighting, ventilation is another crucial detail to consider when designing a productive workspace. OSHA estimates that employers lose a total of $15 billion annually “due to worker inefficiency and sick leave” that is associated with low air quality. Installing air filters and incorporating fresh air will improve productivity, lower absences, and save the company money in the long run.

3. Color

Color is a huge part of office design and picking the right colors to incorporate can effect productivity levels. Blue is a color proven to increase productivity. Orange is another color that promotes energy, so it is often used on office walls. If blue and orange are not colors you prefer, a study from the University of Massachusetts shows that incorporating any color in office design promotes creativity and improves morale.

4. Office Furniture

Of course, it is important that the desks and chairs in your office look nice and appear professional. However, it is more important that your employee’s desk spaces fit their bodies correctly. There are a few quick checks you can do to make sure a desk space is ergonomic including:

  • Eyes are two to three feet from the computer screen.
  • The top of the monitor is at eye-level or slightly below it.
  • Feet are resting on the floor or a footrest.
  • A chair that can be adjusted for height and recline to relieve spinal pressure.

5. Temperature

It is a common misconception that a colder office is a more productive environment. Most offices are kept around 66 degrees for this reason. In all actuality, a warmer office environment can lead to increased productivity. A study from Cornell linked “warm offices to fewer typing errors and higher productivity”. The study also determined that an ideal office temperature is between 68 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit.

These five design details are a great place to start for those looking to make their office spaces more productive. Regardless of where you work, consider lighting, air quality, your desk area, and how you’re physically feeling. If you are going through a phase of being less productive than normal a slight switch up may help.

Why Mistakes are an Important Part of the Creative Process Even in Tech

Those in the Information Technology field know that software development doesn’t occur in a vacuum. It’s collaborative and often times risks need to be taken in order to achieve any level of innovation. With risks come mistakes and projects that don’t always pan out as planned.

However, IT teams that follow the agile methodology tend to be familiar with the ideology that mistakes are an important part of the creative process. The agile way of developing tech is adaptive in that it is designed around embracing feedback and learning opportunities.

As Albert Einstein once said, “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”

Here’s why you shouldn’t let the fear of making a mistake keep you or your team in your comfort zone:

Mistakes let us know what doesn’t work and paves the path for what could.  

When it comes to developing something new or going into uncharted territory, mistakes are bound to happen. But with experimentation comes discovering a new way of doing something and that is almost always value added. By pivoting and testing new ideas, one is better able to evaluate and refine a product or idea and then learn from it. 

It’s not the mistake that defines an employee, but how they rebound from it.

If mistakes are inevitable, a team should know how to handle them. Take the stigma out of it, and you’ll find that enabling a team to make mistakes means also giving them the opportunity to problem solve effectively. Employees who take accountability for their mistakes and are able to learn from them are a valuable asset to any company. Instead of creating a culture of fear where one tends to get defensive if a mistake is made, establish one where everyone feels empowered enough to innovate and safeguard for the future.

At Number8, we help project managers connect with highly trained and efficient IT support to help reach company goals. If you’re interested in learning more about Number8 and what we do, give us a call at (502) 890-7665, or check out our information page!