How many Software Developers are there in Latin America?

How many Software Developers are there in Latin America?

The Short Answer

There are plenty of accomplished software developers in Latin America. In 2024, it is estimated that there were approximately 2 million software developers in Latin America. This number includes professionals working in various fields, such as web development, mobile app development, software engineering, and more.

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In terms of the number of software developers by country, Brazil takes the lead with a substantial workforce of 759,278 professionals in this field. Mexico closely follows as the runner-up, boasting 563,075 developers, while Argentina secures the third position with 167,414 skilled developers.

3Argentina 167,414
8Costa Rica16,215
9Uruguay 16,003

In-house teams are becoming less vital for businesses, as modern companies are increasingly open to hiring outsourced software development teams and delegating some projects to freelancers, not just other companies. As a result, businesses are looking to nearshore their software development projects in Latin America. 

Latin American countries have long been known for fronting a large pool of software development talent ready to bridge the skills gaps in the global IT field mainly due to the competitive prices, favorable IT policies, and exceptional services, solidifying its status as a top choice for nearshore software development.

As you begin your contractor hiring journey, you may ponder where to find software engineers in LATAM. To learn about the leading tech hotspots in Latin America, we have compiled industry-leading insights, providing an in-depth overview of the countries with the highest concentration of software developers in the region.

Happy reading!

About the Method

To compile this study, we used the professional LinkedIn tool—Recruiter. LinkedIn is a platform with a 630M member network, and it allowed us to find out how many Latin American developer profiles there are on the platform.

In addition to LinkedIn, we accessed data from Upwork to gather alternative insights into the numbers of active software developers in the LATAM region, providing a broader perspective on developer engagement and participation.

Our study also incorporated analysis from GitHub’s annual “State of the Octoverse” reports which provided valuable insights into global software development trends based on data from millions of repositories and contributions on their platform. This gave us valuable insights into developer communities across Latin America.

Brazil—Top Pick

São Paulo – Brazil
São Paulo – Brazil

Here are the key facts about software development outsourcing to Brazil:

  • 750k+ software developers
  • 100k+ IT graduates yearly
  • $30-$60 hourly developer rates
  • US$22.41bn IT market size

Brazil, the largest country in South America, has the largest IT market in Latin America and the 6th largest in the world. With 750,000+ active software developers, Brazil has the largest pool of well-educated and experienced developer talent in the region.

Brazil’s large population and growing middle class have created a significant market for technology products and services. Resultantly, Brazilian companies are increasingly looking to hire software developers who can help improve business processes and their competitiveness in the market. This has led to a growing demand for cloud computing, big data analytics, and cybersecurity professionals. It has also helped to fuel the growth of the IT services market. In 2024, revenue in the Brazilian IT services market is projected to reach US$22.41bn.

Brazil is also home to a large number of international IT firms. As such, Brazilian software developers will often already have experience working directly with US tech firms so they understand their context and cultural nuances. The time zone alignment with the US and Canada also allows for Brazilian software developers to have a reasonable overlap with US teams.


Mexico City
Teotihuacan – Mexico City

Here are the key facts about software development nearshoring to Mexico:

  • 560k+ software developers
  • 160k+ IT graduates per year
  • $40-$55 hourly developer rates
  • US$17.8bn IT market size

Mexico has around 560,000 engineers involved in software development. This is largely a result of the Mexican government’s long-term policy to develop the country’s software market. One such policy is the government’s heavy investment in 38 IT clusters. These clusters have state-of-the-art equipment, stable electricity, and internet. Consequently, they have managed to cultivate a skilled IT workforce who can work remotely and bring home foreign currency. 

For US businesses looking for remote workers closer to home, hiring Mexican developers makes a lot of sense, as the proximity of these countries to the home base eliminates major outsourcing challenges. Many US-based companies have chosen to nearshore their software development projects to Mexico due to lower software development rates, favorable business environment, high level of intellectual property protection, close people-to-people ties, and bilateral trade agreements.

It’s also easier to relocate Mexican developers to work in-house in the US since they can go through the NAFTA(USMCA) Visa which is simpler and has no number limitation like the HB1 Visa. Additionally, Mexico’s proximity to the United States means the cost of flying for in-person meetings is cheaper.


Buenos Aires – Argentina
Buenos Aires – Argentina

Here are the key facts about software development outsourcing to Argentina:

  • 160k+ software developers
  • 15k+ IT graduates yearly
  • $45-$65 hourly developer rates
  • US$3.10bn IT market size

Argentina, a country known for its football, delicious steak, and tango, is home to approximately 150,000 software developers. Everyone from startups to global corporations is finding the software developers they need in Argentina. Examples include IBM, Google, Oracle, Salesforce, and SAP. Software engineer statistics also show that Argentina is the fastest-growing country in Latin America for software development. According to GitHub data tracking developer accounts by country—year over year—Argentina had the fastest-growing developer population. 

Argentina—has the fastest growth in GitHub developer accounts in Latin America

This growth is driven by huge demand domestically for the adoption of cloud-based services, data analytics, and artificial intelligence technologies. It’s no coincidence then that the country is home to 11 of the 34 unicorns in Latin America. This has seen Argentina emerge as an attractive destination for nearshore software development, particularly for companies in the United States.

What are the risks from trying to hire software developers directly, with no assistance, in Latin America?

Hiring software developers in Latin America directly can be cumbersome. The biggest deal-breaker is risk.

  • Visa restrictions make it too slow and cumbersome to hire these experts to work in the US. For example, in the United States, companies often need to sponsor H-1B visas for skilled foreign workers, including software developers. This process can be complex and competitive due to the limited number of visas available each year and the high demand for them.
  • Opening a firm in Latin America to hire local developers doesn’t make sense, financially and legally. It involves substantial initial investments, ongoing operational costs, navigating complex legal and compliance requirements, and managing logistical hurdles like cultural differences and distance.
  • Hiring remote developers from Latin America can present challenges related to support structure. Without a physical presence or local support structure, managing remote software development teams effectively, providing adequate support, and ensuring compliance with co-employment laws can be more complex.

As experienced as you might be, chances are you probably won’t have sufficient knowledge of the local market. At Next Idea Tech, we specialize in understanding crucial aspects such as:

  • Identifying companies utilizing similar technology stacks.
  • Recognizing reputable IT universities and specialized schools.
  • Determining fair and appropriate compensation.
  • Understanding mandatory benefits and employment requirements specific to hiring in Latin America, among other key insights.

So what are the legal liabilities to be aware of when hiring Latin American developers?

The most common legal structures used for an nearshoring transaction in Latin America are:

  1. The execution of a services agreement with a third party. This involves contracting with a third-party service provider to perform specific tasks or services on behalf of your company. The agreement outlines the scope of work, deliverables, timelines, payment terms, and other relevant terms and conditions.
  2. The execution of a temporary work agreement. This legal structure is used when hiring temporary or contract workers directly. It defines the terms of employment, such as duration, roles, responsibilities, compensation, benefits (if applicable), termination clauses, and legal obligations.
  3. The execution of an independent service provider contract. This applies when engaging independent contractors or freelancers to provide services without establishing an employer-employee relationship. The contract outlines the scope of services, payment terms, intellectual property rights, confidentiality provisions, and other relevant terms. 

By excluding the first option, then you will have to deal with…

The cost and effort of hiring software developers in Latin America 

Starting and operating a business in Latin America can be complex, requiring an in-depth understanding of all the rules and regulations. 

As an example, it takes around 60–90 days of work to start a business in Brazil, not including the time needed to open a bank account which requires extensive KYC procedures to be completed by the bank. This process can take anywhere from a few days up to a few months.

And if you’re thinking about hiring software developers as freelancers in Brazil, watch out: it can turn out more complicated than you imagined. There are laws that can turn this kind of work into permanent work in case the developer feels like being an actual employee of your company – then requiring its benefits and maybe even suing you.

And there’s more:

“Argentina’s tax regime is one of the driving forces behind its complexity. The country has three tax jurisdictions that can be applicable to a corporation that operates through an Argentine PE (such as a branch or local subsidiary). Businesses operating in Argentina are subject to tax on Argentine and foreign-source income”. 

Sounds like a lot of work, right? But for specialists who actually understand the process, this can be done a lot faster. 

Quality of hire (how can you be sure you’ve got the right person? It takes effort!)

Is your HR ready to verify the tech skill level of candidates, in a foreign country? 

We have a basic step-by-step take on tech recruiting. By doing so, we reach a deep understanding of your company culture. And also work side by side to find talents that have not only the tech skills that you need but also the cultural fit, keeping turnover under control. 

The bar is high: for 1 job position to be filled, we only deliver you the top 1-3% candidates: from 200 sourced candidates or applicants, we only introduce you to one-to-three of them. We spare you at least 25 profile interviews.

→ If you want to know this process in detail, please check our other article on “How To Set Up A Nearshore Software Development Team”. 

How does Next Idea Tech take all the risk from hiring developers in Latin America away?

We appreciate and compensate our LATAM Nearshore developers well, increasing retention rates

We compensate our Latin American Nearshore software developers well, which keeps them feeling secure and valued. At the same time, working for foreign companies grants them access to top of the line technologies. 

And there’s more: the work doesn’t stop after the hire is made. We coach and keep up with every developer along the way, as well with your company hiring and product managers. 

The opportunity of being at the forefront of innovation is extremely appealing. Combined, all these factors lead to high retention rates as well. 

We provide white-glove service for custom-curated digital product teams

When you hire software developers, you leverage our know-how: we buy you time by selecting a tailored professional for your company, within your budget, swiftly. 

To augment in-house teams with LATAM developers that add quality and accountability for a better ROI, a strong partner makes everything quick and easy. 

Next Idea Tech bridges the gap, acting as a local branch office for US companies. It supports American technology companies to scale operations by building distributed teams in Latin America. 

Next Idea Tech finds, hires, and supports IT professionals within Latin America’s tech talent pool all while protecting you from liability. We assume all legal & fiscal accountability – from employment to non-disclosure and intellectual property. 


Tap into Latin America’s unique talent pool, start hiring with Next Idea Tech! Get in touch. We’ll reach out with more information asap.


Posted on

May 5, 2024