Here’s a hint: It’s not the United States. It’s not the UK.
It’s Eastern Europe! Eastern Europe is predicted to be the next big source of tech talent.
This may not surprise you if you’ve worked in startups who have outsourced tech talent to any extent. They’ll tell you that the best talent comes from Eastern Europe. Even Victoria Ransom of Wildfire Interactive started her Silicon Valley VC-backed company with two Engineers from Estonia. Coincidentally, Estonia is ranked number 1 for the share of students expecting to go into a science career by the age of 30.
Here’s a piece of Victoria’s story of using workers from Eastern Europe, from her interview with Mixergy:
What we did though is we found some very small teams. Our first team of developers were in Estonia. It was a team of two guys. So we were dealing right with the developers themselves. And we were able to get very high caliber developers at a price that you could never have got in the US. Having said that, it was still more expensive than we probably would’ve got if we’d gone with an outsourcing firm. So we did pay for high talent.
I’d say that’s a key learning. Don’t skim on your development costs because you can end, it can end up costing you a lot more if you have an ineffective or inefficient developer.
But the other challenge is we found these two guys, I believe it was — giving away some secrets here — but it was on a website called Working With Rails, which I’m sure others have looked at. It’s a great Ruby on Rails site where you can find different developers and see how they’re ranked by their community, their peers.
But nevertheless we found these two guys in Estonia who we never met, and we’re not developers ourselves, so how could we know that the code they were producing was good? So what we actually did is — we were in Boston at the time — we found a local developer, someone we could get to know in person so that we could get very comfortable with him. And we had him not code for us, but just take a look at the code that these two guys in Estonia were producing for us in order to just…
You know, we could judge the end product, but what about what was under the product. The last thing we wanted to do was just create a product that was just a mess underneath. So this guy worked with us for about six weeks just looking over the code. These guys were producing it and the honest truth is, after a little while, he said you know what, these guys are brilliant; they’re even better than me, don’t worry about it.
And we worked with those guys now I guess it’s been two and a half years, but it’s been fantastic. They’re a core part of our team and then we were able to find other developers overseas to work with. But you know, that’s how we did it. Neither of us, that’s how we did it in a cost effective way without having any needs for a developer background ourselves.
This is all great advice, and I’m meeting more and more awesome tech talent from Eastern European countries as I travel. So mark my words: The best tech talent that will come out in the next few years will all be from Eastern Europe. But we’ll see what happens!
Where will you look for your top tech talent?