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Software Development

Latin America’s Tech Talent Probably Isn’t What You Think It Is

Clock 15 min read
Howdy Expert

By Frank Licea

CTO & Co-Founder

Frank Licea is the CTO & Co-Founder of Howdy.com, a groundbreaking platform revolutionizing outsourcing for US companies, backed by Y Combinator (W21), Greycroft, and Obvious. Fueled by frustration with the traditional outsourcing model, Frank and his co-founder sought to transform the industry. They secured significant investment from YCombinator, aiming to offer competitive salaries, insurance benefits, and a genuine full-time experience for remote professionals.

Howdy.com integrates remote software experts into teams, bridging Silicon Valley and Latin American talent. Frank’s visionary leadership, backed by 18 years of experience, continues to reshape the outsourcing landscape, allowing companies to access top talent seamlessly.

Content

    A fellow founder recently told me his investors warned him away from “island time” developers in Latin America. That kind of casual racism really infuriated me, so much so that I decided to write this post to dispel the myth of LATAM as a “third-world” source of tech talent. Contrary to what ignorant VCs think, the region is bustling with skilled professionals.

  1. LATAM's Growing Tech Prowess
  2. Despite challenges, LATAM is making significant strides in the tech field. The pandemic accelerated the adoption of existing technologies across the region, transforming the landscape rapidly. This shift is not just in major cities like Buenos Aires and Medellín but is widespread across all of the LATAM markets in which Howdy.com operates.

    Actually, LATAM’s tech abilities are often undersold. While a recent report from McKinsey & Co. highlights a skills gap, on-the-ground realities tell a different story. Many LATAM countries are becoming go-to destinations for global tech companies seeking top talent. LATAM is also the home of many unicorns — such as Nubank, Mercado Libre, and Kavak — with valuations up to 50B USD.

  3. Investment Drives Its Growth
  4. Substantial government initiatives in these countries support this tech evolution, making LATAM a promising hub for talent.

    • INNPulsa: Fosters entrepreneurial spirit and innovation in Colombia. INNPulsa plays a crucial role in positioning Colombia as a nexus of technology, supported by partnerships with global organizations.
    • FINEP: Offers a range of programs to accelerate and nurture startup growth in Brazil, contributing significantly to the country's innovative landscape
    • CORFO: Nurtures Chilean businesses and spearheads the renowned Start-Up Chile initiative. This program is a catalyst for enriching Chile's vibrant startup environment.
    • ANII: Propels Uruguay's startup ecosystem. ANII provides various incentives and scholarships to fuel innovation across the country.
    • ADIP: Collaborates with international partners to advance Mexico's digital infrastructure

    Argentina also plans to invest 288M USD in science, technology, and innovation through 2026, focusing on supporting SMEs, strengthening capacities, and enhancing its infrastructure.

  5. LATAM’s Educational Excellence in STEM
  6. UNESCO reports that Colombia, Chile, and Mexico are ahead of the U.S. in terms of STEM graduates as a percentage of total higher-ed grads, with Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay close behind.

  7. The Dominant Tech Skills in LATAM Nations
    • Colombia: Data analysis, statistical programming, and mobile development
    • Brazil: Software and web development, data science, and AI
    • Argentina: Software engineering, cybersecurity, IoT, and cloud computing
    • Chile: Cloud computing, IoT, cybersecurity, AI, and big data analytics
    • Uruguay: Software development, cloud computing, IoT, cybersecurity, and AI
    • Mexico: Web development, data analytics, AI, cloud computing, and blockchain
  8. It’s Time To Embrace LATAM Tech Talent
  9. The tech sector in LATAM is a vibrant, growing force. Savvy entrepreneurs in the U.S. are beginning to recognize the talent and skills emanating from this dynamic region. As Howdy and its clients continue to collaborate across borders, we're not just bridging gaps within their business but creating a more interconnected, skilled, and innovative global tech ecosystem.

A fellow founder recently told me his investors warned him away from “island time” developers in Latin America. That kind of casual racism really infuriated me, so much so that I decided to write this post to dispel the myth of LATAM as a “third-world” source of tech talent. Contrary to what ignorant VCs think, the region is bustling with skilled professionals.

LATAM's Growing Tech Prowess

Despite challenges, LATAM is making significant strides in the tech field. The pandemic accelerated the adoption of existing technologies across the region, transforming the landscape rapidly. This shift is not just in major cities like Buenos Aires and Medellín but is widespread across all of the LATAM markets in which Howdy.com operates.

Actually, LATAM’s tech abilities are often undersold. While a recent report from McKinsey & Co. highlights a skills gap, on-the-ground realities tell a different story. Many LATAM countries are becoming go-to destinations for global tech companies seeking top talent. LATAM is also the home of many unicorns — such as Nubank, Mercado Libre, and Kavak — with valuations up to 50B USD.

Investment Drives Its Growth

Substantial government initiatives in these countries support this tech evolution, making LATAM a promising hub for talent.

  • INNPulsa: Fosters entrepreneurial spirit and innovation in Colombia. INNPulsa plays a crucial role in positioning Colombia as a nexus of technology, supported by partnerships with global organizations.
  • FINEP: Offers a range of programs to accelerate and nurture startup growth in Brazil, contributing significantly to the country's innovative landscape
  • CORFO: Nurtures Chilean businesses and spearheads the renowned Start-Up Chile initiative. This program is a catalyst for enriching Chile's vibrant startup environment.
  • ANII: Propels Uruguay's startup ecosystem. ANII provides various incentives and scholarships to fuel innovation across the country.
  • ADIP: Collaborates with international partners to advance Mexico's digital infrastructure

Argentina also plans to invest 288M USD in science, technology, and innovation through 2026, focusing on supporting SMEs, strengthening capacities, and enhancing its infrastructure.

LATAM’s Educational Excellence in STEM

UNESCO reports that Colombia, Chile, and Mexico are ahead of the U.S. in terms of STEM graduates as a percentage of total higher-ed grads, with Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay close behind.

The Dominant Tech Skills in LATAM Nations

  • Colombia: Data analysis, statistical programming, and mobile development
  • Brazil: Software and web development, data science, and AI
  • Argentina: Software engineering, cybersecurity, IoT, and cloud computing
  • Chile: Cloud computing, IoT, cybersecurity, AI, and big data analytics
  • Uruguay: Software development, cloud computing, IoT, cybersecurity, and AI
  • Mexico: Web development, data analytics, AI, cloud computing, and blockchain

It’s Time To Embrace LATAM Tech Talent

The tech sector in LATAM is a vibrant, growing force. Savvy entrepreneurs in the U.S. are beginning to recognize the talent and skills emanating from this dynamic region. As Howdy and its clients continue to collaborate across borders, we're not just bridging gaps within their business but creating a more interconnected, skilled, and innovative global tech ecosystem.