Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

What do you think when you hear the word “Jamaica”? Golden beaches? Yep. Reggae beats and the pleasantness of Bob Marley? Check. The almost superhuman speed of Usain Bolt? Tell me more. The new tech hub in the Americas? Wait, what? You bet.

Over the past decade, the Jamaican software development industry has evolved at a pace that is nothing short of extraordinary. And as global demand for tech talent intensifies, Jamaica has emerged as a go-to destination, transforming the chilled-out island into a burgeoning hub for technology. And if you, like most of us, were surprised to know about this, don’t worry. Let me elaborate.

The Rise of the Jamaican Software Industry

At BairesDev, we work with the top 1% of talent in the Americas, which helps us gauge exciting trends in the regions. In the past couple of years, from 2020 to 2022, the number of hires from Jamaica rose 2,100%. You read that right. Not 21. Not 210, but twenty-one hundred percent.

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This is, without a doubt, an impressive number. But why has there been such a steep increase in talented developers hailing out of Jamdown? A combination of factors provides us with the answer.

Jamaica’s tech ascent can be attributed to government initiatives, investments in education, and local entrepreneurs tapping into global trends to turn the island into the Silicon Valley of the Caribbean. This can be seen in initiatives like the Amber/HEART NSTA Coding Academy, which is aimed at preparing thousands of young men and women to transform the country into a technological hub of the Caribbean.

Additionally, the government and local financial institutions support sustainable and robust growth of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with non-reimbursable investment financing. It has allocated $1.1 billion for the Boosting Innovation, Growth and Entrepreneurship Ecosystems (BIGEE) project—the initiative aimed to achieve sustainable and robust growth among startups and MSMEs.

However, it is more than just the local government involved in the region’s development. Some international organizations have also joined the fray. For instance, InterAmerican Development Bank helped promote the innovation and growth of the Jamaican ecosystem. It offered funding for incubators, grants, and loans for startups. The startup ecosystem also received funds from the European Union’s Caribbean Investment Facility (CIF). Funding is given to promote gender equality, climate change, and response to COVID-19 to drive business innovation and productivity.

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All these efforts have resulted in the proliferation of startups, digital services, and tech communities. Let’s analyze each one.

The Startup Ecosystem in Jamaica now ranks first in the Caribbean and 92nd worldwide. While this second number does not sound particularly impressive, consider that it jumped two spots, outperforming Morocco, a country of 37 million inhabitants. Jamaica, for comparison, has only 2.8 million people, one-fifteenth of Morocco’s total population. That has to count for something.

Some of the most prominent examples of Jamaican startups are:

  • One on One is an e-learning solutions provider trusted by governments, enterprises, and individuals to educate, upskill, and train through Learning Management System (LMS) and e-course offerings.
  • Amber Connects is a global vehicle security and telematics solutions provider. It generates robust business intelligence for commercial verticals powered by Internet of Things (IoT) security.
  • SmartTerm is a software solution for educational institutions with a unified student information and learning management system.

Regarding digital services, the country has invested approximately $900 million in the ICT/BPO sector to improve its tech sector. During 2022, the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry saw expansion of existing BPO companies, new BPO brands, and progression toward higher-level outsourcing services and initiatives to enhance the labor pool. Technology parks, cost-competitive labor, and a liberalized telecommunications sector now support the tech market. The Jamaican government has also committed to developing over 1 million sq. ft. of commercial space within the next five years.

As a result of all of this, many tech communities have surged on the island. The government established the Global Services Association of Jamaica (GSAJ) to address the sector’s development. The organization’s goal is to, along with the government, formulate policy and legislation for the business process outsourcing industry to make Jamaica the ideal location for outsourcing operations. It engages all stakeholders continuously through round table discussions and forums to develop and implement strategies to improve the quality and standards of service delivery in the Global Services Sector in Jamaica.

Bridging the Global Tech Talent Gap

The global tech industry has been grappling with a significant challenge: The demand for tech talent surpasses the available supply. One of the solutions to this dilemma is nearshore outsourcing—the practice of outsourcing business processes, especially in software development, to geographically closer countries.

 


If you’re interested in joining the fastest growing nearshoring company in Latin America, explore job opportunities here.


 

This is where Jamaica truly shines. The country’s proximity to North America, its English-speaking population, and a burgeoning tech ecosystem make it an attractive nearshoring destination. Pair that with experienced programmers who work with some of the world’s top 1% of tech talent, and you’ve got an area that is ready to deliver and become entrenched on your top of mind where some of the most prominent developers of the world come from.

We’ve written about why Latin America and the Caribbean are great for software outsourcing. From all the benefits mentioned above of nearshoring, like timezone alignment, and good language skills to cost-effectiveness, culture similarities, and outstanding level of tech education, Jamaica is beginning to play a more prominent role in the region, next to the subcontinent’s giants like Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina.

The Future Is Bright

As explained above, at BairesDev, we’ve been at the forefront of tapping into Jamaica’s tech boom. The growth in the number of hires we’ve seen in the past two years is more than a mere number; it’s a testament to the quality and capability of Jamaican tech professionals.

The story of Jamaica’s tech surge is still in its early chapters. With continued investments in education, infrastructure, and partnerships with global tech giants, the Jamaican Valley might be top of mind for many tech leaders, just as today is another valley in California. Moreover, as more companies discover the benefits of nearshoring to Jamaica, the country’s reputation as a tech powerhouse will grow stronger.

In conclusion, Jamaica’s transformation from a holiday haven to a tech titan is a story of resilience, innovation, and foresight. The island nation is setting the stage and inviting the world to witness and be a part of its incredible tech journey.

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