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What’s the Difference Between Nearshore vs Offshore Software Development?

Posted by Sygma Technology on Feb 28, 2019
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When you are ready to begin navigating the complex waters of developing your software or mobile app, the best place to start is by researching your options. One thing that will quickly become apparent is the sheer number of options you have at your disposal and how selecting the best one can be somewhat of a challenge.


As you begin to explore the digital landscape, you will inevitably hear terms foreign to those outside the industry. If you haven’t heard them already, the terms onshore, nearshore, and offshore programming will soon be within earshot.


To determine which of these options is the best for your organization, you’ll first need to understand the main differences between onshore and nearshore vs offshore software development. Understanding your options will allow you to make an informed decision and have vital input on integral parts of the project. You cannot solely rely on a single individual or team that you hire to do the work; you need to be involved every step of the way and be able to speak somewhat intelligently on the processes and next steps.


During your product’s software development, you will be working within a set timeframe that can widely range in length depending on the complexity of your digital offering. This timeframe will be quickly spent compiling resources, coordinating tasks, and meeting project milestone deadlines. If you’re not working with a professional team for your software development, it’s easy to go over budget by going outside the project’s original scope, misallocating resources, or going over the originally agreed timeframe.


Hiring a professional team means you’ll be able to take some of the weight off your shoulders and adopt a laissez-faire approach, letting the experts do their jobs while keeping you in the loop every step of the way. For this to happen, you need to understand the terminology that flies around the industry so you can make an informed decision.


Read on to find out the differences between onshore or nearshore vs offshore software development, and why they should matter to you.


Offshore Software Development


Offshore software development is the practice of hiring a third-party software agency or developer in another country.  Commonly known as outsourcing, offshore software development is sometimes a great option for a simple job that only needs to be completed once or twice.


With the offshore option, you’re able to work with an agency or an individual. Ultimately, most choose to hire teams of offshore software developers as opposed to individuals for reasons of speed and efficiency.  As with any team of developers, a group of offshore developers working in unison can get the work done faster and catch problems and errors early on. They can also collaborate on ideas on how to make certain application features better. It’s not hard to see how this might be a more attractive choice.


What makes offshore programming most enticing to North American clients is the cost factor. The global economy, where the average salary per person per country is by no means uniform, has opened up the playing field for a marked disparity in pricing when it comes to the digital marketplace. While this imbalance has proven to be advantageous for both parties—providing cheaper developers to North Americans as well as opportunities that previously didn’t exist for those in developing countries—it’s important to acknowledge that there are particular cons that accompany the pros.


While offshore software development is appealing for certain projects, there are a few associated risks. At the heart of these is that communication with offshore workers is commonly a challenge. Language and cultural barriers can result in huge discrepancies and issues with your project, leaving you with an inferior product. You may also need to collaborate with your offshore team extremely early in the morning to compensate for timezone disparities.  These types of barriers can also cause other non-technical problems with your project’s success such as delays in your timelines and product rollout.


So what are the alternatives?


Onshore and Nearshore Software Development


Onshore outsourcing means to hire a team or individual residing in the country where you live. Onshore and nearshore software development are similar, and both come with their pros and cons.  Both are still outsourcing, but unlike with offshore outsourcing, these options provide the benefit of location. Nearshore software development consists of hiring a team or individual residing in the same time zone (+- 1-2 hours) or an adjoining country.


The obvious benefit to onshore software development is that the team or individual you hire will likely share your language, culture, and expectations with the working relationship. (While this will often apply to nearshore software development too, it may not necessarily, as in the case of, say, the proximity of Central and South America to the United States. While time zones and proximity are shared, culture and language may not be.


Some will argue that the main drawback of hiring a nearshore or onshore software development company is the price, but this is a situation of getting what you paid for. You’re certainly able to explore offshore outsourcing, but you’re potentially compromising your product’s overall quality to save a few bucks. Hiring someone who doesn’t have the proper expertise or background can be detrimental to the success of your product, especially if communication with that company or individual is challenging due to a language barrier.


While saving money is appealing, you may end up spending more of your precious time and money getting on the same page, working out the fine details, and fixing errors with an offshore software development company. Offshore developers tend to be task-oriented workers, instead of focused on the whole picture—essentially developers rather than engineers. Onshore and nearshore software development companies, on the other hand, commonly have engineers on the project team who can visualize the big picture and ensure the success of the product.


As a result, offshore developers typically call for more hand-holding. Most offshore development efforts even require hiring a certified project manager to help you oversee the progress and to keep things on course.


Onshore and nearshore software development options can ultimately be the best and most financially feasible choice as you’re provided with better quality work that doesn’t require a ton of revisions due to repeated miscommunications. This results in a better-quality experience for you and a better-quality build for your product.


Get the Job Done Right


By arming yourself with the knowledge of what needs to be done and how to find the right team to do it, you are taking the first steps to make your dream of your digital product a reality.  

Understanding onshore and nearshore vs offshore software development and what each entails will help you make an educated decision of which one is best for your product’s needs. Educate yourself to save time, spare yourself unnecessary frustrations, and to get the job done right the first time.


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