Outsourcing Software Development to Brazil: Why You Should Hire Brazilian Developers

October 27, 2021
Reх Huхford
Learn why more companies are choosing Brazil as a nearshoring destination for software outsourcing and the advantages of using Brazilian software developers from a US perspective.
Outsourcing Software Development to Brazil: Why You Should Hire Brazilian Developers

While Brazil may not be the first place you think of when it comes to outsourcing software development, the South American country has become a hub of tech talent. Brazil has heavily invested in its IT sector, which has resulted in tremendous growth of skilled, reliable software developers. In addition, the relative weakness of the Brazilian Real compared to the US dollar has made hiring workers from Brazil very cost-effective. While the country is not as well-known for outsourcing as China or India, there are some significant advantages to outsourcing from Brazil. In this article, we'll look at the benefits as well as some of the disadvantages of hiring Brazilian software developers.  

Advantages of Outsourcing Software Development to Brazil

Whatever your reasons for outsourcing software development, Brazil is likely a good choice. Companies in the United States will find Brazil particularly appealing for recruiting talent because of its proximity and cost advantage. Some of the main benefits of hiring software developers include:

Time Zone Overlap with the United States

The East Coast of the United States is only one hour ahead of Brazil. This overlap in time zones makes it easy to collaborate with workers in Brazil without anyone having to get up in the middle of the night or early morning for meetings. It also means that it's much easier to get an immediate response from your contact in Brazil if you have an emergency during the workday.

Hiring Brazilian developers lets you integrate them into your existing workforce, since the time zone overlap provides the opportunity to engage in real-time meetings and timelines. If you do need to travel to Brazil to meet in person, the costs of travel are reasonable, and you won't have to contend with jet lag.

Competitive Cost

The conversion rate for the US dollar with the Brazilian real, the official currency of Brazil. is very favorable. Software developers in Brazil make an average salary of $103,000 BRL, which converts to around $18,000 USD. Compared to the price of hiring US software developers, who command an average salary of over $72,000 per year, Brazilian software developers are much less expensive. This is true even when you factor in extra expenses and the cost of bonuses.  

Brazil's economy suffered a severe recession six years ago. It was recovering slowly when the pandemic hit in 2020 and caused the economy to decline 4.1%. The real is weak compared to the dollar, and unemployment is high at 13.2%. These factors contribute to the low cost of outsourcing software developers.

High Quality

You don't have to worry that cutting costs by outsourcing will result in inferior quality. The Brazilian government has prioritized STEM education by providing incentives. Countries around the globe have invested in Brazil's IT industry. The US alone has invested over $61 billion in Brazil's tech market. Brazil's software economy ranks seventh globally, drawing support from government and private industries.

Brazilian software engineers have studied at prestigious universities and worked with companies across the globe. They have a reputation for being reliable and highly skilled. They have likely worked with companies similar to yours and have a good grasp of best practices in your industry and region. Developers from Brazil are known for meeting deadlines and producing deliverables as promised.

Unlike more competitive marketplaces such as India, Brazilian developers aren't as likely to jump from project to project. This will significantly cut down on your attrition rate and the costs related to high turnover. Additionally, less churn means a reduction in lost time, delays, and communication problems throughout your project.

Robust Technology Infrastructure

Due to business and government investments, Brazil has a thriving technology infrastructure. Brazil is home to over 90 tech parks that have attracted research institutes and tech companies. This technology infrastructure hosts a massive pool of talented software developers. The Brazilian Association of Technology Parks and Incubators, Anprotec, was founded over 30 years ago and represents over 6,000 tech companies. Brazil's tech infrastructure has created tens of thousands of jobs for skilled developers. This demand for tech workers means Brazil's tech schools are top-notch and turn out highly qualified developers who are experienced in a variety of different languages and platforms.

Brazil's version of Silicon Valley, Campinas, is located north of São Paolo. In addition to encouraging STEM education, the Brazilian government offers tax breaks to companies that work on technology innovation. This favorable environment has helped further the development of Brazil's technology infrastructure and ensured a plentiful supply of highly trained software developers.

Cultural Similarity

While Brazil as a whole isn't an English-speaking country, many software developers are fluent in English, particularly in the tech industry hubs. The Brazilian work culture for software engineers is also similar to the US, so you probably won't encounter too many culture shocks if you choose to outsource to Brazil. The hierarchical work culture in Brazil is similar to that of America, where the final decision will be made by the highest-ranking person involved. Software developers are accustomed to deferring to the judgment of higher-ups.

The business workday in Brazil is structured similarly to that of the US. Business hours are generally from 8:30 to 5:00, with an hour or two for lunch. The standard workweek is 40 to 44 hours, depending on whether employees work five or six days weekly. Larger businesses and those in major cities may be open longer hours.

The Cost of Hiring Brazilian Software Developers

Average Yearly Salaries for Brazilian software developers

The average salary for Brazilian software developers varies depending on their experience and specific skills. The range is from $20,000 to $140,000 BRL, which converts to around $3,500 to $24,800 USD. The median salary is $56,922 BRL, or a little over $10,000 USD. Average bonuses range from $990 to $16,000 BRL,  or $175 to $2,800 USD. Profit-sharing averages run from $365 to $24,000 BRL, which is around $65 to $4,300 USD. It's important to understand, however, that these salary averages don't include taxes and additional expenses you may have to pay when you hire developers from Brazil. These averages just include the straight salary paid to developers.

Junior Salary Rate

Junior software developers have limited experience in software development, usually less than two years. They have knowledge of programming languages, such as C++ or Java, but not much on-the-job experience. Junior developers can run development tests, work on minor debugging projects, and monitor internal system performance. They aren't qualified to serve as lead software developers. Because of their limited work history and need for supervision, junior developers earn a lower salary. The average yearly salary for a junior software developer in Brazil is around $36,200 BRL, which is a little over $6,400 USD.

Mid-Level Salary Rate

Mid-level software developers have more work experience, usually two to five years, and they've participated in several projects. They can set up a development environment on their own and mentor junior-level developers. They're skilled in debugging software and are competent in some or all systems development stages. Mid-level developers can create and write simple unit tests and revise code to eliminate bugs and make it more efficient. They can be trusted with more responsibility and can work with less supervision, so they command a higher salary. Mid-level software developers in Brazil earn an average annual salary of $100,464 BRL, or around $17,800 USD.

Senior Salary Rate

Senior software developers typically have five to eight years of work experience. They have worked on many projects. Senior developers understand the full scope of work and can implement methods of developing, testing, and maintaining software. They can supervise junior and mid-level developers. You can trust a senior developer to independently identify and solve complicated problems using design patterns. These experienced developers can create and write complicated tests. Obviously, senior developers will have the highest salaries, averaging $141,359 BRL annually, which is around $25,100 USD.

Average Monthly Salary Rates by Tech Stack

  • MEAN stack developer salary: This stack consists of MongoDB, Express.js, AngularJS, and Node.js and is one of the most in-demand full stacks this year. The average salary for a developer with this tech stack is around $9,020 BRL or $1,600 USD per month.
  • MERN stack developer salary: Because there's so much overlap with the MEAN stack, developers who use the MERN stack earn a similar salary, around $9,020 BRL or $1,600 USD per month.
  • LAMP stack developer salary: This classic stack of Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP is a time-tested solution. It's still in demand, but not as cutting-edge as some of the other stacks, so it isn't paid quite as well. LAMP stack developers are generally paid about 15% less than MEAN and MERN developers, averaging around $7,700 BRL, or a little over $1,350 USD monthly.
  • Ruby on Rails developer salary: Developers who are skilled in Ruby on Rails make just slightly less than MERN/MEAN developers, averaging $8,900 BRL, or $1,580 USD monthly.
  • Front-end developer salary: Front-end developers in Brazil average $4,785 BRL monthly, which is about $850 USD.

Average Hourly Rates for Outsourcing to Brazilian Senior Developers

If you're interested in hiring software developers by the hour for short-term projects, you can expect to pay around $51 BRL, or $9 USD, per hour. This can also be a good option if you'd like to give a developer a trial run before committing to a long-term project. However, be aware that Brazilian labor law is different from that of the United States, and Brazil tends to favor workers in labor disputes. Make sure you're familiar with the legal classification of workers before you contract a developer in Brazil.

3 Key Items to Consider When Outsourcing Software Development to Brazil

When you're deciding if you should outsource to Brazil, here are some key factors to keep in mind.

Talent isn’t just in big cities like São Paulo

The University of São Paulo is a highly ranked engineering program, and the area definitely has a large pool of talented software developers. However, when it comes to outsourcing, look beyond the obvious big cities. While Brazil's tech marketplace isn't as competitive as some others yet, more prominent cities do offer a wealth of other opportunities for developers. If you outsource to smaller cities and towns, you'll have even less competition and will likely be able to work with the same developer throughout your entire project.

Software engineers are paid about 30% more in São Paulo compared to smaller cities such as Curitiba, Maringá, Campinas, Porta Alegre, and Florianópolis. These cities are flourishing tech hubs, so you'll still have plenty of talent to choose from. The cost of living is much lower, and the quality of life can be higher in smaller areas as well.

Brazil has a complicated tax system

One major disadvantage to outsourcing in Brazil is the country's complicated tax structure, which is very complicated for foreign companies that are hiring workers. Brazil imposes significant taxes on not just earnings but also factors such as energy consumption. To work with this tax system, you'll probably have to hire an expert, which will add to the cost of outsourcing.

Although the salaries are low, the wage system is complicated and includes starting employees with 14 months of salary. This covers a month of vacation pay as well as a bonus that all Brazilian employees get. You'll also have to cover transportation and meal subsidies, as well as the cost of recruiting and retaining employees. Additionally, the tax system varies based on the state and locality where services are delivered.

Brazilian work culture has some unique differences

As you probably noticed from the section on the tax system, the Brazilian work culture is different from the United States. In addition to covering costs that are normally borne by employees in the US, there are some other differences worth mentioning. Personal relationships are extremely important in Brazil. Face-to-face interaction is highly regarded. It's common for clients and partners to get together over “um cafézinho," or a cup of coffee, to discuss business. The line between personal and business is blurry in Brazil, so small talk about families and other interests is valued.

Interruptions are a sign of interest in Brazil and shouldn't be considered rude. Likewise, answering a phone call during a meeting isn't considered a sign of disrespect the way it can be in the US. While your software developers may well know English, having a passing familiarity with Portuguese will be an asset if you're doing business with people in Brazil. Having the back of your business card translated into Portuguese is undoubtedly a polite gesture. Given the inexpensive cost of short-run printings, it's easy enough to do even if you don't anticipate needing many. As in the US, eye contact is valued and seen as a sign of honesty and directness. If you have a lunch or dinner meeting, the person who issued the invitation will generally pay, although the other person is expected to offer to pay.

Brazil has a diverse religious population, but the majority of the country is Roman Catholic. There are several public Catholic holidays, and companies generally shut down for one to two weeks around Christmas and Carnival, which is celebrated four days before Ash Wednesday.

Brazil's employment law is very detailed and can be complicated. One big difference from the US is that Brazilian employees are entitled to 30 days of paid vacation after a year of working. Employees can't opt out of taking this vacation. There are restrictions about when the employees can take their vacation and the number of consecutive days that must be taken. Brazil also has many trade unions, which have their own collective bargaining agreements, called awards, that apply to different roles.

Where to Find and Hire Brazilian Software Developers

Brazilian IT outsourcing companies

There are many Brazil-based software development companies that you can use for outsourcing. The main issue with outsourcing from these companies is that you may be rolling the dice as far as quality. If you choose an outsourcing company located in Brazil, check for reviews and try to speak with contacts from other companies who have successfully used them.

Here are some key recommendations when working with Brazilian outsourcing companies:

Check credentials. When you're choosing a developer, don't hesitate to ask for referrals, testimonials, and reviews. You'll need to thoroughly vet their skills to make sure they're qualified. Talk to others who've worked with them, and ask about their experience. In particular, ask about their reliability: whether they met deadlines and delivered what was promised in a timely manner. Make sure you interact with the developer personally before you hire them. If you can't arrange an in-person meeting, at least meet over Zoom or arrange a phone call. Communication is an important part of any software development project, so check to make sure they're a good fit for your team.

Communicate clearly. In addition to making sure the developer you hire has good communication skills, yours will need to be excellent as well. Provide a timeline that includes deadlines for every aspect of the project. Frequently check in with your developer to make sure they understand and are on board with the schedule. Don't wait until near the end of the project to check in. You'll need to be very hands-on to ensure everyone is on the same page. Build in redundancy in all of your communication, and follow up by making sure everyone has access to the timelines, logistics, and expectations related to the process, as well as the resources they need to deliver. If there are delays, communicate with your team and make sure everyone is updated on the revised projections.

Provide technical oversight. Although you'll obviously be hiring tech talent, you'll need someone you know and trust to perform QA on your developer's work. This is particularly important if your project will be subject to data privacy protection regulations, which can carry hefty fines for violations. Neglecting to have someone fill this role can result in mistakes, lost time and resources, and a delay in completing your project.

Remote Freelancing Sites

You can advertise on remote freelancing sites and try to put together your own team. Some of these include:

To use remote freelancing sites, you'll need to craft a posting that attracts the right type of developers without leaving you sifting through thousands of unqualified applicants. This can be difficult to do. Here are some tips for writing a good job listing:

  • Keep your title simple and specific. Include the specific tech skills you're looking for. Avoid fluff.
  • Include all your requirements in your description, and be as specific as possible.
  • Format your requirements as a checklist so it's easier for applicants to check at a glance.
  • Include information about salary, benefits, and perks.

Once your job posting goes live, you'll also have to spend a good bit of time reviewing responses and conducting interviews. When you've found an applicant who seems like a good fit, you can move into the testing phase so you can evaluate their performance in real time. The exact process you use for testing will depend on what type of role you're trying to fill. One efficient method of testing is giving the applicant a task to complete that is time-bound and requires following specific instructions unrelated to the technical task. This is a good way to evaluate their tech skills as well as their communication skills and ability to follow directions.

If you go this route, you'll need to do your own vetting and make sure the individual members of your team can work together as a cohesive unit. Because software development teams will need to work together until your project's completion, anywhere from several months to several years, finding a good fit is critical. Make sure you include a mix of critical thinkers, experienced developers, and subject matter experts. Particularly when choosing remote team members, it's important to prioritize soft skills and communication. It doesn't matter how skilled your developer is if they can't communicate with the rest of your team.

Talent Marketplaces

If you'd like to take advantage of the benefits of outsourcing from Brazil without having to deal with the headaches, choosing a talent marketplace may be a better option for you. Revelo is a unique platform that finds high-quality tech talent in Latin America and connects them to employers in the United States. The primary benefit of using Revelo is that the software developers are prescreened and vetted.

Hiring an employee from Revelo is more of a commitment than hiring a freelancer or outsourcing, but it's worth it. There are significant advantages, including:

Reduced risk. You have the ability to hire developers on a two-week trial basis. If they aren't a good fit, you don't have to pay. Developers are also carefully screened and verified, so you don't have to worry about hiring someone and then finding out their skills aren't up to par.

Increased productivity. Hiring developers with a demonstrated proficiency in the tech stack you need for your project means you don't have to waste time and resources placing ads, interviewing, and testing candidates. You can find qualified help and get started right away.

Frictionless processing. Revelo deals with the complicated tax structure and bureaucracy for you. When you hire from Revelo's talent platform, they handle the salary, benefits, legal requirements, and perks. Your Brazilian employees will feel and act the same as your US-based employees.

Conclusion

Despite its onerous tax code, Brazil is a great option for outsourcing. While you may have to deal with some additional complications, when you hire developers from Brazil, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. The key benefits include:

Quality. Brazil's tech education has been a high priority for its government and private sector. Software developers trained in Brazil are experts in React, Python, Node, Ruby on Rails, and more. No matter what tech skill you need, there are Brazilian developers who possess it. Additionally, Brazil's investment in producing top-notch software developers ensures that they are trained in professional practices and focus on delivering quality, reliable results.

Real-time collaboration. Working with developers located in Brazil means that much of your workday will overlap. You can seamlessly integrate your Brazilian employees into your current team without the frustrations involved in trying to communicate across distant time zones.

Low attrition rates. Brazilian developers are less likely to leave in the middle of your project for a better offer. While the marketplace is competitive, it isn't so competitive that you have to worry constantly about losing your talent to other companies. When you bring a developer from Brazil on board, they are likely to stay with you for the long term.

Lower cost. While taxes and the need to hire experts who are familiar with Brazil's employment regulations add to the raw cost of hiring Brazilian developers, it's still a bargain compared to hiring US-based developers. Even given the perks and markup, you can generally hire software developers from Brazil at half the price of equally skilled developers in the United States.


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