Why outsource software development to Poland?
Because educated Poles are just like north-westerners, but more motivated. And little less pricy.
Poles are hard-workers. Poles work yearly 165 hours more than the average citizen of OECD countries.
Poland has a strong tradition in theoretical sciences. You know Copernicus, but may not have heard about Stefan Banach - one of the most important mathematicians of the 20th century.
Polish mathematicians: Stefan Banach and Otto Nikodym discussing Lebesgue integral, as seen by Hugo Steinhaus in Krakow, 1916. Photo by Zygmunt Put, Wikimedia Commons.
You also probably don't know three overlooked Polish mathematicians (J. Rozycki, H. Zygalski and M. Rejewski) who deciphered the Nazi Enigma machine, and helped Alan Turing - the father of Computer Science - to develop his own techniques. These achievements formed today's solid theoretical scientific background for many Poles.
Polish education is still good against all odds, or maybe because of them. Teaching - also undercover one, during the 19th century and WW2 - has long roots in Polish history. Polish education was always focused on individual achievements - it produces a lot of highly skilled introverts.
In the OECD PISA 2015, Poland is ranked #11 in the World in fields of science and mathematics.
Software Development in Poland
Poland has gained a strong tradition in software development. It’s the single best skill Poland is known for. As of 2017, the most known Poland’s export product is a masterpiece computer game: the Witcher 3.
Polish computer science teams from universities (mainly Warsaw University) are ranked regularly in the World’s top 10 (ACM ICPC, Top Coder).
Poland is ranked #3 in the 2016 HackerRank's Global Ranking.
Polish culture is not very known outside, but you can quickly discover there are no serious cultural gaps between Poland and Western countries. You don’t need to learn the culture to start working with Poles - it’s just strikingly similar.
Poles speak good English. Poland is ranked World #9 in the English Proficiency Index by EF 2015
"In Warsaw Area alone, there are more developers than in the whole Czech Republic."
But Poland is still relatively poor, because of it’s difficult history. GDP of Poland is 30% of its western neighbor - Germany. But also prices are much lower. Cost of living is 44% of German one.
And hence, software development in Poland is just much less expensive. Poland’s average software developer pay is 33% of an American one, and 43% of German one.
Czechs, Latvians, Romanians and other nations in the region are similar. But Poland is just much bigger. In Warsaw Area alone, there are more developers than in the whole Czech Republic.
Where to find good developers in Poland?
There are 7 metropolitan areas in Poland. Top 3 are Warsaw, Wroclaw and Krakow. All 3 have strong computer science departments on 2 universities each. Other cities are less important.
Number of Software Developers in Poland
A map showing the number of software developers in Poland. Based on Slack Exchange Developers Survey 2016 and Github accounts analysis on 30 Oct 2017 by the Visla team.
Warsaw is London of Poland. 40% of Polish software developers live in Warsaw. And the city attracts talented developers from former USSR countries.
Unlike smaller cities in Poland, it offers direct flight connections almost anywhere.
"In 2015 Google moved its development centre from Krakow to Warsaw."
The are roughly 10 times more direct foreign investments in Warsaw as compared to Krakow or Wroclaw.
The fact is Warsaw drains brains from all over Poland, and Ukraine. Even Google had to learn the hard way - in 2015 this software giant moved its centre from Krakow to Warsaw. It’s just much faster to match with developers in Warsaw.
In the same time, median salaries of senior developers in Warsaw are only 10-15% higher as compared to Krakow or Wroclaw.