South African Software Agencies

Joined
Jun 11, 2007
Messages
21
#1
My work is exploring the possibility of outsourcing some .NET development work to South Africa.

We are looking for a small firm (20 to 50 developers). We obviously wouldn't hire the entire company. But ideally the firm would be used to timezone challenges and daily standups over Skype.

Does anyone work at such a firm? Has anyone outsourced development work to South Africa and can share their experience?
 

Ancalagon

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Feb 23, 2010
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#4
I've never heard of such a thing happening, but I could be wrong. I would contact the larger companies such as Entelect, BBD and Dariel to see if they could help out.

They are the most likely to be able to field the 20 to 50 developers you would need. Not many other companies would have that many devs available.

Why outsource to South Africa?
 
Joined
Jun 11, 2007
Messages
21
#5
My boss was given a presentation by the DTI on outsourcing to South Africa. He is interested because of the cultural similarities.

Outsourcing to India has been very hit and miss for a lot of companies. Many big companies just land up flying the Indian developers to their offices when the project inevitably runs late.
 

retromodcoza

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Mar 4, 2006
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232
#6
Hmmm

My boss was given a presentation by the DTI on outsourcing to South Africa. He is interested because of the cultural similarities.
What the DTI says is possible and what is actually possible are very different things.
Your main reason for outsourcing is probably cost.

Given this :

The unemployment rate among developers is very very low here (probably less than 1%).
All competent teams are up to their neck in work.
Companies do not have spare capacity.
Prices for developer salaries are being driven up very quickly
Developer turnover for most companies is high as companies poach with higher pay and perks
Management of developers is poor in general.

What this means is you are going to have to poach developers , teams or whole companies away from their current work. This is going to be expensive.

Dont get me wrong - you'll get good work done if you come into this with fistfuls of cash , but its going to be tougher than you think and probably wont be worth the limited savings at the end of the day. Even Amazon here has been struggling to attract enough good talent.
 

Tewmark

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Joined
Jun 5, 2018
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1
#7
My boss was given a presentation by the DTI on outsourcing to South Africa. He is interested because of the cultural similarities.

Outsourcing to India has been very hit and miss for a lot of companies. Many big companies just land up flying the Indian developers to their offices when the project inevitably runs late.
I can help you with this, how do I get in touch?
 
Joined
Aug 8, 2017
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745
#9
I used to work at a company who would have done something like this. Sadly they closed down.

We have made people available to a larger team at another company. They worked on site with them.
We have also supplied team members to our overseas offices, who worked from SA, so it is definitely something that some companies would do.
We were also chosen over other cheaper countries due to what I presume to be language and culture. I suppose the time zone being closer than India also helped.

We also got some guys from Entelect who came on site with us to help us out when we were short staffed. I see no reason why they wouldn't make a team available who works from their offices.
 

krycor

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Joined
Aug 4, 2005
Messages
13,127
#10
What the DTI says is possible and what is actually possible are very different things.
Your main reason for outsourcing is probably cost.

Given this :

The unemployment rate among developers is very very low here (probably less than 1%).
All competent teams are up to their neck in work.
Companies do not have spare capacity.
Prices for developer salaries are being driven up very quickly
Developer turnover for most companies is high as companies poach with higher pay and perks
Management of developers is poor in general.

What this means is you are going to have to poach developers , teams or whole companies away from their current work. This is going to be expensive.

Dont get me wrong - you'll get good work done if you come into this with fistfuls of cash , but its going to be tougher than you think and probably wont be worth the limited savings at the end of the day. Even Amazon here has been struggling to attract enough good talent.
I can attest to 'talent' issue.. I've been involved in trying very hard to recruit junior-mid level devs and i can tell you this.. if the guy is < 27yrs old, the chance of him passing a technical interview is < 0.5% (graduate or not). The older ones, if they are graduates they usually ok (assuming they employed and working at a respectful company).. if they not grads it depends heavily if they care about what they do.

It's been so bad that 5yrs on, I am considering leaving the country because i just can't work in SA anymore. I like being in a team with people who are smarter than myself as it means i need to push myself to perform better. But i dunno.. everytime i do interviews, especially mid level guys who earn a bit in no time but fail on basic testing, it makes me think 1. my salary is too low 2. I will never be able to grow career because there is no-one to replace me or 3. will only be happy unless i work for nasa, amazon, netflix or some other large company where challenges are mentally simulating.

Most of the mess ups i see in SA companies are self inflicted management layer issues which are not resolved because its easier sticking it to the devs.. who actually carry the company. Every other company i interview at has a silly management layer and u can easily tell they either have a dodge pm to dev/it management layer or other screw up that ends with dev's taking the brunt. I think the time when SA development was awesome is passed and now its very hard to find a 'great' place that is not carrying overhead because they have hired the wrong people in key positions.


So yah.. i dunno why i'm still in SA and after an interview i feel sad for the future of this country.
 
Last edited:

willo

Active Member
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Mar 2, 2011
Messages
74
#11
I suppose I am fortunate in that case. The company I work for pays well, has a very flat structure and actually cares about it's people. We do consulting for various big organisations and work closely with the likes of Google.

We're always looking for awesome people so, please consider sending me your CV before you join the chicken run.
 

jman

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Joined
May 9, 2014
Messages
1,776
#12
I suppose I am fortunate in that case. The company I work for pays well, has a very flat structure and actually cares about it's people. We do consulting for various big organisations and work closely with the likes of Google.

We're always looking for awesome people so, please consider sending me your CV before you join the chicken run.
Smells like Entelect
 

^^vampire^^

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Joined
Feb 17, 2009
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3,211
#14
This is interesting as I have noticed a trend in first world countries where they only want senior devs precisely because they can do the work without any hand holding. The trade off here is that none of the graduates, juniors or mids are getting work anymore so they drop out of the workforce to pursue other opportunities. This is mostly prevalent with grads that can't get jobs as junior positions want 2+ years experience.

There is also the problem of people thinking you study to be a dev and then get paid lots of money. Being a dev is one of the fastest paced occupations in my opinion with regards to the tech changing and you have to constantly be studying and trying things in the evenings just to keep up. Most people don't do this so they either can't cut it after graduating because they think the hard work is done or they become obsolete after a few years in the work force because their skills are basically old and unneeded.

I've noticed a few companies in Aus have set up shop in SA. By this I mean they have opened a company in SA and hire devs instead of hiring devs in Aus. The cost for the Aus company is generally 50% or less of what they would be paying staff in Aus when they do it this way. Like someone else said, those in SA that can do the work are up to their eyeballs in work so outsourcing work to a company in SA or outsourcing to a company in Aus tends to be the same price. Companies will charge roughly $150 - $300 p/h in Aus and it would probably similar for outsourcing to an SA company with 20+ devs, so unless an overseas company is actually setting up their own dev team in SA it is not really worth it. Sure there will be smaller shops in SA that will charge less but I find no matter who you are unless people can meet in person something always gets lost in translation somewhere which winds up costing you money. This is even more prominent when outsourcing to China or India where people have learned it cost them more in the amount of redoing work because the Chinese/Indians can't understand the work requirements because of language barrier.
 

Thor

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Joined
Jun 5, 2014
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34,568
#15
I've never heard of such a thing happening, but I could be wrong. I would contact the larger companies such as Entelect, BBD and Dariel to see if they could help out.

They are the most likely to be able to field the 20 to 50 developers you would need. Not many other companies would have that many devs available.

Why outsource to South Africa?
God no, avoid Entelect at all costs.
 

crackersa

Honorary Master
Joined
May 31, 2011
Messages
29,033
#16
This is interesting as I have noticed a trend in first world countries where they only want senior devs precisely because they can do the work without any hand holding. The trade off here is that none of the graduates, juniors or mids are getting work anymore so they drop out of the workforce to pursue other opportunities. This is mostly prevalent with grads that can't get jobs as junior positions want 2+ years experience.

There is also the problem of people thinking you study to be a dev and then get paid lots of money. Being a dev is one of the fastest paced occupations in my opinion with regards to the tech changing and you have to constantly be studying and trying things in the evenings just to keep up. Most people don't do this so they either can't cut it after graduating because they think the hard work is done or they become obsolete after a few years in the work force because their skills are basically old and unneeded.

I've noticed a few companies in Aus have set up shop in SA. By this I mean they have opened a company in SA and hire devs instead of hiring devs in Aus. The cost for the Aus company is generally 50% or less of what they would be paying staff in Aus when they do it this way. Like someone else said, those in SA that can do the work are up to their eyeballs in work so outsourcing work to a company in SA or outsourcing to a company in Aus tends to be the same price. Companies will charge roughly $150 - $300 p/h in Aus and it would probably similar for outsourcing to an SA company with 20+ devs, so unless an overseas company is actually setting up their own dev team in SA it is not really worth it. Sure there will be smaller shops in SA that will charge less but I find no matter who you are unless people can meet in person something always gets lost in translation somewhere which winds up costing you money. This is even more prominent when outsourcing to China or India where people have learned it cost them more in the amount of redoing work because the Chinese/Indians can't understand the work requirements because of language barrier.
Don’t agree with you at all about first world countries. I know of many companies in the US that have intern programs as they recognize there is a shortage of local developers so they want to encourage more people to enter the field. And at my company, if the interns are any good, they are offered a permanent position. Mids and juniors are being hired all the time, especially since the US govt is reducing the number of HB1 visas being issued.
 

willo

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Joined
Mar 2, 2011
Messages
74
#17
Don’t agree with you at all about first world countries. I know of many companies in the US that have intern programs as they recognize there is a shortage of local developers so they want to encourage more people to enter the field. And at my company, if the interns are any good, they are offered a permanent position. Mids and juniors are being hired all the time, especially since the US govt is reducing the number of HB1 visas being issued.
I have to agree. We also have an active graduate program and hire for attitude rather than skill. You can always up skill someone but getting them to buy into continuous learning, for instance, is much harder.
 

Ancalagon

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Feb 23, 2010
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14,359
#18
I actually think the not hiring juniors thing is mostly a South African thing. Most companies seem VERY reluctant to hire graduates or juniors.

I'm like, where do you think seniors come from?
 

Kosmik

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Sep 21, 2007
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17,142
#20
I actually think the not hiring juniors thing is mostly a South African thing. Most companies seem VERY reluctant to hire graduates or juniors.

I'm like, where do you think seniors come from?
I think it's difficult to show ROI on junior devs to non software companies as there is a lot of work involved in training them up. And most normally stay with a company max 2-3 years. Businesses have expectations that senior dev level ability for juniors at their cost. Or the mentality that three junior devs should be able to provide the same output as a single senior dev.

Development should not be repetitive work, that should be automated or scripted. And the non repetitive work lies in that strange field of both creativity and logic that makes development such a rareish field. Sure , you could hire junior devs that are basic code monkeys , churning out boilerplate code but they won't learn and evolve if you just leave it at that.
 
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