8 Reasons Why Croatia

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When analyzing a country’s software development potential, it is important to set a comprehensive criterion, including but not limited to: specific software skills and talent pool, culture and lifestyle, language proficiency, rates, time zone and connectivity, and last but not least — the destination itself.

So without any further ado, here are eight reasons why Croatia should be your next destination for software development.

1. Great Engineers

Croatia has an exceptional engineering heritage. Did you know Nikola Tesla was born in Smiljan, a small village in Croatia? One could say that Tesla as the technological pioneer planted the ‘technical seed’ in Croats because for a very long time, Croatia has been a source of great engineers and excellent IT & Tech universities. Croatian engineers invented the pen, water cannon, the zeppelin, the world’s first electric sports car, the torpedo, pay-by-phone parking, and much more.

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Nikola Tesla in his New York laboratory

Croatia has some of the worlds most talented young engineers. According to the statistics from International Olympiad in Informatics, you could argue that Croatians are per capita the most talented engineers in the world. IOI is the most prestigious computer science competition in the world for secondary school students. The primary goal of the IOI is to stimulate interest in computer science and information technology. Croatia ranks very high in the total number of medals won and has the smallest population out of the top 15 countries listed. Therefore, ranks #1 according to the graph below.

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2. Western Culture/Mindset

Croatia offers a western lifestyle, and therefore, customers are spared the painful experience of time-consuming micromanagement. This is mostly because Croatia has been a top tourist destination for years, so Croatians are used to working with people all around the world.

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King Tomislav Square, one of many parks in the very heart of Zagreb

Also, Croatia was part of Western civilization for centuries; The Kingdom of Croatia was within the Habsburg Monarchy for almost 400 years (from 1527 to 1918 to be exact). In the second half of the 20th century, after the whole of Eastern Europe was flooded by communism, Croatia was the only country in CE Europe who opened up to the US, stood up to Russia, and didn’t have an iron curtain regime. Again, that’s something that foreigners feel and appreciate when facing the Croatian mentality. Therefore you’ll often hear clients from Europe and the US saying how happy they are with the culture fit.

3. English Proficiency

Croatians speak English very well. This is not an overstatement. The reason for such a high English fluency among Croatians is primarily the fact that English is a mandatory subject all the way through elementary school. Also, unlike many other nations, Croatians don’t translate movies, they just add subtitles to them. Since the vast majority of movies are in English, this is a huge contributory factor for the high level of fluency.

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Client workshop at Q agency in Zagreb

According to EF (Education First), an international education company based in Lucerne, Switzerland, and their EF English Proficiency Index — The world’s largest ranking of countries and regions by English skills, Croatia is in the world’s Top 20 with high proficiency.

4. Top Tourist Destination

Croatia is a country with just over 4 million people, located at the crossroads of central Europe and the Mediterranean — mostly known for its stunning Adriatic coast, which features 1200 islands and countless breathtaking tourist destinations like Dubrovnik, Hvar, Zadar, the Plitvice Lakes, and Krka among many others.

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Just do a Google search for ‘Croatia’ :)

5. Great Connectivity

Croatia is generally very well connected and about 1-2 hours away from Europe’s largest cities. Back in 2017, a new airport terminal “Franjo Tuđman Airport” opened its doors and this naturally led to the introduction of countless new direct flights to all major European airports. Today, you are just a few hours away from London, Manchester, Zurich, Stuttgart, Berlin, Amsterdam, Stockholm, and Oslo. I am still working on a direct flight from Belfast!!

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Photo courtesy of the Official account of Franjo Tuđman Airport

On March 6, 2019, Franjo Tuđman Airport was voted by the Airports Council International as the best airport in Europe in the category of up to 5 million passengers.

6. Time Zone

The Central European Time (CET) zone makes Croatia very compatible to work with, not only with other European partners but US-based companies as well. The six-hour time difference (occasionally 5-hours depending on daylight saving time) allows for a significant time overlap with the US east coast.

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Europe from space, via Pinterest

Croatia’s capital, Zagreb, shares the same CET time zone as Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, Luxembourg, Oslo, Paris, Stockholm, Vienna, Zurich, and more.

7. Croatian IT Scene

The Croatian economy is very much service-based, and the IT sector is one of the most up and coming in recent years. When analyzing the Croatian IT scene, you’ll find many small to medium-sized software companies doing an excellent job and covering a wide variety of technologies. Therefore, in terms of specific technology skill-set, you can find it all — from web & mobile apps, UI&UX design to VR&AR, IOT and AI.

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Largest Developer Conference in South East Europe — Shift Dev in Split, Croatia

Regarding the current economic situation — Croatia’s GDP growth in 2018 compared to 2017 increased by approximately 2.8%. A similar growth percentage is expected for 2019. Meanwhile, unemployment levels in Croatia are at a record low.

8. Rates

According to Eurostat — the statistical office of the European Union and their Wage-adjusted labour productivity ratio indicator, Croatian developers will get you the most ‘bang for your buck’. The research was published by Eurostat in 2018 and it clearly shows Croatians delivering the most value for money.

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Source: Eurostat 2018.

If you’re in the software business, you are probably familiar as to how hard it is to discuss rates when you don’t have clear and concise project specifications. Croatian software developers are not the cheapest, far from that. If you want cheap, you should probably think about Southeast Asia. However, the rates for Croatian developers are still very competitive in comparison to local providers and freelancers in Europe’s largest cities. That being said, you’ll find a seasoned senior developer in Croatia at the same rate as a junior-mid developer in London, New York or Zurich.

Therefore, if you are looking for a new software development partner, you should seriously consider Croatia as your next destination. Not just because of the countless tourist attractions, but instead because of the marvelous software developers whom you will encounter.