There is something on the horizon that might just transform the economic relationship between Mexico and the U.S. And it’s not a wall. In fact, it’s more of a digital pathway. It’s the growing pool of tech talent up for grabs in Mexico’s thriving cities, as well as lucrative partnership opportunities.
Mexico has made a conscious effort to infuse and support the growth of tech industries within its borders and become a breeding ground for software engineers, software developers, Python programmers, and more.
Because of this effort, several tech hubs sprouted throughout the country and infused their institutions—such as the prestigious Tec de Monterrey—with resources for better and more hands-on training. Several cities in Mexico have reached considerable recognition as respected IT hubs becoming sought out tech centers. As a company that specializes in partnerships across the border, we have studied closely the ecosystems and salary variations in Mexico’s most competitive IT cities.
Our 2019 report—put together through research and interviews with thousands of developers—looked at three cities and the competitive salaries that can save U.S companies money.
While each city is different and has its unique demographics of web developers, full-stack, front stack, and back end developers, there are common benefits across the board for U.S companies:
It’s no longer a well-kept secret that Mexico’s second-largest city harbors a developing and growing talent pool of software developers, software engineers, and even web devs. The tech boom in the city is not an accident but is the result of many years of investment and foundation setting. This has made Guadalajara a great place to outsource and hire a skilled software developer.
According to the Smithsonian, the tech rise of Guadalajara took decades to brew. It began as early as the late 60s and early 80s when companies like Kodak, Motorola, IBM, Hewlett Packard, and Siemens placed some of their operations in the country. And while it was at first a search for cheap manufacturing, it embedded itself into the culture and slowly the people of the city began adopting tech-related industries and manufacturing as a common career path. It was then the corporations began working with local universities to expand tech-related courses.
As outlined in a recent article, Guadalajara also has other benefits. So what makes Guadalajara special? Let’s take a look.
Not far from the U.S border, this hidden gem of a city is home to some cool cultural happenings and natural landscapes. This is, also, Mexico’s second-largest industrial center with the highest per capita income in the country. Much like Guadalajara, Monterrey is focused on tapping into the great potential in technological development and has taken time to invest, build, and foster various aspects of the tech industry.
Its approach is different from its southern counterpart, Guadalajara, as it works to form a more multifaceted industrial base and is better known for its focus on innovation, design, and investment.
Monterrey has unique initiatives that pull together entrepreneurs and feeding the city’s ecosystem. Some of the companies taking part include IBM, Neoris, Alfa, Arca Continental, Banamex, Cemex, and the well-known Tec de Monterrey, University of Monterrey, and the Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon.
Like Guadalajara, Monterrey has its unique characteristics as a city and as a technological hub. It’s geographical location and culture has a lot to do with it. Let’s take a look at its characteristics:
As Mexico’s industrial, cultural, and professional center, a city that is home to 21 million people, thousands of businesses and companies, Mexico City has its unique advantages as a tech hub. As the center of much goings-on in the country, the capital has always been known as a high-energy and fast-moving place that embraces change and innovation.
The spurt in tech in Mexico City can be attributed to various factors including an adaptive economy, high interest in new technologies, government initiatives, and a fast-growing tech ecosystem, as well as being a lucrative private investment hub.
Thousands of graduates from the country’s tech schools flock to Mexico City as the center of startup opportunities, investment opportunities, and home for international companies. Many outside investors and companies see Mexico City as the gateway to the rest of Latin America and why companies like Uber, Google, and Facebook have set up shop in the Mexican capital. Other ventures like Startup Mexico, an organization founded by Marcus Dantus, is backed by the local and federal governments and attract entrepreneurs.
Known as the cultural and innovation center of Mexico, the capital has a lot going on. Some of its unique characteristics include:
Across the border from California lies another noteworthy town scaling its way upwards towards their place in Mexico’s tech ladder. Tijuana’s reputation is often thought of like a party town sin-city type place, but it has worked to shift this image into a more serious industrial center. According to the Financial Times, the city has strategically used its prime location to take advantage of investment opportunities and become a strategic partner of the U.S. and its tech industry.
It’s proximity to California’s Silicon Valley offers companies a high-level of skill with Mexican prices, which allows for more opportunities and fostering of creativity. Places like the Bit Center, which houses about 65 companies under one roof continue to grow and see more companies joining in.
Mexico’s push for technology education comes directly from the government and has generated a unique entrepreneurial climate and Mexico’s scene of startups and innovative companies. Just like the U.S has had a rich tradition of startups since the 1990s, Mexico’s startup boom started around 2010. An entity named Fondo de Fondos launched Mexico Ventures I. This is a type of investment vehicle that injects capital directly into startups and national VC funds.
In 2013, a similar effort called INADEM (Instituto Nacional del Emprendedor) was formed. This is part of a governmental branch tied to the economy. INADEM is a public initiative geared towards supporting and funding entrepreneurs and small to medium-sized companies.
Before all of this, however, Mexico was already showing promise in the growing IT sector and the realm of intellectual talent and creativity.
Since 1994, the government has wanted to diversify Mexico’s economy and thus used NAFTA to kickstart other ventures including manufacturing. This boosted the GDP of the country and encouraged the government to seek ways in which they could keep the wealth in the country and, at the same time, invest in a more viable future.
One of the country’s most well-known tech schools is Instituto Tecnologico de Monterrey, which has 26 campuses throughout the country. In 2019, it announced that it was fully implementing a new teaching model that incorporates vocational and hands-on training directly into the curriculum. The initiative, called Tec21 was originally launched in 2013 as a pilot program and is now being expanded. The program partnered with local tech companies and gives students the opportunity for a real learning experience and on the job training as they cultivate and hone their skills. Some of these companies include IBM, HP, and T-systems.
With this training, students are thrust into a working environment that requires real solutions to challenges and quick innovation. This produces a competitive and adaptable workforce. With institutions like Tec de Monterrey leading the way, the government and investors have seen the lucrative possibilities in the investment of these young developers and software engineers.
One of the main benefits is attracting international and U.S companies to set up shop around these tech hubs and take advantage of the burgeoning creativity and innovation. At the same time, Silicon Valley has become a very expensive place to grow a company and many large enterprises are seeking equally competitive teams without the massive overhead.
Because of the potential and excitement surrounding the tech industry, Mexico’s software developers have been known to possess unique qualities. Mexican software engineers have superior technical training and are taught to be creative and resourceful.
Here at CodersLink, we research and understand the changing ecosystems in these dynamic Mexican cities in order to find the right software developer for a hiring company. We have established connections that allow us to understand where the best software engineers are and how they can help growing companies compete in the fast-growing market.
For an in-depth view of developer salary trends across Mexico’s tech hubs grab your copy of our Tech Salaries Report.