Eastern European countries have long been considered some of the most favorable destinations to hire remote software developers. Among them, Romania has recently emerged as one of the fastest-growing tech hubs. Its convenient location, the largest tech talent pool in Europe, the solid education of local developers, and the competitive cost to hire them attract mature companies and startups from all over the world.
If these opportunities sound promising for your project as well, this article provides a comprehensive overview of the Romanian IT market, exploring the current landscape, highlighting the potential opportunities, and shedding light on its future prospects. Let’s uncover the emerging trends of the Romanian IT market, take a look at the competitive advantages of local programmers and decide whether this country is right for your business to hire development talent.
The History of the Romanian IT Industry
The history of the Romanian IT industry can be dated back to the early 19th century. In 1834, Gheorghe Asachi founded Academia Mihăileană which was the first technical and engineering higher education institution in the Romanian language. During the next 100 years, the system of technical education in Romania was developed further, and in the middle of the 20th century was already aimed at delivering specialized educational programs in various technical fields.
During the 1950-1990th, both the Romanian tech industry and engineering education were under the strong influence of the Soviet Union. At that time, the Romanian technical education system was heavily restructured according to the USSR model, while the IT industry was characterized by state-led industrialization.
This period in the history of the Romanian IT industry can also be marked by the development and production of locally-made personal computers. At that time, the tech market of the country still didn’t experience significant growth until the mid-1990s. After the Soviet Union collapsed, the country took on a path of independent economic development, shifting to a more entrepreneurial and market-driven approach.
In 1995, SIVECO, the first Romanian tech company, was founded and marked the beginning of the modern Romanian IT industry. In the early 2000s, the government began to develop incentives for foreign companies to attract investment. After recovering from the 2009-2010 economic crisis (when the market lost half of its value), the tech industry of the country continued its growth and development. In 2021, the Romanian IT sector reached a “close-to-pre-crisis” level. Deloitte also featured Romania as one of the six countries whose GDP had grown during the pandemic.
Now, Romania can be considered one of the leading tech hubs in Europe, so let’s take a look at the current state of the Romanian IT market.
The Overview of the Romanian IT Sector
In 2022, the Romanian IT market was estimated at €9 billion, and projected to reach 12 billion in the next two years, which makes it one of the fastest-growing sectors of the economy. 85% of IT market value, in turn, is delivered by IT services export. The main destinations of Romanian IT exports are the United States, Western Europe, and Israel.
Recently, the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), featured Romania as one of the top 10 destinations for global IT outsourcing. The country also makes a high bet on developing emerging technologies like AI and IoT. Cybersecurity solutions development is one of the key components of the IT sector in Romania. Now, the Romanian government proceeds with creating opportunities for foreign investors and simplifying the operations of domestic tech businesses.
Romanian IT Companies
According to Ibis Word research, there are nearly 8,000 IT businesses in Romania. Clutch, in turn, lists only 434 of them. In 2022, 8 Romanian enterprises employed more than 1,000 software developers, while 85% of vendors were small-to-medium-sized companies with 10-50 in-house team members. 80% of Romanian tech businesses provide software development outsourcing, team augmentation, and technical talent recruitment services for foreign companies. Custom software development, web, and mobile app development are the main service areas. Such global companies as Amazon, Oracle, and IBM have research and development (R&D) centers in this country, established in main Romanian tech hubs.
Romanian IT Hubs
Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca and Timișoara are the fastest-growing and promising tech cities in Romania, so you are welcome to consider them if you need to hire top-notch software development talent and take on the unmatched opporutrunies to grow your software startup.
Bucharest – The Romanian Silicon Valley
Bucharest is considered to be a leading tech hub in Romania, holding 63% of revenues. First things first, it stands out by being the home to two leading tech universities in Romania – the Politehnica University of Bucharest and the University of Bucharest. The city also features two tech parks: The Bucharest Technology Park and Bucharest West Gate Business Park. Bucharest often hosts tech events, where prominent startups are represented. In 2020, it was ranked as the 7th best tech city in Europe in terms of creating opportunities for startups and innovation development.
Cluj-Napoca – The Transylvanian Silicon Valley
The city of Cluj-Napoca stands out with its large community of software engineers and startup initiators. ClujStartups, the city’s biggest entrepreneurship initiative; is a program that connects innovation developers, investors, mentors, business owners, and event organizers. According to different estimates, there are 1300 small tech companies and 15,000 software programmers living and working in this city. Cluj-Napoca is also a city with the third-highest GDP growth (at 120%) in the EU, according to Eurostat.
Timișoara, in turn, is the third-largest IT city in Romania. Like Cluj, it also has a startup initiative such as Starter Hub that is aimed at providing support to early-stage funding startups. Timisoara is home to several engineering universities as well. This city perfectly balances tech and business landscapes so it can become a good choice for IT specialists recruitment.
What Makes Romania a Promising Destination for Hiring Software Developers?
Romania definitely stands out on the European software development outsourcing map. If you are also looking for a promising destination to hire Silicon-valley-caliber software developers, take a deeper look at the key strength and opportunities the Romanian IT market offers.
Largest tech talent pool in Europe
According to the International Trade Administration Report, Romania has the highest number of certified IT specialists in Europe. It is also the sixth country in the world in terms of IT talent pool size which is represented by 212,000 software specialists. The prominent feature of a Romanian tech talent pool is the focus on gender equity. The country is ranked 3rd in EU statistics on women employees in tech, so if you are looking to build an inclusive technical team, Romania is a good country to hire a diverse workforce. Generally, this country can be proud of its human resource capital which accounts for 50,5% of the total wealth of the country.
Strong technical education
To date, there are 32 universities in Romania with rigorous learning programs in engineering. Modern tech education in Romania still bears a significant influence from its Soviet Union heritage, which in this regard is exceptionally positive. The universities in this country have specialized curriculum that provides a solid theoretical foundation and practical skills in computer science, allowing them to graduate highly skilled tech specialists every year. There is also a special focus on cybersecurity engineers’ education. The country has 15 cybersecurity programs that allow software developers to upskill in this direction.
On average, Romanian tech universities graduate 70,000 young specialists every year. It is also interesting to know that Romania has the lowest tuition fee in Europe, so every year 100,000 international students choose this country. This influx of international talent greatly enriches the cultural diversity of the country and contributes to the Romanian economy and IT sector development, since the major share of graduates choose to live and work in this country.
Top-notch programming skills and English proficiency
Given the affordability of technical education and the solid knowledge foundation it provides to Romanian students, it’s not surprising that software developers in this country are highly proficient in the majority of demanded technologies. For example, according to the Global Skills Report 2022, Romanian developers are highly proficient in web and mobile development, cloud computing, cybersecurity solutions, and database development.
If hiring Romanian programmers sounds encouraging for your business but you are concerned about a language barrier, you would also be glad to discover that they are highly proficient in English as well. According to the English Proficiency Index (EPI) report, Romanian people scored 598 which stands for high proficiency (out of 663). What’s more, English classes are usually a part of high tech education in Romania, and the majority of developers have practical experience in communicating with foreign customers.
Another interesting fact is that according to Europe’s Employee Engagement study conducted by Gallup, software developers in Romania stand out by their high level of engagement, so you can be sure that they will be fully dedicated and committed to your project from day one. As for the soft skills of Romanian developers, those foreign customers who hired them, usually describe these specialists as hard-working people with excellent problem-solving abilities, creativity in finding technical solutions, the desire to learn, and a strong work ethic.
Favorable business environment
Another feature that makes Romania a favorable destination to hire software developers is that this country offers an ultimately positive business, political and economic environment. Romania welcomes foreign investment, innovation development, and startup growth. For example, it takes only 20 days to set up a limited liability company in this country.
Foreign investors, in turn, may have up to 50% of tax deductions for research and development activities, plus there are possibilities for tax breaks and obtaining cash grants for certain IT projects. The vibrant startup ecosystem that thrives in major tech cities in Romania also acts as a magnet, attracting aspiring startup initiators from all over the globe.
Competitive rates to hire Romanian software developers
In addition to the unparalleled advantages the Romanian IT market offers, it can also promise significant cost savings if you decide to hire software developers in this location. At an average hourly rate of €50, Romanian developers offer a winning alternative to the typical rates of €100-150 per hour for developers in the United States. The largest European tech talent pool also allows you to hire programmers with varying levels of experience and diverse qualifications, enabling you to meet your specific project requirements, budget, and timelines.
At Escadra, we understand the importance of aligning the cost to hire software developers with your project budget. Our global IT recruitment agency is committed to recruiting top-notch software developers custom-matched to your business goals. That’s why our team works closely with you to identify your specific needs and budget constraints, ensuring that you can hire the best developers at a competitive rate, without compromising the quality of their deliverables.
The Future of the Romanian IT Industry
The future of the Romanian IT industry is promising, with strong growth expected in the coming years. Several factors contribute to this positive outlook. According to Romania Insider, the country’s IT sector is expected to grow steadily at an average annual rate of 9% until 2025, reaching 12% of the country’s GDP.
It is also projected that the Romanian IT market will keep its status as one of the leading software development and recruitment outsourcing destinations in Europe. During the last 20 years, the Romanian government has been putting significant effort into developing the IT industry, creating favorable conditions for foreign business investors, and implementing policies that encourage innovation and entrepreneurship. In 2023, the newly elected government laid out its priorities in speeding up the country’s digital transformation, so there are all the chances to believe that the IT sector would thrive as well.
The future of Romania’s IT sector also looks bright because of its attractiveness to foreign startups. With a well-developed startup ecosystem and friendly business environment, this market will keep welcoming new projects with fast growth potential. The availability of top-tier tech talent, government support, and a favorable business environment position Romania as an attractive destination for technology companies, making it likely to continue its upward trajectory in the coming years.
How to Hire Top Development Talent in Romania?
Given the projected bright future of the Romanian IT sector, hiring software developers in this country now will be a rewarding decision. Still, every job market is unique and specific in its own way, so it would be wise to get a deep understanding of its challenges in advance.
If you have little to no experience in hiring remote software developers or if you’re seeking to streamline your IT recruitment process, partnering with Esacadra can be an excellent solution. With our extensive human resource network and over 20 years of experience in the industry, we have the capability to find the best-fit candidates for your organization in a matter of days, rather than months.
At Escadra, we prioritize ensuring a perfect match between our clients and candidates. We achieve this through rigorous testing and customer-involved interviews, allowing us to delve deeper into each candidate’s skills, experience, and cultural fit. Additionally, to provide you with added peace of mind, we offer a 90-day guarantee. If, within this probationary period, a candidate fails to meet your expectations, we will provide a candidate replacement at no additional cost.
Romania is emerging as a thriving hub for technology and innovation. Given the positive trends of its IT industry, it is safe to project that this market will grow steadily, because of its contribution to GDP, the availability of skilled professionals, and the presence of a supportive ecosystem. Now, the Romanian IT sector offers a wealth of opportunities for businesses seeking top-tier software development talent at the best possible price-quality ratio.
Those companies that decided to hire programming talent in this country can access not only the deep technical expertise of local developers but also take advantage of the ease of doing business, favorable taxation, and European business culture. So, if you also want to tap into the Romanian software development talent pool and benefit from the opportunities offered by the Romanian IT market, consider partnering with Escadra, one of the leading IT recruitment service providers with global coverage. We have a proven track record of connecting businesses with top-tier software developers in Romania, ensuring access to highly skilled developers with the necessary expertise and accurate personal fit.