Why Are There So Many Software Developers From India?

Did you recently notice that almost all the software developers you know are Indians? Well, this isn’t a coincidence, as India is on track to become home to the largest population of software developers globally. But why is that the case?

There are so many software developers from India because most western companies outsource work to India. Software development is also one of the highest-paying jobs in India, making it highly lucrative. Also, Indian youths are interested in tech and want to develop software.

In this article, I’ll expand on the various reasons why there are so many software developers from India. Also, if you have concerns regarding the quality of Indian software developers, then I’ll also address that in a later section.

Reasons Behind So Many Indian Software Developers

According to reports, the US is home to the largest population of software developers at 4.4 million. However, in 2023, India is projected to overthrow this figure and become number one with over 5.2 million software developers. So why is there a massive growth in software development from India?

Well, you can boil this down to 3 specific reasons as mentioned below:

  • Companies are outsourcing software development jobs to India.
  • Software development is a high-paying job in India, so more Indians gravitate towards it.
  • Tech is booming in India, and the country’s youth are very interested in software.

Let’s look at each of these points in more detail to give you a better picture.

Video: USA vs. India – Software Engineering (Computer Science, College, Coding Bootcamp)

Companies Outsourcing Jobs to India

The global outsourcing market size is $92.5 billion. That’s huge! Furthermore, the Indian government offers full support to develop IT infrastructure, making it the leading choice in offshoring IT services.

That said, plenty of other aspects come into play that makes India the perfect IT outsourcing destination. Here’s a look at some of the most notable factors:

  • Cheaper workforce.
  • Millions of software developers and IT graduates.
  • An English-educated demographic.
  • Advantageous time zone.

Cheaper Workforce

As per Glassdoor, the average salary of a software developer in the US is $98k/year. On this link, you can see the salaries from junior to experienced senior in the states. In contrast, the average salary of an Indian software developer is Rs.6 lakh a year or roughly $8k/year.

So, as you can see, the pay is oceans apart, just like the countries, and offers a massive incentive for western companies to outsource their software development work to India.

On average, outsourcing work to an Indian software developer will cost close to 12 times less than hiring a similarly skilled engineer from the States. 

As such, you can expect massive reductions in the development cost of your software. Alternatively, you can hire 12 developers for the price of 1 and expedite the development process for faster TTM (time to market).

Overall, outsourcing software development work to India has huge financial incentives.

Millions of Software Developers and IT Graduates

As per Statista, computer science engineering is the most popular technical discipline at the undergraduate level in India, with over 880k students enrolling for the program in 2019. 

What’s more, the country has a massive infrastructure of over 205 software engineering colleges that pumps out tens of thousands of developers each year. But that’s not all, according to the 2021 The State of the Octoverse survey conducted by Github, as there are more than 7.2 million software developers from India.

So, as you can see, India offers a massive pool of software developers and engineers. This gives companies the option to hire an army of developers, if necessary, or pick and choose the best, or most appropriate, candidate for projects.

An English-Educated Demographic

India has the second-largest English-speaking population in the world, with over 194 million speakers accounting for 14% of the country’s population. But why is that important?

Well, the biggest obstacle to successful outsourcing is a communication gap. When you task an offshore team to develop software, you need to make sure they understand the project, what features you want, among other features. 

Sometimes, because of miscommunication, the outsourced team might not have a thorough grasp on the scope of the project and thereby won’t be able to deliver on it, regardless of how competent they are.

Furthermore, proper communication also helps resolve any problems or obstacles that might arise during the development phase. As such, India’s English proficient software developers are a big reason companies prefer them for outsourcing jobs. 

Advantageous Time Zone 

The Indian clock (IST) is 13.5 hrs ahead of the Pacific Standard Time (PST), which is the Silicon Valley clock. At the same time, India is 4.5 hrs ahead and 5.5 hrs ahead of Europe (CET) and the UK (GMT). 

Furthermore, unlike the standard 9-5 workday in western countries, India follows a 10-6 work schedule. Combining these two factors gives western nations a time zone advantage to outsource work to India.

To help you better understand what I mean, here’s a table showcasing how 10 am and 6 pm in India compares to the rest of the world:

Other Timezones10 am on 1st Jan 2023 in India 6 pm on 1st Jan 2023 in IndiaWork Time Overlap
PST8:30 pm on 31st Dec 20224:30 am on 1st Jan 2023No
CET5:30 am on 1st Jan 20231:30 pm on 1st Jan 2023Yes. For 3.5 Hrs
GMT4:30 am on 1st Jan 202312:30 pm on 1st Jan 2023Yes. For 2.5 Hrs

So, as you can see, for the UK and European clients, the standard Indian 10-6 work shift provides ample overlap time for meetings and serious discussions.

But Silicon Valley employers can’t fully take advantage of the standard 10-6 work shift in India. However, plenty of Indian software developers work night shifts that enable easy communication with US parties. 

That said, some US employers with an in-house development team might want to outsource to an Indian team working standard day shifts. This way, when the in-house team is working, the outsource team is resting and vice versa, which equates to 24×7 work on the software/product.

many software engineers in india
Make sure you weigh in the advantages vs. disadvantages before outsourcing your development work. Low prices compared to the costs in your country often aren’t worth the hassle of communicating with the remote team and end result is common to be much different from what you had in mind.

Software Development Is a High Paying Job in India

Another reason why there are so many Indian software developers is that it’s an attractive career option. 

The average salary of Indians is around Rs.31,900 ($430) per month or Rs.382,800 ($5165) per year. However, close to 50% of the population earns less than Rs.29,400 ($397) per month or Rs.352,800 ($4760) per year.

In comparison, the average software developer in India earns Rs.50,000 ($675) per month or Rs.6 lakh ($8095) a year. As such, software development is a lucrative career option in India, attracting many candidates and inevitably leading to a high number of Indian software developers.

Indians Are Interested in Tech

Indians are much more interested in technology and software than their western counterparts.

While America is going through a STEM crisis, with barely 21% of American students filling up computer science seats at Universities (the rest are international students), India is on an upward trend to digital literacy.

Also, a recent Indian ed-tech startup WhiteHat Jr. made headlines with its $590 million valuations. With a goal to teach children how to code, the company quickly amassed a user base of over 1 million students.

This just goes to show you how much the country, especially the youth, is interested in tech and software. And naturally, this interest translates to a future career in software development.

The Quality Of Indian Software Developers

Ok, so India has millions of software developers. But are they any good? There’s some noise in online developer communities regarding Indian software engineers and how their code isn’t up to the mark. 

Now, you might have chalked it up to the racist mentality of angry Westerners who are losing jobs because of these Indians. However, some studies have been conducted regarding this matter. It turns out that nearly 95% of Indian software developers are unfit to code, and this is coming from an Indian news outlet. 

Here’s an excellent Medium article by Deepu S Nath, a software developer, and entrepreneur from India, where he shares his thought on why India has incompetent software developers.

Overall, the problem essentially stems from poor educational infrastructure. 

With the increase in demand for software developers, more students want to pursue this route. However, India’s tier-1 colleges or universities, like the IITs and NITs, can only take in so many students. 

As a result, hundreds of sub-par tier-3 colleges are popping up that are frankly unable to train the students to become competent software developers. 

So what does all of this mean for an outsourcing company? 

Well, if you can get an Indian software developer who graduated from a reputed institution like IIT or NIT, then your project is in good hands. If not, make sure to look at the developers’ track records to evaluate their competency before hiring them for the project.

I need to add here our (the company that I work for) experience when we outsourced some work to foreign web development agencies. We were also unsatisfied with the results and decided that for the foreseeable future we will not outsource any of the web development work. And we didn’t outsource it to India. In fact, the problem of finding good agencies to outsource work to is present in the majority of Eastern countries.

Key Takeaways

India has a massive population of software developers and is expected to become the largest in 2023, with over 5.2 million developers.

This is primarily because most western companies look at India to outsource their software development workload. This leads to an increase in demand for software developers, which the Indian people happen to meet.

Furthermore, software development is a lucrative career option that attracts many people. And if not for the money, many Indians love tech and want a job working with software.