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Talent markets | Blog Post

Top Costa Rican Cities for Developers & Software Engineering Talent

Todd Adams

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Costa Rica, a country known for its natural beauty and friendly people, is also becoming a rising star in the tech industry. With a growing number of software companies and startups, the demand for skilled software developers is on the rise. We’ll take you on a journey through the top Costa Rican cities for developers, exploring the opportunities and perks that await these tech-savvy professionals.

Costa Rica is a physically small country, roughly in size to the state of West Virginia. Home to great infrastructure and roadways, highway congestion is nevertheless extreme. It can take multiple hours to get from a city like Cartago to an office in San Jose that is ~40 miles away. This has helped foster a culture of remote work, as most engineers prefer to work from home or out of satellite offices in their local region.

San Jose: A Vibrant Tech Capital

As the bustling capital of Costa Rica, San Jose stands tall as the center of the country’s tech revolution.  San Jose is located in the Central Valley, which is home to two-thirds of the country’s population of 5 million. With a dynamic startup ecosystem and a host of multinational tech companies, this city is teeming with opportunities for software developers. From cutting-edge mobile app development firms to innovative software-as-a-service (SaaS) startups, San Jose has it all. 

The city’s vibrant culture and amenities, coupled with a supportive tech community, make it an ideal destination for aspiring software developers alike. San Jose features some top educational options, including Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR) and Universidad Cenfotec.  As the oldest and one of the most prestigious universities in Costa Rica, UCR offers a variety of computer science and software engineering programs. Universidad Cenfotec is a specialized university focusing on technology and computing fields, with intensive programs in software development, web development, and other IT-related disciplines.

Heredia: Where Education Meets Innovation

Nestled just north of San Jose, Heredia is a city known for its top-notch universities and technology-focused educational institutions. Heredia – like its fellow up-and-coming technology destinations Escazu, Cartago, and Santa Ana – are located outside of Costa Rica

This educational hub has become a breeding ground for tech talent, producing skilled software developers who are ready to take on the industry’s challenges. Universidad Nacional (UNA) is a prominent public university that offers various programs in computer science, software engineering, and information technology. The School of Informatics (Escuela de Informática) provides a conducive learning environment for software developers to hone their expertise.  The city’s serene surroundings and proximity to San Jose make it an attractive location for tech companies seeking to tap into fresh talent and nurture innovation.

Escazu: A Suburban Tech Haven

The picturesque city of Escazu has evolved into a tech haven in recent years. Situated close to San Jose and the Juan Santamaria International Airport, its upscale shopping & office buildings make it a top pick for US based companies to open physical offices.

Escazu has a unique blend of urban convenience and natural beauty. Software developers in Escazu enjoy working for dynamic tech startups and established companies alike. The city’s thriving tech community provides ample networking opportunities and collaborative spaces, fostering a supportive environment for developers to grow their careers.

Santa Ana: Emerging Tech Talent Hub

Santa Ana, a city rapidly developing on the outskirts of San Jose, has caught the attention of many tech enthusiasts. It boasts a growing number of technology companies, making it a compelling destination for software developers seeking to be part of the tech revolution. The city’s modern infrastructure and recreational facilities add to its appeal, attracting tech professionals from various corners of the country and beyond.

Cartago: A Rising Star in Tech

East of San Jose lies Cartago, a city with a rich history and a bright future in the tech industry. Cartago’s tech community is on the rise, with more software development companies establishing their presence in the area. The city’s tranquil environment offers a peaceful atmosphere for developers to focus on their craft while being part of an exciting tech scene.

The Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica (ITCR) in Cartago is renowned for its engineering and technology-focused programs. The School of Computer Engineering (Escuela de Ingeniería en Computación) at ITCR offers a range of degrees in software engineering and related disciplines, ensuring students receive hands-on experience and relevant skills.

Costa Rica is a Magnet for Technology Companies

Thanks to its strong technology centers, Costa Rica has attracted a host of major tech companies:

  • Intel has had a long-standing presence in Costa Rica, operating a major assembly and testing facility in Heredia. In 1997, Intel invested in the development of a large microprocessor plant, hiring 2,000 people and solidifying Costa Rica’s passion for engineering disciplines. This was considered the catalyst for the country’s focus on STEM programs in universities.
  • Oracle, a prominent software and technology company, also has a presence in Costa Rica for software development and other technical roles.
  • Microsoft has a significant presence in Costa Rica, particularly in San Jose. 

As its technology prowess grows, Costa Rica’s startup scene is also growing.  Several prominent startups have raised significant venture capital and seen big growth, including:

  • Zunify, a payment network providing tech and regulatory toolboxes for anyone to quickly design, issue, and accept any payment product.
  • Clear Leaf, creating sustainable crop protection strategies that manage the impacts of harmful pests while maintaining natural balances on the farm.
  • Decentral Games, a web3 DAO building ICE Poker, the first metaverse-native, play-and-own poker game.

Costa Rica: Nearshore Talent for U.S. Startups and Enterprises

Costa Rica’s tech landscape is evolving rapidly, and its hottest cities for software developer talent are leading the way. From the dynamic heart of San Jose to the innovation hubs of Heredia, Escazu, Santa Ana, and Cartago, each city offers unique opportunities for software developers to thrive in their careers. With a supportive community, a growing number of tech companies, and a promising future, the top Costa Rican cities for developers are destinations of choice for companies seeking great talent pools.

Terminal opens up the fantastic talent in Costa Rica to growing companies in the U.S.  Time-zone aligned full-time and contract developers can be a powerful accelerator for your business, and the ability to work remotely from anywhere is very transformative.  Interested in learning more? Talk to us today or start browsing our talent for free!

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