Some people believe living in Costa Rica is all about living on the beach, surfing, and hanging out with a bunch of monkeys. Well, when I move there in October, I will actually be living and working in the capital, San José, spending time with Gorillas in our Nearshore Development Center! In this series, you will follow the progression of my transition to Costa Rica, while I obtain even more insight into the pool of smart and talented technical professionals that reside there.
When I was given the opportunity to go work on special projects out of our Nearshoring office in San José, Costa Rica, I did not hesitate to jump all in, pack up my life, and go. I had already met and hired a lot of our talented engineers and Scrum Masters, had visited our beautiful, high-tech office in La Sabana, and knew that I would feel right at home with the extremely hospitableTicos & Ticas. There is such a strong sense of community amongst them. They are friendly, respectful, eager to help, excited to show you their country, and always ready to greet you with a hug and kiss on the cheek.
Here are some questions that have come up since telling people I’m moving to Costa Rica:
Is my Spanish up to par?!
Let’s just say, it WILL get much better. Thankfully, our 165+ employees in Costa Rica are ALL fluent in English! This is a requirement for them to work with Gorilla Logic, as they collaborate in real-time with US-based clients. We also have Ross, a language tutor in the office, who helps to enhance/perfect their English skills. Ross will also be available to help me increase my ability to speak Spanish for day-to-day interactions at stores, restaurants, businesses, etc., as well as be able to read my way through Costa Rica.
How do I already recruit people in Costa Rica without being there? What do I think will change once I’m there?
This is the magic of Nearshoring. It’s all about technology, collaboration, availability, and flexibility! As recruiters at Gorilla Logic, we meet and interview all of our Costa Rica based software engineering candidates over Skype Video calls from day one of the interview process. Via Skype, we can “meet” face to face, verify they have great English speaking skills, and ensure they would be a strong technical & cultural fit for both Gorilla and our clients. We then put them through the same rigorous technical interviewing process our talented US engineers go through. What many people don’t realize, is that our Colorado headquarters and our San Jose office are in the same time zone! This allows dispersed teams between CR and the US to be fully available to each other at the same time, each day, providing immediate response time and fluid communication. I’m also looking forward to meetups and other networking events where I’ll be able to meet members of the local tech talent who haven’t had the chance to talk to recruiters or engineers at Gorilla Logic in person. It will be interesting to see how they typically look for jobs, what they expect for their career growth, the kinds of technologies they want to learn and what kind of working environment is most appealing to them.
So, what is the talent pool in Costa Rica like for engineers?
AMAZING, truly. It starts with education in Costa Rica, which has the highest literacy rate in Latin America. Education is strongly valued and mandatory for its citizens starting at a young age. After the Costa Rica government abolished their military in 1948, Costa Rica has been able to invest a large portion of their national budget into education, particularly at the collegiate level.1 This has led to an increased number of colleges/universities, students, and majors to choose from. Many students are choosing to major in Computer Science & Software Engineering. They usually start their first job or internship while attending school, and often choose to continue on to receive a Master’s degree. As they grow in their careers, the Ticos’ natural curiosity and zeal drive them to work with the latest and greatest cutting-edge technologies and methodologies. At Gorilla Logic, they become immersed in Agile/Scrum development, collaborate well with other team members, and work directly with their US-based client teams. Because Costa Rica is a relatively small country of about 5 million people, it fosters a strong sense of community, with techies staying connected with people they studied with at college and worked within the past. They are passionate and extremely hard-working. Our engineers strive for perfection on their deliverables and are known for their desire to make our clients happy – because that makes them happy. They are not shy about sharing their knowledge or supporting others, whether they are a team member or another member of our large Gorilla band.2 It’s such an honor to work with engineers and Scrum Masters from Costa Rica!
What’s the office down there like?
It’s beautiful! We sit on the 10th floor in La Sabana, overlooking the National Stadium where the Costa Rica soccer team plays, and where many beloved (and not so beloved…ahem, Justin Bieber) musical artists have performed live. You can see all the mountain ranges surrounding the Costa Rican Central Valley and feel an exciting energy when you enter the office. Here you find a great deal of enthused engineers working hard, whether that means they’re heads-down coding, helping out a fellow Gorilla, or video conferencing with their clients. They always take the time to give a friendly hello and ask what your lunch plans are, before heading back to work. Even our seating is Agile, as it’s an open seating plan, allowing our employees to collaborate and mix with colleagues, learning even more from each other. Our employees also have the ability to work from home 3 out of 5 days a week, so they not only learn to work well with dispersed teams in the US, but also with their own local teams. And boy do they, just ask some of our happy clients, like Finish Line! We are a very “mindful” office, catering to different interests, including drums/speakers/mics for jam nights, in-office yoga, ping-pong and lunch and learns. The lunch and learns are a way for our talented engineers to show off what they’ve been working on, like the latest IoT project or iBeacons and Hue Lights Project, and for the other engineers to learn all about it.
What are you most excited for?
As eager as I am to explore pristine beaches, learn to surf and let monkeys steal my food, I am most excited about being with and getting to know better the Tico & Tica Gorillas. I am also excited to meet more tech talent, in person, who don’t work for Gorilla Logic yet. Stay tuned.
- A group of Gorillas is called a Band.