We answer the question: "Should I hire a development studio or an offshore programmer?"

Going offshore can seem like a smart decision, and at times it can be if you hire a reputable firm. However, where software development and engineering are concerned, going offshore may not always be your best option. This article lists out several of the most important points in this debate from initial cost to longevity of services. Let’s answer the question of studio or offshore.

1. Cost of development.

With a lower initial cost of development, going offshore may seem like an attractive option. Getting the job done fast at a lower cost to you seems like a simple decision. However, as you may have guessed, a low cost option is usually too good to be true. Advanced modern technologies are quite expensive and sometimes difficult to maintain. Low cost options are often times built using inexpensive tools with inherent flaws built in, a product of the times in which they were originally drafted. Studios invest in their operations and their ability to create well-formed, sustainable products. Studios have full teams that are committed to the vitality of your product, to a studio, you are a client, not a customer. What I mean by this is, to quote a colleague:

— “You can hire a studio or you can pay someone $40 an hour, and get $40 an hour.”

Studios employ developers and engineers. Offshore programmers are just that, programmers. Sure they can write code, but it is unlikely that the user experience will be fantastic, that the design will be award-winning, or that it will be scalable in the way that modern business requires.

Hiring the wrong developer is like burning money

That $40 per hour price tag also often comes with complications. A single programmer, or even a small shop cannot fully test and fix a project in the same way a studio can. Studios have the ability to manage multiple projects of any size at a given time. Studios do this by assigning employees to stages within a project. They can increase or decrease the number of developers on a project at any time as certain needs arise, whereas offshore programmers are often limited in terms of human numbers, and work can progress quite slowly on your time-sensitive project. Because of the limited resources available to offshore programmers, they tend to rush things, and this can come back to bite you in the future. Although your program may function properly at first, complications can quickly arise after all is said and done, and you can be left with a broken piece with very little support.

2. Full service solutions.

Studios offer full service solutions. Because studios are not as limited in their human capacity, they can spend more time testing and making sure everything is nice and neat in your code. In the long run this can save you a bundle in re-development fees. And with a studio, if a problem does arise with your code, they are readily available to fix the error and can respond to you very quickly. Offshore programmers do not have the time or capacity to offer full service to their customers, and in many cases, they may lack the requisite knowledge to fix the initial error and may try bandage solutions that can lead to more complicated problems down the road. With a studio, you can be sure that any error will be corrected properly, and your code will be up to industry standards from the beginning.

3. Return of investment.

Return of investment is another key factor in this debate. The initial cost of offshore development is obviously the most attractive component, however you seriously should consider your ROI. A fully functional and scalable program is just that, functional and scalable. From day 1, a program developed by a studio has more support, potentially cleaner code, and a scalable framework that can expand or contract depending on the needs of your business. Studios use modern, updated technology, which offshore programmers can choose to avoid as a cost-savings measure. Outdated software does not have the same potential for the future as modern software. Industries are rapidly changing, and a business needs software that can rapidly change with its environment. Modern software is designed to be able to change with a minimal amount of effort. By allowing for new integrations and coding possibilities, modern software will carry your business into the future. For example, let’s say your business wants to build a mobile application, and you choose to go with an offshore programmer. Your application is completed and functions as advertised after some minor tweaking. Now some time has passed and you want to include an augmented reality component in your software for a specific purpose, but your app cannot support AR because it was developed using outdated technology. All of the money you saved on your original application has just cost your business because an entirely new application is needed. You should have gone with a studio who could integrate AR into your application because they use modern technologies and future-focused development strategies.

4. Privacy concerns.

Studios keep your data private and secure

Simply receiving your software from an offshore programmer can be troublesome. With no way of knowing exactly where it comes from or who has had access to your program, you are accepting a potential security risk. Studios take your privacy very seriously as your satisfaction is their livelihood, an offshore programmer can simply generate another ID and carry on as if nothing happened while your privacy, and privacy of your users may be compromised. Although the likelihood of this type of situation happening may be low, is your confidential data really worth the risk? Studios employ the latest security technologies, and when necessary, studios will consult with a leading expert to ensure you are as protected as possible in an ever changing environment. Hastily completed projects can have security issues that may not become apparent for years after its inception, and can still place your data at risk in the long-run. In other words, an experience development studio is a much safer option. And on the off chance that something were to go awry, studios have someone available to solve the issue as quickly as possible with minimal effort on your part. You don’t have to chase down a studio.

5. Expertise in cutting edge technologies.

State-of-the-art technologies such as A.I, Machine Learning, and Augmented Reality are complex and tricky to get right. Offshore programmers, although as familiar with the topic as they may be, are not as equipped to implement advanced features such as these as a full studio. User friendly technologies do exist to make the process easier, however, they still require skilled hands and precise inputs to function properly. Experience helps to guide the process, and with Artificial Intelligence, ML, and AR being such niche topics until recently, it is unlikely the $40 programmer has the ability to properly implement these features.

6. Misconceptions about software.

By far one of the most important factors to consider when searching for a developer is common knowledge and presuppositions. Applications and custom software are everywhere these days, and can be downloaded for free to your phone, television, computer, tablet, watch, car etc. But what goes into those applications? Time, resources, money, energy, expertise, and about everything else you could imagine. Although we take software for granted, it needs to be built, tested, designed, and supported by a team of highly trained professionals for years. It is very easy to take these types of technology for granted, and that is why some individuals choose to go with the $40 programmer who can do the most amount of work for the smallest amount of money. This approach works for companies such as NASA where the lowest bidder still earns upwards of one million dollars for a relatively small component. But that component is designed by leading experts with decades worth of qualifications. The same type of qualifications software developers can have, just in a different field. It is not just the software you pay for, its the people who design and build it, who support it, and who treat it as if it was their own. When you hire a studio, you hire field leaders who are passionate about making fantastic digital products.

7. Studios can be trusted.

When you are looking for custom development, don’t look for the $40 programmer you can find on the third or fourth page of wanted ads. Instead look for a software development company such as Deskree Studio, a team of industry professionals who care about your privacy, who care about the longevity of your software, and who are determined to ensure your satisfaction and continued patronage for years to come. Studios such as Deskree Studio understand the value of your business and how much of your own time is invested in your enterprise. Digital products should inspire life in their users, they should have a stunning design, excellent functionality, and smooth user experience. It’s up to you to use your best judgement because time is money. Don’t waste it.