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One of the lessons the year 2020 taught companies all around the world was that working remotely was, in fact, working pretty well. The allure of getting some help from off-sites is at an all-time peak. But while this peak is new, the phenomenon itself is not nearly a new development. A lot of companies have been choosing nearshore/offshore IT services instead of employing staff onsite for years now. There have been a lot of valid reasons for this preference here in the UK, and especially around London.

  • Extremely high rent in office spaces in central London. London is the 6th most expensive city in the world to rent¹.
  • British Pound is still the most valued currency in the world outside of the gulf, despite all the value it has lost in recent years².
  • And of course as it is, the high overall cost of IT expertise.

On top of these problems that have been making onsite development hard to do for the longest time in the UK, some new developments made offsite development options even more practical.

  • The effects of Brexit. A lot of workers have been leaving the UK³ area which is becoming less attractive for IT professionals.
  • IR35 legislation making IT projects in the UK even more expensive for private companies. The cost of hiring deemed employees inside IR35 increased by 13.8%⁴. IR35 also affected the number of talented IT workers available along with Brexit, making it a struggle to reach skills needed on the local market.
  • Covid-19 pandemic made owning or maintaining a work area for onsite IT professionals even more expensive and created further health risks.

Nearshore or Offshore?

When you decide to look for offsite development help, you’re mainly gonna hear about two different terms: nearshore and offshore. Depending on where you are these can mean different things but basically what makes nearshore different are similar time zones and geographic proximity.

Offshore can be relatively cost-effective if you’re working with a country with a weak currency. But you’ll quickly realize there are lots of downsides:

  • Time Zone differences that make it really hard to maintain in sync communication. In software development communication is everything. Broken information flow is one of the biggest reasons software projects fail or at least create substantial additional costs which was the main problem we were trying to avoid, to begin with.
  • Different work cultures and processes that are hard to integrate with for your company.
  • The distance in between making it hard to establish trust. It’s almost impossible to set up a face to face meetings, which can sadly lead to disappearing solution partners when things don’t go as well as expected.

All of which are contributing to why nearshore alternatives are becoming more and more widely used since most of these problems more or less disappear or become less pronounced when working with partners in closer proximity. We believe most of the companies can apply nearshore teams for most of their IT services.


always busy

Why You Should Do Near Shore in Turkey

If you’re convinced that nearshore development is for you, then you will want to look at your options in terms of location. There are many, but when we put them side by side, it’s obvious some are better than others. So let us talk about what we think is one of the best options out there: Turkey and provide cold hard data about why that is the case. By the end, we think you’ll agree with us.

1. Computer Science Education Level

There are in total 207 universities in Turkey⁵, and the total number of students studying in those universities is a jaw-dropping 7 million 940 thousand 133⁶. The interesting part here is that in many of those universities the hardest faculty to be part of is engineering, and the hardest major a student can have is computer science (along with medical sciences). Among the top 100 majors across all universities that require the highest scores, 41 one of them are engineering majors⁷. This means every year millions of students are in a race to be one of those computer scientists of the future, and only the best of them can have the chance to do so.

2. Total Number Of Software Developers

The fact that only the best can be computer scientists in Turkey doesn’t mean there are only a few of them. Currently, there are a total of whopping 140.000 software developers⁸ working in the industry, and around 10.000 Computer Science related graduates join those numbers each year.

On top of that, the government recently launched the “1 Million Software Developer” project to increase the number even further.

3. Government Financial Support

The government supports IT professionals to export software and services with tax exemption⁹. Also, specialized tech-focused office zones are provided to IT companies with varying grants and stimulus. These factors reduce the cost of having/paying nearshore Turkish IT professionals.

4. Timezone and Distance

Turkey has only a +2 hour time zone difference to the UK in the summertime. So you don’t have to wait until tomorrow to find the answer to the question for your software team until they are awake again. Arranging real-life meetings when it’s necessary isn’t hard to do either, because distance itself can be covered by 3 and a half hour flight.

5. English Speaking Young Population

English education starts really early in Turkey. It’s mandatory in early elementary school years¹⁰ and in most cases, it even starts from the nursery.

Most of the top computer science faculties in the country give all of their courses in English completely¹¹, so the graduates can have better integration with the international IT world.

6. It Is Cheaper

Favourable exchange rates for Turkish Lira makes it cheaper than ever to work with resources in Turkey¹². Among the nearshore alternatives, it has a great purchasing power parity index of 1.832¹³

As you can see in the chart below, TRY lost more than half of its value in the last 2–3 years. And due to this, making nearshore in Turkey is becoming really cost-effective.

7. Software Community Culture

There is a very vibrant software development culture. The number of software focused communities and events are increasing daily¹⁴ where people are discussing best practices, thanks to the efforts of hardworking and passionate professionals working in the industry.

8. Foreign Investment

The Turkish software market is booming with foreigner investors. Alibaba acquired Trendyol.com¹⁵, Delivery Hero acquired yemeksepeti.com¹⁶, SK Group invested %50 in n11.com¹⁷, Amazon entered the market opening up amazon.com.tr¹⁸


Why are we different?

We at REFINERI also provide nearshore help, but we’re quite different from most of the others out there. We’re London based. And not just the business and sales side, most of our principal developers are here with you. For any kind of project, we always guarantee to assign at least one technical solution principal developer for you.

We’ll be here in the UK with you to handle everything little detail behind the scenes, so you can focus on your business concerns. Basically all the advantages of working with an offsite workforce, with none of the downsides. An accessible solution partner that you can trust, that is always on the same page as you and providing high-quality work.

Leveraging our nearshore capabilities lets us provide these services at the prices that are otherwise not possible. So that we can work within the tight budgetary requirements of startups and all other ventures with similiar limitations when necessary.

Overall, we provide:

  • Valuable solutions for customer’s businesses and problems, not operating from a yes culture.
  • Highly skilled engineers who aims to understand you and your work
  • An enterprise-level working culture based on proactivity and learning

If you still have any lingering questions in your mind, don’t hesitate and reach out to us. Or let’s have a chat about anything else. You can ping us at contact@refineri.co.uk. Once again, thanks for taking the time to read this one. Cheers!


[1] “The 25 most expensive cities around the world to rent an ….” 14 Jan. 2020, https://www.businessinsider.com/most-expensive-cities-worldwide-to-rent-an-apartment-2019-5. Accessed 28 May. 2020.

[2] “TOP 10 — The Highest Currency in the World (2020 … — FXSSI.” https://fxssi.com/top-10-of-the-strongest-world-currencies-in-current-year. Accessed 28 May. 2020.

[3] “EU workers leave the UK in record numbers as Brexit looms.” 13 Nov. 2018, https://apnews.com/354357b4a08145099ca2f71b4bad42d1. Accessed 28 May. 2020.

[4] “How IR35 could raise costs for employers — AAT Comment.” 2 Oct. 2019, https://www.aatcomment.org.uk/aatpowerup/tax-2020/how-ir35-could-raise-costs-for-employers/. Accessed 28 May. 2020.

[5] “Higher Education | EURYDICE” https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/national-policies/eurydice/content/higher-education-101_en. Accessed 28 May. 2020.

[6] “Yükseköğrenimdeki öğrenci sayısı 8 milyonu buldu.” 6 May. 2020, https://www.aa.com.tr/tr/egitim/yuksekogrenimdeki-ogrenci-sayisi-8-milyonu-buldu/1830726. Accessed 26 May. 2020.

[7] “En Yüksek Puanlı Üniversiteler ve Bölümleri … — E-sehir.com.” https://www.e-sehir.com/egitim/en-yuksek-puanli-universiteler-ve-bolumleri-nelerdir.php. Accessed 26 May. 2020.

[8] “Bakan Albayrak: 1 Milyon Yazılımcı Projesi’nde gençlerin ….” 21 Apr. 2020, https://www.aa.com.tr/tr/ekonomi/bakan-albayrak-1-milyon-yazilimci-projesinde-genclerin-aldigi-egitimler-cvlerine-islenecek/1812548. Accessed 26 May. 2020.

[9] “Yurt dışı pirim ödemesinin Türkiye’de vergilendirilmesi | Gelir ….” 18 Feb. 2016, https://www.gib.gov.tr/yurt-disi-pirim-odemesinin-turkiyede-vergilendirilmesi. Accessed 28 May. 2020.

[10] “İNGİLİZCE DERSİ ÖĞRETİM PROGRAMI.” http://mufredat.meb.gov.tr/Dosyalar/201812411191321-%C4%B0NG%C4%B0L%C4%B0ZCE%20%C3%96%C4%9ERET%C4%B0M%20PROGRAMI%20Klas%C3%B6r%C3%BC.pdf. Accessed 26 May. 2020.

[11] “Bilgisayar Mühendisliği 2020 Taban Puanları ve Başarı ….” https://www.universitego.com/bilgisayar-muhendisligi-2020-taban-puanlari-ve-basari-siralamalari/. Accessed 28 May. 2020.

[12] “XE Currency Charts: GBP to TRY — XE.com.” https://www.xe.com/currencycharts/?from=GBP&to=TRY. Accessed 26 May. 2020.

[13] “Conversion rates — Purchasing power parities (PPP) — OECD ….” https://data.oecd.org/conversion/purchasing-power-parities-ppp.htm. Accessed 26 May. 2020.

[14] “Software Development groups in Turkey | Meetup.” https://www.meetup.com/topics/softwaredev/tr/. Accessed 26 May. 2020.

[15] “Alibaba Buys Stake in Turkey’s Trendyol | Alizila.com.” 30 Jun. 2018, https://www.alizila.com/alibaba-buys-stake-in-turkeys-trendyol/. Accessed 26 May. 2020.

[16] “Delivery Hero acquires Turkish food delivery giant Yemeksepeti.” 5 May. 2015, https://www.deliveryhero.com/delivery-hero-acquires-turkish-food-delivery-giant-yemeksepeti/. Accessed 26 May. 2020.

[17] “Owners of Turkish Online Retailer Are Said to Be Considering ….” 12 Feb. 2020, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-02-12/owners-of-turkish-online-retailer-are-said-to-be-considering-ipo. Accessed 26 May. 2020.

[18] “Amazon.com.tr.” https://www.amazon.com.tr/. Accessed 26 May. 2020.