Cluj Napoca - A Nearshoring Dream Destination for Software Development

There’s no denying that today’s market is navigating through one of the most uncertain economic scenarios that we’ve ever experienced in our times. It takes courage and a solid strategy to stay afloat and even ahead in your niche. The software development industry is no different than that. There is a constant push to stay up to date with the latest technological advances, and more companies are experiencing a tedious development process. With the demands always changing, it can get difficult to prioritise your finances on the opportunities that bring value to your operations.

At this point in their journey, most companies are looking out for ways to outsource some or most of their software development operations overseas. The reasons may vary, but the main one is the cost. And in that search for the cheapest technological partner, most of them are sacrificing a lot more than what they bargained for - the quality, the one that differentiates them and makes them unique, and authentic. Fortunately for them, there is a better way. And it’s called nearshoring. 

Nearshoring is the outsourcing of some or all business processes, especially the information technology ones, to another company, in a nearby country. In Europe, the nearshoring dream destinations are on the eastern side, to countries like Romania, Poland, Ukraine, etc. The nearshoring companies located in these countries offer great quality software development services and very good prices. They are very close to the western European countries and so the travel time is considerably reduced. Also, they share very similar cultures, they usually speak English fluently and can extensively understand their clients’ needs and deliver results accordingly.  

In this article we will focus on one area specifically. It is considered an up-and-coming gem in the software development industry, having earned its title as the CEE’s “Silicon Valley”. We’re talking about Cluj Napoca, the capital city of Transylvania and the second-largest city in Romania.  

Cluj - “Eastern Europe’s Silicon Valley”

Cluj Napoca is considered the unofficial capital of the prestigious province of Transylvania. With an impressive history, dating back over 2000 years, it has rapidly developed into a multicultural city with a population of over 500.000 inhabitants. Nowadays, Cluj is considered one of the most developed cities in Romania, with an active and booming business environment oriented towards development and innovation. 

It is renowned for its title as the Silicon Valley of Eastern Europe due to its major advancements in the technology sector. It is an established economic hub and educational centre housing important and prestigious universities and academic institutions. The IT&C sector alone is made up of over 1200 companies that involve more than 20.000 specialists, so it’s no denying that Cluj is a major technological cluster, constantly expanding and attracting new opportunities for the region.

So, let’s take a closer look at what makes Cluj the dream destination for software development nearshoring. 

Geolocation and infrastructure

Located in the heart of Transylvania, Cluj Napoca has connections to the entire western European region. It takes about 2-3 hours by plane to reach Cluj and there are non-stop flights almost daily. 

One of the main pain points when working with a remote team is time. It is often ineffective to establish good communication flow with people who are sleeping when you’re working and vice-versa. And so, the time zone should be a crucial aspect to consider when choosing your technological partner. The biggest advantage that Cluj has in terms of geographical proximity is the small difference in time zones. Being in the GMT+2 time zone, Cluj Napoca is 2 hours ahead of the UK and Portugal, and one hour ahead of the rest of the countries in continental Europe.  

So, if you are considering finding a trusted IT partner, close to home, search no more.


Harnessing the local talent

Cluj Napoca is also known as one of the most important educational centres in Romania. Hosting 10 important universities, tens of thousands of students are admitted annually into these institutions, most of whom choose an IT-related course. 

The Romanian educational system still follows the late soviet educational model. Even from an early age, students go through a theoretical and technical educational approach. Subjects such as mathematics, physics, and science, are among the most important ones and are taken very seriously by schools and colleges. The career paths are strongly influenced by this approach and the universities are priding themselves in maintaining high academic standards and results-oriented mindsets shaped from the very start. 

Naturally, local software development companies have access to this large talent pool. By creating internship spots in their teams, they are offering the students a hands-on experience in a real IT work environment. Many of them remain part of the team long after graduation. And also part of the beautiful community that has formed here in Cluj. Because what makes this city amazing is its people. 


Cluj Napoca - The City of Heart

Over the past decade, Cluj Napoca has gone through a process of real development, making its way to becoming the second-largest city in Romania, after Bucharest. Known for its status as an established academic city, students from all over the country and beyond make up around 25% of the total population (aprox. 80K). Vibrant and young at heart, Cluj has managed to stand out on several levels.

According to The World Bank’s Urban Barometer, which focuses on measuring the urban quality of life in Romania’s cities, Cluj Napoca is considered the most attractive city in the country, in regards to the quality of life, economic opportunities, and cultural options and diversity. The results don’t come as a surprise, because the local administration’s constant efforts to ensure the best experience for its citizens have led Cluj to receive the title of European Youth Capital in 2015. Since then, the city has been on a continuous growth path. 

From a solid public transportation system, an international airport that connects Cluj to cities all over Europe, to a diverse range of cultural and educational events year-round, Cluj Napoca is a place where one can find their home. In terms of technological advancements, Cluj has stepped up and won first place in the “Smart City” category at Emerging Europe. Therefore, Cluj Napoca is considered to be a strong pillar in terms of innovation, technology and growth, and its IT industry stands right at the heart of it. 

The IT Sector in Cluj

Even in times of major economic adversity, Romania is still considered a significant driver in the technological sector. In the past two years, when a lot of businesses were paused, the IT&C industry continued to provide services and help other companies that were severely affected to overcome the obstacles they were facing. 

With more than 800 IT companies on the market, Cluj quickly became the centre of technological development in the country. According to a recent study, Cluj has managed to create the ideal climate and infrastructure to nurture a vibrant start-up community. One out of 11 people living in Cluj are working in the IT sector, which clearly shows the fantastic growth rate that this industry has. 

Known for its tech talent and thriving IT companies that formed here in the past decade, some of them reaching over 1000 employees and earning more than 30mil EUR in annual revenue. Both foreign and domestic investors are focusing their finances on this robust and thriving sector here in Cluj. In terms of Western European partners that are investing in local IT&C companies, Germany has the largest share of the market at about 30%, followed closely by the UK with 22%. Others include The Netherlands and the USA at about 15%, and in smaller shares, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Scandinavia.

Some of the companies born here even made themselves known on a global scale. Liverail, a video advertising platform, which was acquired by Facebook for about 500$ million in 2014, had its origins in Cluj, founded by two local engineers. Another great example is Skobbler, the map and navigation app maker which was acquired by Telenav for about 24$ million. The last one had German roots but the initial engineering team was based in Cluj Napoca. So it doesn’t come as a surprise that this city is the breeding ground for great ideas, excellent talent and a strong technological ecosystem that allows for great projects to succeed. 

Choosing a partner should’t be that tough

In terms of nearshoring, Cluj counts more than 800 companies that provide top-quality software development services for clients all over the world. But in the end, it all comes down to your specific development needs and the right partner that can provide them. Finding that partner can become a tiresome process, but there are a few things you should take into consideration right from the start. The mindset of finding a partner rather than a supplier should be the first thing to consider. A partner can offer more than just technological solutions. It should act like a companion, providing objective input into what needs to be done for that particular project. That’s where skilled talent comes into place. They should be more than simple executants, they should be trusted professionals that can offer relevant solutions on the entire development journey. 

We, here at Qubiz, strongly believe that nearshoring should be more about quality than anything else. That is why it’s crucial to treat every professional relationship like a partnership, one in which every side has a say in  what’s the best course of action for that particular project. This course of action will dictate the outcome of your product, and you do want the best version of it to come out. 

From the heart of Cluj Napoca (and Oradea), Qubiz has been the technological partner of choice for many Western European companies in countries such as The Netherlands, The UK and the DACH region. We’ve worked with both big and small companies from different industries and managed to successfully deliver cutting-edge IT solutions for businesses that are on an ascending path towards innovation. That is what a true technological partner should look like. 

To help you make an informed decision when choosing a technological partner for your software development projects, we created an assessment guide for you to use. This guide comes in handy, especially for companies that have just started to consider searching for an IT partner. 

Qubiz can act as a one-stop-shop, by providing services that cover the whole application lifecycle, including functional design and consulting, software architecture design, UX/UI design, software development, QA, and finally maintenance. Need more information? Let’s talk!

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