Interested in building a software engineering team outside the U.S.? Consider hiring freelancer devs from Mexico.
Mexico is home to thousands of top-notch computer science graduates and software engineers that offer first-rate services at a fraction of U.S. rates. Case in point: the average Mexican software engineer make about $3,232 USD per month, while their U.S. counterparts earn a staggering $108,249 yearly. What's more, Mexico is in the same time zone as the U.S., so you can collaborate and communicate with your remote hires in real-time.
Read this comprehensive guide to learn more about why Mexico is a great source for remote engineers. Along the way, we'll cover software engineering in Mexico, the number of Mexican software engineers, the size of Mexico's tech industry and venture capital (VC) investment, and unicorns that are the product of Mexican engineering. We'll also cover the average salary of different types of engineers in Mexico, why U.S. companies should hire remote devs in Mexico, and where to find Mexican software engineering talent.
Software Engineering in Mexico: An Overview
Before diving into the salaries of software engineers in Mexico, let's look at software engineering education in Mexico, the number of Mexican software engineers, and the size of Mexico's tech industry and VC investment. We'll also cover unicorns — startups that are valued at over $1 billion — that are the products of Mexican engineering.
SWE Education in Mexico
Mexico offers state-of-the-art software engineering (SWE) education.
Since the 2000s, the Mexican government has made many educational and infrastructural improvements to help people expand their skills. Between 2006 and 2012, the government opened 120 tuition-free specialist technology universities. Since then, Mexican universities produce over 130,000 engineers per year.
Moreover, Mexico has an impressive rate of engineering grads in Latin America, with 25% of all Mexican university grads majoring in STEM. Mexico's universities are highly regarded, with several universities ranked in Latin America's top 50. These include:
- National Autonomous University of Mexico (#7 in Latin America)
- Tecnologico de Monterrey (#23 in Latin America)
- Benemerita Universidad Autonoma de Puebla (#30 in Latin America)
- National Polytechnic Institute (#39 in Latin America)
- Universidad Autonoma de San Luis Potosi (#43 in Latin America)
- Metropolitan Autonomous University (#48 in Latin America)
Mexican engineers have also performed well on international tests. According to Coursera's Global Skills Report 2021, Mexico earned top rankings in areas such as:
- Cloud computing (91%)
- Web development (86%)
- Probability and statistics (83%)
- Computer networking (76%)
- Mobile development (68%)
- Data management (55%)
- Software engineering (55%)
- Mathematics (55%)
Additionally, Mexico ranked second in the world for best developers in the 2022 Pentalog report. Specifically, Mexican engineers ranked first in the world for C/C++ and Python programming.
Number of Mexican Software Engineers
Thanks to the government's first-rate SWE education opportunities, there are approximately 700,000 software engineers in Mexico today. This makes Mexico one of the hotbeds of engineering talent in Latin America.
Size of the Tech Industry and VC Investment
Mexico isn't only home to thousands of software engineers — it also has a vibrant tech industry that has attracted global VC investment.
According to Kearney, Mexico is Latin America's second-largest private equity (PE) and VC market, with 21% of the region's investments and 23% of all deals over the past five years. Mexico's PE/VC market has also accumulated more than $56 billion in commitments since 2008.
Many investors are drawn to Mexico due to its large consumer market, experienced entrepreneurs, and proximity to the U.S. They've shown particular interest in Mexico's fintech and consumer services companies, with 48% of VC investments being allocated across these two sectors. The government has played a central role in supporting fintech via the 2018 FinTech law.
Unicorns That Are Products of Mexican Engineering
As recently as 2019, Mexico didn't have any unicorn companies. This quickly changed in 2020, when eight unicorns arose in Mexico:
A company for buying and selling used cars, Kavak was created by Roger Laughlin, Carlos García Ottati, and Loreanne García in 2016 in Mexico City, where it began operating with only three automobiles.
In October 2020, Kavak became Mexico's first unicorn with a valuation of $1.1 billion after a funding round of $400 million from DST Global, SoftBank, Breenoaks, QED Investors, Kaszek Ventures, General Atlantic, and others.
Bitso is a cryptocurrency exchange platform that offers services and products to over two million customers across Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina. Users can use the platform to buy, send, sell, and receive Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Bitso was founded in 2014 and reached unicorn status in May 2021 after raising a $250 million Series C round. Investors included Coatue, Tiger Global, BOND Capital, Pantera Capital, Paradigm, and Kaszek. As of 2022, Bitso is the most valuable Latin American cryptocurrency platform, with over 5 million users and 92 million trading transactions.
Grupo Bursátil Mexicano (GBM)
A 35-year-old investment platform, GBM provides investment services to local and global institutions and individuals. It reached unicorn status in June 2021 when it raised $150 million from Softbank.
Clara is a corporate spend management solution with over 2,000 clients, including prominent regional startups, such as Casai and JOKR. It reached unicorn status in December 2021 after a $70 million Series B financing round led by Coatue.
Merama is a Brazil and Mexico-based company that acquires and launches Latin American digital brands. Its portfolio has many brands from Mexico, Brazil, Columbia, Chile, and Peru. It achieved $1.2 billion valuation in December 2021, just 12 months after incorporation.
Konfio provides payments, digital banking, and software tools for boosting the productivity and growth of small and mid-sized startups. It gained unicorn status in September 2021, when it was valued at $1.3 billion.
Incode is an identity verification app that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to check people's identities. It's used by companies across Latin America to facilitate online bookings, payments, and registrations. The company was founded by Ricardo Amper and reached Unicorn Status in December 2021 after a $220 million Series B funding led by Softbank and General Atlantic.
Clip is a fintech company that aims to democratize digital payments through multiple payment solutions, including credit and debit cards and a credit-card reader for smartphones. Clip's card reader has been especially successful among small businesses like tourist guides, street vendors, and corner stores.
This company was founded in 2012 and reached unicorn status in June 2021 after an investment by Viking Global Investors LP and SoftBank's Latin American Fund.
Average Salary for Engineers in Mexico
Now that you know what software engineering is like in Mexico, let's look at the salaries by developer role.
Salary by Developer Role
As in the U.S., salaries for engineers in Mexico vary depending on the role.
Also known as front-end developers, front-end engineers design, build, and implement the user interface (UI) of apps and websites. They work closely with UI designers to make sites and apps beautiful, efficient, and functional. Other responsibilities include:
- Optimizing user experience (UX)
- Identifying UI and UX problems and devising solutions
- Creating high-resolution mockups for testing interfaces
- Producing, updating, and maintaining required documentation and paperwork
- Testing and troubleshooting sites and apps
- Resolving issues related to browser compatibility and accessibility
- Tweaking platforms and tools to adapt to real-world use situations
- Participating in code reviews
- Collaborating with the design, product, and engineering teams
- Researching new technologies and proposing solutions for client needs
- Mentoring junior developers
According to Glassdoor, the average Mexican front-end engineer earns 26,711 MXN or $1,306 monthly, which amounts to $15,672 per year. In comparison, the average U.S.-based front-end engineer makes $125,501 annually.
Back-end developers are responsible for designing, creating, and maintaining the server side of apps and sites. In other words, they build and manage databases and application programming interfaces (APIs). Other duties include:
- Developing and maintaining code libraries
- Implementing security systems
- Regularly inspecting sever code for speed optimization
- Maintaining a stable server with zero or minimal downtime
- Maintaining a backup library before making major changes to the server
- Designing and implementing data storage solutions
According to Glassdoor, the average Mexican back-end engineer earns 55,447 MXN or $2,713 monthly, which amounts to $32,556 annually. Contrast this with their U.S.-based counterparts, who make an average of $109,589 yearly.
Full-stack engineers can handle the front-end and the back-end. They can handle the UI and UX as well as everything on the back end, such as databases, servers, and APIs. Additional duties include:
- Communicating and interacting with end users and product managers
- Collaborating with the quality assurance team to create testing protocols
- Spotting and correcting code errors
- Working with other teams to ensure system scalability and coherence
- Translating wireframes and designs into high-quality full-stack code
- Evolving systems architecture to continually drive development efficiency
- Mentoring junior developers on code review and best practices
The average Mexican full-stack engineer earns 40,504 MXN or $1,982 per month, which amounts to $23,784 yearly. Meanwhile, their U.S. counterparts make an average of $103,842 per year.
Why U.S. Companies Should Hire Remote Software Developers in Mexico
As you can see, Mexican engineers offer extremely competitive rates compared to their U.S. counterparts. This makes them a great pick if you want to cut hiring costs.
Other reasons for hiring remote software developers include:
Mexico has an English-proficient workforce. Although the nation scored 92 out of 112 in EF's English Proficiency Index in 2021, this score isn't representative of the people you'll be working with.
A closer look indicates that there's a north-south divide in Mexico, with northern states performing better than southern states. Major cities scored high in proficiency, like Mexico City and Monterrey, followed by Hermosillo, Tijuana, and Guadalajara.
Senior-Level Expertise Can Be Found in Tech Hubs
Mexico has over 20 first-rate tech hubs and parks, including:
- Creative Digital City in Guadalajara
- Guadalajara Software Center
- Apodaca Technology Park
- Monterrey Technology Park
These tech hubs are home to some of the best senior-level software engineering experts, including devs who have worked on Mexico's unicorns and major brands.
If you choose to source talent in Mexico's most Americanized city, Monterrey, you may even be able to find talent who have worked for major U.S. companies, such as Facebook and Google.
Mexico Shares All Continental U.S. Time Zones
Mexico shares all continental U.S. time zones, which means your remote Mexican hires can collaborate and communicate with your U.S. team in real time.
Here's a breakdown of Mexico's four main time zones:
- Zona Sureste (Southeast Zone): This zone covers the state of Quintana Roo. It is the equivalent of U.S. Eastern Standard Time, although it doesn't observe Daylight Savings Time (DST).
- Zona Centro (Central Zone): This zone covers three-fourths of the eastern part of Mexico. It includes major cities like Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Monterey. It observes U.S. Central Time and DST for most of the year.
- Zona Pacifico (Pacific Zone): This covers the states of Chihuahua, Baja California Sur, Sinaloa, Nayarit, and Sonora. It follows U.S. Mountain Time for most of the year. The state of Sonora, like most of the neighboring U.S. state of Arizona, doesn't observe DST.
- Zona Noroeste (Northwest Zone): This covers the state of Baja California and is identical to U.S. Pacific Time. It follows DST.
Some metropolitan areas next to the U.S. border follow U.S. DST instead of Mexican DST. As a result, those areas are an hour off from the rest of their states for a few weeks of the year.
Remote island territories — Revillagigedo Islands and Guadalupe Island — follow their geographic location's time zones.
Geographic Proximity to the U.S.
Mexico is also extremely close to the U.S., especially if you're in the West or Southwest. If you want to visit your hires, you can just hop on a flight. Mexico City is only a two-and-a-half-hour flight away from most major cities in Texas and three hours from Los Angeles.
Cost-Effective Without Sacrificing Quality
Finally, U.S. companies should hire remote Mexican software engineers because they offer cost-effective rates without sacrificing quality.
Many Mexican software engineers graduated from top schools. Some have even worked for major Mexican and American companies. However, as covered above, they only charge a third or a tenth of what their U.S. counterparts earn.
Outsourcing Software Development to Cuba: An Ideal Nearshore Destination
Where to Find Mexican Engineering Talent
Mexican engineer talent can be found throughout the country. However, you're most likely to find them in Mexico's top tech hubs.
Tech Hubs in Mexico
Mexico's best tech hubs for outsourcing include:
Mexico City (U.S. CT)
Mexico City is the capital of Mexico and the most populous city in North America. Located in the Valley of Mexico, it has 16 boroughs and over 21 million inhabitants, making it the sixth-largest metropolitan area in the world.
Mexico City has been important to the tech world since the 90s, when foreign investment exploded due to Mexico's increasingly liberal political atmosphere. By the 2000s, many U.S. tech giants, including Google, Microsoft, Apple, and HP, had established offices in the city.
Fast forward to 2022. Mexico City is now one of the most technologically advanced cities in Central America. Many transportation and fintech startups call Mexico City home, including:
- Klar: Klar is a digital financial services platform that empowers users to manage their money through their smartphones. It offers bill payments, savings accounts, money transfers, online and offline purchases, and Klar credit cards.
- Kueski: This app uses advanced analytics and big data to approve and deliver loans to salaried workers. Users just have to fill in the required documents and select a loan option. Once the loan is approved, the funds will be transferred to the registered bank account.
- Nexu: Nexu is a car loan app that allows users to get a loan on the spot when leasing or buying a car. It has been a lifesaver for many Mexicans, since buying and leasing cars in Mexico typically involves a lot of paperwork and can often take weeks. According to Bloomberg Línea, Nexu has increased the number of people approved for an auto loan from 30% to 60%.
- Urbvan: Urbvan provides high-end transportation shuttle services in Mexico. When it was first founded in 2016, it only had five vans. As of 2022, it has over 150 vans and 500,000 downloads on the Google Play store.
Additionally, Mexico City is home to multiple top-notch universities, including:
- National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM): UNAM is a public research university in Mexico. Consistently ranked as one of the top universities in Latin America, its main campus, known as Ciudad Universitaria (University City), is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Acceptance rates are typically below 10%, making it one of the most competitive universities in the nation. UNAM's School of Engineering was the first engineering school in Latin America, with over 225 years of history. As of 2022, it boasts 13,000 students, 2,100 faculty members, and over 100 labs.
- Universidad Tecnológica de México (UNITEC): UNITEC is a private university with 10 campuses. It's well-known for its excellent software engineering program and a business incubator program that promotes the creation and development of tech companies. UNITEC's business incubator program is certified by Mexico's Ministry of Economy and the National Institute of the Entrepreneur (INADEM) as a Basic Incubators' Network.
- Universidad Panamericana: A private Catholic university, the Universidad Panamericana is currently ranked as the third-best university in Mexico by QS World University Rankings. It has four campuses: the main campus in southwestern Mexico City, the Guadalajara campus, the Aguascalientes campus, and the Campus Santa Fe in Mexico City.
Universities are a great way to source and hire fresh grads. However, if you don't have the resources to train fresh grads and you want to start building immediately, you can hire FAANG-caliber tech talent from Mexico City's startup accelerators and co-working spaces. These include:
- 500 Startups: 500Startup's Latin American branch is headquartered in Mexico City. It has invested in over 130 startups since 2011 and attracts the best of Latin American talent.
- MassChallenge: MassChallenge is a non-profit organization that supports entrepreneurship and innovation. It has over 10 years of experience accelerating industries, startups, and innovation ecosystems.
- Google Startup Accelerator Mexico: Google Startup Accelerator Mexico supports Latin American startups focused on AI and machine learning. Startups accepted into this program will receive support and mentorship from the best of Google and their global mentor network in AI and machine learning, Android and Google Play, product strategy, web, cloud, UX, and marketing.
Monterrey (U.S. CT)
Mexico's most Americanized city, Monterrey is the capital of the northern state of Nuevo León, which borders Texas. Due to its proximity to the U.S. border and glut of tech talent, Monterrey has attracted numerous international corporations, including Cemex, Coca-Cola, and FEMSA.
Like Mexico City, Monterrey has many renowned universities, including:
- Tecnológico de Monterrey: Nicknamed Tec, Tecnológico de Monterrey is a secular private university that has grown to include 35 campuses throughout Mexico. It is one of only 45 universities worldwide to have five QS Stars, making it one of the most prestigious universities in Latin America. Tec is particularly well-known for its software engineering specialization.
- Universidad Tecmilenio: Part of Tecnológico de Monterrey, the Universidad Tecmilenio consists of 40 locations and an online campus. It offers many information technology courses, seminars, and certifications.
- Universidad Regiomontana: Known by its shortened name, U-ERRE, the Universidad Regiomontana offers 32 undergraduate degrees, 10 of which are engineering degrees.
- Universidad de Monterrey: A private secondary and higher education institution in Monterrey, this university has over 16,000 students, including high school students, undergraduates, and postgraduates.
Monterrey is a leading tech hub because of its bustling startup ecosystem. Top VC firms, such as Alta Ventures and Naranja, have their headquarters in Monterrey. Numerous startup accelerators also maintain offices in the city, including:
- ImpactHub Monterrey: Monterrey is home to Impact Hub Monterrey, which provides dedicated and co-working spaces. It also has a cafeteria, three restaurants, and a craft brewery. Use this hub to connect with fresh grads, freelance software engineers, hiring agencies, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and more.
- Startup Mexico: The fastest growing innovation and entrepreneurship initiative in Latin America, Startup Mexico offers co-working spaces across Mexico. It has a large office in Monterrey.
- Monterrey Digital Hub: Monterrey Digital Hub is Mexico's first digital transformation ecosystem. Like ImpactHub Monterrey and Startup Mexico, it brings tech entrepreneurs, startups, and tech talent together. It offers:
- Eight courses for developing a "digital pioneer" mindset
- An exclusive corporate innovation community
- Numerous innovation and corporate entrepreneurial networking programs
Thanks to these startup accelerators, Monterrey has many startups, such as:
- Nowports, a digital freight forwarder that helps organizations improve the import process
- Skydropx, a logistics management system for managing and regulating shipments
- EPesos, a Fintech app that gives workers instant access to their wages
- Red Girasol, a crowd-lending platform for commercial and residential solar systems
Guadalajara (U.S. CT)
In recent years, Guadalajara — Mexico's second-largest city — has transformed itself into a research and development hotspot. The city is home to over 600 companies, including big names like:
- IBM, which has been in the region for over 40 years
These companies source candidates from Guadalajara's universities, which offer excellent computer science, engineering, and electronic programs. Guadalajara's best universities include:
- Tecnológico de Monterrey: Monterrey's renowed Tec University has a campus in Guadalajara.
- Universidad de Guadalajara: The most significant high school in the state of Jalisco, Mexico, the Universidad de Guadalajara is also the second oldest in Mexico and the fourteenth oldest in Latin America. Its state-of-the-art computer engineering bachelor's program requires students to carry out three projects under the tutelage of a professor, a professional from the private or public sector, or a researcher from another institution.
Besides talented software engineering grads, Guadalajara is home to many startup accelerators and builders, including:
- Agave Lab: Agave Lab is a company-builder that helps startups realize their company and product goals. Their portfolio includes fintech, legaltech, proptech, edtech, eCommerce, and tech companies.
- Wizeline: One of the world's fastest-growing global tech service providers, Wizeline delivers scalable, seamless digital solutions. They've worked with Walmart, Etsy, Factset, Rappi, Forrester, and many other big-name companies.
- StartupGDL: A non-profit organization, StartupGDL aims to make Guadalajara a global leader in tech innovation. They also support local entrepreneurs and youth to become tech innovators and leaders.
- Creative Digital City (CDD): CDD is an upcoming project to transform Guadalajara into a global tech hub. It aims to attract software developers, filmmakers, video game creators, and other digital creatives. It also seeks to push the boundaries of sustainable urban development and provide a new model of cluster development that can be replicated across Mexico and Latin America.
Tijuana (U.S. PT)
Last but not least, you should consider sourcing and hiring Mexican software engineers from Tijuana.
Just 30 minutes away from San Diego, Tijuana is best known as a party town. However, the city is now using its strategic location, bilingual population, and tech talent to rebrand itself as a cross-border tech hub.
Like other Mexican tech hubs, Tijuana has several universities that train software engineers, including the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California (UABC). Established in 1957, UABC is headquartered in Mexicali and has three main campuses in Tijuana, Ensenada, and Mexicali. It has a first-class computer science degree program that aims to:
- Train computer science professionals to analyze, model, design, implement, and evaluate complex systems
- Train grads to carry out innovative research and development projects that contribute to the advancement of society
Tijuana's tech scene is much smaller and less developed than those of the other cities on this list. However, it's been growing rapidly in recent years. Some of the most promising tech startup accelerators in Tijuana include:
- The Tijuana Hub: A multi-purpose space hosted at the University of San Diego's Business Innovation and Technology (BIT) Center, the Tijuana Hub encourages University of San Diego students, staff, alumni, faculty, and community partners to collaborate directly with their Tijuana counterparts on projects.
- Business Innovation and Technology (BIT) Center: A digital hub for tech talent, the BIT Center is a great place to catch up on Tijuana entrepreneurship.
- Vía Corporativo: One of the tallest buildings in the city, Vía Corporativo offers nine floors of co-working and event space.
Latin America Talent Marketplaces
If you're sourcing and hiring talent through tech hubs, you need to:
- Create flyers, banners, job descriptions, and other marketing material about your company and job
- Fly to a tech hub of your choice
- Meet potential hires at universities, startup accelerators, and other locations
- Ask them if they're interested in your position
- Vet and test them for technical and soft skills
- Interview them to determine if they're the right fit for your company
This can easily drain your resources, especially if you're a small company with a limited hiring budget.
A cost-effective alternative is hiring Mexican engineers through Latin American talent marketplaces. Unlike traditional job sites, these platforms have programmers who have been rigorously pre-vetted for their soft and technical skills.
As a result, you don't have to test and vet candidates yourself. All you have to do is tell the marketplace about your project requirements. Within a few days, they will send you a list of the best picks for your team. You can then interview and onboard the ones you want.
One of the best Latin American talent marketplaces is Revelo.
We provide over 300,000 rigorously pre-tested tech developers across any tech stack or skill, including:
What's more, we can handle all of your human resources (HR) paperwork for you. We can also provide your Mexican hires with best-in-class support and benefits so that they can produce their best work for you. This includes:
- Payroll in any currency, including crypto
- Subsidized dental and medical insurance
- Global access to co-working spaces
- Gym memberships
Hire Remote Software Engineers in Mexico With Revelo
Finding the right software developer can be daunting and time-consuming.
That's why you should partner with talent marketplaces like Revelo. We have thousands of remote Mexican programmers who have been pre-vetted for their hard and soft skills. To get started, just tell us about your project. We'll send you a list of the best candidates for your job within three days.
Interested? Fill in this form to get started.
Alternative Software Engineer Marketplace