Why Jamaica, Silicon Island of the Caribbean, is the hot new tech hub to watch

A rising tide, they say, lifts all boats. And in tech, the fastest-rising industry on the planet, it’s a good time to get on board with Jamaica.

The Caribbean country has long been a vacation hotspot for those drawn to its idyllic white sandy beaches and laid-back lifestyle.

Recently, however, “The Rock” has been doing all the right things to position itself not as a solid tourism hotspot, but as the next “Silicon Island” — a moniker that once-developing tech hubs such as Ireland and Taiwan also earned.

Grassroots investment

Digitization isn’t just about infrastructure; it’s about talent. In 2021, the Jamaican government proved it knew this when it launched its Amber Heart Coding Academy, designed to train thousands of young Jamaicans in software development. But its efforts to jockey for position in the tech-hub race began years earlier with investments in its tech infrastructure as well as education.

Launched in 2019, Jamaica’s Global Services Sector project (a five-year plan) aims to provide Jamaicans with training and access to better jobs in business, knowledge process and information technology outsourcing.

The challenge has been to attract overseas investment and avoid brain drain among its burgeoning skilled domestic workforce. And so far, the fourth-largest Caribbean nation has proven itself to be the little island that could.

Why Jamaica?

Proximity to the U.S. is a core USP for this nation of just 2.8 million people, as well as the fact that it is an English-speaking territory in a time zone that’s compatible with the U.S.

Competitive labor costs are a factor, of course, attracting interest from corporations beyond the Americas. At the Nexus 2022 event, for example, a central theme was the growth of interest from European tech companies seeking Customer Experience partners in the Caribbean.

An outsourcing and nearshoring gem

There are more than 85 companies in operation in Jamaica with a combined annual revenue of almost US$1 billion, employing more than 60,000 people. In fact, Jamaica has the most mature outsourcing sector in the Caribbean.

Last month, it became the first English-speaking nation in the region to host O2LAC, the major outsourcing summit that aims to further unlock the potential of developing tech nations.

It’s also a nearshoring hotspot for U.S. tech companies, with demand for roles in software development, data analytics, cybersecurity and even AI out-stripping supply — a pattern the government hopes to reverse as more trained talent emerges.

Last year, nearshoring software development company BairesDev recorded an upswing in Caribbean tech talent between 2020 and 2022, with an impressive 2,100% growth in hires from Jamaica. Ibex Global, the digital CX outsourcer, last week announced the opening of its fifth location in Jamaica, with plans to employ a further 1,500 people.

For digital nomad tech workers, Jamaica represents an attractive new frontier with novelty factor in spades. But if the Caribbean island is too much of a stretch, there are thousands of great roles available closer to home.

Are you ready to start a new chapter in a multicultural environment? Browse hundreds of software development, data analysis CX and other exciting tech jobs now at VentureBeat Jobs.

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