When it comes to buying diamonds, buyers have long been told to consider the "4C's" - for diamonds, that means cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. But there are 4C's to consider when thinking about nearshore software development, too.

Nearshore or nearshoring is a term used to describe an outsource relationship using resources in countries such as Costa Rica that are located near the US.

If you pay attention to the 4C's of nearshore software development, you can get your next mission-critical software development delivered on time and within budget while you work with skilled engineers who are fluent in English. You can also do it without late night calls, long flights, or costly delays or disruptions.

1. Cost: Hard and Soft Dollars

Cost is the first and most obvious of the 4c's of nearshore software development. When it comes to cost, Latin America is one of the best values in the world.

In the U.S., local developers typically cost $150 - $175 per hour in major cities, or $75 - $100 per hour in rural areas or smaller towns. Sure, you can hire developers on the other side of the world for $25-30 per hour, but time zone issues, cultural differences, and language barriers can add to the complexity and final price of offshoring. Meanwhile, well-trained, college-educated Latin American developers with sought-after skills cost just $40 - $50 per hour.

There are other cost savings available when doing business with Latin American developers. For instance, affordable flights to and from the U.S. and Latin American are readily available. Since bi-lingual English/Spanish fluency is common in both regions, there's no need for costly translations, and no risk of errors due to language barriers.

2. Convenience: No More Sleepless Nights

Have you ever endured a sleepless night so you could communicate with a team in Mumbai, Kiev, or Manila? Developers in Costa Rica, Colombia, or any of the other Latin American technology powerhouses are in the same time zone as U.S. companies for most of the year. (Latin American countries don't observe Daylight Savings Time, so there may be an hour's time difference during the summer.)

This makes daily Agile development (Agile is a software development methodology) stand-ups easy, and improves communication. Being in a similar time zone makes travel easier and usually less expensive, so developers can meet in person more frequently. Increased face-time between project managers and nearshore talent minimizes misunderstandings and reduces turnover. It also eliminates the frustrating lag in response times for simple fixes, answers, and SLA compliance.

3. Culture: Frank, Open Idea Exchanges

If you are looking for people who say yes to any proposal, whether it's possible to deliver or not, don't go to Latin America. Latin America's communications style is a bit more formal than that in the U.S., but the polite tone doesn't change the fact that business communication is frank and to the point.

College-educated professionals from Latin America aren't shy about discussing concerns, offering solutions, and sharing ideas. A similar results-driven focus makes doing business easier since there is a shared business culture.

In addition to a similar work ethic and common business culture, Latin American developers tend to be interested in U.S. entertainment, sports, and culture.

4. Certifications: Trained Tech Talent with Current Skills

Colleges and trade schools in Latin America have aligned their science, engineering, and mathematics curriculum with U.S. standards, including sought-after technical certifications like PMP, Six Sigma, ITIL and many more.

There is a deep pool of trained technical talent in Latin America, particularly in technology hubs like Costa Rica and Colombia. The attitude toward professional development is similar to that found in Austin, Seattle, or Silicon Valley. There are hackathons, developer meet ups, and a strong start-up ecosystem in both countries to encourage developers to hone their skills.

In addition to these benefits, more American companies are looking south for software development talent for the simple reason that the shared business culture cuts down on problems with copyright and patent protection, fraud prevention, and other legal problems.

As the CEO of a technology company or the VP of software engineering, you may find your smartest move is to look south for talent. Just as in precision stones, follow the 4 C's to find your next engineering gems.

Co-founder of Austin-based Growth Acceleration Partners (GAP), Joyce Durst is driven to help software companies achieve rapid growth through business-focused applications. Joyce has launched startups and led teams at enterprise companies by applying her passion and business knowledge to efficiently create software that solves business problems. Active in the community with Special Olympics and Springboard alumni, she enjoys helping other women in technology to achieve their dreams.