The Current State of Software Development in Bangladesh (2022)

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Software Development involves planning, designing, developing, testing, and finally maintaining an application or framework software component.

Bangladesh has progressed significantly in the Software Development industry over the last few decades, producing the most latest outgrowth.

Software Development plays a major role in contributing to the national income and also in alleviating the unemployment challenges faced by recent graduates.

The footprint of Software Development in Bangladesh is modest in comparison to the country’s population which is 150 million+ and its GDP. However, in recent years, the software business industry in this country has begun to grow fast and contribute significantly more than before.

For the past five years, the average annual growth rate of the software development industry in Bangladesh has been over 40%, and this trend is very likely to continue.

Source: UNCTAD

There are around 4500+ software and ICT companies registered in Bangladesh as of today with over 300,000 local ICT specialists and software developers employed by these companies. Together, these companies meet the demand for US $ 1.18 billion worth of software in the local industry.

The country has benefited enormously from this strong growth, earning $800 million in 2017 from software and service exports. The primary export market is North America, but many IT companies have recently begun to export to EU countries and East Asian countries, particularly Japan.

The Government of Bangladesh plays an important role in the growth of Software Development in Bangladesh through its vision 2021 of achieving a “Digital Bangladesh”. From developing ICT-based infrastructure and innovation centers to waiving tax for the software developing companies, the Government is establishing the digitalization of Bangladesh in every sector possible to deliver services to the people’s doorsteps.

digitalization of Bangladesh in every sector

Source: BASIS

Bangladesh Government’s Support to the Software Development Industry

Bangladesh Government’s Support to the Software Development Industry

Source: A2I

“Digital Bangladesh” is a major element of the government’s Vision 2021, which envisages a successful and sustainable middle-income Bangladesh by the country’s golden jubilee.

The Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has set four important objectives for Digital Bangladesh:

i) preparing human resources for the digital realm;

ii) interconnecting people in ways that are important to them;

iii) delivering services to citizens’ doorsteps;

iv) enabling the private sector and industry to be more skillful and efficient through the utilization of digital technology.

As indicated by various ICT-related statements in their election manifesto, the Government is firmly committed to the development of the ICT sector. They have stated a determination to leverage the potential and usability of information and communication technology to enhance government efficiency and transparency, create jobs, and improve the quality of education, commerce, and services provided to the citizens in the country.

During the Coronavirus pandemic, the government provided grants to the software developing companies in Bangladesh to proceed with their development process on projects during the most affected time last year ( 2020) the months April to September.

Various Organizations Supporting Software Development in Bangladesh

Various Organizations Supporting Software Development in Bangladesh

Source: Unsplash

Before the “Digital Bangladesh” vision of the Government that contributed to the significant drive towards the digital revolution in Bangladesh, the country took small yet fundamental steps by establishing various associations and hosting workshops and events for IT professionals and companies.

Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services

The Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) formed in 1998, is a national organization engaging software and information technology companies. The number of members of the association has grown exponentially from the year 2003  which had initially  82 members and currently has around 1031 registered members.

BASIS has hosted many seminars, workshops, national software programming competitions, and trade shows such as the SoftExpo Bangladesh 2002 so far. It also takes part in foreign IT exhibits to promote the Bangladeshi IT sector (Source: BASIS).

Bangladesh Computer Samity

Bangladesh Computer Samity (BCS), which was founded in 1987,  is another organization that is a national association of all types of software enterprises, including hardware and software sellers, wholesalers, assemblers, and developers. It currently has roughly 180 members. Some businesses are members of both organizations.

Bangladesh Computer Council

The Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC) is an independent agency under the Ministry of Science and Information and Communication Technology that supports IT-related activities.

Software Development through Freelancers and Companies

Software Development through Freelancers and Companies

Source: Unsplash

Bangladesh is blessed with a big number of young, enterprising, and well-educated entrepreneurs that are passionate about software development and will undoubtedly keep this industry growing for many years to come.

Some of the benefits of the software development sector in Bangladesh include low labor costs, high programmer productivity, and broad English literacy. (Source: BASIS

According to a study by Paul Tija, 42 public and private institutions, as well as other institutes and colleges, provide degree programs in information technology, computer science, and computer science and engineering (CSE). It is estimated that approximately 3000 students graduate from these universities each year. There are also a great number of IT training centers, some of which are foreign franchises. The annual enrollment in these centers is calculated to be around twelve thousand.

In general, basic technical knowledge is seen as acceptable in Bangladesh. Moreover, students from BUET, Dhaka University, and other private universities have triumphed in national and international computer programming competitions.

Freelancers

Some of the students start their careers in software development as a freelancer.

With the growth of the contract job economy, freelancing has become a popular employment choice among Bangladeshi millennials, particularly those in their twenties.

Bangladesh has surpassed the United States and established itself as the second-largest supply online outsourcing force, according to the Oxford Internet Institute (OII).

About 500,000 active freelancers out of 650,000 registered freelancers in the country work regularly, earning a combined total of $100 million per year. 

Source: Dhaka Tribune

Software Developing Companies

As of now, there are about 4500 software and ICT companies registered in Bangladesh, employing over 300,000 local ICT specialists and software developers.

The company’s contribution to the Government encompasses its partnership with Access To Information (a2i), the flagship program of the Digital Bangladesh Agenda, and Government agencies, to innovate and develop an informatory and dynamic portal (corona.gov.bd) to provide up-to-date information about the Coronavirus pandemic.

Popular Categories of Software Development in Bangladesh

Popular Categories of Software Development in Bangladesh

Source: Unsplash

Software Development itself is a vast topic to explore. A software developer, after graduating holds knowledge of all the areas involved in programming as well as project management.

To dive into software development, one can either hold all the knowledge but if someone wants to establish a career quickly then he or she can get trained in a single sector of software development and gain practical experience in it. Many freelancers follow this methodology and start their career while being a student of the university or even earlier after finishing their HSC or A-Levels.

In foreign countries, programming is being taught as early as in primary schools where students are being tutored with basic programming skills through fun games, etc which in Bangladesh, we encounter in university (not as fun games of course). Even though Information and communication technology has been introduced in the curriculum, it does not include programming practices that require a computer lap with an updated operating system that can fulfill the requirements of running advanced software.

This is a lacking that the Government can look into establishing going forward. However, the Coronavirus pandemic put all the processes and planning to halt, even worse, it cast away all the students at home where they might not have access to a powerful computer to learn such skills. Education is struggling forward in Bangladesh with the help of online learning which is in no way the same as traditional classroom learning.

In saying that, the different sectors of Software Development which interested people can look into are: Web Development, Mobile App Development, Ecommerce Development, and other modern segments such as API, framework development, etc, and last but not the least, cybersecurity.  Out of all the sectors of software development,  web development and mobile app development are the two prime domains in Bangladesh from which the others branch out.

Web Development

Web development is one of the sectors in Bangladesh where there are ongoing contributions toward significant digital evolution. Many web development companies in Bangladesh are adding value to the advancement, in addition to the vast number of web developers operating professionally and as freelancers.

According to BASIS, about half of the country’s registered ICT firms provide Web services, such as web design and development. This is due to the huge demand for web development coming from businesses that are now focusing on creating a web presence on the internet to target the ever-increasing population online as more Bangladeshis are advancing towards technological dependency.

The businesses, therefore, need to understand the ways to choose the right web development company that matches their vision to create the perfect website they dream of with advanced characteristics such as a mobile-friendly website and a functional and visually attractive website that will bring in herds of traffic.

According to a study, 60% of people who use the internet will be educated about a business through any medium of the internet, so building a digital web presence is the most important component of a business in Bangladesh at the moment.

Mobile App Development

Mobile phones, once regarded as an extravagance, are now a need in every household and are one of the most reliable means of fast and reliable communication.

Every day, people spend an average of 3.25 hours on their phones all across the world. 

Source: The Guardian

Through various social media apps, better connectivity features, and other software elements integrated inside the phone, they now support our social connections, communications, entertainment, and finances.

In today’s marketing environments in Bangladesh, firms are employing every tactic that might assist them in staying ahead of the pack. Having a mobile application with a modern UX design can greatly assist in retaining existing clients while also attracting new ones.

For a successful business, mobile app development has become a popular and vital requirement. They cater to the needs of both customers and business owners by providing an effective marketing tool by reaching more people.

With secure payment portals like Bkash, Nagad, etc, and user-friendly capabilities, a mobile app can make purchasing items easy for customers. As a result, it ensures a pleasant consumer experience.

Covid-19 and Software Development

Covid-19 and Software Development

According to BASIS, software development in Bangladesh has taken a significant impact on both domestic and international markets as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. The virus has cost the sector no less than 70% of its total value.

Out of all the registered companies in BASIS, around 175 software companies are operating on the international market by exporting software and outsourcing software development services. However, according to a report by the Daily Star,  74% of international clients stopped placing purchases in the months most hit by Covid.  This is because, the two most important export destinations for Bangladeshi software, the United States and Europe, both were being overrun by the viral pandemic.

To overcome the crisis last year, BASIS requested around Tk 660 crores from the Government to assist the software development companies in Bangladesh to continue their operations and hence provide workers’ salaries and office rents from April to September.

Final Words

Software development in Bangladesh plays a very important role and has the potential to take the country’s economy and technological advancement further into establishing the country as a developed country.

It can impact the education, health, and security of the country and thus provide a better life for its citizens. Countries like Sweden, Germany, Japan, the United States, etc have utilized technology and have provided the platform for innovation and research to create billions of more possibilities for the future.

The Government of Bangladesh is also investing and developing infrastructures for such possibilities however, still needs to go a long way to allow software developers to impact the important areas such as education, healthcare, and security, those which need attention the most.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How many software companies are in Bangladesh?

According to the ICT division, there are almost 4500+ software and ICT companies registered in Bangladesh

What is the length of a typical software development project?

This is one of the most common yet important questions which does not have a specific answer. This is because some projects are completed in two to three weeks, while others take years to complete. For an accurate response, an assessment of the project’s complexity and scope of work is required. After which an anticipated time frame is established based on that information.

Is it required to have the technical knowledge to work with a software development company in Bangladesh?

There is no need for this at all.  While working on the project,  the software developers and the project managers explain the technologies involved, the ambiguous times as well as the significance of each stage. All you need is a clear vision of the goals you wish to achieve with the software product in question. As a result, all you have to do is concentrate on your requirements, and the company will assist you in making them a reality.

Does the software development company generally provide product support after the project has ended?

Yes, the companies generally offer technical assistance and support for the software after they have been developed. Companies like Dcastalia have a maintenance service for updates and integrations required after the deployment.

If I have half-built software, can a software development company in Bangladesh build it further and complete the project for me?

Yes, in general, most companies can accommodate that. Here in Dcastalia, Our software engineers are well versed in various technologies and will practically always be able to continue the product started by some other team.