Latvia is a northeastern European country, bordered by Estonia to the north, Lithuania to the south, Russia and Belarus to the east, and shares a maritime border with Sweden. Latvia is famous for its beautiful nature, forests and rich history, but nowadays it has also become very well known for its IT industry. The information technology and software development sectors are rapidly growing in Latvia.
Latvia will celebrate its centenary on November 18, 2018. In this article we describe some of the IT accomplishments Latvia has achieved in these last 100 years.
1. IT education and top-ranked universities
Latvia’s IT sector began to develop in the 1950s and 1960s, when the Institute of Mathematics and Computer Science and the Institute of Electronics and Computer Science were established. IT education played a significant role in creating new job opportunities and improving quality of life. According to 2018 statistics, two Latvian universities are among the top-ranked international universities, and both offer an IT education.
High level IT education in Latvia
2. Free internet connection
In 1992 the first internet connection was built in Latvia, and over the following few years the number of internet and computer users increased rapidly. Nowadays, you can find free Wi-Fi not only in the city center of Riga but almost anywhere in the country.
Over 800 free WiFi connection points in Riga
3. Fast internet speed
As mentioned before, Latvia connected to the internet in 1992, and since 2005 Latvia’s connection speed has been among the fastest in the world, averaging 16.7 MB/s.
Browsing is rapid in Latvia
4. European Union membership
Latvia entered the European Union in 2004 and since that day has enjoyed the benefits of being part of the Eurozone. This also means that your IT-related start-up projects can be funded by Latvian investors as well as by European ones.
European Union membership
5. Data transmission infrastructure
In 2012 the first fiber-optic infrastructure in Latvia was launched, the so called Baltic Highway, which offers transmission of data from Lithuania to Russia and Finland and transfers a large amount of data to the largest transfer centers in the West and East.
6. Cooperation with other countries
The Latvian IT sector not only offers services to the Latvian market but also cooperates with companies from Europe, Asia and the United States. The foreign trade rate for information and communications technology services reached EUR 251 million, and among the country’s main partners are the United States, Sweden, Norway, Malta and Ireland.
Business cooperation with other countries
7. Outsourcing software development in Latvia
Latvia’s IT sector encompasses three types of businesses: IT services for local customers, off-site IT departments and outsourcing companies that provide a full array of software services for clients all over the world. Nowadays, many Northern and Western European countries choose Latvia to outsource software development for three main reasons: experienced developers, cheaper software services and developers’ high-level language skills.
Outsourcing software development in Latvia
From 2017 to 2021 Latvia will celebrate its independence. It is the perfect time to visit Latvia both to enjoy its vibrant IT life and attend festive cultural events devoted to Latvia’s centenary.