In Software Development By Leigh Halliday December 22, 2014 Leigh Halliday

Medellín, Colombia: Latin America's Emerging Tech Hub

About Medellín

I've visited Medellín on numerous occasions and I have lived there for a period of 3 months (with the woman who is now my wife!) It's a fantastic place to live, and for those thinking of visiting Colombia for the first time, make sure not to pass Medellín by. One of the first things you'll notice about Medellín is its beauty, located in the Aburrá valley surrounded by large mountains. The next thing you'll notice are the people that live there; friendly, young, and vibrant.

Medellín is one of the most modern cities in Latin America. You'll realize this simply by viewing its transportation system, which although not too difficult to do, puts Toronto's subway system to shame. Medellín also happened to win the most innovative city of the year in 2012... not bad!

Meetups

There are a few Meetup groups in Medellín which have a fair amount of attendees. The largest one is the Javascript group called MedellínJS, which boasts over 1000 members. In comparison, there is a JS group in Toronto, where I am based, which has about 850 members. Other healthy groups include the Ruby group called Medellín.rb, one for Scala called ScalaMDE and lastly Medellín PHP which has about 350 members.

Mauricio Serna, a student at Politécnico Colombiano JIC recently attended both the Ruby and the Javascript groups. He had this to say about them:

Fue muy bacano, conocí mucha gente, me gusta ir a todas esas reuniones, fue muy chevere. Y también hicieron una exposición de un robot que se programa con Node.js ese fue genial.

Which translates to:

It was awesome. I met a lot of people, I really like to go to these meetups, it was great. And they also did a presentation about a robot that is programmed with Node.js, which was cool.

Mauricio also mentioned that in the Ruby group they did a programming exercise using one of the problem sets from exercism.io, where you perform DNA to RNA transcription as a way to practice their skills.

Tech is Growing

As an article by TechCrunch pointed out, the tech industry is extremely promising in Colombia. The two major tech cities in Colombia also happen to be their largest ones, Bogotá and Medellín.

Tech in Medellín is enhanced by RutaN complex, a publicly run incentive meant to promote innovation in both business and technology. At present time there are around 30 companies with over 800 employees working in this hub.

There is also ParqueE (in Spanish), a program started in partnership between the municipal government of Medellin and Universidad de Antioquia. It focuses on helping entrepreneurs and has a large focus on technology.

In Medellín you will also find a Software Greenhouse (in Spanish) which helps train youth in programming by offering free classes.

Medellín's growth in tech can also be seen by the company Yuxi Pacific, based in the US but started by a Colombian, has just recently opened up a large office in Medellín, which plans to be the base for about 200 people, largely in software development.