Why and How to Hire Ukrainian Developers by@aleksandraboguslavskaya

Why and How to Hire Ukrainian Developers

Ukrainian IT is the third largest export industry, which makes this sector vital for economic stability. Ukraine became one of the world's largest centers of IT professionals working remotely for global companies. Despite the fact that IT remains almost the only industry working for export, the labor market in this area has shrunk, especially for non-technical specializations. Ukrainian IT sector can boast for impressive ratings: the first place in Eastern Europe in terms of the number of outsourced developers according to the Global Sourcing Association.
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Aleksandra Boguslavskaya HackerNoon profile picture

Aleksandra Boguslavskaya

CEO & founder Data Science UA

"War in Ukraine" is our reality and a red flag for investors. Is the war really an obstacle to the timely performance of quality work, what is the reality of the modern IT market and why is it important to work with Ukraine now? - We will tell you about this from our own experience.


The history of Data Science UA began in 2016, when we organized the first conference on Artificial Intelligence in Kyiv. From the very idea to its implementation, it has taken us several months of hard work and some deep faith that it would be a top project. Shortly afterwards, IT recruitment, corporate data science training, data science consulting, IT outsourcing and IT outstaffing were added to our areas of work. Each direction appeared as a response to market needs.


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A few months before the full-scale invasion, we felt the tension, because Russia had driven hundreds of thousands of its troops and military equipment to our border. Like everyone else, we pushed the worst thoughts to the last.


Before the Russian invasion, Ukraine became one of the world's largest centers of IT professionals working remotely for global companies. Such global IT companies as Samsung, SQUAD, DataRobot, Grammarly, Snap opened offices, developed their business in Ukraine and hired Ukrainian programmers due to high level of IT service provision, good command of the English language and  the convenient time zone. The Ukrainian IT sector can boast for impressive ratings: the first place in Eastern Europe in terms of the number of outsourced developers according to the Global Sourcing Association, the first place in Europe in terms of the number of graduates of higher technical schools, the fifth place in the world in terms of the overall quality of software developers.

Since the beginning of the Russian Federation's war against Ukraine, all sectors of the Ukrainian economy have felt the negative consequences. IT was not an exception. Ukrainian IT is the third largest export industry, which makes this sector vital for economic stability. Despite the fact that IT remains almost the only industry working for export, the labor market in this area has significantly shrunk, especially for non-technical specializations.


By mid-March, the market froze. Most companies have stopped hiring, but we have started actively looking for clients on the international market. Unfortunately, companies that had a sales market in Ukraine began to lay off not only technical specialists, but also developers. We threw all our forces into supporting engineers who found themselves without work and began to look for interesting projects for them on the international market, and later new companies that did not work with us before the war began to approach us.


We have noticed that the number of vacancies per engineer has significantly decreased. According to statistics, the number of candidates has increased, while the number of vacancies has dropped. This statistic does not affect rare specializations that have always been relevant: Data Science, MLOPs, ML with specific skills, SW engineer (Go, Python). One of the largest IT job search resources in Ukraine — djinni — currently has 50,376 candidates. Number of vacancies: 15,160.


In April 2022, DOU - the largest IT portal in Ukraine - published 2,265 offers for developers against 4,283 offers in January of the same year (a drop of 47%). The biggest drop in March-April 2022, according to DOU analytics, was recorded among vacancies for HR specialists (in March it was 76%, and in April - 71% from the number of January 2022), DBA specialists (-84% in March, −68% in April versus January), Project Managers (-69% in March and −61% in April), as well as analysts (-68% in March and −64% in April).


The smallest declines were among vacancies for developers (-46% in March and -47% in April), DevOps (-50%) and design professionals (-52% in March and -48% in April). In April, the number of vacancies for C-level specialists / Architects returned to pre-war levels: 58 vacancies for them appeared, with an average of 56 vacancies per month in 2021.


The median salaries of developers in vacancies have not changed much, this applies to both Senior, Middle and Junior level specialists. Median salaries for developer jobs are $2,500-$4,500 in April versus $2,500-$4,000 in January 2022. Also, there is still no difference in the salary ranges of vacancies involving work in Ukraine, abroad or remotely.


Regarding the relocation of IT specialists, a large survey among the DOU community showed that 61% left their homes and moved to safer regions due to the start of the war. Almost half of IT specialists (46%) moved to a safer place in Ukraine, another 14% went abroad. Among other countries where developers left after the war, Poland is in the lead (35% of those who left abroad came here). The next most popular country is Germany (10%).


Providing jobs in a "burning country" with destroyed infrastructure may seem like a risky decision, but there are good reasons to think about cooperation with Ukraine.

The IT industry has grown by 36% since 2021. Uninterrupted power supply, uninterrupted Internet, and relocation of technical workers to safe regions ensure timely and high-quality provision of services even during martial law. All of our engineers are currently located in the west of Ukraine - this is a safe region of the country where there are no hostilities - and in the capital - in Kyiv. There are no problems with the network, Internet and electricity. Many embassies have already returned to Kyiv, many world-class companies (Starlink, Meta, Palantir) fearlessly enter Ukraine and plan to open their offices in Kyiv.


Many companies have drawn up a Business Continuity Plan in case of unforeseen situations since the Russian invasion and annexation of Crimea in 2014. For example, using Internet services from several providers, installing backup generators in offices, providing employees with laptops with longer battery life, moving IT infrastructure to the cloud or to backups located in Poland or Latvia.


During the war, our team not only closed dozens of Senior and C-level vacancies and continued to actively recruit for companies based in Europe or America, but also expanded our team of recruiters. We also have new clients, for whom we opened RnD centers in Ukraine and work on outsource and outstaff models with them.


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By working with Ukrainians, you bring us closer to victory. And in addition to humanitarian and military aid, cooperation with the world is important for our state. The performance of our engineers is now 100 out of 100. Some employers may have doubts about the efficiency of our engineers during the war, but from personal experience and feedback from large companies that work with Ukraine, a clear picture can be formed that Ukrainians are hardworking people who are dedicated to their work. Due to martial law and, accordingly, a reduction in the amount of entertainment and daily routine pre-war activities, employees are 100 percent engaged in work and focused on results. Engineers are additionally motivated to work at their maximum and all focus is on working and strengthening the economy, as well as providing for their families, paying taxes, financially supporting our military and bringing us closer to the inevitable victory.


We hold the cyber front of our state and want to call on the world not to be afraid to cooperate with us, we will definitely not let you down. Be brave like Ukraine!


While technological giants are leaving Russia and entire corporations are closing their offices and leaving the Russian market, Ukraine is developing and cementing the title of a strong and progressive state with a bright future despite enemy shelling.


Cooperation with Ukraine today is a choice in the direction of a free, democratic and peaceful world. This is what we are fighting for now, protecting Europe from the imperial madness of our neighbor. We are fighting on all fronts and we call for help because we are stronger together.

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