Should You Hire Remote Ukrainian Software Developers? [Advantages & Disadvantages]
Remote development is booming in the IT industry. There are valid reasons for managers to consider Ukraine when they need to hire remote software developers. Why is Ukraine special?
Anyone who has tried hiring remote software developers knows that this market is a mixed bag.
But as if finding developers weren’t hard enough, now you have hundreds of thousands candidates from around the world to sort through.
If you don’t want to scour the whole internet in search of the perfect remote developer, perhaps it’ll help to be more strategic in your search.
Just like in marketing, targeting a specific region or group of people might help you find the right people, faster.
In this article, our target is Ukraine.
Is it a good market to hire remote software developers?
But first – when is hiring remote software developers a good idea?
Before we take on Ukraine, first I want to discuss benefits and disadvantages of hiring remote software developers from a wider point of view – regardless of where you hire them from.
- When is it a good idea for managers to consider hiring remote software developers?
- If there are no local developers with the necessary skills
- If the company doesn’t have the budget to relocate and hire full-time developers
- If the project is experimental, success is unsure, or it’s only an MVP to test the market
- When cost-efficiency is crucial to the project
Technology has given employers easy access to global talent pools. It has become commonplace for industry leaders to take advantage of this access.
But despite the booming popularity, hiring remote developers isn’t a silver bullet solution for all the business woes that IT managers face in their projects.
Remote work has a unique set of challenges:
- Communication can be tricky
- Project management requires a different process and approach than for in-house teams
- Remote work has to be correctly accounted for in the company’s books, and sometimes international and local laws aren’t 100% clear on how to settle intellectual property, or payment issues
There is a lot to consider. Technology has made it very easy, the most important part of it being that projects can be built from A-to-Z using cloud infrastructures and safe remote access.
There is also an abundance of easy-to-use project management software out there (Trello, Slack, Monday, Zenkit, and the list goes on and on).
But applications can’t replace strategic managerial thinking, it’s something that only people can do (at least for now).
So if you’re able to work out the above challenges, and you’re not afraid to put down the phone and manage projects through email, skype, slack, or whichever digital communication platform you choose, then hiring remote workers has ample benefits:
- Development and HR cost reduction
- Less time spent at in-house meetings
- Increased team efficiency
- Measurable worker output
- Flexibility in increasing / reducing team size
Every manager has to consider the unique context of their business, and decide for themselves whether hiring remote software developers is the right decision.
To give an example of a situation where it’s almost impossible to rely on remote developers, think of FinTech startups working in close cooperation with banks, or RegTech startups working with governmental organizations.
Both these situations include dealing with confidential data that requires the highest level of security. In these projects, there is no place for mistakes, nor communication problems.
On the other hand, managers that oversee such projects usually have significant financial backing, which means a big enough budget to simply relocate developers for them to work in-house.
But outside of FinTech and RegTech, it would be hard to find examples of situations where remote work is not recommended.
As for the projects that do require remote developers, and managers that made up their mind about hiring remotely, it might be a good idea to consider Ukraine first.
What’s so special about the Ukrainian software development market?
Short answer – there’s plenty!
Long answer – we can start with the level of technical education in Ukraine.
Solid technical education is the power core of the software developer market in Ukraine.
According to a recent report, the Ukrainian university system generates over 150,000 graduates every year, and 36,000 of them finish with engineering degrees. 15,000 of them are IT engineers.
Despite the educational infrastructure and teaching systems being outdated and under budget in comparison to the most developed western countries, the education here instills graduates with deep technical knowledge, as well as the ability to work in conditions of high pressure and limited resources.
With the IT industry booming, business leaders, along with various NGOs, are doing what they can to improve the conditions for young people wanting to learn software development, and give them more opportunities to have fruitful careers after finishing college and / or bootcamp courses.
For instance, the BrainBasket Foundation has a goal to educate 100,000 more software engineers by the year 2020, and make IT expertise the leading export of Ukraine.
And they’re not far from the second target, because IT services are already the 3rd biggest export in the country.
Educational IT hubs are growing across the country, and becoming a crucial resource for young people studying in college to become software developers, as well as Ukrainians of any age who want to switch careers and start programming for a living.
While new developers are educating themselves, the existing market of IT professionals in Ukraine is huge.
There are more than 90,000 developers in Ukraine, which makes this country a leader among central- and eastern-european countries.
Overall, the business environment in Ukraine has been improving over the last years.
Taxes have been relatively low, especially in the IT industry, which is one of many reasons why the country is attracting more and more international companies.
New reforms are being prepared that will improve the economy by making positive changes to the laws regulating business – such as Intellectual Property protection.
Because the global market is showing such big demand for Ukrainian IT services, the Ukrainian R&D and IT service industries are going through a period of rapid growth to keep up with that demand.
There are over 1,000 companies in this market, and more than 100 R&D centers operated by leading global enterprises. Local IT companies use agile development methodologies, and stay on the bleeding edge of technology.
Some sources say that Ukraine’s IT industry has exported $2,500,000,000 worth of services and products in 2015, and it’s showing double-digit growth over the years. Around 80% of this value is said to be exported to the US market.
So much for the education and business environment, let’s talk about the most important factor – the people.
What’s special about remote developers from Ukraine?
Ukrainian software developers are up there among the most experienced, hard-working specialists in the world.
They don’t just work hard – they work smart, and are known to be very creative when faced with tight deadlines and hard-to-solve computational problems.
The most shining example of a creative software engineer from Ukraine is Jan Koum. Born in the Ukraine in 1976, his family moved to the US in 1992.
He went on to establish WhatsApp in 2009, and sell it to Facebook for $19,000,000,000 in 2014.
Obviously, one person’s success doesn’t speak for an entire nation, especially since he probably isn’t living, nor working in the Ukraine today.
But this man serves as a great example of the people that you can expect to meet when hiring remote developers from this country.
There is a big incentive for Ukrainian developers to quickly learn new skills and gain valuable business and engineering experience.
That incentive is the fact that wages of junior developers are much lower than senior-level specialists.
Due to this situation, the average age of senior software developers in Ukraine is around 27-29 years old, while in western companies developers take much longer to achieve senior status.
Work ethic is extremely important in this part of the world, and developers are great at strategic planning down to every detail, and they expect clear, well-defined project requirements in return.
This means that when you’re working with remote software developers from the Ukraine, you need to be as organised as possible to enable them to do their best work, and avoid being a managerial bottleneck in the project.
Responsibility is another important value for Ukrainian developers.
They commit to delivering functional, reliable, and useful code, and they won’t wait to voice their expert opinion whenever they see mistakes, as well as offer actionable advice to solve them. This makes quality assurance much easier.
One of the main doubts that managers may have before hiring in the Ukraine is the language barrier.
However, according to polls, 70% of Ukrainian programmers are semi- or fully-proficient in English, so the language barrier is not a problem.
Then there’s the cost-efficiency of remote software developers from Ukraine.
Ukrainian developers work at very competitive rates compared to European, US, or Canadian IT specialists.
It varies across different technologies and specialties, but on average, if a US developer will work for $100 / hour, you can find a great Ukrainian developer who will solve the same problems for $40 / hour.
This concludes our list of the key benefits of hiring Ukrainian software developers – but it definitely doesn’t exhaust the overall list of their advantages.
There are a few certain situations in which hiring remote software developers is not recommended, like for RegTech or FinTech projects which require close cooperation with banks or government organizations, and handling extremely sensitive data.
In all other situations where remote work is applicable and advisable, it may be worth for managers to look to Ukraine to hire remote software developers for their projects.
The combination of growing IT industry, improving geopolitical conditions, and unique characteristics of Ukrainian professionals, makes Ukraine the go-to destination to find and hire reliable remote developers.
- Ukraine Digital News and AVentures, IT Ukraine: IT services and software R&D in Europe’s rising tech nation, February 2016 – http://www.uadn.net/files/ukraine_it.pdf?ref=producthunt