Today, more and more entrepreneurs and business owners are looking to Ukraine as a hub for cost-effective and highly-efficient custom software development. While 10 years ago companies outsourced mostly to reduce operating costs and save IT budgets, the key reason why they outsource nowadays is a dramatic lack of internal/onshore tech talents and resources. By hiring software developers and PM personnel in Ukraine, companies focus primarily on getting access to the country’s 185,000+ pool of IT specialists: from front-end and back-end developers to software architects to PMs and tech leads to QA engineers and testers to DevOps and cybersecurity professionals, etc.
Of that pool, the lion’s share of developers speaks decent English and has a very high level of competence (that’s utterly comparable to that in the USA or Israel) and business understanding – skills critical to working with Western clients.
Why Ukraine Is Worth Your Outsourcing Efforts
To date, Ukrainian outsourcing providers’ services are used by more than 100 internationally established companies, including the Fortune 500 ones. The well-known enterprises having own R&D and Offshore Development Centers or Dedicated Teams established in Ukraine include Microsoft, Google, ABBY, Huawei, HP, Samsung, Siemens, Payoneer, MyHeritage, Adobe, and other software houses and tech giants. It’s also interesting to note that 18 IT outsourcing providers from Ukraine have made it to the TOP 100 outsourcing vendors in recent years, according to market monitors like Gartner.
The most common areas covered by Ukrainian custom software dev providers include software development (web, mobile, and enterprise), computer games, telecommunications technologies, and apps for eCommerce and AI.
A snapshot of some facts and figures about Ukraine as a software development outsourcing sweet spot
- As of Q4 2018, IT was the second largest export-generating area for the country. As estimated in 2017, IT exports amounted to $3.6 billion, which is equal to 3.4% of GDP;
- According to HackerRank, Ukraine ranks 11th globally among the top 50 countries with the best software developers;
- Ukraine offers affordable software development costs (you can hire a junior programmer with little experience and a huge zeal to learn and develop professionally for as low as $25 per hour). However, unlike many traditional outsourcing destinations like India or Vietnam, custom software development in Ukraine is not cheap, it’s cost-effective compared to programmer rates in the Western countries;
- Ukraine sits in a convenient time zone (2-3 hours of a direct flight from the major European cities and Israel). As such, it’s a perfect nearshoring destination for European and Middle Eastern countries;
- USA is the most active user of the Ukrainian outsourcing services (it accounts for 45% of all IT exports from Ukraine)
Where to source and hire programmers in Ukraine
Hire an outstaffing provider
Using an outstaffing service provider with experienced tech recruiters proves to be the most effective source of good software developers for your software development teams.
A big advantage of engaging an outstaffing provider is that you’ll be getting screened and vetted candidates from the most up-to-date recruiter databases so you’ll have a higher relevance of skills and competencies supplied which will help you to significantly shorten your time to hire and avoid overheads down the road.
It’s recommended that you shortlist vendors that have extensive experience with projects similar to yours and can have their cases verified by real clients. Don’t be afraid of asking them for client references and doing a background check before entering any contractual obligations. For instance, if you’re looking to outsource a FinTech development project, look for vendors with FinTech experience, check what they’ve done for your competitors and peers, read their client reviews, ask for client references and do talk to existing or past clients to learn more about the company, how it treats clients, handles communication, resolves issues, etc.
There’re independent b2b research agencies like Clutch or ThinkMobiles whose aim is to identify vendors that deliver with high quality, on time and on client’s budget, and connect them to potential clients. Such agencies verify each and every client’s reference/review by conducting a phone or email interview. In fact, they’ve already done most of the client verification work for you, just go to the company’s profile and check. Don’t be afraid of reading anonymous reviews either: they’re valid as long as they’ve been verified by researchers. When it comes to outsourcing, many buyers work under strict NDA and/or don’t want to expose their outsourcing ventures publicly, so it’s a common issue that good and reliable outsourcing vendors have anonymous reviews.
DOU is an online community of IT specialists in Ukraine. It’s one of the most popular places to source programmers as they hang out there regularly. Many Ukrainian developers use DOU to build a personal brand: they publish their articles and musings there, discuss technical and personal issues in forums, review their employers, take part in salary polls and other surveys, and more. Any project or company can post its job openings on DOU and expect some applications to come in. However, it’s a crowded website and, again, the chance is slim you’ll be getting qualified applicants so you may waste your time working with poor quality or non-matching CVs.
Another place where you can source and hire software developers in Ukraine is specialized job websites like Work.ua, Rabota.ua, or Jooble.ua. You can either look for a software developer by resume or post a job offer that people will respond to. Using job sites isn’t free for employers, and the quality of applicants will be pretty low and mediocre (just like in DOU case).
Conferences and hackathons
Ukrainian outsourcing and outstaffing providers collaborate actively with the local universities and R&D centers to get access to bright young talent that can be hired and nurtured internally.
Alternatively, many Ukrainian software development vendors launch their own extracurricular schools and can supply fresh, low-cost talent for your project development. At 8allocate, we run Ukraine’s Top 5 Coding Bootcamp called GoIT that’s graduated over 4,000 specialists in the past 2 years, and that helps keep the Ukrainian talent pool refillable and sustainable.
Using junior resources in bundles with senior guys can help you save money and relieve the latter of the extra burden of working on repetitive and non-business critical tasks.
Large multinational brands hold hackathons in different Ukrainian cities where they can identify the brightest talent and offer them a job right on the spot.
How to attract the best software developers in Ukraine?
Finding the right specialists and getting in touch with them is only half of the battle. Ukrainian developers are pretty picky and selective in what projects to join, so you have to be creative to pitch your custom project to Ukrainian devs.
Programmers don’t want to work with outdated tools and apps and want to join projects that are both challenging and driving them to think outside the box. No surprise that many Ukrainian developers are looking to pursue a career at large global companies where they can have an opportunity to travel, unlimited budgets for professional development, take advantage of strong mentorship and the most innovative technologies and tools available, etc. However, if you’re a no-name startup with a truly meaningful and challenging project, you can have even a better chance to hire top developers and PMs in Ukraine, unlike your home country where big-name brands drain the talent pool by offering higher-paid jobs and projects diversity.
If you’re Google, your name will do the job for you both in Ukraine and the United States. But if you’re an unknown Israeli startup looking to build an AI-based InsurTech product for the global market, you’ll be all set in Ukraine, that’s for sure.
So, first of all, think like a marketer and find a differentiator you can offer as a perk for working on your project development team.
Besides a challenging nature, the following factors will help better pitch your project:
- Explain how it’ll change the way we live or do things;
- Explain how this or that particular job role will contribute to the project success;
- Show an environment where people will work (e.g., an attractive office, city area, etc.);
- Show the current team pictures;
- Offer a budget for ongoing self-development and career advancement;
- Stress on what makes your project stand out;
- Motivate applicants with both the opportunity to make extra money (extrinsic motivation) and business trips, regular team building events, conferences, etc. (intrinsic motivation).
When you engage a professional outstaffing or outsourcing provider in Ukraine, the job of pitching your project to developers will be done by their recruitment consultants, which is another benefit for you, as you can focus on your core competencies.