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7 facts you should know about Ukrainian developers

Global media would have you believe that the Ukrainian dream is to learn a profession at home and then practice it overseas. This, in fact, could not be further from the truth.

In reality, the Ukrainian economy, particularly the IT industry, is booming with strong year-on-year wage growth underpinning citizens desire to live and work in a rapidly changing country. The country’s IT industry has proven to be a microcosm of changing attitudes both internally and externally regarding Ukraine’s place in the global commercial marketplace. A combination of world-class talent, world-class facilities, and cost-efficient labor compared to the rest of Europe has enabled Ukraine to take its place as one of the IT capitals of the world. The industry grew an enormous 27% in the past year as large multinationals such as “Boeing” have started to migrate their IT operations to Kyiv in response to the glaringly obvious value proposition that such a move provides.

The clearest and most significant asset of the Ukrainian IT industry is the enormous local talent pool. The country boasts a high level of technical education resulting in an ever-increasing production of qualified software developers and engineers. Recent reports have estimated that there are approximately 172,000 developers in Ukraine, second only to Poland in the CEE region.

The remarkable success of the industry is widely attributed to 7 key determinants:

1. Age of Developers

The Ukrainian IT industry is populated by a youthful, motivated pool of talent. This is evidenced by the average age of a Software Developer – 21-29, while the average Quality Assurance Engineer is 23-29 years old. More broadly, younger talent is upskilling as UI/UX Designers and Front-End Developers, while more experienced talent is taking roles as System Administrators, Project Managers, and Top Managers.

Developers in Ukraine start their professional career younger than their peers in Western Europe and the United States, which has resulted in expedited career progression and upskilling. According to the Developer Survey by Stack Overflow, the average age of a developer in the USA and the UK is 28-29 years old, while the increasing popularity and growth of the IT industry have facilitated a massive influx of youthful tech graduates into the Ukrainian market.

2. Experience

Ukraine boasts some of the most experienced developers per capita in the world. More than 30% of IT specialists have over 10 years’ experience in the industry, while more than 35% of QA Engineers have 3-5 years’ experience. This experience has underpinned the move by many multinationals to outstaffing their IT operations to Ukraine. This year, the number of those who work in IT outstaffing and those employed by IT product companies have almost leveled in Kyiv (36% and 35% respectively), while Dnipro and Odesa have provided similar results. In smaller cities such as Kharkiv and Lviv, the outstaffing market has outgrown the number of in-house IT specialists.

In Kyiv, the ratio of junior and senior software engineers is almost the same (22% and 21%), while other cities have 2-3 junior programmers per 1 senior engineer.

3. Work environment

The work environment and location of the office is understandable of utmost importance for Ukrainian IT service providers. Many Ukrainian IT specialists work more than 40 hours per week and thus are conscious of the space in which they work. Open plan offices with dedicated rest space are increasingly becoming the norm in Kyiv. Larger firms are providing world-class amenities such as cinema, dedicated in-house chefs, and even bars for staff and clients to socialize after hours.

4. Ukrainian IT market will double in size by 2020

As demand continues to increase exponentially, the number of IT specialists in Ukraine is expected to grow 100v,000 to 200,000 by 2020. Automation across many industries has already fueled expectations that IT outstaffing to developing IT markets will become standard practice for larger organizations. This coupled with strong wage-growth, has already proven to be a key labor participation driver in the IT market.

5. Multi-lingual Marketplace

80% of Ukrainian Developers Speak English

There is an incredibly strong English language proficiency in the IT industry whereby most employees have what is considered the upper-intermediate level of English or higher. Furthermore, front-end developers, system administrators, and designers have a bit worse command of English.

6. Job Satisfaction

According to the below recent survey, the three most popular reasons for working in tech are the interest in technologies (78%), high salaries (61%), and professional growth prospects (50%).

For Ukrainian software developers, the most important factors in choosing a job include salary and bonuses (78%), interesting tasks (65%), professional growth prospects (57%), comfortable work conditions (29%), flexible working hours (22%), the possibility to work remotely (13%), office location (8%), and an employer image (4%).

7. Location of IT Specialists

The largest concentration of IT specialists in Ukraine are Kyiv, Kharkov, and Lviv. Approximately 50% of the respondents live in Kyiv, 15% are from Kharkiv, while 12% live in Lviv.


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