How to hire Software Developers in Ukraine in 2023 and why it is still beneficial
Over the past decade, Ukraine has established itself as a top destination for hiring highly skilled software developers in the IT industry. Its exceptional combination of technical proficiency, innovative thinking among its programmers, adherence to European business culture, and cost-effective services make Ukraine a sought-after choice among offshore developers.
However, the unfortunate events of 2022 have had a detrimental effect on Ukrainian society and its IT industry. The war has posed significant risks to business, and both Ukrainian IT service providers and their foreign clients are aware of this. Despite this challenging scenario, Ukrainian developers have remained steadfast in their commitment to delivering quality services to their clients and maintaining their spirit of innovation and professional growth.
This article aims to provide an analysis of the current state of the IT sector in Ukraine and its resilience in the face of adversities posed by the ongoing conflict.
State of the Ukrainian IT industry 2022
The year 2022 was a period of great turmoil for Ukrainian society. Full-scale war and attacks on critical infrastructure disrupted the daily rhythm of life and work for millions of people. Despite these challenges, the IT industry, as a highly developed and advanced sector of the Ukrainian economy, displayed its innate ability to effectively self-organize and find crucial solutions.
Unlike other sectors of the economy, the IT industry proved to be the most resilient to change and, after overcoming the initial period of uncertainty during the war, even showed growth by the end of the year. This was largely due to the efforts of the Ukrainian IT community to retain its top engineering talent and maintain partnerships with clients. Overall, the IT industry in Ukraine is striving to make hiring Ukrainian developers an attractive and profitable option for foreign clients, despite the challenging circumstances.
What happened in Ukraine on February 2022
In February 2022, the war between Ukraine and Russia escalated, leading to a widespread impact on the entire territory of the Ukrainian state and its citizens. The IT community was faced with three pressing challenges:
- to support the country’s defense,
- to fulfill its obligations to clients and minimize risks,
- and to ensure the safety and well-being of employees.
The majority of Ukrainian IT companies demonstrated a mature civic stance by providing material and technical support to the country’s military efforts and informational resistance. Many specialists also served as soldiers and volunteers on the frontlines. Despite the challenges, the IT industry emerged as one of the few stable sources of revenue for the state.
The developers made significant efforts to ensure the continuity of work on client projects, supporting their employees to move to safer regions of Ukraine and providing necessary resources for their work. Approximately 20% of people employed in the Ukrainian IT industry have left the country since the outbreak of hostilities, although 60% prefer to stay and work in Ukraine. IT companies and HR departments are working hard to support their teams and regularly inquire about the needs and well-being of their employees.
The confusion in the early months of the war required adjustments to the plans of most outstaffing agencies and remote workers from Ukraine, but the responsible attitude of developers and understanding of clients allowed for minimal economic damage to clients’ interests and the establishment of work in new conditions. Effective communication with clients and regular updates on current affairs and project progress were key factors in mitigating the impact.
How the ukrainian IT community lives now
The Ukrainian IT industry has continued to operate despite the challenges posed by the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia. Nearly half of IT specialists reported changes in their operating conditions, with one-third changing their workplace, some being transferred to different projects, and about 10% losing their job and searching for new employment opportunities. Many employees have adapted to remote work due to relocation or security concerns, while others have been reassigned to part-time positions.
Three-quarters of Ukrainian companies reported that they have maintained their current projects, and have successfully adjusted their plans to accommodate clients’ needs during these emergency conditions. However, about 10% of companies have experienced a decline in income of nearly half compared to pre-war levels. Despite this, the vast majority of IT companies in Ukraine are actively hiring software developers, creating new job opportunities, and contributing to the state budget through increased tax payments.
According to the National Bank of Ukraine, the IT services provided by Ukrainian software developers to foreign partners generated nearly $4 billion for the country’s economy in the first half of 2022, which is over 20% more than the previous year. The IT community has also made significant contributions to supporting the army and civilians in war-torn regions. These figures highlight the vital role that the IT industry has played in Ukraine during this difficult time and its determination to continue to grow and expand in the international IT market.
Overall, the IT industry in Ukraine has emerged from the initial crisis of the war with minimal losses and has only strengthened its reputation as a reliable partner for software development. The professional ambitions of the Academy Smart agency remain unchanged, and its portfolio of successful projects delivered to clients can be viewed below.
Main risks when hiring developers in Ukraine in 2023
As a company located in Kharkiv, we understand the concerns clients may have when considering hiring Ukrainian software developers. However, our experience in navigating the challenges of the current situation has equipped us with the expertise to effectively address these concerns and provide a solution for ensuring the stability and reliability of our software development services. Let us dispel any doubts about the integrity of hiring Ukrainian software developers.
Impact of the war factor
Challenge: The current military operations in Ukraine have not only put the safety and well-being of developers at risk, but also the national energy and telecommunications infrastructure. The instability in power supply and internet access can cause project disruptions and increase costs for clients.
Solution: Despite these difficulties, developers you may find in Ukraine have adapted by utilizing a flexible work schedule, specialized technical tools, and a strong motivation to meet their obligations promptly, even during power outages. In response to the extreme conditions, companies have implemented flexible work arrangements and provided employees with access to coworking spaces in other cities for temporary migration. Developers working from home have been provided with laptops and mobile chargers to ensure continuous work even during power outages, and have had access to the internet through Starlink terminals supplied by Elon Musk to Ukraine. Company management has also placed a strong emphasis on ensuring the psychological well-being of its employees and providing timely support to those in need.
These approaches can ensure that projects are completed effectively, even in challenging conditions.
Changes in team staff
Challenge: The ongoing uncertainties, internal migration, army recruitment efforts, and other factors affecting personnel movement can result in a weakened development team, reduced availability of skilled programmers, and lower software product quality.
Solution: Despite these challenges, finding new talent and hiring developers in Ukraine remains feasible, particularly at Academy Smart. The company places a high priority on maintaining its workforce’s performance and professionalism, and building strong team unity. The employee turnover is a regular practice in any dynamically developing company. Yes, after the start of the war, about a dozen employees left Academy Smart, but since then, our ranks have been filled with two dozen new talented IT specialists.
During difficult times, people tend to come together more easily to achieve common goals and are willing to support each other, as evidenced by our own experiences.
Poor workflow organization
Challenge: Coordinating and synchronizing effective collaboration between individuals located in different cities and countries can be challenging, particularly when it comes to maintaining the quality of process management.
Solution: The Ukrainian IT industry has already demonstrated its ability to effectively manage remote work for employees during the Covid-19 pandemic and its associated quarantine restrictions.
The majority of outstaff developers have prior experience in organizing successful remote collaboration with international teams, making it possible to establish remote collaboration within their team as needed. At Academy Smart, we have a long history of serving clients from Europe and the United States. In fact, 99% of our clients are based in these regions and we have always collaborated with them remotely by default. With the addition of experienced project management, efficient work and consistent outcomes can be quickly established.
Risks & solutions summary
5 reasons to hire ukrainian Software developers
Despite the current challenges, Ukraine remains a profitable location to hire a development team for your software product. As previously discussed, the country has maintained its strong intellectual and creative potential. Ukrainian programmers are eager to tackle new challenges and actively participate in global customer projects. This makes Ukraine a premier location for finding top offshore developers for the USA and Europe.
1. A wide pool of IT talents with high expertise
According to the latest 360 Tech Ecosystem Overview data, at the beginning of 2023, there were 1816 product companies and 558 service companies in the field of software development and information system maintenance in Ukraine. The majority of IT companies are located in major cities including Kyiv, Lviv, Kharkiv, Odessa, and Dnipro, and the IT industry employs approximately 285,000 people. Finding suitable specialists can be achieved through Ukrainian recruiting agencies or by directly contacting an outstaffing company. The strengths of each approach are discussed in the article “IT Outstaffing Company vs IT Recruitment Agency.”
Ukrainian developers have contributed to numerous globally recognized software products such as Grammarly, GitLab, Depositphotos, Readdle, AirSlate, Reface, TripMyDream, People.ai, and others. This is only a partial list of the applications, games, and services created by Ukrainians that can be found globally.
The high professionalism of Ukrainian IT specialists is primarily due to the well-established higher education system, which includes over 150 educational institutions in the country. The most prominent technological universities are located in Kyiv, Lviv, and Kharkiv. Each year, Ukrainian universities graduate up to 20,000 professional programmers at the bachelor’s level, many of whom gain real-world experience while still in school.
It is also important to highlight the active social life of the IT community in Ukraine, as evidenced by the numerous professional conferences held in the country. The most prominent events include IT Arena, Kyiv Outsourcing Forum, iForum, and others, where top IT experts share their experiences, discuss innovations, and often secure favorable contracts.
Finally, it is worth mentioning the support provided by the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers and the European Union for Ukrainian technological startups, which started in June 2022. This support helps to further develop the IT industry in Ukraine despite challenging circumstances.
2. The optimum ratio of price and quality
The cost-effectiveness of software development in Ukraine is a significant advantage. Compared to other popular Eastern European destinations such as Poland, Romania, and Hungary, the cost of services offered by Ukrainian development teams is lower.
At Academy Smart, an hour of work for a senior programmer with over three years of experience typically ranges from $30 to $60 per hour. On the other hand, the average cost of a similar specialist from Western Europe is $50 to $100 per hour and in the U.S. it can be as high as $100 to $150 or more. Despite the lower cost, the quality of work and delivery times remain at a comparable level.
3. Cultural proximity and convenience of the time zone
The Ukrainian development community values and adheres to principles that align with those in Europe and the rest of the world. These include:
- a customer-centric approach,
- a proactive and responsible work ethic,
- a focus on results,
- a flexible and creative approach to project management,
- and a commitment to deadlines.
Additionally, most Ukrainian developers you can hire now have a good command of English, making communication with foreign clients seamless and efficient. The time zone difference between Ukraine and Europe/U.S. also offers an advantage, with Ukrainian developers being 1-2 hours ahead of Europe and 6+ hours ahead of the U.S., allowing for seamless project collaboration and quick responses to customer inquiries.
4. Variety of technologies
Ukraine excels in a variety of tech fields, including:
- Martech & Media;
- Business software development;
- Healthtech & Wellness;
- IoT & hardware programming;
- Consumer products;
- Game development;
- E-commerce & Retail.
Typically, small teams specialize in narrow technology niches, while medium and large groups provide comprehensive full-stack custom software development across multiple industries.
5. Сompliance with world information security standards
Our experts understand the importance of maintaining digital security for software and protecting customer and client personal data. Leading Ukrainian outsourcing companies, including ours, follow the top international standards for service quality and security, ensuring confidentiality of customer information and safeguarding business secrets. Furthermore, all information technology solutions are developed in accordance with industry-specific international security standards, such as ISO certification, PCI (for fintech), HIPAA (for healthtech), SCORM (for edtech), and others.
Main reasons of hiring devs in Ukraine
The cost of hiring Developers in Ukraine
In Ukraine, software development services are offered through various cooperation and payment models. As a result, the total cost of software development by freelancers, outstaffing, and outsourcing companies can vary. Nevertheless, the average cost of services provided by Ukrainian specialists is competitively priced and offers high-quality work. Average cost of hiring developers in Ukraine at the beginning of 2023 are as follows:
- Junior – 25-30 € per hour;
- Middle – 35-45 € per hour;
- Senior – 45-60 € per hour.
How to hire Software Developers in Ukraine
If you have decided to engage Ukrainian developers for your project, it is important to ensure a systematic, efficient, and cost-effective process of finding and hiring a suitable team. To assist you with this task, we have provided some useful tips below. For a more comprehensive understanding of the process of hiring offshore development teams, we suggest you refer to our blog article “How to Hire an Offshore Development Team.”
Step 1. Determine with your goals and budget
To ensure a productive conversation with Ukrainian developers and make the most of your software development project, it is important to clearly define your goals and objectives beforehand. This includes understanding:
- Your business challenges and desired outcomes;
- The market niche of your software product;
- Your target audience and the devices they use;
- The scope, key features, and value proposition of your product;
- Your preferred technology stack;
- The estimated timeline for development work;
- Your available budget.
Having a clear understanding of these factors will help you effectively communicate with the development team and assess their proposals in an informed manner.
Step 2. Explore the service provider market to find suitable
In order to effectively collaborate with Ukrainian developers, it is important to determine the desired form of cooperation. If your project requires specialized skills for specific tasks, working with freelance or outstaffing services may be the most appropriate option. On the other hand, if you are seeking to commission the creation of an entire project, outsourcing companies that offer dedicated development teams may be the best fit. It is recommended to research the market and identify reputable platforms to find developers in Ukraine, while also reviewing client feedback to make an informed decision. Create a list of ten potential companies to initiate discussions and outline collaboration details.
Step 3. Share your business needs and analyze the providers’ response
Contact the developers on your list through a convenient method and provide them with an overview of your project requirements. Carefully review each company’s response, paying close attention to their counter-proposals and objections. Professional development teams often identify potential weak points in a project during the planning phase and offer solutions to address them. This proactive approach is beneficial as it can save valuable resources, both in terms of developer time and budget. If there are no questions or concerns raised about your project, it may be a warning sign, and it is advisable to reconsider working with such developers.
Ensure to obtain a preliminary cost estimate, the required workforce, and a rough timeline, to facilitate agreement on expenses among all parties involved. This will promote transparency and eliminate the risk of hidden or additional charges.
Step 4. Discuss the legal aspect and cooperation details
Consider the legal aspect of your partnership when you hire software developers in Ukraine. Typically, companies providing such services follow international standards for quality and protection of confidential information. Key legal documents that will be used to formalize the partnership include:
- Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) to protect confidential customer and project data;
- Software Requirements Specification (SRS) outlining functional and non-functional product features and development stages;
- Statement of Work (SOW) detailing the specifics of work, standards, schedules, delivery criteria, payment methods, and more.
Additionally, the selection criteria for developers, communication frequency, license costs, and other important details can also be specified.
Step 5. Hire software developers in Ukraine
Upon selecting a service provider, it is recommended to enter into a contractual agreement. Subsequently, familiarize yourself with the project manager and dedicated development team during the initial briefing, depending on the agreed collaboration model. Alternatively, you may interview potential outstaffer candidates offered by the agency and make the necessary hires.
Five simple steps to hire a software development team from Ukraine
Why hire ukrainian Software developers with Academy SMART
Academy Smart has been providing custom software development services for over 13 years, delivering on-premise and web-based enterprise applications to clients worldwide. Our team of more than 130 specialists covers a range of programming areas, offering a wealth of experience to meet your software needs.
At Academy Smart, our programmers are equipped to transform your ideas into a successful product in an efficient and cost-effective manner. We invite you to engage in a conversation to discuss the challenges of your business and explore how our team can assist.
Visit the Our Projects page to learn more about products we delivered
Hire ukrainian Software Developers: Frequently Asked Questions
What is the situation in the Ukrainian IT outstaffing market right now?
As of present, the Ukrainian outstaffing services market has recovered from the crisis caused by the conflict in February 2022 and is currently experiencing steady growth.
How long it takes to hire Software Developers in Ukraine?
When engaging a professional outstaffing agency, the recruitment process for programmers in high-demand specialties typically takes up to two weeks. However, finding an expert in a rare niche IT field may require additional time to locate a candidate with the required skill set.
How the tech community can help Ukraine?
Hiring Ukrainian IT professionals is a highly beneficial approach for both the tech community and Ukraine. This not only ensures the provision of top-notch features for your projects, but also provides a stable source of income for the country.