The Hitchhiker's Guide to Hiring a Development Team in Ukraine: Part 1

Part 1 What should I know before hiring a software development company from Ukraine?

Preface

Dear HitchHiker this is the first part of our Hitchhiker's Guide; here you will find answers to the following question

- What should I know before hiring a software development company from Ukraine? 

 

- How to not get lost in Ukrainian Outsourcing scene?

The primary purpose of this guide is to help entrepreneurs, startuppers, and other Galactic wanderers who struggle with finding a software development team make a decision and help them navigate in the saturated Ukrainian IT outsourcing environment. Another purpose of this guide is to help anyone who for whatever reason is interested in the Ukrainian IT sphere understand it better and make this process as enjoyable as possible. 

Ukraine represents one of the densest outsourcing markets in Europe, and here, you will find the appropriately dense guide to this market, which also, will provide you with some ideas regarding hiring that special team you require. 

This guide is based on relevant researches, surveys, articles, KindGeek’s own insights, and Douglas Adams’s “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” for an inspiration because nobody benefits from excessive formality (except Vogons, who are “one of the most unpleasant races in the Galaxy - not actually evil, but bad-tempered, bureaucratic, officious, and callous.”).

So, don’t panic and don’t forget your towels as we begin our journey during which we will acquaint ourselves with: 

- General Picture of Ukrainian IT Outsourcing Market

- Historical Background to Ukrainian Software Industry

- Geography of Ukrainian IT sphere

- A Picture of an Average Ukrainian Software Developer

- Ukraine Outsourcing Market on a Global Arena

- Software Products Created in Ukraine

- Things to Remember Hiring Ukrainian Software Development Company

General Picture of Ukrainian IT Outsourcing Market

”Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun”, and a pale blue dot orbiting this sun contains a young and not often recognized country - which lies at the Eastern borderline of the local continent called Europe - Ukraine. 

Here we need to establish that Earthlings like to outsource stuff because it is convenient, inexpensive, and leaves a lot of free time to do other work. And Ukraine is the focus of our guide because the developing and young country managed to become a demanded IT hub and outsourcing destination within a span of just two decades. This fact was acknowledged by Gartner in 2014, by GSA UK awards and A.T. Kearney Research in 2017, as well as in PWC report and Statista research to mention just a few.

Ukrainian software development industry boomed because the lucky concatenation of circumstances provided a convenient, to say the least, environment for harvesting the most suitable for the purpose requirements at the most appropriate time. What are these circumstances you ask?

Blossoming IT sector of Ukraine is the extraordinary consequence of this cocktail from quite ordinary, when separated, ingredients. 

You can read more about these and other factors more in the following articles

- Why Ukrainian Software Outsourcing Flourishes

- Why Invest in Ukraine

And the cocktail started giving its first fruits in the late 90s, which grew gradually more delicious as the time passed by. 

Historical Background to Ukrainian Software Industry

The first Ukrainian IT entrepreneurs started their IT entrepreneurial efforts in the mid 90s, which did not seem a great idea at the time because the country was completely stressed out, to put it mildly, after a long period of the USSR exploitation. FYI, Ukraine had the second largest economy in the USSR, and this economy was not handled well during the Soviet Reign by a very Vogno-ish government, so entrepreneurs of the new Independent Ukraine had a lot of work to do. (Spoiler alert: they succeeded)

Nonetheless, it appeared that the cocktail from economic peculiarities and persistent, eager, and well-educated Ukrainian citizens was enough to prove that Ukraine is not a dull post-soviet place, but a state worthy of global attention. The foundation for the future was established, and the IT industry started growing exponentially, and more young minds started deciding that technical education is able to provide some benefits. And now, some 20 years later, which may be a lot for a single Earthman but on a planetary scale, it is not, Ukraine has become a well-regarded IT hub. Most recently, the entrepreneurs from the heart of Earth’s software development heart - Silicon Valley - recognized Ukrainian software prowess as well. 

For Ukraine, the last several years has been especially rich in different IT industry highlights.

As Douglas Adams put it, “the chances of finding out what’s really going on in the universe are so remote, the only thing to do is hang the sense of it and keep yourself occupied.” And it happened that software development became the most popular occupation amongst the Ukrainian tech enthusiast. 

Geography of Ukrainian IT Scene

Ukraine is the largest country entirely within Europe. So, Ukraine is quite big (on the Earth’s scale, which is a relatively tiny planet that orbits relatively tiny star), and its IT scene is not homogeneous all across the country. 

Even though almost every major (and not so major) city has a decent number of IT companies, the software outsourcing environment of the country is neatly divided between 5 primary IT centers, where the most of the software developers and investments accumulate. These centers are Lviv, Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro, and Odessa.

This is where Ukrainian IT infrastructure develops the fastest, and the youth who desires to join the industry decides to pursue higher education and a career. 

Let’s shift our focus from Ukraine to cozy Lviv for a little. In Lviv, some 6 years ago, something peculiar happened. (Also, the Hitchhiker’s guide highly recommends to check this Lviv videopedia; it contains some gorgeous shots of this Earth settlement)

Software development scene was developing fast, but some people decided that still not fast enough and there were a lot of opportunities to seize that were impossible to seize single-handedly. Therefore, Lviv entrepreneurs decided to create Lviv IT cluster, an organization that would unite efforts of IT companies, educational establishments, and authorities of the city to improve and develop Lviv IT sphere as well as promote the city. 

Today, the cluster unites 82 software development companies (including KindGeek), 7 educational establishments, and Lviv city council.

IT cluster actually appeared to be effective. Other cities noticed it and created own IT clusters as well. So, in this regard, Lviv is a pioneer-city.

 

We shall continue our journey next week in the next chapter of our Guide.