Software developers in Ukraine – what you need to know to hire a team
Currently more than 100,000 IT professionals are working in more than 3,000 IT companies in Ukraine. This total encompasses developers, QAs and testers, designers, project and product managers, business analysts and other representatives of the IT industry. About half of these experts are developers, which gives us 50,000 to 55,000 experts making up the developers’ community in Ukraine, which, like in any country, has its own unique face. Let’s find out a little more about developers in Ukraine, what they are like and what they do.
Read interesting facts about outsourcing to Ukraine
Technologies used by developers
In the IT industry the choice of technology is always influenced by market needs. The programming languages that software developers choose generally follow global tendencies, but Ukraine is half a step behind the “trendsetters” due to the fact that the majority of companies there provide outsourcing services and, therefore, depend on the software development approaches of their customers. A survey held within the development community shows that Java still dominates as the most popular language used for programming in Ukraine. It accounts for 23% of the market.
Location of developers
The vast majority of technical experts live in Kiev, as it is the capital – the biggest city with all the attractive features, like the highest salaries and the largest number and variety of software engineering jobs. The second largest center is Kharkiv, and this should come as no surprise considering the number of educational establishments and the long history of engineering science and high-tech manufacturing in this city. Amongst the cities with the largest number of developers and other IT experts are Lviv, then Dnipro and Odessa. Vinnytsia is sixth in the list of cities where a large pool of IT talents reside and work.
Read about Kharkiv as a perfect location for offshore IT outsourcing in Ukraine
Who the developers work with
The leadership board of countries who provide the most orders for IT companies in Ukraine features the USA, then Great Britain, and Australia. However, if we take a look at the countries with the highest payment rates the picture is slightly different. The laurels of leadership go to Switzerland, while the USA comes in second place.
Experience in IT
The IT industry in Ukraine is relatively young compared with other industries, such as agriculture and metallurgy. It has witnessed its largest burst of growth over the last 10 years, so it’s not very common in Ukraine to come across a true veteran of coding with more than 15 years of experience. One-third of experts working in this area have 3-5 years’ experience, according to a poll conducted by DOU. The number of engineers who have work experience of 1-2 years and 5-10 years is almost equal - 22 and 23% respectively. And only 12% of developers report that they have been in this industry for more than 10 years. Newbies account for 10% of the whole community.
Seniority and positions
Looking at the diagram above, illustrating the distribution of all respondents by position and technology, it's easy to see that (Middle) Software Developers are the pillars of the IT industry in Ukraine, just as they are in any other country. It is remarkable, however, that there are very few security specialists among them. This fact explicitly indicates that there is a long way to go for this industry and there are a lot of opportunities for developers looking for new directions to express themselves.
Salaries in the IT industry
The IT industry in Ukraine is one of the most profitable of all, its contribution to the country’s GDP representing about 3% of the total. This fact certainly correlates with the salaries of common programmers. Regardless of the payment model chosen by the company for cooperation with clients - whether it's the dedicated team model, the hourly rate model or "make-to-order" - the developers working on these projects are paid monthly salaries. Of course, the sums differ across city/area, type of technology, and seniority. And since most of the clients are foreign companies, the salaries are in most cases paid either in US dollars or euros, so developers are almost the only people in Ukraine who have benefited from the rise of these currencies’ exchange rates over the past couple of years. As an example, let's take the salaries of software engineers in Kharkiv, as it is the second largest outsourcing center in Ukraine. One of the most basic pieces of information that has a strong effect on salary is experience and, as a result, the seniority of the developer. A Junior Software Developer in Kharkiv earns an average salary of $600-650 per month. A Middle Software Developer can receive around $1600 per month. And the salary of a Senior Software Developer is on average $3300 per month, according to a survey conducted in January 2017. And just to demonstrate the whole range of salaries across all the positions, a diagram is provided below.
Age of programmers
It may seem unusual to software developers in Europe or the USA, but IT companies in Ukraine have a mostly young staff base. Reportedly, almost 40% of developers are 26-30 years old. They are passionate about their job and open to learning new technologies and languages. About one-third of all experts are 21-25 years old. Older representatives of the IT industry account for a quarter of the overall number of programming experts.
The question of gender in technology
There is a significant gender imbalance in the IT industry, with male developers vastly outnumbering women in Ukraine. The root of this problem lies with education, with far fewer women attending technical universities than those specializing in economics or human sciences. Across the world, the share of women working in the IT industry does not exceed 30%. Girls Who Code reports that only 18%of undergraduate computer science degrees and 26% of computing jobs are held by women.
According to the latest survey conducted by the local IT community in Ukraine, the proportion of women working in the tech industry is 16%, but they tend to occupy design, testing or business analyst positions, rather than becoming developers.
Lately, some measures have been taken to change this situation. A number of programs and initiatives have been introduced to help engage women to join the tech wave, such as Digital Academy for Women launched last autumn by Google.
In the vast majority of cases, developers in Ukraine have higher education. Ukraine hosts over 800 higher education institutes concentrated in and around big cities such as Kiev, Kharkiv, Odessa, Dnipro, and Lviv. More than half of all coding experts in Ukraine have a MSc or BSc degree in computer science, programming, information technology, or other relevant fields, while a smaller proportion have switched from other fields. People who decide to change their career frequently opt for programming courses, of which a remarkable number are available.
Though it applies not only to Ukraine, many software developers in the country prefer to gain new knowledge from books and documentation, some programmers take online courses, while the lowest number prefer offline courses.
To sum up, a cumulative portrait of a software developer in Ukraine looks like this: a 27-year-old man who lives in Kharkiv or Kiev, but visits Odessa for a change. He has 5 years of experience in coding and is very happy about it, because he has joined the programming world out of a passion for technology. He sleeps 5-8 hours a day, drinks coffee and keeps a cat as a pet. These last couple of facts are not depicted in diagrams or expressed in digits, but who would lie about that?
The stream of life is quick and nowhere more so than in information technologies, so we can only predict what the face of the industry may look like in a few years.
Written by Mira Gordijenko