Hire Software Developers in Ukraine: Comprehensive Guide 2019

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When it comes to outsourcing IT talents, Ukraine is clearly a hotspot. It has uniquely good price-quality ratio. It has an excellent level of technical education. It has superb IT companies that prove the point.

Not only is Ukraine a proficient IT services exporter, it also gradually acquires a status of a digitally advanced country. In 2018, a digitalization strategy has been presented by the Ukrainian government. As it reveals, there will be a series of activities focused on the expansion of digital infrastructure implemented by 2020. From education to medical care, digitalization touches upon tons of industries.

In this environment and with a range of successfully realized projects under their belts, Ukrainian developers enjoy popularity. But what’s so good about outsourcing software development from Ukraine? And why should you blindly trust Ukrainian programmers stand out from the crowd? In this guide, we’ll tell you why outsourcing from Ukraine is still on a positive trend in 2019 and how you can attract the top talents when diving into Ukrainian outsource.

Pros and cons of hiring Ukrainian programmers

There are downsides too. But we have to give a spoiler alert at this point – the pros outnumber the cons. Depending on where your business is located and what type of expertise you seek, your needs will vary. So make sure you know the good, the bad, and the ugly of software development in Ukraine.

Pros

1. Affordability

Low average salary paid to developers, compared to the U.S. and EU countries. According to Mobilunity, frontend developer salary in Ukraine starts from $1,800 versus $5,000 in USA and $3,800 in UK.

salary developer JavaScript

2. Education

Abundance of engineering departments across the best educational establishments in Ukraine. The National Technical University of Ukraine has been featured in top 1,000 of world’s best universities by Webometrics in 2012.

3. European standards

Following IT Ukraine Association contributes to aligning the local tech expertise with international standards. Founded by the largest Ukrainian IT companies like Miratech and SoftServe, ITUA is now a part of European IT Association (EKTA). This ensures world-class software development methodologies like agile are used by Ukrainian teams as well.

4. Domestic success

Ukrainian startups are winning the hearts and minds of clients across the world. The brightest examples are MacPaw, Grammarly, and Ring – product companies that have received worldwide recognition over the last decade.

5. Western mindset

Ukrainian developers generally speak English at a good level, so you won’t face any language barriers. Plus, due to the use of western development methodologies and close geographical proximity, their style of communication doesn’t differ much from those specialists you would hire in Europe or the U.S. Last but not least, a convenient time zone, GMT+2, will keep you and your outsourced team connected in work time.

Cons

1. Working remotely

Although it’s a casual practice to catch up with your team personally from time to time, the biggest chunk of work is done remotely. So no matter what country you outsource from, it’s probably not a good option if geographic proximity is an issue for you.

2. Non-EU country

Ukraine has not joined the European Union yet. Accordingly, you won’t be able to hire developers in Ukraine if outsourcing from EU only is required by your company. Consider though that many Ukrainian companies have their development centers located in the EU countries.

3. Political situation

What most companies looking for outsourced staff are worried about is the military conflict in the East of Ukraine and tensions with Russia. Despite the conflict is still unresolved, Ukraine is on its way to gaining European membership and there’s been lots of positive changes taking place over the last few years. Plus most of the cities that are powerhouses of software development in Ukraine are located far from the conflict zone.

Three different ways to hire software engineers in Ukraine

Recruitment is tough. And the problem is if you’ve never done it before, you might think otherwise. Unfortunately, LinkedIn is not always a good way to hire a development team in Ukraine. To cater for your project without wasting a fortune, you’ll need to be a bit more creative. If you invest a bit of time and search power into the process, you can actually build a  reliable team from scratch. The question is how much money you’re willing to invest and what type of project you run. To hire software developers in Ukraine or any other location, there are at least three good recruitment models you can try out.

Hiring freelance developers

From a fancy term to a working employment model, freelancing has been out there for a while now. While it promises the pleasure of working at one’s own pace, many programmers worldwide embrace freelancing as a full-time job. As a company struggling to involve a developer into a project asap, you can benefit from that – hire a freelancer, get the work done, pay as agreed, and let him/her go.

If you’ve never been to freelancers’ spots on the web, here are a few well-known sites where you can find and hire a software engineer:

  • Upwork: 12 million freelancers from US, UK, Canada and Australia as well as many others from all corners of the world. The largest online freelancing platform, Upwork is home to web and mobile developers.
  • Freelancer: One of the easiest in use. Just put your job listing out there and freelance programmers will knock at your door placing bids and willing to be the ones you choose for the project.
  • Toptal: The website with the reputation of the most trustworthy freelancer hiring spot. To get listed on Toptal, developers should pass a range of screening interviews, technical and language tests. So you definitely get best of the best.

How to choose freelancers and when you should consider the option

It’s not one size fits all, obviously. Many companies have issues with freelancers not being able to work in sync with the in-house team. For others, it’s just impossible to verify the expertise of specialists coming from Upwork or similar resources. Therefore, we recommend hiring freelancers in case you have no long-term plans on maintaining and improving the piece of work that should be done. Plus consider that freelancers often lack experience working with multiple agile methodologies, so you won’t be able to include them into the process fast enough. Ideally, freelancers should take on the work that can be done on their own, with minimum or no support on your company’s side. Here’s what you should consider when choosing a freelance programmer:

  1. Portfolio. Needless to say, if you need to develop a mobile app, you’ll be looking into portfolios of developers who’ve previously worked with mobile.
  2. Reviews. The benefit of hiring on Upwork or Freelancer is that you can read what other clients say about your candidate. A real proof of expertise that comes from businesses like yours.
  3. Availability and pricing. What’s good about freelance platforms, they have a huge pool of specialists to choose from. But do consider that freelancers often work on multiple projects simultaneously. So you need to ensure how much time they will be able to dedicate to your project on a daily basis and whether the price they ask for it is reasonable.

Find outsource development company

Interviewing and hiring freelancers can be a time suck, especially if you need to involve more than 5 specialists. Outsource providers can do the job for you, lightning fast. If you can’t afford hiring a local team and it’s much cheaper to work with someone from overseas, find a reliable outsource company who’ll cater for your project. To pick the right outsourcer, put the following points on your checklist:

  • Expertise. Without checking the portfolio of an outsource provider, don’t spend your time on interviewing. It will give you a good understanding of whether a company can handle your project or not. Importantly, ensure your provider works with lean approach – this will help you to align your business needs with a hired team more easily.
  • Well-defined plan of cooperation. Ensure you have an agreement in terms of the key milestones, deadlines, and pricing. To stay on the same page with your outsourced team, agree on using a specific software development methodology such as SCRUM or Kanban.
  • Transparence. Don’t forget to put all your requirements on SLA (Service Level Agreement). This will help both sides follow the terms of cooperation in a timely manner.

Build your own development team with staffing companies

If you run an end-to-end development project, you need a bit more than well-written code. The complete cycle of developing a software product embraces MVP, scaling, and lots of refining, which translates into full-time work for a development team, sales, and marketing. And all of them should work in sync.

For such projects, the best choice is to have someone build a coherent team for you. Professional staffing companies can either fill a position in your in-house team or recruit a dedicated team that will work on your project. The difference between outsource providers and staffing agencies is that with the latter you don’t usually have any contractual relationships. Instead, you work with a hired team directly.

When choosing to work with a remote team, there are two major staffing models you should choose from – dedicated and offshore development.

Dedicated development team

Working with a dedicated team of developers is as close to having an in-house team as possible. You can cooperate with an outsource provider or a staffing company to recruit a dedicated team for you. The huge advantage of this model is that developers are selected based on specific requirements and according to your business needs.

Offshore development team

A team of programmers who work on your project from any location and can be also engaged in other projects at the same time is called offshore. It’s ideal for short-term projects where you can easily define the scopes of work and the number of hours assigned to it.

Top Ukrainian software development cities

Ukraine can boast at least five prominent IT hubs which promote and expand software development services year after year.  

The biggest Ukrainian tech cities are Kyiv, Lviv, and Kharkiv – although located far from each other, each of these cities has its own vibe and lucrative offers for software development hunters.

Kyiv, the primary outsourcing destination

The capital of Ukraine is, undeniably, a leader on the IT stage. According to N-iX, Kyiv holds around 46,6% of IT workforce. Through the years of growing software development expertise, Kyiv became an outsourcing hotspot – the place where the majority of international companies go to look for programmers and dedicated teams.

Ukraine IT workforce top 5 cities

Apart from being strategically located, Kyiv has lots of other attractions that translate into a vibrant IT infrastructure:

  • Access to the best tech education. With Kyiv Polytechnic University and Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, the city brings the most promising IT talents to Ukraine’s top-rated educational establishments.
  • Variety of programming languages. Due to the huge pool of specialists, Kyiv is rich on all programming languages you can think of. So if you own rare expertise in Erlang or Scala, it’s definitely the best place to make use of your skills.
  • Best spot for learning. From specialized events like ProductTank to huge hackathons, Kyiv has all kinds of learning initiatives for you to hone your expertise.

Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest IT hub

It’s smaller but equally powerful. Thanks to the activities of Kharkiv IT Cluster, a public organization promoting local IT infrastructure, the culture of software development is aligned with the most advanced European standards. In the outsourcing domain, Kharkiv is home to some of the countries’ best companies that can offer a full range of software development services– from A to Z. Here’s the top five providers with excellent corporate cultures, which you’ll want to cooperate with in Kharkiv:

DOU Kharkiv TOP IT companies

Lviv, home to the biggest tech event in Eastern Europe

Finally, going a bit to the west, you’ll land in Lviv – the cultural heart of Ukraine and a newly emerging IT hub. The majority of Lviv’s tech companies are specialized in outsourcing and work majorly with clients from Europe and North America.

For the last few years, Lviv has also been the central scene of tech networking, due to IT Arena, an annual event bringing the top tech specialists from all over the world to the city.

How to hire developers in Ukraine

The process of hiring developers in Ukraine doesn’t differ much from any other you might have run before. However, it will usually cover cooperation with third parties while the market of outsource is overwhelmingly big in Ukraine. Plus it’s more affordable if you want to hire a coherent team. Here are the key steps:

  1. Select a vendor. Check trusted resources and client testimonials to narrow your choice to three top outsourcers. Once you’ve done the final interviews, pick your right fit and start working on the SCL together.
  2. Create an overview of your project requirements. The more detailed, the better. Discuss technical aspects, business needs, and key milestones so that your outsource provider gets ready for developer interviews.
  3. Supervise interviewing. If possible, get acquainted with recruiters and work along their side to ensure the highest quality recruitment process.
  4. Provide feedback and approve. Once all corrections are made, take on the final stage of recruitment, prepare NDAs for developers, and start onboarding.

Ukrainian developers rates

Developer salaries in Ukraine are calculated based on the level of expertise as well as the type of programming language. Thus, programmers with 0-2 years of experience are considered junior specialists, those with 2-5 – middle, and 5+ – senior developers. Java and Python developers are considered the most expensive versus those coding on PHP or Ruby. Check out the full overview of average IT salaries in Ukraine across different positions:

DOU Ukraine IT salaries

Looking at the diagram above, you can easily calculate what would be the average rate of a dedicated team for your project. For instance, if you need 2 designers, 2 QAs, 1 PM, and 4 software engineers, you’ll spend about $16,000 on salaries for your hired team.

Choosing your dream development team takes lots of effort. But you’ll definitely end up with better results if this effort will be done by professionals. Pick a professional outsource service provider in Ukraine to listen to your needs and cater for your project, mistake free.

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