The Ultimate Guide To Hiring Ukraine Developers

If you are looking to offshore your software development to Ukraine, this is the guide for you. In this comprehensive guide prepared by our experts at SHORE teams, we’ll give you all the necessary details to hire Ukraine developers!

So you can get up and running when it comes to deciding if this is the ideal move for your company.

We’ll even tell you which cities to find the best developers and share some of our personal experiences and recent travel photos!

When it comes to offshoring software development solutions, few countries are quite as ideal as the Ukraine. This Eastern European destination is rapidly becoming a leading international Tech Hub, as more and more companies are choosing to move their development here.

So how can your business benefit from this ideal situation and form a team of dedicated Ukraine developers?

Why Should You Consider Ukraine developers?

Ukraine is one of Europe’s largest and most populous countries. It’s renowned for its rich heritage and biological diversity.

Before the pandemic, Ukraine’s economic growth was steady and one of the strongest in Europe. They had significant industrial power in agriculture, IT, and mining.

This southeastern European country also has a large workforce of skilled IT service professionals, software developers, and customer service experts, all of which have been thriving thanks to advancements in the tech sector.

Ukraine currently boasts over 36,000 tech graduates annually, 1,000+ software development companies and 200,000+ IT professionals.

Besides that, the average rate for a developer in Ukraine is relatively low with $35-$65 per hour. When comparing prices with the UK, USA, Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany (can range from $90-$150) we see that this can be a very cost-effective strategy!

There are clearly a variety of great reasons to choose for hiring Ukraine developers. 

Let’s put it all in a simple overview:

  • Huge talent pool. With over 200,000 IT professionals and software developers you can find nearly any technology stack here
  • 1000+ software development agencies
  • Highly educated talent. Ukraine has 450 universities with  IT related studies
  • Excellent English language skills
  • Similar time zone (in comparison with Western Europe, UK, Nordics, etcetera)
  • Low taxes and cost of living
  • Cheap and fast Internet
  • Highly developed IT community
  • Affordable rates for hiring outstanding talent


We’ll go more into detail on these points in this guide.

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The Opera House in Lviv

Tech Education in Ukraine

It is considered relatively easy to find talented Ukraine developers, in large part because of how the country has invested in educational opportunities for its citizens. Let’s provide a quick, but detailed overview of what higher education is like in Ukraine:

High Literacy Rate & Easy Access to Higher Education

Ukraine’s constitution guarantees students access to free education. It was legacy from Soviet Union times, but it is still their focus these days. Ukraine is one of the few countries with almost 100% literacy rate. The literacy of adults in Ukraine has increased from 99.4% in 2001 to 99.8% in 2015, with more than 70% of Ukrainians holding a college or university degree

Internationally Recognized Higher Education 

Ukraine is one of the world’s top 10 leading countries in terms of tertiary enrollment as been ranked no. 4 on the World Bank Enrollment Index. They also have a number of highly-esteemed universities, according to Universities21 – it ranks them 38th out 50.

Ukraine has over 450 Universities where students can earn college degrees, which they can go on to use to pursue their careers. They don’t incur long-term debt, and the country provides many scholarships each year. For example, last year, 118,000 students succeeded in receiving a Bachelor’s degree and 62,400 students achieved their Master’s. AI has also enabled many to receive scholarships from the state.

Widespread STEM Education 

DOU publishes an annual survey of Ukraine developers & IT professionals which covers details on their social life, education, and career paths. The 2019 study shows that the overwhelming majority of these specialists have a diploma. Roughly 41% of women and 64% of men who graduated from college and received degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) now work as STEM professionals.

Ukraine produces around 130,000 engineering graduates each year, which is more than France as well as many other European countries. IT graduates also make up the biggest share of people who graduate from their respective country’s universities.

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The inspiring office spaces at our Ukrainian partner Ragnarök

A huge number of Ukraine developers speak fluent English 

Ukraine has a moderate level of English proficiency, and the latest EF EN English Proficiency Index (EF EPI) rates Ukraine at 43 out of 88 other countries where 50.91 was its previous score in the 7th edition. 

By comparison developers from elsewhere in Europe, for instance those from countries such as France, Italy and Spain also tend to have a moderate level of English proficiency.

Specifically, 34% of Ukrainian developers speak English at an upper-intermediate level, another 34% have an intermediate level of English, 13% are advanced English speakers, and only 4% have an elementary level.

Because most Ukraine developers work with European and US companies, they must know English.

Labor in Ukraine

Ukraine has a workforce of 19.5 million, of which most speak a combination of Ukrainian, Russian and English. All employees in Ukraine are legally protected against discrimination based on age, religion, sexual orientation, gender expression, and race.

Especially Ukraine developers and teams in Tech have a strong culture of flexibility, independence and pro-activity – much like many Western European countries. A resilient, problem-solving attitude is reflected in their attitude towards education and business.

There are also officially 11 Public holidays observed in Ukraine, including Orthodox Christian and other unique holidays such as:

  • Victory Day over Nazism in World War II (May 10)

  • Trinity Day (June 20)

  • Constitution Day (June 28)

  • Independence Day of Ukraine (August 24)

  • Ukraine Defender Day (Oct 14)

Ukrainian labor law mandates that the 11 public holidays are paid, in addition to an annually paid holiday entitlement.

Employees are also entitled to at least 24 calendar days of paid leave, depending on their health and workload.

The minimum wage, overtime rates, and guaranteed paid time off are all important topics that may be brought up during the hiring process.

It is good to know for instance, that the Ukrainian government has set the minimum wage for 2021 at UAH 6,000 or approximately $220.12 per month.

Don’t worry, SHORE teams has you covered when it comes to navigating these waters.

Our experts are ready to advise you on all of these points in detail, so don’t hesitate to schedule a call!

How easy is it to find Ukraine developers nowadays? 

Ukraine has amassed a sizeable share of the global IT market in recent years. According to Forbes, there were 192,100 Ukraine developers worldwide last year and the industry is growing by 25,000-30,000 tech professionals annually.

The main factors driving the Ukrainian offshoring sector are: a big talent pool (thanks to an extensive IT education and training system), competitive prices and high-quality engineering skills.

According to research by the DOU, the most popular languages amongst developers Ukraine are JavaScript, Java, and C#. The respective percentages for these  amongst offshoring  companies are 18,4%, 15,4%, and 13,7% . Other programming languages that are becoming widely spread are Python, PHP, C++, TypeScript, and Dart.

When it comes to personal preferences however, most Ukraine developers have said they’d likely start a new project using Python, C#, or JavaScript.

This indicates it should be fairly easy to find talented software developers Ukraine, but let’s take a look at where to find them.

 

Which Cities Have the Best Ukraine Developers? 

According to a DOU survey, it’s clear that the vast majority of IT specialists in Ukraine live in Kyiv, Kharkiv and Lviv. We should look at each of these Ukrainian software developer hubs individually.

Developers in Kyiv:

Ukraine’s capital Kyiv is growing quickly, and the IT industry is one of the main factors.  

Kyiv is one of the most important cities in Ukraine because of its administrative, cultural, and scientific significance. It’s no wonder that 40% of Ukrainian computer engineers work there.

The city also has convenient direct flight connections with all the key European tech hubs, including Warsaw, Berlin, Amsterdam, Prague, Vienna, Paris, and London.

This is one of the key reasons one of our clients, a well known lottery chose this city as their offshoring destination!

developers-kyiv

A lot of companies choose to outsource their software development work to Kyiv and this is reflected in the number of tech companies based in the city.

Many international corporations, including Microsoft, Samsung, Ericsson, Google and many successful tech startups have R&D centers based here.

It might also be handy to note that developer salaries in Kyiv average around $29,000 – $36,000. Trending technologies here include Java, JavaScript, Node, Swift and Objective-C.

Developers in Lviv:

Lviv is the biggest city in Western Ukraine. It has more than 800,000 residents and houses 20,000+ software developers.

The State of European Tech report, which surveyed Lviv developers found that the majority of them work for either outsourcing or outstaffing companies.  

Lviv is also home to 317 IT companies. 90% of them provide software outsourcing services. With developer salaries ranging between $25,000 – $35,000 this is certainly an ideal location for offshoring.

Since the demand for IT offshoring increases significantly every year, the industry offers thousands of skilled developers of various technologies. 

The most popular technologies in Lviv are JavaScript, C++, Java, C#, and Python. But Cloud tech and DevOps are also on the rise.

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Developers in Kharkiv  

Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv houses 1.5M citizens and is one of the most industrialized places in the country. Its long-established engineering tradition has given it a broad base for machinery and electronics industries.

While the city takes 2nd place in the number of developers after Kyiv, salaries in Kharkiv are lower. This makes it a very cost-effective option. The local airport carries regular international flights, making travel quite easy.

Kharkiv is home to over 300 IT companies with more than 29,000 specialists. The salary for developers here ranges from $24,000 – $33,500.

developers-kharkiv

The most popular technologies in Kharkiv are Javascript (React, Node, Vue), PHP (Laravel, Symfony) and Ruby on Rails.

The competition in terms of talent recruitment is less intense here, as the talent market grows steadily thanks to the great number of tech universities.  Multiple research centers and education institutions here trace their origin back in the Soviet Union times, which is why it is often called ‘the city of students.’

Experts in software development outsourcing are a popular resource in Kharkiv with over 450 IT companies and 25,000 tech specialists. Providing around 70% of the total national output, this city is a rapidly developing hub with an international reputation.

 

Developers in Dnipro

Dnipro is one of the five biggest outsourcing cities due to its contingent of amazing programmers who go the extra mile for customers. As such, companies that offer a more flexible recruitment policy and take into account long-term results are on the rise in Dnipro. This strategy allows the city to gradually increase programmer numbers by 10-30% each year.

There are over 150 IT companies in Dnipro, with about 17,500 developers and other technical talents. The availability of an airport in the city also makes it quite easy to travel to.

developers-dnipro

It’s no wonder large enterprises like Siemens, Oracle, Sitecore and Wix have chosen this as a location to offshore their software development.

Despite being less saturated with IT companies, Dnipro still holds its position as a competitive tech hub in the global rankings. Its tech development is growing slower than the capital, yet steadily enough to seriously compete as an offshoring destination.

 

Developers in Odessa

With over 150 IT companies and about 10,500 developers and other technicians, Odessa is a thriving tech hub of a city. This is of course made easier by the presence of its international airport. No wonder tech companies like Snap and NetCracker have offices here!

developers-odessa

The Odessa outsourcing industry and its constant employment of interns and apprentices is key to the region’s development. Meetings and conferences, many of which the industry maintains or sponsors, also drive progress in Odessa. The IT sector in Odesa is relatively stable compared to other cities, due to the very low turnover of employees. People are less prone to job-hopping.

With a lot of foreigners looking to outsource their tech work, it’s no wonder that Odessa is also on the radar of tech talent. Outsourcing to the city is perfect for tech projects, as well as ones outside of tech. Companies can easily find skilled professionals on this market with any project type.

One of our favorite Ukrainian development partners to work with, Ragnarök Group is located in this wonderful city. And we can certainly vouch for their quality of service and developers.

Now that we’ve covered how easy it is to find developers in Ukraine and which cities are best, let’s look at how to expand your team!

 

How to expand your team with Ukraine developers

To hire in Ukraine, companies will need to establish a legal presence in the country or work with an international payroll service. When it comes to taxes and compliance, this can get tricky without any local experience.

This is especially important because like in many other countries, self-employed individuals or contractors and full-time workers are treated differently.

It is therefore key an employee be classified correctly. Otherwise court, tax or labor authorities may demand all statutory benefits be paid and levy a punitive fine.

Don’t worry however, because many companies in Ukraine offer excellent outsourcing and outstaffing services.
 

Outsourcing VS Outstaffing 

Two popular services exported by Ukraine to help companies from other countries easily recruit talent, are outsourcing and outstaffing.

With outsourcing, we often mean delegating projects, the core processes or a whole department of your business to a third party. This partner will often have teams working on multiple projects at the same time for various clients.

Development partners in the Ukraine are well known for high security when it comes to their tech clients projects, as well as high quality of service.

While this is a viable option for many companies looking to focus on their developing their product, you may prefer its alternative: outstaffing.

Though quite similar, we’ve found that many people prefer the advantages of outstaffing over regular outsourcing services. More on this below.

ukraine-developers-outstaffing

Outstaffing

At SHORE teams, we and our partners have opted to offer our clients the outstaffing model. With outstaffing you hire an external development team to work for you with full dedication. You have total control and access to the team. These developers will become part of your team, while remaining on the payroll of the development partner.

This pricing model is the most beneficial because:
  • Possibility to hire great developers without having to pay high recruitment costs

  • Flexibility in scaling up or down the number of developers or technical specialists you hire

  • Complete control over the development process

  • Full and dedicated access to your developers

  • Lower rates compared to other business models, and access to a global talent pool!

 
One thing to also take into account is the vendor’s fee. This will likely consist of:
  • Salary

  • Recruitment

  • Office rental

  • Accounting services

  • Social package for the staff

  • Equipment

  • Team building activities and parties

  • Taxes

While this is the standard, the actual quality of service will likely vary significantly from partner to partner. What you’re looking for is a reasonable fee for a high level of services and deliveries. Because of this, it is key to study the market before finding a vendor you can trust.

We understand however that vetting partners and doing proper research can be time-consuming and thus expensive.

But don’t worry, because that’s where we come in!

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A picture of Ragnarök's HeadQuarters in Odessa

SHORE teams

At SHORE teams, our goal is to help you find the absolute best developers through our vetted partners. We take every partner through an extensive onboarding process in which we check online reviews, testimonials, and loads of information about their development processes, technology stacks and specialties.

In fact, since the Covid-related travel restrictions  started being lifted – one of the first things our CEO Sander Dales and CCO Eelke Broersma had planned was visiting our Ukrainian partners in person again. This for the purpose of strengthening ties with our development partners, as well as reviewing everything from how up-to-date our info is to the quality of service and how we can improve it for our clients.

After a week in Ukraine with some of the finest companies in tech offshoring (and some of the tastiest food in Eastern Europe), we can safely say that their trip was a success!

This of course means we’re even better prepared to help you find the talent your business needs.

With a global talent pool of 15,000+ technical talents, we can quickly provide our clients the best Nearshore- and Offshore solutions for their scaling needs. We’ll function as a broker during the whole process, meaning we’ll connect you with the right development partner and advise you during every step of the decision-making process if needed.

So what are you waiting for? It all starts with one quick call!