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Andrew
Burak
CEO at Relevant

How to Hire a Development Team in Ukraine: A Complete Guide

Outsourcing

Ukraine is a juicy outsourcing destination for many European and US companies due to its huge talent pool, competitive prices, and exceptional work. Despite the global COVID-19 crisis and economic downturn, the Ukrainian IT market saw a tremendous rise of over 20% in the past year. The IT industry’s annual exports reached a whopping five billion dollars in 2020, which accounted for 8.3% of total exports

In this article, we will discuss software development in Ukraine and give you the answers to the following questions:

  • How to hire a development team in Ukraine?
  • What are the average rates of Ukrainian developers?
  • What are the legal aspects of outsourcing software development to Ukraine?
  • What benefits can you expect from having a development team in Ukraine? 

So let’s dive in.

IT outsourcing market in Ukraine: Facts and statistics

The Ukrainian IT market has constantly been growing since 2000. Today, the country’s IT industry has evolved to become one of the most popular outsourcing destinations in Europe. Why is outsourcing to Ukraine gaining momentum? Here are a few reasons.

reasons of outsourcing to Ukraine

Favorable time zone

Ukraine is located in the Eastern European time zone that is only 1-2 hours ahead of most European countries and seven hours ahead of the East Coast. Since the time difference is either insignificant or can be managed if needed, Western European and US-based businesses can easily collaborate with Ukrainian teams. 

Reasonable pricing 

Hiring software developers in Ukraine, either by outstaffing or based on a dedicated software development team model, is a more cost-efficient option than hiring Americans or Western Europeans for the same job. The average hourly rates of Ukrainian programmers range from $25 to $80.

Exceptional quality

Ukrainian programmers are known for providing world-class software development services and are recognized by many industry rating platforms. For example, HackerRank rates Ukraine higher than the UK or the US in the global ranking of the best developers in the world. 

Considerable talent pool 

Today, Ukraine can boast of having up to 200,000 IT specialists, and that number continues to grow rapidly. Each year over 20,000 tech graduates enter the Ukrainian IT market, expanding its capacity.

Good command of English

Besides solid technical expertise, Ukrainian IT professionals have a good command of English—most developers speak English at an intermediate level or higher. Based on the EF English Proficiency Index, Ukraine holds 44th place out of 100 countries and regions. 

Globally recognized

Ukraine holds the top spot in many international rankings related to the IT industry. For example, it ranks first in the Science and Technology category of The Good Country Index and in the Outsourcing Market in Eastern Europe ranking. Also, many global tech giants like Microsoft, Oracle, Huawei, and Samsung have established their R&D centers here. 

Strong tech community

Ukraine is home to multiple largest European tech events, including The Agile Eastern Europe Conference, Lviv IT Arena, and DEV_Challenge. There are also a significant number of IT clusters and communities that hold regular meetups and conferences.

Variety of programming languages

Ukrainian developers are proficient in a broad spectrum of cutting-edge technologies, from JavaScript, Node.js, Python, Ruby, and PHP to AI, VR/AR, and IoT. You’ll be sure to find whichever one you’re looking for in the Ukrainian IT market.

Taking intellectual property protection seriously

Cooperation with Ukrainian companies often starts with signing an NDA to ensure the confidentiality of the sensitive information you share during your project’s development. Further down the line, your project may need to meet international security requirements such as ISO, HIPAA, or PCI. For almost any trustworthy software development company in Ukraine, this won’t be a problem. 

Cultural compatibility and work ethic

Ukrainian developers are generally open-minded, communicative, have a strong work ethic, and share Western culture and values. They mainly choose a career in the IT sector because of their passion for technology.

Main software development cities of Ukraine: Kyiv, Kharkiv, Lviv, Dnipro, and Odesa

The Ukrainian IT industry is flourishing with an ever-growing number of new software development companies and startups. Kyiv, Kharkiv, Lviv, Dnipro, and Odesa have powerful IT clusters and are the top five centers where the vast majority of tech talent concentrate. Here is a brief overview of these cities.

Kyiv

Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, is one of the top 35 most developed urban startup ecosystems. It houses the largest IT talent pool in the country as well as world-known tech universities, a massive variety of coworking spaces, plenty of professional communities, and the world’s tech giants’ R&Ds. All of this proves that Kyiv is a perfect destination for any company looking for tech professionals.

Kharkiv

Being the second-largest city in Ukraine, Kharkiv is home to more than 450 IT companies with over 25,000 specialists. Kharkiv has over 3,000 IT students graduating each year, and its IT сluster is constantly growing. No wonder that Kharkiv is the birthplace of GitLab, the first Ukrainian unicorn.

Lviv

Lviv is another major tech hub in Ukraine. It is home to around 460 IT companies, most of which provide software outsourcing services to the US, the UK, and Western Europe. In 2019, the Lviv IT industry’s overall economic impact exceeded $1 billion. With around 26,500 tech professionals and a 45% growth rate for IT companies, Lviv has every chance of outperforming Kyiv in terms of tech talent. This city also hosts the largest tech event in Eastern Europe, Lviv IT Arena, every September.

Dnipro

Dnipro is the fourth-largest IT destination in terms of the number of IT specialists, and it has the second largest number of R&D centers in Ukraine. In addition, the city is home to many international companies, including Playtika, WIX, Healthjoy, CandyGrill, and Techery. Dnipro has around 13,200 IT professionals and holds 7.9% of all Ukrainian IT resources.

Odesa

Odesa is one of the fastest-growing Ukrainian startup hubs. It is home to around 150 IT companies engaged in various industries—from automotive, cybersecurity, and AR solutions to big data and mobile development. The city can also boast of being home to Looksery, the startup purchased by Snapchat for $150 million.

Now that you know where to find the best Ukrainian IT professionals, it’s time to learn how to hire software developers in Ukraine. 

How to hire developers in Ukraine in 11 steps

Even though choosing the right team is one of the most important steps when outsourcing software development, it can be quite difficult. There are an enormous amount of outsourcing companies in the Ukrainian IT market, so it is easy to get confused.

We’ve made up a list of the ten main steps you should take to choose the right fit for your company.

Step 1. Decide on a service type

When you want to hire Ukrainian developers, the first thing you should do is to pick the type of services that fits your project needs best. In general, you have the following options:

When making this decision, you must factor in your project specifics, management requirements, and your company’s preferences.

Step 2. Make a vendor list

Once you decide on a service type, start scrolling trusted resources like Clutch or GoodFirms to find customer feedback on different IT outsourcing companies. Also, check companies that your colleagues recommend and shortlist 5 to10 vendors you feel could be a good fit for your project.

Step 3. Evaluate shortlisted vendors

At this stage, you have to study the websites of your shortlisted vendors to find out: 

  • What technologies a vendor is proficient at
  • How the development process looks
  • Case studies 

Also, spend some time on the vendor’s website. How is it designed? Are there any glitches? A company’s website is basically its business card, reflecting its values and attitude to work. So pay attention to the way everything looks there, too. We’ll discuss how to evaluate IT vendors more in-depth later in this article. 

Step 4. Prepare your question list

Now, it’s time to write to your shortlisted vendors. Your email can include questions about their rates and the way they handle confidential information, request for referrals or information about some projects in their portfolio. You can also ask a vendor to sign an NDA prior to sharing any of your project specifics.

Step 5. Communicate your project specifics

Once you have received their answers, it’s time to schedule calls and speak with the shortlisted vendors. On a call, you can share some of your project specifics, communicate your values, and make sure that they align with the values a vendor has. 

Step 6. Ask for preliminary estimates

Before going too far, ask your shortlisted vendors to prepare some preliminary estimates or to put the price range in the picture. Also, ask about any hidden costs that may come down the line.

Step 7. Choose an engagement model

Sharing a vision for a project, discussing the ins and outs, and agreeing on the scope are all very important for successful cooperation. However, there is one more aspect that is equally important: choosing an engagement model (e.g. fixed price, T&M, or a dedicated team). Choosing the model will impact your total project budget. 

Step 8. Choose a vendor

When choosing a vendor, pay attention to everything you have found out so far. Take into account not only the facts you’ve gathered (e.g., tech stack, estimations, engagement models) but also the way a company communicates.

Whether you want to outsource software development, hire a dedicated team in Ukraine, or find engineers to expand your in-house team, communication culture is a vital part of any partnership. Sometimes a vendor can seem like the perfect choice, but it takes them a couple of days to respond to your messages, or they ignore your questions or preferences. In this case, it would be better to choose another vendor.

Step 9. Legal matters

All trustworthy Ukrainian software development companies work legally. So once you’ve chosen a vendor, you need to sign a contract and agree on the payment schedule based on the engagement model you chose.

Step 10. Get acquainted with your team

When all these things are set, it’s time to get acquainted with your team. Communicate your priorities, agree on the working process, meeting schedule, deliverables, and other important matters. Just like hiring in-house team members, outsourced staff also require an onboarding process, so don’t forget to introduce your toolset or in-house team members developers will work with.  

Step 11. Start working

It is always exciting to start a new project and watch it transform from just a few lines of code to the first working prototype and then to the fully functioning product. Keep track of the project progress, listen to your team’s suggestions, and make decisions to build your ideal software. 

How to hire Ukrainian Developers in 11 steps

The whole process of choosing a vendor may seem complicated at first. But it is worth all the effort, and here’s why.

Hiring a full-time developer in Ukraine: Terms and options

It may seem that hiring a freelancer is easier than partnering with a vendor, and it will take all the burden off your shoulders. But that’s never the case. Finding a perfect fit isn’t always fast and easy—actually, the average time to hire a software engineer can vary from 3+ weeks for junior specialists to 6+ weeks for seniors.

average time to hire a software engineer

If you have a deadline around the corner or just need a reliable vendor, hire a trustworthy development company, not an individual developer. Here are the benefits an outsourcing vendor can offer:

  • Extensive talent pool. If the dev company has available developers on board, you can conduct an interview and start working as soon as you seal the deal. If not, don’t worry, they will help you find suitable outside candidates. 
  • Risk mitigation. When working with an outsourcing software development company, you don’t have to worry about safe communication, work scope tracking, and transparent billing.
  • Simplified scaling. If you need to scale the team during a development process, an outsourcing company can help you do that very quickly.

Leaving the hiring process to a software development team is the right choice. In addition to saving time, it can also be beneficial financially. Let’s take a closer look at the financial side of outsourcing to Ukraine.

Software development rates in Ukraine

Budget is usually a key consideration when choosing a software vendor. Favorable rates make Ukraine one of the most popular software development destinations. Let’s take a closer look at them.

Hiring an experienced developer in the US can cost you, on average, $100 to $150 per hour. If you decide to hire dedicated developers in Eastern Europe, you’ll find more favorable rates. Hourly rates in Ukraine range from $25 to $80. This reduction in labor costs is especially important if you have a tight budget.

Like anywhere else in the world, the exact rates of Ukrainian developers will depend heavily on their area of expertise, technology, and seniority level. To help you get an idea of possible pricing, we’ve made a table listing roles and corresponding rate breakdowns

RoleRate
Business analyst$40-$63
Architect$50-$77
Project manager$45-$70
Junior engineer$25-$42
Middle engineer$35-$60
Senior engineer$55-$90
Junior QA$25-$42
Middle QA$30-$49
Senior QA$40-$63
UI/UX designer$35-$56

If you want more details, you need to contact your shortlisted vendors. They’ll do estimations based on your project specifics.

Are there any challenges when hiring developers in Ukraine

Ukraine has a vibrant tech community, thousands of talented professionals, and a fast-growing IT ecosystem. Still, each potential client or investor worries about software outsourcing challenges or roadblocks that could appear in their way. So, let’s discuss the legal aspects of cooperation with Ukrainian IT companies.

Government regulations

Often, a country’s laws regarding outsourcing stand in the way of successful cooperation between local providers and foreign clients. But that is not the case in Ukraine. The Ukrainian government does not interfere with the work of the IT industry. Instead, it supports and stimulates its development by adopting reforms and laws like the simplified tax regime for IT professionals. Ukraine has had its tough times, but political events have never negatively influenced the government’s attitude toward the IT industry.

Legal aspects

Developing software projects implies sharing intellectual property and exchanging large amounts of money. When you hire a development team in Ukraine, you may have concerns about being legally unprotected. But almost any reliable Ukrainian software development company will offer to sign the following three documents that will secure you:

  • Software requirements specification (SRS) document. This document’s main purpose is to describe how your software will be developed and how it should function. The SRS includes definitions for the functional and non-functional specifications of the software, along with use cases.
  • A Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). This is an agreement between your company and the vendor aimed at protecting confidential information disclosed in the course of business. The main provisions should include the definition of confidential information, exceptions to the concept of “confidential information,” obligations, terms, and remedies. 
  • Statement Of Work (SOW). This document covers every critical aspect of your cooperation. It should clarify every point of your agreement, such as terms, schedules, payment method, work standards, and acceptance criteria for deliveries. 

Corona crisis

Despite the global corona crisis, the Ukrainian IT market has continued to grow. Last year it increased by 20.4%. When the majority of software development companies in Ukraine turned to remote working, the difference was completely invisible for their clients. 

How to choose a reliable outsourcing vendor?

Outsourcing software development can be your best working option, yet one concern remains: how do you choose a reliable software vendor? To find a perfect match, you need to do three main things: research, read testimonials, and, most importantly, judge vendors not based on what they say but on what they deliver. 

Here are five main aspects of selecting a reliable outsourcing vendor:

Positive track record

When looking for a trusted outsourcing partner, the first thing you should do is to check the feedback from their current and former clients. Leading ratings and review platforms like Clutch and GoodFirms can help you evaluate the companies you are considering and give you a place to get started. Apart from reading testimonials and case studies, you can also ask a company for past clients’ referrals and ask about their experience directly.

Shared values

The company you choose as your IT outsourcing partner should share your values and care about your company’s success. When your outsourcing company understands your mission and has the same project vision, it becomes your trusted partner and invests in your company’s growth.

Outsourced talent quality

When outsourcing software development, you need to be sure that the developers assigned to your project have strong tech expertise. You can ask your potential vendor how they find top talent and also check the developers’ CVs. You can also check out the vendor’s account and its employees’ profiles on LinkedIn to ensure that their backgrounds will work well with your business.

Data security

Privacy and data security are two of the biggest concerns for any business, so you can never be too cautious about addressing them appropriately. Apart from signing a non-disclosure agreement, ensure the company follows modern security standards and conducts regular audits to protect all your sensitive data.

Communication

Regular communication is the key to building successful business relationships. Note how quickly the vendor responds to your requests (taking into account time zone differences). Also, ask how they ensure smooth communication flow (i.e., what tools they use, how frequently they perform meetings) once the project has started.

Success stories of outsourcing software development to Ukraine

Grammarly, Readdle, Looksery, MacPaw, and Depositphotos have one thing in common—all of them are of Ukrainian origin. But Ukraine is much more than just the home of prominent startups. If you look closer, many other successful projects saw the world thanks to Ukrainian developers. So let’s take a closer look at some of them and the stories behind their creation.

Why these 200 tech companies & startups outsource to Ukraine
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Airthings

Airthings is a Norwegian tech company. They have been producing indoor radon monitoring solutions for more than a decade. However, they lacked real-time collection, processing, and visualization of data from their IoT devices. 

The company contacted Relevant to help them tackle performance issues and solve the user’s problems. After a round of brainstorming and discussion about the required feature set, our engineers created a new dashboard on the Airthings website that connects all devices and can be customized according to a user’s preferences.

To decrease load times and improve rendering speed, developers used the clustering approach. It positively impacted rendering speed and helped display a map that shows the location of and data from each device without any delays.

Alexander Sagen, Head of Cloud & Web Software at Airthings AS was delighted with the quality of the Relevant’s services and left positive feedback. Here’s what he said:

feedback on hiring Ukrainian software developers

Biderator

Biderator is an auction platform for the construction sector. It connects contractors to clients and provides them with a transparent bidding process.

A client with over 20 years of experience wanted to develop Biderator to solve the everyday challenges of the construction businesses, so they send Relevant a request. Despite the gap in time zones, our team managed to set up a comfortable, cooperative environment. We regularly recorded videos of team meetings and shared them with the client so they can watch them any time. 

Since the client had multiple stakeholders, we used modern facilitation techniques and old-school methods (e.g., RACI matrix). Once the feature set was discussed and agreed upon, our engineers designed the architecture and developed the web application using progressive programming languages—Angular on the front end and Node.js on the back end.

As a result, Relevant contributed their efforts to the website development process, which made Vahid Walker, CEO and Founder of Biderator, hope to collaborate with our team in the future. Here’s what he thinks about our cooperation in general:

feedback on hiring Ukrainian software developers

Summary

Reasonable software development rates, a considerable talent pool, and highly experienced engineers are only a few reasons why Ukraine ranks among the best countries to outsource software development

If you have already decided to hire software developers in Ukraine, your next step should be finding a qualified tech partner. When choosing an outsourcing provider, pay attention to their expertise, years on the market, customer reviews, and completed projects. 

Relevant has been operating worldwide for eight years, helping businesses and startups scale their engineering teams and build the right products in a cost-efficient way. We have 200+ projects under our belt and can implement the most challenging outsourcing tasks. 

So if you need a skilled software development team, contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

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Written by
Andrew Burak
CEO at Relevant
My company has helped hundreds of companies scale engineering teams and build software products from scratch. Let's connect.

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