Collaboration with Ukrainian Web Development Companies: What to Expect?

Collaboration with Ukrainian Web Development Companies: What to Expect?

If you head your own agency or company, you are no stranger to doubts concerning reliability of vendors and partners. And yet, despite all those doubts, more and more market players choose to work with agencies in Eastern Europe, with Ukraine being one of the most popular destinations. 

Why do companies choose to outsource to Ukraine? Let’s find out in an article by Roy Vikovych, our Business Development Manager.

Lemberg has worked on projects outsourced from European countries and the US for over 14 years now. In this time, we have helped more than 300 clients reach their business goals, built a strong team, and expanded our expertise and portfolio of services. 

I have been with Lemberg for 3 years as a Business Development Manager. Having communicated with many clients and visited numerous tech events, I have gained insights about: 

  1. why companies choose vendors in Ukraine
  2. what concerns they have
  3. how to help them overcome their worries

In this article, I share the most common concerns company owners from Europe and the US have when considering outsourcing their projects to Ukraine. But first, allow me to give you a short introduction to the Ukrainain tech scene.

Tech Industry in Ukraine: Key Facts and Figures

  • According to the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals, 20+ Ukrainian tech organizations were included in the 2020 Global Outsourcing 100
  • As reported by Lvivity, in the first half of 2020, the IT industry in Ukraine counted 200,000 specialists — 19% more than in 2019. 67% of Ukrainian IT experts reside in Lviv, Kyiv, and Kharkiv. 
  • Ukrainian tech talent market is predicted to see a 23% increase by 2024. 

When it comes to specific technologies, Ukrainian engineers are known for their Drupal expertise. According to an article by Drupal creator Dries Buytaert “Who sponsors Drupal development?,” Ukraine is 7th in the list of top 20 counties that contribute to Drupal. Despite a major difference between population numbers in Ukraine and the US, Ukraine has a lot more PHP developers — 9,000 against 7,000 in the US, according to an article by Daxx. Ukraine also boasts 8,000 JavaScript developers and 3,000 Python engineers.

The number of Ukrainian tech specialists continues to grow rapidly, and so does the expertise of Ukrainian digital agencies. However, despite the fact that the likes of Boeing, Samsung, Oracle, and Amazon already have their R&D centers in Ukraine and thousands of other US and Western European companies work with Ukrainian engineers, many company owners continue to have concerns. Let's tackle them one at a time.

Ukrainian vs. American developers

Time Difference

One major concern I often hear from our potential clients is that the time difference between their country of residence and Ukraine will bring about gaps in communication, therefore putting timely project delivery at risk. How do Ukrainian web development companies troubleshoot this issue?

Well, depending on your location, there may be nothing to troubleshoot at all. Ukraine's close proximity to EU countries means that the time difference is in fact only 1 to 2 hours, which allows Ukrainian companies to easily synchronize working hours with their European clients.

Things get a little more complicated for American companies, but there is still enough time to manage essential questions — Ukrainian and US working hours overlap from 12 PM to 1 PM EST. For some companies, the time difference actually works as a benefit rather than a complication. US-based clients can provide feedback at the end of their workday and start the next one with revisions having already been introduced by the team in Ukraine. If both the client's and the Ukrainian web development teams are engaged in the project, the development workflow becomes pretty much ceaseless.

At Lemberg, we easily align schedules with our clients. For instance, we have a successful track record of running online meetings with Elevated Third, a digital agency in Washington, and Unleashed Technology, an agency based in Maryland.

If you want to learn more about nearshoring to Ukraine, read this article by our business representative in Germany Olga Lysak.

Time difference between Ukraine, European, and American countries

Cultural Background

Another common concern surrounding cooperation with Ukrainian web development companies is that cultural differences will affect work efficiency. But is Ukrainian work culture really that different?

Geographical proximity to Western Europe and shared historical ties have resulted in similar communication styles and workplace habits. Ukrainian developers value honesty and transparency in business contexts, don’t overpromise, and prefer to get straight to the point during meetings. They may appear distant and formal at the start of cooperation, but get more approachable and down-to-earth over time.

Ukrainian developers may not be particularly interested in engaging in small talk with foreign partners at first. However, they tend to quickly adapt to the client's communication style and feel comfortable to discuss different topics when they get to know each other better.

Language Difference

So time difference and culture aren't an issue. But what about the language barrier? Surely, you want to work with engineers who will be able to understand your requirements to the letter. Can Ukrainian tech companies ensure an English-speaking environment? 

As English is the primary language of tech worldwide, most companies that work internationally demand at least an Intermediate level of English from their employees, with plans for further improvement. To that end, almost every Ukrainian tech company offers free English lessons to their staff. As a result, 85% of Ukrainian tech specialists speak English at an Intermediate level or higher. Developers feel motivated to achieve proficiency in English because they want to talk to clients directly, thus reducing misunderstandings and increasing the speed and quality of communication.

At Lemberg, we provide English lessons to our engineers so that communication between them and our clients is as smooth as possible. Intermediate is the minimum required level of English proficiency we expect from our employees.

Educational Background

Last but least, when choosing a vendor, you should pay attention to tech education and overall tech environment in the destination you are considering, as they greatly influence the number and the skill level of local tech professionals. Here is what Ukraine has to offer in that regard:

Ukraine has long been known for its strong engineering education. 83% of IT professionals here have a university degree. 51% of software developers employed at Ukrainian web development companies have STEM-related degrees. Ukraine boasts some of the largest numbers of STEM and computer science graduates in Europe — 9.8% out of all graduates, to be precise, which amounts to 20,000 new professionals a year.

Ukrainian universities open special programs in order to attract more and more students to develop the highly demanded tech skills. The country also has no shortage of independent initiatives that run tech conferences and other events. They also invite Ukrainian developers to schools so they can educate children on the benefits of learning STEM and working in the tech sphere.

Wrapup

As a short summary of everything I mentioned above, here is why you should shake off all worries and partner with a Ukrainian web development company:

  • Ukraine is close to the EU. The communication style in the tech industry here isn't much different from that in Western Europe. 
  • English is a must-have skill for developers who work in the Ukrainian tech industry. Local agencies are very unlikely to hire employees whose English proficiency level is lower than Intermediate.
  • Ukrainians may seem formal and reserved at the beginning of cooperation, but will warm up over time
  • Ukraine provides sound engineering education and a bustling tech scene. Universities and other organizations arrange special educational programs and events aimed at involving more students in tech.
  • Ukraine is 7th of the top 20 counties that contribute to Drupal development. As for other technologies, the country has 9,000 PHP developers, 8,000 JavaScript, and 3,000 Python specialists

If you want to make sure that your outsourcing experience is positive, start with small steps and gradually delegate more and more work to your partner. Besides, it is always a good idea to partner with organizations that have extensive background in remote collaboration with European and American companies.

If you have any other questions about cooperation with a Ukrainian digital agency or would like to learn more about our services, feel free to get in touch

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