According to the Ministry of Justice, there are more than 200,000 individual entrepreneurs in the IT sector in Ukraine. In 2020, their number increased by almost 30,000. Now Ukraine ranks 11th in the top 50 countries with the best programmers. At the same time, we have a big problem with getting a high-quality IT education and not only. has found out where Ukrainian programmers study, how much they earn and what difficulties they face in their work.
According to the Ministry of Digital Transformation, Ukrainian universities graduate 15,000—17,000 IT specialists annually, and about 40,000 new vacancies appear on the market. Programmers are mainly trained in higher technical educational institutions (there are more than 50 in Ukraine), in various academies, and schools.
For example, DOU.ua compiled a rating of the most popular Ukrainian universities in such IT smajor as: Computer Science, Software Engineering, Cybersecurity, Computer Engineering, Automation and Computer-Integrated Technologies, Information systems and technologies, System analysis. According to the results of the 2020 admission campaign, the Ukrainian Catholic University ranked first. Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv and Lviv Polytechnic ranked second and third, respectively. However, market experts believe that in many educational institutions the learning process is far from modern requirements.
"KPI (Kyiv Polytechnic Institute), KhPI (Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute), and Lviv Polytechnic teach Computer Science, that is, classical programming. Students who graduate from these universities cannot work within the specialty at once, because the acquired knowledge still needs to be "leveled up". Students learn languages that no one else uses, or work on computers that are slower to process data than smartphones.
There are also a number of courses on the market that promise to teach programming in 3 months or 3 weeks. The cost of training ranges from 20,000 to 120,000 UAH, but the acquired skills are not worth it. There we have the opposite situation to universities: here they give practice, but they do not understand the basics."
Director at LEATER-ICT
Such courses often do not have a unified programme that would eventually come together. Therefore, learning is chaotic: someone learns to code in Python right away, someone starts to learn Java. But iactually, a programmer's job is not just coding. Project management is also important here (understanding where an IT project starts), as well as teamwork, the ability to set, divide and delegate tasks, and knowledge of how exactly the hardware works: servers, boards, etc.
An alternative to this approach can be courses from Coursera or other platforms developed by foreign universities. However, not everyone will be able to master them, since they are usually taught in English.
So where else can one study as a programmer in Ukraine?
Vitaliy Minyaylo, CEO and co-founder of the IT company Neurotrack.tech, says that among the institutions working in this area, there is the computer academy STEP that has 105 branches in 22 countries. She trains programmers, designers and other professionals. The Mate Academy programming school organizes training in such a way that theory occupies 20% of classes, the rest—more than 500 hours—is practice. School for developers GoIT positions itself as a place where absolutely everyone can master IT, and constantly holds online marathons.
Courses last six months on average, the theory is specialized, the priority is the practical use of the information obtained.
Realizing the shortage of personnel in the market, IT companies themselves create their own courses and schools. EPAM, SoftServe, GlabalLogic and others "grow" the staff for themselves. But they train the specialists they need.
There is also an alternative view of learning. For example, Dmitrij Sofyna, CEO at IT-Association Vinnytsia, said: if a student, before graduating from a specialized university, gets a job in an IT company, as most do, then he does not need a diploma at all. He will get all the knowledge in practice.
What are the professional requirements for programmers?
The word "programmer" means almost 30 different specialties. But in general, any specialist in the IT industry should have such professional skills as:
- technical English at the Upper Intermediate level and above;
- design of data warehouse structures design;
- experience with Microsoft SQL Analysis Services, Microsoft SQL Server, Reporting Services, PowerBI, Linux, Git, Yii Framework, AngularJS, etc.
"One of the main requirements for a highly paid programmer is the ability to work fruitfully in a team, communication, initiative, and managerial abilities. In addition to proficiency in several programming languages, it is necessary to have a good command of the off-the-shelf components libraries. Job vacancies also often require a high level of proficiency in English, both written and spoken."
Chief Digital Information Officer at Publishing House Umniki
What is the level of specialists that are currently working in the industry?
Requirements depend on the position. If for a Trainee it means having a good mathematical base and soft skills + the ability to learn quickly on their own, then a Junior should already code simple programs on their own. The ideal level is a Middle, when the programmer is already working independently, but they still lack experience for incredibly complex tasks or new technologies. A Senior is at the top of this list.
"The IT industry is interesting because this area is very dependent on people and their various skills, not only technical, but also the so-called soft skills. Because an IT project is not only about code and technology, it is also about people and their interactions. If we talk about middle-specialists and above, then multitasking is appreciated. Especially for working in startups. That is, you know your specialization well, but at the same time you are studying related areas. For example, I am a frontend specialist, but if there are any problems with the server, I can figure it out and get it working."
Back-end Team Lead
What is the level of salaries for Ukrainian programmers?
The salary of a programmer depends on their qualifications and competence. According to IT market experts, the average salary of young specialists in Ukraine is from $300 to $1200. A programmer in a Middle position earns an average of $2000, and a Senior—from $3500 to $7000.
The average salary of a programmer in Ukraine is $2500 per month. Now salaries are growing: it has grown by $300 for System Architects, by $150 for Team/TechLeads, by $200 for Seniors, and by $100 for Juniors.
For comparison: salaries in the USA and Canada vary in the range of $4000—7000. That is, the salaries of Ukrainian programmers today are the same as those of specialists from Eastern Europe, and are approaching salaries in Western Europe with the prospect of reaching the level of income in the USA.
Is there a shortage of personnel?
According to Djinni, the job searching website for IT specialists, currently 16,000 specialists are seeking employment in Ukraine, but there are only 21,000 currently open positions. There is a shortage of specialists in all IT professions on the market. One of the reasons is the exodus of specialists abroad. And the main advantage for a foreign employer is the cheaper price/quality ratio of our specialists.
«Today the market of programmers in Ukraine is incredibly overheated. It comes to the point that for one developer (of a certain technology and qualifications) there may be several new vacancies on the market. Companies are always looking for personnel. As a rule, the industry grows by +20% per year, and if meeting all vacancies, it would be +100%.»
CEO at R& DCenter Winstars Tech and IT-Association Vinnytsia
The pandemic and the quarantine also increased the labor shortage in this market, because they stimulated businesses around the world to invest in digitizing processes and services. Therefore, IT companies had more work to do: there was a sudden demand for these technologies, but there were few specialists ready to implement them.
"The boom began in the summer of 2020 after the first quarantine. The demand for specialists in the summer of 2021 already almost three times exceeds the number of those who are seeking employment. According to the portal Djinni, the number of responses from technical specialists with any experience per vacancy is in the range from 0.9 to 2.7. I believe that demand will not decrease in the near future, because there is such a trend in many other markets."
Senior Frontend Developer at IT company Youshido
Ukrainian programmers are appreciated in other countries as well. Most often Germany, Israel, Great Britain, and the USA invite them. Specialists leave Ukraine looking for better conditions and interesting projects. But if earlier the possibility of remote work was one of the advantages abroad, the latest case of recalculating salaries in Google depending on the place of residence can change the rules of the game in the market.
What problems do Ukrainian programmers face in the industry?
One of the problems in the IT business is working with foreign investments. A number of foreign investors do not want to clinch deals in the Ukrainian legal terrain due to problems with bureaucracy, corruption and courts.
The sphere of options in Ukrainian law has not been regulated either. Options are an opportunity to give the right to an employee to obtain a certain share in the company in the future. This is often practiced abroad (in the EU and the USA), especially companies that go IPO. In our legal terrain, this area is not fully regulated. Therefore, IT business usually solves these issues in foreign jurisdictions.
«Now the government is trying to solve the main problems of the IT sector with laws and bills on Diia.City. Now almost the entire IT market operates through the system of a group of private entrepreneurs. The contractors are not registered according to the Labor Code with the corresponding tax of 41.5% that the employer must pay for them, but work according to the system of subcontractors. That is, they become individual entrepreneurs and pay a tax of 5% of their turnover. On the other hand, given that the salaries of IT specialists are quite high, even 5% compensate for the allegedly "lost" 41.5%. But all the same, this is a gray area in the legislation.»
Founder and CEO of the financial and legal company Finevolution
The expert notes that now we are witnessing shifts, the purpose of which is to resolve and settle these issues and remove working through private entrepreneurs. The same draft law on Diia.City stipulates a limitation for IT companies that voluntarily join Diia.City on working with private entrepreneurs up to 50% until 2024 (as a transitional provision) and a further reduction to 20%. That is, gradually, until 2025, they will try to change this scheme.
In general, government initiatives in recent years have shown interest in the development of the IT sector. After all, IT is one of the leading areas that brings significant funds to the budget of Ukraine (last year, the export of IT services became a record for the entire time and amounted to more than $5 billion), determines our vector of development, and creates a certain reputation. Therefore, it will not be possible to simply ignore this sector, and it is not necessary, because the future belongs to it. The government is taking certain steps, or at least declaring to make it easier for IT entrepreneurs, but to what extent this will be possible, we will find out only in the future.