The possibility of reaching out to highly skilled software developers while saving some production costs is an essence of IT outsourcing. No wonder business owners are constantly exploring outsourcing destinations and trying to detect the most efficient out of them. Although Asian region (India, Pakistan, and other neighboring countries) has been the top outsourcing destination for over a decade, some entrepreneurs find cultural mismatch and time zone difference uncomfortable, which inspired them to start looking for more convenient solutions in the nearshore zone, Eastern Europe in particular. This article is going to survey the two leading European destinations for IT outsourcing — Ukraine and Poland — in order to find out which peculiarities of software development each of these countries has.
Overview of IT Industry in Ukraine and Poland
Ukraine has been the leading IT outsourcing destination for years now, and the demand for Ukrainian developers isn’t going to decrease anytime soon. Reasons for that are their cost-effectiveness, programming expertise, and relatively good English literacy skills among other benefits. Currently, the IT industry there employs 130,000 specialists having various yet narrow technical expertise. According to industry forecasts, this number is going to proliferate, and by 2020 there will be about 240,000 of IT professionals in Ukraine. Such rapid growth is easily explained by how promising, prestigious, and dynamic IT field in Ukraine is. There are also some benefits in terms of working environment: from access to cutting-edge technology to flexible hours in the majority of offices.
Since jobs in the IT field are amongst best-paid careers, 35% of Ukrainian graduates choose to study IT-related subjects in universities. In general, the level of education in Ukraine is beyond impressive — it ranks fourth in the world in the amount of citizens with a degree of higher education and has literacy rate of 100% amongst younger generations. Determined orientation towards information technology and solid educational background explain why Ukraine has secured its leading position in the list of IT outsourcing locations.
The recognition of Ukraine as an IT outsourcing option has started long ago, and such market giants as eBay, Skype, Boeing, and Bosch were the first to discover the potential of Ukrainian professionals. Samsung Electronics, NetCracker, Siemens, Magento, Gameloft, and Huawei have opened their R&D centers in Ukraine, and we believe this list will rapidly grow in the near future. 80% of Ukrainian application and web development services are exported to the US, and the rest is mostly contracted to European business owners. Regardless of local bureaucracy and complexity of all the legal issues related to software development, numerous Ukrainian IT companies gained its reputable status worldwide and about 20 of them were included in the 2018 release of The Global Outsourcing 100 list.
Poland is another very popular spot for Western entrepreneurs to outsource IT activities. Developers there have not only solid technical skills, but also western mindset and great command of English language, which makes US and European business owners consider hiring Polish devs in the first place. By now, the IT industry in Poland has about 160,000 employees, which is more than 1.7% of world IT market. About 80% of the services are distributed to the businesses based in Western Europe, although the vast majority of application and web developers eventually collaborate with local companies as well.
Poland offers a great range of IT-related courses at local universities, which was formed due to high demand for schooling in the field of technology — about 75,000 Polish graduates annually apply to computer science faculties. Around 15,000 of IT university graduates enter the labor market yearly, and 95% of them say they speak English fluently. The most prestigious educational entities in Poland are AGH University of Science and Technology in Kraków, Poznan University of Technology, and Wrocław University of Technology. It’s not only local applicants who want to study there, these institutions also attract foreign graduates, especially from Ukraine and Russia.
Although software development in Poland is an in-demand job, the wage difference between IT professionals and other fields, like business, trade, real estate and others, is not that huge as it is in Ukraine. Average salary that a typical IT company in Poland offers its developer is approximately $2300 per month, while the average salary in Poland considering other fields is about $1300. Overall, the economy in Poland is far more stable than in Ukraine; being a member of EU Poland has positioned itself towards constant economic growth, which positively impacts the level of life there and decent salaries demonstrate that as well. However, even if the average IT salary in Poland is higher than it is in Ukraine, app and software development cost is drastically lower comparing it to the US and Western Europe. Companies that have already discovered the IT outsourcing potential of Poland include HP, Microsoft, and IBM among others.
Polish vs Ukrainian Developers: Skills Comparison
#1. Hard Skills
Generally speaking, the Ukrainian IT sector is concentrated around a single user-oriented software development, while Polish devs gravitate towards the development of enterprise software products. However, labor forces of both countries thoroughly keep abreast of ongoing trends and changes in the IT field, thereby adapting their skills and expertise to the market demands.
#2. Soft Skills
Fruitful collaboration is impossible with insufficient communication and understanding between all contracting parties. As opposed to long-distant offshore regions, European citizens are way more similar to Western people in terms of mentality. In Ukraine, as well as in Poland, quality of the delivered service and respectful attitude to the client are amongst the top priorities of every reputable IT outsourcing company. Local devs also have no problem with implementation of various project management methodologies from Agile to Kanban or Waterfall in their operations. What differs these two markets is the fact that the vast majority of Ukrainian IT services (de facto, more than 80%) is delivered to the Western countries, most frequently to the US. Meaning, the Western region is the key focus of IT sector in Ukraine. Meanwhile, Polish IT industry distributes a decent share of programming services to local entrepreneurs and positions their companies to suit Polish business owners.
#3. English Literacy
A separate word should be said about command of English in Polish vs Ukrainian programmers. In terms of bilingual employees, Ukraine is far behind Poland, where more than 90% of devs speak English well enough for professional use and 30% offer German speaking skills as well. As reported by n-ix.com, only 40% of Ukrainian IT professionals have advanced level of English, however, the level of English in top IT outsourcing companies is drastically higher than in smaller enterprises.
Low labor cost and top-notch quality of programming solutions are two key reasons why Eastern Europe has become the leading outsourcing destination for the US, Central Europe, and the UK. Both countries under our review have strong intellectual potential and offer a great number of skilled IT professionals. Ukraine tops Poland in taxation and wages, as Ukrainian devs’ expertise is just as high as it is of Polish programmers for lower price. Also, a technology range seems to be a bit wider in Ukraine. Nevertheless, Poland also has a lot to offer, for example stronger English speaking skills in developers, more stable economy, and government transparency.
If you are looking for outsourcing solutions that would benefit your business, these two countries are definitely worth your attention. For more options of nearshore application and web development, read our overview of software development outsourcing companies in Ukraine.