About two weeks ago, TNW X (The Next Web X), in cooperation with TechUkraine and Center 42, published a post on Ukrainian tech cities of the future. It grouped both well-established and promising brands from various niches of the IT market to create a comprehensive tech landscape of the Kyiv city, the biggest IT hub in Ukraine. We are proud to know that QAwerk’s expertise has been acknowledged by such a prominent market player as TNW X. QAwerk is placed next to such successful startups as GitLab, Petcube, and Ring Ukraine; Amazon bought the latter for one billion dollars. QAwerk has also won the trust of big international brands, such as Unfold, Station, and Elsewhen.
In this article, we will shed light on the Ukrainian tech ecosystem, focusing on Kyiv, benefits of hiring Ukrainian IT specialists, and QAwerk’s path to recognition and success.
About TNW X
TNW X is an Amsterdam-based matchmaking platform for IT corporates, governments, startups, scaleups, and investors. Over the years, the company has vastly expanded its reach and created a large global tech ecosystem. Its database contains information about 250000 startups, 12000 global investors, whereas its media attracts 8 million readers a month. The TNW Index allows everyone interested in finding a perfect software vendor to use the company’s database and advanced search platform, as well as track and export all the needed information conveniently. The company encourages startups specializing in different niches to apply for a program that satisfies both parties: the startups receive global exposure and growth opportunities, whereas TNW X learns first about cutting-edge technologies and innovative solutions. To support its networking services, TNW also arranges tech festivals, conferences, and online events devoted to today’s most pressing issues. For Amsterdam residents and guests, TNW offers a working space at one of its tech hubs, which allows businesses to meet new representatives of the tech community and enjoy partner perks and tailored events.
More on the Ukrainian tech ecosystem
Ukraine has long become a leading IT outsourcing destination in Eastern Europe. In 2017, the Global Sourcing Association named it the UK’s offshoring destination of the year. The basis for the current engineering potential was laid a long time ago when Ukraine was part of the USSR. Back then, it was a major technological hub that attracted the best engineering, maths, and physics talent to its institutions. Nowadays, the industry keeps developing at breakneck speed: since 2003, it has grown by 30%, and it is projected to generate 10 billion dollars by 2025. Annually, more and more Ukrainian companies make it to the top 100 global outsourcing providers by IAOP. The biggest share of Ukrainian IT professionals goes to Kyiv; however, other cities, such as Kharkiv, Lviv, Dnipro, Odesa, and Zaporizhia, also have a decent talent pool of tech experts.
Benefits of hiring Ukrainian IT specialists
Ukraine has managed to build a large outsourcing empire for several reasons. We listed only the most prominent benefits investors and international clients gain from cooperating with our IT force.
Large IT talent pool. Each year, the Ukrainian IT industry grows by 25000-30000 specialists who graduate both from tech higher education establishments and private schools. As for the skills representation, software developers and QA specialists make up 68%; DevOps engineers, business analysts, UI/UX designers, and security experts account for 28%, and 6% goes to project managers. Kyiv alone hosts 68500 software developers, whereas the total number of IT experts in Ukraine amounts to 200000. These statistics confirm that outsourcing IT services to Ukrainian companies is a sound solution.
High-quality education. According to the 2015 Bloomberg Innovation Index, Ukraine is listed among the top five countries that offer the best post-secondary education. This result is not surprising as Ukraine has a sufficient number of tech-oriented schools and colleges capable of giving profound education. Most IT professionals have at least a bachelor’s degree, and it is not uncommon to meet people with a Master of Science. The Kyiv tech landscape includes more than 30 tech universities and colleagues and approximately the same amount of private IT academies. As a result, solid tech education translates into a high quality of outsourcing services.
Expertise in cutting-edge technologies. Ukrainian software developers do not lag behind their colleagues from the world’s most developed countries. Working at outsourcing companies that usually presuppose multiple projects and collaboration with international teams, our tech experts get hands-on experience in the most promising and innovative areas of IT. If you need a solution in any of these domains – machine learning and AI, IoT, blockchain, big data, AR/VR, cybersecurity, cloud computing, gaming – you know whom to contact.
English proficiency. For professionals working in the IT industry, English knowledge is an absolute must. Writing clear documentation, cooperating with a foreign team, communicating with international clients – all these daily tasks require a good command of the English language. Therefore, many IT companies hire English teachers for their employees and cover the cost of attending the classes either fully or partially. According to the 2019 survey conducted by DOU, a Ukrainian IT news portal and job platform, 40.6% of Ukrainian software developers have the intermediate level of English proficiency, 32.4% are upper-intermediate speakers, and 7.6% are advanced in using English. Similar results were received after questioning QA engineers – 44%, 35.2%, and 6.5%, respectively. Overall, around 80% of IT specialists have the needed level of English proficiency, which allows them to work with clients the world over.
Low hourly rates. One more factor that lures foreign investors and entrepreneurs to the Ukrainian tech ecosystem is a relatively small fee for software development services. If we take software development agencies in the United States, the hourly rate for software engineering may range from $125-300. Services from software developers in Western Europe will cost you approximately $70-100, whereas Ukrainian agencies charge much less for developing the same products – $30-70. As you see, the difference is significant, especially if we are talking about large, time-consuming projects.
Cultural and geographical proximity. Being part of Europe and striving to adopt its best practices in conducting business, Ukraine has developed a work ethic similar to that of most European countries. The latter implies that IT companies in Ukraine know how to take responsibility for the quality of the final product, deliver the service within the set deadlines, ensure a client-centered approach, and take care of their employees. The same collaboration standards are valued in the USA. European clients can easily come on the site to meet their new team and familiarize themselves with the Ukrainian culture.
World’s recognition. The word about “the country that codes” was spread a long time ago. Many global market players, such as Microsoft, Magento, Samsung, Oracle, IBM, Huawei, eBay, Skype, ABBYY, have been running R&D centers in Ukraine. These renowned brands prove one more time that Ukraine is home to many talented and hardworking people, who cannot imagine their lives without technology and who use its latest advancements to make a change. Many successful startups such as Grammarly, Petcube, Kwambio, Preply, and MacPaw were founded by Ukrainian tech enthusiasts who had enough courage and skills to create an innovative product.
Types of IT companies in Ukraine
Setting non-profits, events & media organizations, investors, and startup incubators aside, we can define the following types of IT companies in Ukraine:
- large product companies (such as Grammarly, Genesis) – aim all the development resources at adding value to their own products through improving the functionality and building new, useful features
- startups (such as Restream, People.ai) – focus on scaling up their unique solutions and expanding the market reach
- IT services companies (such as QAwerk, Redwerk) – help other businesses succeed through providing custom software solutions, developing a product from scratch, assisting with QA, SEO, BPO
- international outsourcing/outstaffing giants (such as EPAM, Ciklum) – have a large customer base and offices all over the world; offer different types of outsourcing services
- consulting and BPO agencies (such as Center42, Alcor) – assist companies in developing effective business strategies, handling legal, administrative, or recruiting matters, setting up an office in Ukraine
How QAwerk became TNW X’s choice
We feel proud that our tireless efforts have been acknowledged by a consulting agency with a global market reach and such a high level of expertise. We believe the key to our success lies in our strong leadership, highly motivated and results-driven team of professionals, years of practice, and conducive working environment. Because of the horizontal management style, QAwerkers can easily share some of their most brilliant ideas with the CEO, which fosters the atmosphere of loyalty, mutual trust, and efficient cooperation. Although these words may sound pretty cliche, these are the essentials that will help any venture achieve the set goals. Nevertheless, we are willing to tell you even more about our culture, expertise, and accomplishments. Keep reading!
What makes us stand out
As we’ve mentioned earlier, the IT industry in Ukraine is growing with each passing year. This trend implies that the market competition is also becoming much stronger. So what do we do to stand out from the crowd? Operating since 2015, QAwerk has gained valuable insights as to how to differentiate itself from the rivals.
One-stop shop. At a certain time in our lives, we all had the experience of calling a company just to hear the service you need is beyond their expertise. QAwerk decided to save its clients from such a disappointment. We have tirelessly worked on enhancing our technical prowess, and so far, we feel confident in taking complex and demanding projects. We have mastered specification-, structure-, and experience-based testing techniques to make sure we can thoroughly test the product at each stage of its development. With agile methodology, thorough multi-platform testing, cross-industry experience, and personalized approach to clients, QAwerk can assure impeccable software quality for small, medium-sized, and large-scale businesses.
Flexible engagement models. We believe that it is our responsibility to make every customer feel comfortable and cared for. For that, we make sure our clients receive only the services they need: no imposed extras, no unclear schemes, no unnecessary frustration. We understand the importance of timely communication: we are flexible in working hours and thus easily reachable regardless of the client’s time zone. To learn more about the business models we offer, click here.
Bug crawl initiative. We provide free express testing for anyone interested in the initiative. It is our way of contributing to the IT community: we do not want bugs to destroy the image of innovative products, and if the users’ first impression is ruined, the product will not make it to the market. Bug crawl is what helped Unfold to improve its app before the final release. You can read more about our success story with Unfold in this article. So far, we have tested around 80 apps, which translates to over 700 bugs.
Solid experience. Over the years, we’ve mastered the ins and outs of manual and automation testing. Through trial and error, we’ve learned how to make the process of quality assurance comprehensive. If you want to see our services in action, check out this article, in which we provide real examples for almost every type of software testing we did for our client. We provide software testing services for mobile, web, and desktop applications, as well as professional technical writing and documentation.
New perspective. It is a well-known fact that any serious issue requires an outside perspective because people who have worked on the same project for years may overlook certain aspects. This scenario usually happens because employees get used to their routine and lack hands-on experience in other QA matters. QAwerkers have a broad outlook on testing because they have gained expertise in improving software solutions from different industries, which gives them an advantage over their colleagues at product companies or outsourcing companies specializing only in one niche.
High customer satisfaction. We value our customers’ reputation as much as ours, and this attitude to work is what led us to a 95% client retention rate. There is nothing more fulfilling for us than receiving genuine appreciation for our efforts. Understanding that all the good work we’ve done brings tangible results and has the potential to change people’s lives inspires us to strive for success even with stronger perseverance. If you are curious about what our clients say, make sure to check the reviews on Clutch and Goodfirms.
Long-term collaborations. We have reached the point where 60% of our collaborations grow into long-term partnerships founded on the principles of mutual trust and support. We are happy to know that we help other businesses thrive because only by helping others succeed can you gain recognition and market authority. Bug-free and crash-proof products are what makes our clients come back to us every time they need high-end QA.
Global market. We are lucky to have worked with clients from the USA, Canada, Australia, the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Germany. These are the countries that foster technological advancements and set new trends in the use of technology. The fact that QAwerkers work on par with experts from international teams motivates us to work even harder, so to exceed clients’ expectations and reach new horizons.
Dream team. Our team is not too big, and this is probably what makes it even cooler. Everyone knows each other’s strengths, areas for improvement, unusual talents, hobbies, which adds comfort and joy to the everyday lunch breaks or Zoom meetups. It is no secret that happy employees are productive, initiative, and extremely creative. We are so glad to have talented, well-educated, experienced, dedicated, assertive, and open-minded people on our team.
The Ukrainian tech ecosystem is yet to reach its prime, and we genuinely believe in its bright future. Even though we are just a small part of the Ukrainian tech landscape, we have accumulated a solid knowledge base that we are willing to share. As long as there are opportunities for highly skilled tech professionals to showcase their talent, Ukraine will preserve its reputation of “the country that codes.”