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How to Hire Developers in Ukraine and Is It Still Safe?

Want to hire a developer for your startup in Ukraine, but don’t know where to start? We will explain how to do so and will talk about safety considerations of cooperating with Ukrainian developers during war in Ukraine.


This article was contributed by Michael Ruzew who is a full-stack developer and team leader at Clockwise.Software.

The world was shaken when Russia launched a full-scale war against Ukraine on February 24. No one could have thought that a European country could be subjected to numerous terrorist attacks in the 21st century. Of course, the war has influenced most businesses, companies, and industries. Still, the IT sector appears to be one of the most stable ones in the country. According to IT Research Resilience: War's Impact on Ukraine's IT Industry report, 75% of Ukrainian IT companies have active projects in spite of war.

In this article, we will answer the critical question about the situation with the IT industry in Ukraine during the war, will inform you about the risks, and explain how to hire developers for a startup in Ukraine.

The state of the Ukrainian IT industry after February, 24

Ukraine has always been an attractive IT outsourcing destination for startups worldwide thanks to high-quality services for a reasonable price and a large talent pool. Hiring Node.js developers, React developers, or Python developers is not a problem if you look for them in Ukraine.

But, after Russia's unprovoked aggression against Ukraine, many founders started to question: Is it still safe to cooperate with Ukrainian developers and IT companies after the beginning of a full-scale war in the country?

Ukrainian companies that provide software development services greatly supported the Ukrainian economy during the war period. Although 44% of Ukrainian IT workers claim that their work has changed when the war started, 55% of Ukrainian IT companies' CEOs state that they keep on receiving new offers from clients even after the beginning of the war. 88% of Ukrainian IT companies claim that they keep hiring new specialists. 

Thanks to the established stability of the IT sector in Ukraine (exported IT services brought around $3.74 billion to Ukraine's economy in the first half of 2022), the war didn't hit the Ukraine IT sector hard enough to shatter it.

It's fair to say that the Ukrainian IT sector didn't collapse because of war but, on the contrary, became stronger to a certain extent. 

How Ukrainian IT companies handle war-related issues

Since the first day of the war, the lives of all Ukrainian citizens appeared to be in danger. Many were forced to move abroad or to relatively safe cities in the country's west. Some IT companies even paid for the relocation of their employees. After Ukrainian armed forces regained control of Kyiv, Chernihiv, and Sumy regions and removed Russian troops, the country's situation stabilized quickly, and many Ukrainians returned to their homes. Including some IT workers who were able to return to office work.

IT companies in Ukraine do everything possible to ensure uninterrupted workflow. They equip offices with alternative sources of electricity, Starlink internet, and provide their remote workers with everything they need to work when electricity is absent. The government also works hard to fix electricity after every missile attack in the shortest terms to bring electricity back to most Ukrainian homes.

Is it still safe to hire Ukrainian developers and is it worth it?

Before the war, many founders wanted to hire Ukrainian developers for their projects because they are highly skilled and well-educated and provide their services for affordable prices (on average, Ukrainian developers charge from $35 to $70 per hour). You can easily find JavaScript developers in Ukraine because, according to DOU.ua, it's the most popular programming language among Ukrainian software engineers (18,1%). The other most popular programming languages among them are Java (14,7%), C# (14,3%), Python (12,1%), and PHP (10,1%).

Outstanding hard skills aren't the only advantage of cooperation with Ukrainian developers. Ukraine is located in the same time zone as the majority of other European countries, being only two hours ahead of London, Zurich, etc. Proximity to other European countries isn't the only thing that unites Ukraine with them. Ukrainians have the same mentality as Europeans, so you won't have to worry about their soft skills, attitude to work, and reliability.

Most IT specialists work remotely from safe places and cope well with problems associated with the absence of electricity. After the COVID pandemic, it wasn't a problem at all for IT companies to establish a fully remote workflow. Only 7% of IT companies claim that they have lost more than half of their revenue because of war. So, you can safely run a startup cooperating with developers from Ukraine.

How to hire developers in Ukraine

It's not that easy to hire a Ukrainian developer for a startup, as there are so many options. So how to do so to make the right choice? Read our step-by-step guide.

1. Decide on your needs and choose a cooperation model

Depending on your needs, you will require different types of services. For example, if you want to find a developer in Ukraine to complete a small task within your project, you can hire a freelance developer that will work for you part-time or until the task is completed. But, if you need software developers for full-time, you can go for either IT staff augmentation services or IT outsourcing services.

IT staff augmentation

IT staff augmentation services will be a perfect option if you need to extend your team with a few developers that provide the necessary expertise that your existing team lacks. This way, you avoid risks associated with hiring developers on a freelance basis and save your time on recruiting, as it's much easier to cooperate with a company that provides IT staff augmentation services than looking for the required professionals and handling the hiring process yourself from scratch.

IT outsourcing

If you don't yet have a dedicated team, or your team is busy with another project, or doesn't have the required expertise to work on the project you are planning to launch, consider applying to an IT outsourcing company. Such companies can provide a whole software development team of experienced specialists that have the necessary expertise to work on your project while you will be able to avoid issues associated with gathering a team by yourself, saving a lot of time and money.

2. Choose the optimal destination

The main Ukrainian tech hubs are in Kyiv, Lviv, Odesa, Kharkiv, and Dnipro. There are over 100 IT companies and thousands of developers. Of course, Kyiv may seem as the most attractive destination for searching for developers since it's the capital of Ukraine but note that rates of developers from this city may be slightly higher than you expect. So, you may want to consider developers from cities with lower rates.

While the war in Ukraine continues, you should also consider the current situation in the city where the company you want to cooperate with is located. For example, Kharkiv is close to the border with Russia, so you will have to ask potential candidates if they are in safe places and if nothing bothers their work.

3. Shortlist vendors

You can start shortlisting vendors as you have chosen the type of service you need and the optimal destination. Check all the available information about the companies (portfolios, CVs, case studies, reviews from previous clients, etc.) and make up a list of the most suitable candidates that have the most chances to meet your needs.

4. Conduct interviews with candidates

You can start choosing the best vendor as you have chosen the most suitable candidates. Prepare a list of questions you consider the most important for your project. Don't forget to ask how a company handles legal regulation, development costs, company values, etc.

5. Make your choice

After conducting the interviews, you will probably hesitate about a few great candidates. And it may be really hard to choose between them. To make the right choice, you can create your estimation system. Define your priorities, make up a list of the pros and cons of each candidate, and decide on things you are ready to give up in favor of others.

In conclusion

Someone may think that it's not the right time to cooperate with Ukrainian developers during the war in Ukraine. But, after several months of the war, Ukrainians managed to deal with most problems and establish a war-life balance and normal working process. Thus, there are no significant reasons not to cooperate with Ukrainian developers and deprive your project of qualified specialists and favorable development services cost. You can easily hire a development team in Ukraine or complete your existing team with one or few developers from Ukraine. You have to be attentive while making a choice.

About the author

Michael Ruzew is a full-stack developer and team leader at Clockwise.Software with more than 6 years of experience in the industry. He finds inspiration in everyday tasks and turns routine coding into creating unique user experiences. Being an avid learner, he checks out every novelty in the tech world and doesn't miss an opportunity to improve his skills.

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