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Only in the first half of 2016, Ukrainian IT-companies received orders of $ 1.5 billion. The number of orders continues to grow against the backdrop of economic downturn.
Last year, exports of IT-outsourcing services reached $ 2.5 billion. According to forecasts of the IDC international consulting firm, in 2016 Ukraine’s IT-market could grow by 5-10%. The share of Ukraine in the world IT market volume is only 1%.
However, despite the relatively high salaries that Ukrainian programmers get here, they massively leave the country. Thus, according to SmartMe University, up to 9 thousand Ukrainian IT-specialists moved to Europe and the United States during the last two years.
Today, Ukraine has about 150 thousand programmers, and this number could reach 300 thousand. What do you think about it?
I think that the number of IT-professionals (not just programmers, but project managers, business analysts, architects) who are interested in the market of export services, is closer to the estimates of about 100,000. You are right when talking about 150 thousand in the whole market. But not all of them have good skills and professionalism to go abroad. Doubling the market to 200 thousand to 300 thousand is quite realistic. Ukraine has more than 15 thousand IT-specialties annually.
How have the wages changed in recent years?
The level of wages is a sensitive issue for the IT-business. Not because we do not want our professionals to earn a lot. Of course, we do. But the wages are near the level of Western Europe net income. Today, Ukrainian experts and Ukrainian IT-business must offer something than just programmers who can do more than their foreign colleagues can.
How much money the average programmer of Luxoft, EPAM receives monthly?
We do not talk about some graduations. The experts who have worked for several years receive from $ 2 thousand per month. This is in terms of local currency. Nobody pays in dollars. One of the Swiss banks has translated programmers’ salaries into burgers. Kyiv programmers “earn” the biggest number of hamburgers, more than their colleagues from any other country. Programmer in Kyiv can “buy” more hamburgers than in Europe, America, London, and Berlin.
So why do they go away? I know that some companies are leaving the country.
There is a need to develop the Ukrainian business. Ukraine has a huge potential. But people are afraid of volatility and lack of normal legal conditions. It is a good to be a programmer now, but no one knows what will happen in 20-30 years. Yes, you might have a good salary here, and you have many opportunities. People know that in Central Europe, they will earn less than here. But the EU means free movement, and state guarantees. Ukraine's potential has not yet been discovered. It will open in the next 5-10 years if we build the right infrastructure, if we use the same base, which we accumulated in the past 10-15 years. We need the integration of other high-tech industries. Ukraine can use the experience of countries such as Israel, which also lives in difficult conditions and ongoing conflicts.
What is your forecast for the IT-sector in the near future?
I think the next year or two would be followed by the modest growth (10-15%). Why modest growth? Because the external IT market grows, and the global demand is very high. Therefore, even risky countries, such as Ukraine, have attracted attention. We can get new projects. There are constraints though. During this time, Ukrainian companies and IT-sector should slightly modify themselves.
This means that Ukraine must move from outsourcing business to a qualified business, where the final products could be made. At the same time, we need to actively transform the service of that which we call outsourcing. On this market, Ukraine can win by moving to a higher level. Of course, we need to simultaneously develop a venture business and startups.