Software Development alternatives to Ukraine
Due to the interruption of services from and to Ukraine due to war, here is a list of alternative software development locations offering equal or better benefits, ensuring projects and works continuity for Western European Clients.
Commonly known facts for Eastern European software engineers are their proficiency in English and other European languages, making them a prime target for nearshoring talents. But to build effective remote developer teams, it is also important to analyze other factors such as technical and soft skills. Specific team capabilities will be mentioned separately for each outsourcing location, as different countries also incorporate different cultures, which might play a role, especially for more significant projects and teams.
To make it more transparent and easier to compare different locations for nearshoring your IT talent, we identified six distinct factors which determine a fit for your company:
- Location-based information related to political and geopolitical stability
- Technology stacks and preferred technologies
- Estimated number of Software Engineers
- Number of renowned Companies
- Benefits of the location
Nearshoring Top Locations for Software Development within the European Union
Location: Tucked in the lower right part of Eastern Europe, Bulgarian territory also connects Europe with the Middle East and Africa. The only official language in the country is Bulgarian.
Once called “the sixteenth republic” of the Soviet Union, Ex-regime remnants and party leaders tore Bulgarian history and political scene. In recent years, the government stabilized, and the taxation system counts to the lowest corporate tax locations in Europe. Bulgaria’s Currency, the Bulgarian Lev, is tied to the Euro at a fixed exchange rate, which pauses any currency risk.
Technologies: Bulgaria has a great pool of developers, working almost on any technological stack. Typescript-based Web Technologies (Node, React, Vue, Angular), PHP, Java, C#, and generically Microsoft-based tech stacks are widespread fields of activity for Bulgarian Software Developers. Bulgaria has shown luck of C and C++ capable engineers over the past years; however, few resources are available in the high-tech satellite and IOT industry.
Number of Software Engineers: 70.000 (estimated)
Number of Renowned Companies: 225
Benefits: Bulgaria as a nation commonly provides excellent quality software engineers with many years of experience in Software Development. Bulgarian Engineers speak perfect English, and in some cases German, and integrate into diversified international teams. As one of the “older” countries in outsourcing software development, Bulgaria has many larger companies that serve larger dedicated teams. Bulgarians are open-minded and normally pleasant to work with.
Disadvantage: Bulgarian Software Developers are heavily involved in international projects, and their availability can be restricted at times. Therefore, we suggest planning ahead of time and book resource availability before they are sold out.
Location: Romania declared autonomy in the mid-nineteenth century, annexing Wallachia and Moldavia, after centuries of rule by its previous holder: the Ottoman Empire. After WW2, they managed to acquire a new territory – Transylvania.
Known best for non-other than Count Dracula, Romania has twice the land of neighboring Bulgaria and four times the population. Even though its petroleum resources are reclining, and salaries are low compared with the rest of Europe, Romania is a great candidate for becoming what some economists refer to as a ‘developed’ country.
Like Bulgaria, Romania hosts one of the best ground routes to leave and come to Europe from the Middle East and Asia. The Carpathian Mountains dominate the country’s midsection, and the Danube River is the natural border of Romania with Serbia and Bulgaria.
Technologies: Romanian companies can be engaged in various technologies, but we’d recommend Web Technologies as the highlights. Due to Romania joining the outsourcing locations, younger software engineers are employed, who prefer the web as their playground. Technologies like React and NodeJS are commonly found as the primary skills of engineers in Romania.
Number of Software Engineers: 105.000 (estimated)
Number of Renowned Companies: 459
Benefits: Equally to the rest of Southeastern Europe, Romania provides an outstanding technical level of Software Engineers. As Romania doesn’t belong to the traditional Outsourcing and Out staffing locations, there are plentiful companies providing resources compared to the rest of Southeastern Europe. As Romania, compared to other locations inside the EU, is an emerging player, it has grown its revenue from 2015 till 2022 to over USD 5 Billion, which is a record leap.
Disadvantages: Software Development Companies in Romania are mainly smaller to mid-size companies, which makes the sourcing of larger teams from a single resource provider rather tricky. Another clear disadvantage is the cost of hourly rates, which can be dazzling, ranging on average from 50 to USD 200. Resource availability must be planned carefully.
Location: Before gaining independence, Poland was influenced by Russia, Austria, and Prussia. After WW2, Poland had to regain its identity, and after serving decades as a satellite state for the Soviet Union, it managed to bring the communist era to a close with the first free election in 1989. Ten years after the free elections, Poland joins NATO.
Poland lies in central Europe, spreading to the east of Germany and the west of Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania. It has a 440 km (about the length of New York State) coastline to the north (Baltic Sea). The country is primarily flat, and half of the land is agricultural. The highest population is concentrated in the Southern Area, in booming cities like Krakow, Warsaw, and Lodz.
Polands’ population is around 40 million people (about twice the population of New York City), most of whom are Roman Catholics.
Technologies: Polish Software Engineers are skilled developers in any technology desired by the client. There is some notable talent in BI and AI available to solve close to any problem arising in Software Development. There is no specific highlight when speaking about technology, and it is down to the company which technologies they specialize in.
Number of Software Engineers: 295.000 (estimated)
Number of Renowned Companies: 779
Benefits: Poland has a considerable tradition in Software development, mainly for the inland market. Since the early 1990s, their IT market has steadily grown to serve many IT startups, which have produced a reasonable wealth on the international market. Commonly Polish Software Engineers speak English fluently and are thriving Team Capable. Most Software Companies locate in Warsaw, and the average company size is Small to Medium, without taking into account the economic dimension of Poland, which is the largest economy in Eastern Europe.
Disadvantages: Poland doesn’t have the advantage of reasonable hourly rates, with an average of 50 to USD 99 being the average. As in most other locations, availability has to be planned carefully and in advance time.
Nearshoring Top Locations outside of the European Union
Location: Known as North Macedonia since February 2019, it is one of the youngest countries in Europe. It separated from Yugoslavia in 1991 without the involvement of any military action. As a land-locked country, North Macedonia’s most significant natural water resource is the two beautiful lakes near its southern border – Ohrid and Prespa. Before 2018 Macedonian was the only official language; however, after a long-lasting ethnic conflict with its western neighbor, Albanian also gained official recognition.
Macedonia is still struggling to stabilize its economy, which is one of the major obstacles on its way to becoming an EU member. Following the resolution of the country’s name disputed by neighboring Greece, North Macedonia entered NATO with a changed name.
Number of Software Engineers: 10.000 (estimated)
Number of Renowned Companies: 44
Benefits: We found an excellent level of algorithmic knowledge to be an advantage when working with Macedonian Software Developers. Also, software engineers are friendly with an open mentality, which easily integrates Macedonians into any international team and is a pleasant experience.
Disadvantages: Finding resources is complex due to the limited number of developers.
Location: The terrain of this country is primarily mountainous; tiny flatlands occasionally sprinkle the coastal strip to the west.
Established more than 100 years ago (1912), Albania gained independence from the Ottoman Empire, like Romania. Shortly before WW2, Italy and Germany ruled it briefly long after the original autonomy. Albania joined NATO in 2009, and just like North Macedonia, they are still on the list of pending EU candidates.
Albania sets one of the bright examples of how ethnic conflicts can escalate into unimaginable proportions. Although the Kosovo War caused about 13 000 casualties, it caused most of the population (1.8 million) to leave their home and seek refuge in other countries. The sad aftermath is that ethnic-related violence is still a reality, leaving a big scar on the nation’s morale. Albania’s economy is still restricted by infrastructural flaws and therefore is dubbed one of the poorest countries in Europe.
Number of Software Engineers: 10.000 (estimated)
Number of Renowned Companies: 49
Benefits: Equal to Macedonia, Albania is a newcomer in Nearshoring. Albanian developers are knowledgeable.
Disadvantages: Albanian developers are not used to working in larger teams yet. It can constitute a challenge to integrate them into larger teams; therefore, fair leadership is required to achieve targets quickly. Due to the limited amount of Software Engineers and Software Development Companies, finding resources is difficult.
Location: Turkey is the direct descendent of the Great Ottoman Empire and has a wealthy cultural and historical heritage. It is a transcontinental country, occupying the large peninsula linking Europe and Asia. Most of turkey’s border is a coastline, touching three water basins: Black Sea, Aegean Sea, and the Mediterranean. One of the critical economic landmarks is the Bosporus – providing a commercially valuable outlet for Russia and Ukraine’s trade routes to reach other continents. Bosporus is within Istanbul – one of the rare examples of a metropolis that resides on more than one continent.
The country has been a NATO and UN member for over fifty years. After the Turkish military’s failed attempt at taking power in 2016, the country remains torn by the applied pressure of various authoritarian forces, separatist insurgencies, and civil unrest. Despite the wide variety of minorities residing in the country and about 30 different spoken languages, Turkey’s official language remains Turkish.
Turkish economy indicates a steady growth, although it did suffer occasional hiccup in the last decades. The country is a world dominator in exporting hazelnuts (75% of the world’s share). Turkey is also a sought-out trader of goods like grapes, olives, and textile products.
Technologies: Turkish Companies primarily specialize in branding, UX design, web design, web development, social media marketing, and mobile apps.
Number of Software Engineers: 40.000
Number of Renowned Companies: 196
Benefits: Competitive rates and well-educated younger engineers make up the central IT workforce in Turkey.
Disadvantages: Several smaller companies with few resources. Larger companies with 250+ Engineers are rare. The fact is that sourcing for larger projects or bigger teams becomes difficult.
Location: Serbia has a diverse terrain with a mix of old mountains, limestone basins, and productive plains. Half of the land is used for agriculture, and one-third of the territory is covered by forest. Like Turkey, some of the natural hazards of Serbia are earthquakes.
The name ‘Yugoslavia’ was the alternative to what the world previously had known as the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. The apparent ethnic friction is embedded in Serbia’s historical records. Even though Kosovo declared its independence way back in 2008, Serbia still does not officially recognize this act.
Serbian economy relies on manufacturing and export. Although the country progressed in the privatization of business, some primary industry sectors like power and telecommunication remain state-controlled.
Although Serbia is not a member of NATO, it has been a UN member since 2000, and its current plan is to become an EU member by the end of 2025.
Technologies: Serbian provides a skilled Software Engineers workforce. The level of education in Serbia is high due to governmental focus on the broader education sector. Due to the late entry into Global Software development, Serbian Developers are skilled mainly in Web Technologies like Typescript based technologies but can adapt quickly to other technologies when required.
Number of Software Engineers: 30.000
Number of Renowned Companies: 141
Benefits: Many Software Engineers are concentrated around Belgrade and Novi Sad, the primary education centers of Serbia. Education is critical in Serbia. With over 98% of the population being 15 years of age and older, a relative long continuity in Software development can be achieved, thus the growing number of software engineers will relieve the lack of engineers in other regions.
Disadvantages: The small number of companies with little personnel makes staffing larger teams challenging. Also, Serbia has many freelance developers, which work mainly independently of each other.
Location: Once the most dominant state in Europe, Ukraine is today only a remnant of the glorious days of the 10th and 11th centuries. Since its independence in 1991, the country has been subject to political turmoil and corruption. The unceasing influence of Russia has recently culminated into the military scene we have been witnessing since February 24th.
Ukraine lies north of the Black Sea, spreading between Poland, Romania, Moldova, and Russia – with smaller outlets to Hungary, Belarus, and Slovakia. Apart from Russia, Ukraine is the most populated country compared to its immediate neighbors – at 43 million.
Although most of its territory is catered to agriculture (about 70%), Ukraine is also a recognized exporter of metals like copper and iron. After the country proclaimed independence, its economy grew for a decade, only to drop to around 1999 to about one-half of its previous state, diminished primarily by its ongoing political struggle.
Number of Software Engineers: 195.000
Number of Renowned Companies: 1145
Benefits: A large amount of Software Engineers, combined with a long history in the Outsourcing segment, made Ukraine a perfect location. Companies with many employees also make staffing of larger teams easily feasible. Ukrainian Developers work in international teams and mostly speak at least English fluently. Ukraine, under democratic leadership, has promoted the IT sector and made it one of the favorite locations for IT outsourcing in continental Europe.
Disadvantages: Current situation of war. It will be hard to work with sanctioned and invaded countries to run serious business relations. Before the current crisis, hourly rates were in the upper segment, compared to Poland.
Conclusion – Alternatives to Ukraine IT Developer Crisis
When it comes to finding the right talent, many factors need to be incorporated. There are three crucial factors: culture, availability/talent pool size, and qualifications.
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