Misunderstood Positive Aspects of Hiring Ukrainian Developers 

MARYNA DEMCHENKO

Published: 04 Mar 2021

Ukraine series: Culture

As a company whose bread and butter is building remote teams, we can say that when you hire Ukrainian software developers, you'll find more common ground than it may seem at first. The cases of our successful collaboration with companies worldwide prove this point, as well as the fact that Ukraine is a hot spot for outsourcing. 

Running a remote team can be challenging, because as it happens with all remote collaborations, many barriers can come into play, including physical distance, as well as language and cultural differences. Сommon concerns range from "How do I handle a time zone difference?" to "How do I make sure we understand each other as we speak different languages?"

In this article, we will shed light on the positive aspects of working with Ukrainian teams that are either not obvious at first glance or that are often misunderstood. Let’s dive in. 

Language 

Ukrainians are mostly bilingual with Ukrainian and Russian as the two most used languages. When it comes to foreign languages, Ukrainians emphasize the importance of English as the lingua franca of international communication. Most students learn English as a second language, starting from pre-school and all the way through school and university. 

It means that when you hire Ukrainian developers, you’ll work with specialists who speak English at a decent level. Nearly 80% of IT specialists have mastered the language at a B2 level, which is recognized as “confident” by international standards. Moreover, good spoken and written English is a critical requirement for landing a job at an IT company. 

With this in mind, there’s no considerable language barrier between Ukrainian IT specialists and their English-speaking counterparts. At worst, you can run into contextual misunderstandings that typically happen with second-language speakers. You can easily overcome this by backing up spoken communication in writing and reiterating essential things to ensure you’re understood. 

Time zone 

While Ukraine is perfectly suited for nearshoring with a few hours difference with European countries, for US and Canadian teams, it seems that it may be hard to find ideal communication windows, but in actuality, Ukraine tends to be in the middle of most time zones, so there is always a way to find overlapping coverage.  

Typically, time difference is perceived as a negative when it comes to working in a distributed environment. Yet there’s a positive side to the time zone difference that may not seem obvious. Running teams separated by a 7-12-hour difference provides you significant coverage. In a 24-hour timeline, two teams will work in your project, 8 hours each. This way, you get 16 hours of work on your project per day. If you’re located in the Bay Area, by the time you’ve had your morning coffee, your Ukrainian team will have daily progress to report and your local team will get started based on it. 

Of course, it can be a chore to coordinate both teams' schedules and find ideal cross-hour windows for meetings. There’s a wealth of tools that help distributed teams manage time zone differences, including the good old Calendar that helps everyone stay on top of each other’s schedules. In some scenarios, Ukrainian teams can shift their schedule and start their working day a few hours later to get more cross-over hours with your team.  

READ ALSO: Labor Laws and Working Conditions in Ukraine

Cultural aspects

When it comes to culture, Ukrainians are unencumbered by deeply ingrained behavior patterns like siesta or the strict social hierarchy pertaining to Eastern countries. As a nation, Ukrainians are closer to Western Europe, both mentally and geographically. Located on the crossroad of European and Eastern civilizations, Ukrainians are known as open-minded people who quickly adapt to other cultures. That being said, let's have a look at what qualities you can expect when you hire software developers Ukraine.

Open communication. In Eastern cultures, asking your boss anything or questioning their decision is taboo. This statement doesn't hold true for Ukrainian developers. In Ukraine, many teams follow the American way, where you can ask your manager anything, receive and offer feedback freely. 

Ukrainians are honest in their opinions. They won’t just say things you want to hear or try to butter you up with promises just to make you happy. The communication you’ll find here is based on truth, even if it's harsh. Embracing this communication style can help you avoid risks associated with false promises, as people here will be honest with you right off the bat. 

Outspokenness. Ukrainians are more direct than their Western counterparts, which sometimes is mistaken for rudeness. Compared to Americans/Western Europeans who value formal courtesy, Ukrainians often can't understand the importance of small talk as an "ice breaker," as it isn't typical for Ukrainian culture. A classic example here is the "how are you" question that can send the best of Ukrainians into confusion. If they had a bad day, they are most likely to tell you about it. That’s an example of brutal honesty that comes with open communication. 

Modesty. Interviewing Ukrainian developers, their modest nature may take you by surprise. It’s true that many Ukrainian professionals, even the most experienced ones, often don’t come off as charismatic. Don’t rush to judge at the face value though. Even if a candidate looks reserved and modest, the problem probably isn’t with their lack of confidence but with the lack of self-promotion skills. The reluctance to stand out from the crowd is a quality inherited by many from the Soviet times, and it still persists in our society. 

Flexibility. Generally speaking, Ukrainians are sticklers to rules and process, but at the same time, Ukrainian developers are also inquisitive and prone to searching for out-of-the-box solutions. They are flexible enough to offer a solution that's not on the surface. Thus, if you're looking for a source of fresh ideas, you can rely on the problem-solving mindset of Ukrainian developers. 

Perfectionism. Ukrainian developers are known for high standards of work and bringing everything to perfection, as they genuinely root for the project's success. We can even go as far as saying that the Ukrainian IT industry wouldn’t be what it is today without the strong work ethic that engineers in Ukraine possess. The perfectionism can be explained by the fact that most Ukrainian IT companies clone the culture, methodology, and communication patterns of European, US and Canadian companies, as they partner with Western companies to build an extension of their local units. 

READ ALSO: Fall in Love With Outsourcing to Ukraine

Wrapping up

To sum up, below is a shortlist that will hopefully help you realize the positive aspects of hiring developers in Ukraine

  • Working with your local unit, a Ukrainian team can provide you with an additional 8 hours of work in a 24-hour timeline. You can plan your day and meetings, considering that your Ukrainian team has already made progress by the morning at your place;
  • Most Ukrainian developers have a high level of English proficiency;
  • Ukraine is close to the Western world, both mentally and geographically;
  • Your Ukrainian team will quickly adapt to your company culture and communication style;
  • Constructive criticism is a two-way street when you work with a Ukrainian team; 
  • Ukrainian developers are more direct in communication than you are probably used to, but that comes with the benefit of honesty;
  • Self-promotion isn't a strong suit associated with Ukrainian engineers, but that’s not to say they aren’t confident or professional; 
  • Ukrainian developers aren't mere performers. You can rely on their problem-solving potential as well. 

If you have any questions about hiring a remote development team of Ukrainian developers, let’s talk. 

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