For more than two decades, Eastern European countries such as Ukraine, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, and Belarus have been helping the US, Western Europe, and Australia close their growing talent gaps.
Throughout this time, Eastern European programmers have earned a reputation as scrupulous, goal-oriented, and highly skilled specialists. But there’s more.
In this article, we discuss the most important aspects that have made Eastern European programmers so high in demand among Western European employers.
Continue reading to learn about the reasons why companies around the globe have a positive outsourcing experience with Eastern European developers.
10 Major Reasons to Work with Eastern European Developers:
- A large number of programmers with rich expertise
A high level of English proficiency among programmers
Large tech talent pools with both popular and rare skills
A great value to cost ratio
Close cultural proximity to the US and Western European countries
High-quality technical education
Extensive experience in outsourcing
Rapid growth of tech markets in Eastern European countries
A convenient location, negligible or no time difference with the majority of Western European countries, and an equal number of working hours per month with the US
Lower infrastructure costs and cheaper internet
|Country||Number of Programmers||Average Rates||Popular Languages||Tech Hubs||Famous Startups|
1. Eastern European Developers Have Rich Expertise
Gone are the days when Eastern Europe was the place you went to hire low-cost entry-level specialists.
Nowadays, Eastern European programmers repeatedly make it to the top charts of the world’s best developers.
For instance, Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, and Romania have got into the top 20 of the HackerRank list of countries with the best developers in the world.
Developers rate by country | Source
Developers from five Eastern European countries have also won places on the list of the top countries with the best programmers globally, according to SkillValue: the Czech Republic took 5th position, Ukraine came 4th, Hungary ranked 3rd, Poland 2nd, and Slovakia ranked 1st.
Which country has the best developers? Ukraine is among the top 5 | SkillValue 2019
2. A High Level of English Proficiency Among Eastern European Developers
Programmers, compared to the rest of the population, have a sensibly higher level of English.
For instance, in Ukraine, around 85% of programmers have an intermediate or higher level of English proficiency.
English proficiency of Ukrainian software developers
According to the EF English Proficiency Index, Eastern European countries have topped the list of 30 countries with high proficiency scores.
Hungary takes 14th position out of 100 counties/regions (#12/34 in Europe), Poland is 16th (#14/34), Romania is 17th (#15/34), Slovakia — 22nd (#20/34), and the Czech Republic lands at the 19th spot in the index (#17/34).
One reason why programmers living in Eastern Europe speak such good English is that tech companies typically provide English lessons as part of the corporate benefits pack.
It’s also not unusual for programmers of different language acquisition levels to have private and group classes with native English speakers.
All these efforts are directed at minimizing miscommunication and improving English speaking skills of tech workers.
Besides, those aiming to work in the tech industry know that English is going to be a key requirement for most positions, so they invest plenty of time into language learning when still in college.
3. Eastern European Developers Have Both Popular and Rare Skills
The CEE region has around 1.3 million Eastern European developers and tech specialists.
Poland comes at the top of the list with its 400,000 tech specialists, and Ukraine follows with 200,000+ tech experts.
Next, we have Romania, which currently counts 139,000 software programmers.
The Czech Republic follows closely with 130,000 software developers, leaving the 5th spot on the list of Eastern European countries with the largest number of developers to Hungary.
|Country||Number of Programmers|
And it’s not all about the quantity. The variety of programming skills offered on such vast talent markets as Ukraine and Poland is pretty wide too.
Eastern European Developers: Top Programming Languages in Ukraine
A great number of Polish mobile programmers use the Elixir, Kotlin, and React Native stack.
Eastern European Developers: Top Programming Languages in Poland
As a rule, big cities in Eastern European countries are more prone to catch the eye of Western European and American clients. So, for instance, in Ukraine you’ll see the following distribution of the country’s 200,000+ programmers across the largest tech hubs:
Kyiv — 37%
Lviv — 15%
Kharkiv — 14%
Dnipro — 8%
Odesa — 5%
And in Poland, the distribution of tech specialists and programmers in the largest IT hubs looks like this:
Kraków — 70,000
Warsaw — 65,600
Wrocław — 47,500
Katowice — 23,700
In Hungary, 80,000 tech specialists are also spread across the largest cities: Budapest, Debrecen, Szombathely, Miskolc, Szeged, and Pecs.
4. A Great Value to Cost Ratio
It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that Eastern European programmers play a vital part in developing tech products for Western European, American, and Australian tech companies.
Their expertise comes at a lower price than that of their colleagues from more established tech nations like Switzerland, the Netherlands, the UK, or Germany.
And this is how this translates to numbers: on average, an Eastern European software developer charges $30–-$65 per hour of work.
Poland ($45–$69) is currently the most expensive country for outsourcing software development among all Eastern European countries.
Meanwhile, in Ukraine ($30–$60), Croatia ($32–$63), and Belarus ($33–$48), companies charge the lowest rates in the region.
Eastern European Programmers’ Rates
Geographical proximity, market size, demand, expertise, and ease of doing business are the five major factors that shape the average rates of software developers in Eastern Europe.
With that in mind, it’s hardly surprising that you’ll find the highest developer rates of the Eastern European region in Poland.
5. Close Cultural Proximity to the US and Western European Countries
Despite some stereotypes that may still persist, the business culture in the tech industries of all Eastern European countries is very similar to that of Western Europe, if not the same.
And there’s a logical explanation for this -- hundreds of tech companies in Ukraine, Poland, and Hungary were founded by business people from Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, and other Western countries.
Many others were founded by Ukrainian, Hungarian, or Polish founders with a global mindset and work experience in disruptive tech products of the West.
Taking into account the fact that the tech industry itself is quite young, fast-growing, and innovative in its nature, in many countries, it has been developing in certain isolation from other industries — in the best sense of the word “isolation.”.
Almost all tech companies were built in the image of the ones that already existed in Western European countries. Now, in Ukraine, most tech companies have no strict hierarchy and a very Western-like, business culture and approach to leading communication.
If you’ve ever had a chance to visit a tech company in Eastern Europe, you’ve most likely noticed that its management and employees follow similar communication rituals, and share familiar views on work-life balance.
6. Eastern European Developers Get High-Quality Technical Education
Most Eastern European programmers have technical degrees.
In fact, some of the Eastern European countries such as Ukraine have more science graduates than countries prized for innovation like Japan, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, and Belgium.
About 36,000 tech students graduate from 402 universities and colleges in Ukraine every year.
The long-haul results of such a considerable number of graduates are impressive: around 75% of software developers in Ukraine hold a higher education degree, about 6.3% have two degrees, and 1.5% hold a Sc.D degree.
The World Economic Forum has listed Ukraine among the top 10 countries by the number of engineering, construction, and manufacturing graduates, with a total of 130,000 graduates each year.
In Poland, about 80,000 students graduate from 23 technical universities every year. And in Hungary, about 6,000 tech graduates get degrees in 65 universities yearly.
Number of Students who Graduated from Tech Universities by Country:
- Hungary 6K
- Poland 80K
- Ukraine 36K
In Poland, the number of students in all higher education institutions reached 1.20 million in the 2019–-2020 academic year. However, the number of ICT students dropped to over 63,000 students.
7. Eastern European Programmers Have Extensive Experience in Outsourcing
66% of Dutch and 77% of German tech businesses outsource software development to Eastern Europe.
Where German companies outsource software development
According to our own analysis, 17% of German tech companies choose Ukraine for outsourcing software development. Around 12% of tech business owners in Germany outsource to India, 10% to Romania, and 9% to Poland. 4% outsource software development to Belarus.
Where do German companies outsource software development?
Meanwhile, Dutch companies prefer working with programmers from:
- India — 18%
- Ukraine — 14%
- Poland — 9%
- Romania — 9%
- Belarus — 5%
What Countries Prefer Working with Eastern European Programmers?
More than 45% of Israeli tech companies outsource software development to Ukraine. The next favorite destinations are the US, Bulgaria, India, and Russia:
- Ukraine — 41%
- USA — 12%;
- Bulgaria — 11%;
- India — 11%;
- Russia — 7%.
Where do Israeli companies outsource software development?
While communicating with our clients, we often hear that Eastern European developers, and Ukrainian developers in particular, have valuable characteristics that improve the performance of the entire team.
The proof is in many Clutch reviews, such as this one given to Grid Dynamics developers by a CEO at an IT company from Germany:
"As a company, we’ve definitely learned, grown, and improved because of their team."
"We have been very happy with their performance, and they’ve done more than we expected,", said Daniel Taiber, VP of R&D at InsFocus, another one of our clients.
8. A rapid growth of tech industries in Eastern European countries
By the end of 2021, the IT outsourcing market in the Eastern European region is expected to reach $12 billion. The largest tech markets are in Ukraine ($4 billion), Poland ($2 billion), and the Czech Republic ($1 billion).
Short Information About the ICT Market in Poland
- The ICT market will generate $13 billion by the end of 2021
- Computer equipment sales, IT services, and software distribution generate the majority of income in ICT
- The IT outsourcing market grows by 5–10% per year
- The IT sector accounts for 3.3% of the country's GDP, a number that is forecasted to reach 3.5% by 2021
- There are 8 developers per 1,000 citizens in Poland
Key Statistics About the IT Outsourcing Market in Bulgaria
- The ICT market is predicted to hit 7.9% of the Bulgarian GDP by the end of 2021
- IT companies in Bulgaria spend 0.7% of their revenue on taxes
Relevant Data on the IT Outsourcing Market in the Czech Republic
- ICT exports in the Czech Republic have reached $1.78 billion
- The Czech Republic is 27th out of 82 countries by the overall tech capacity
- The government invests 2% of GDP in tech and is listed among the top 20 countries that strongly invest in the development of the tech sector
- There are 10 developers per 1,000 citizens in the Czech Republic
IT Outsourcing to Romania Statistics
- The Romanian IT market amounts to €1 billion
- The ICT market grows by 15% year-by-year
- 70% of the tech market in Romania is under the control of foreign investors
- Romanian tech companies generate €50 million per year
- There are 6 programmers per 1,000 citizens in Romania
Key Facts About the IT Outsourcing Market in Hungary
- 66% of IT revenue in Hungary comes from tech companies the US, the UK, and Germany
- The value of ICT grows by 6–8% year-to-year
- The Hungarian ICT market is expected to reach $2.8 billion by the end of 2021
- There are 9 developers per 1,000 citizens in Hungary
2021 IT Outsourcing Statistics in Belarus
- The IT industry in Belarus comprises 4–5% of the country's GDP
- There are 6 programmers per 1,000 residents in Belarus
Facts About IT Outsourcing to Croatia
- ICT market in Croatia makes around €3.5 billion every year
- Government provides over 40 governmental services online
- There are 9 programmers per 1,000 citizens in the country
9. Eastern European Programmers Are 1 Hour Ahead of Most European Countries
Eastern European programmers are only 1–-2 hours away from Western European countries.
Meaning that they share 7 out of 9 business hours. Eastern European countries also have a 7-hour time difference with the East Coast, which results in more shared working hours for US businesses than with workers based in India, Philippines, and Vietnam.
Eastern European programmers work the same number of hours as those in the US 40 to 60 hours per week.
Just to compare, in the UK, programmers work for 36.04 hours per week, and in Germany — 32.77 hours.
In the majority of Eastern European countries, employees only have around 11–-13 universally observed public holidays, with a small exception of 19 public holidays in Bulgaria.
Traveling to Eastern Europe is easy too. A direct flight from major tech hubs in Western Europe to key Eastern European locations takes only 2–3 hours. A flight from New York would last around 7 hours, which would still be pretty convenient for an American business owner looking to meet their developers in Eastern Europe.
10. Lower Infrastructure Costs and Cheaper Internet
In Ukraine alone, there are around 1,500 internet service providers that offer broadband internet. What’s more, the overall cost of broadband iInternet in the country is among the lowest in the world.
All Eastern European countries show high rates of adoption of fixed-line internet access and related services. Bulgaria shows the highest rates — 39.5%, while in Poland the adoption rate is 20.8%.
Bucharest (30th), Riga (32nd), and Vilnius (29th) were acknowledged as the top three cities for digital infrastructure in the CEE region, according to EDCi rankings.
EDCi digital infrastructure top ranking:
1. Bucharest (30)
2. Riga (32)
3. Vilnius (29)
4. Bratislava (25)
5. Budapest (22)
6. Tallinn (20)
7. Helsinki (4)
8. Prague (19)
9. Lisbon (17)
10. Paris (6)
With all the facts above considered, it’s hopefully no longer a question of why you should outsource to Eastern Europe, but how. And this is where Grid Dynamics comes in.
We have been enabling companies from all over the world to close their talent gaps for more than 22 years now by giving them direct access to software developers in Ukraine. Our experts would love to tell you more about what we do and why we are good at it, so don’t hesitate to get in touch below.