Are you still hesitating about data science outsourcing? Your competition is not. While some choices make short-term impacts, others make lasting ones. Thus, how we make these choices is critical to our success. Data science enables businesses to adopt the data-driven approach which can enhance their effectiveness and give them the competitive edge over other players on the market. So it comes as no surprise that in 2017, the global big data market size will grow to 33.5 billion USD in revenue.
The insights into customer behavior and other aspects of business performance obtained from big data analysis ensure you’re going to gain competitive advantages. The bad news is that by 2018, the United States is expected to face a shortage of 1.5 million employees who can apply the analysis of big data to make effective decisions. Hence it’s a good idea to outsource this expertise if your business can’t access or afford the needed specialists.
In this article, we’ll explore Ukraine as a destination for data science outsourcing. The country is recognized as one of the top IT outsourcing markets in Eastern Europe offering a wide range of software development services and competent engineers. So let’s learn more about Ukrainian data scientists and weigh up the pros and cons of cooperating with one of the Ukrainian software development providers.
Data Science Outsourcing Services in Ukraine
Ukraine is well known for its developers delivering software products of the highest quality, favorable business environment and moderate cost of IT services. All this makes the country one of the leading IT outsourcing hubs in Eastern Europe. Local IT market is very dynamic. To outpace the contenders, Ukrainian IT outsourcing firms have to follow latest industry trends. Therefore, many software development providers offer data science outsourcing services.
Ukrainian IT companies have gradually developed expertise in this sphere by setting up data science R&D centers, organizing events and trainings for their engineers, learning from the international experience, etc. Thus more and more professionals enter this sphere in Ukraine. As of this article publication date, there are 27 data scientist jobs in Ukraine on glassdoor.com. Just to compare, there are 247 openings for developers who write in Java, the most popular programming language in Ukraine.
As mentioned above there is an increasing shortage of the qualified specialists in the field. So when American and European companies have faced the challenge of finding data experts they quickly discovered Ukrainian data scientists.
Ukrainian Data Science Community
It’s worth mentioning that Ukraine is a developing country and IT is one of the few industries where employees have good salaries. As data-related expertise is even better paid Ukraine’s finest minds are motivated to master this expertise. Thus, many developers, analysts, and mathematicians adjusted to IT outsourcing labor market demand and changed occupation.
The indeed.com statistics show that for job postings nationwide average data scientist salaries are 15% higher than average software engineer salaries.
Today Ukrainian data scientists form a close-knit community that organizes numerous conferences, workshops, hackathons, courses and other events to discuss and practice in data mining and predictive analytics. Since 2014, AI Ukraine – the International AI Conference – is annually held in Ukraine. This year there were 26 speakers including world’s leading experts such as Leonard Newnham, Chief Data Scientist at LoopMe (London, UK) and Michal Zylinski, Advanced Analytics Technical Specialist at Microsoft Warsaw (Poland). AI Ukraine 2016 gathered over 500 professionals and focused on such realms as deep learning, computer vision, natural language processing, the use of big data and predictive analytics in the gaming industry, and so forth.
All the events aim at helping data science newcomers by sharing the experience of working with different analytical tools and giving career advice. In the biggest Ukrainian IT hubs such as Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro, and Lviv data science enthusiasts unite into clubs and virtual groups in social networks.
The community is active in promoting data science among students by organizing lectures on related topics. Most of the events are free and held on weekends, that’s why they gather many young people interested in big data, analytics, machine learning and AI.
Data Science Education in Ukraine
Historically, the country has a strong educational tradition with the STEM-based curriculum. In addition, Ukrainian Catholic University, one of the most progressive higher educational institutions in the country has introduced a Master’s program in Computer Science with specialization in Data Science this year. The three-semester curriculum offers mathematical foundations such as applied statistics and probabilistic analysis as well as data science. Statistical inference, mining massive datasets, deep learning and natural language processing are among the skills guaranteed to be acquired by the program graduates.
Today’s Ukrainian data science professionals are actively learning data science from industry experts at Facebook, Cloudera, MongoDB with the help of such MOOCs platforms as Coursera and Udacity.
Hard Skills of Ukrainian Data Science Professionals
An obvious must for any data scientist is the ability to work with SQL. Python is an effective open source tool for analysis, thus experience in working with it is also important. Python is good for being a general-purpose language with an easy-to-understand syntax and its data analytics libraries. Other useful instruments include Excel, SAS and R, a special programming language and software environment for statistical computing and graphics. The functionality of R developed specially for statistics purposes gives field-specific advantages such as great features for data visualization.
Open source big data processing frameworks as Apache Spark built around speed, ease of use, and sophisticated analytics are also sought after among Ukrainian data experts. A good data scientist should be familiar with Scala which is the language for the Apache Spark, Finagle, and Scalding and so is invaluable when dealing with large datasets.
All the aforementioned tools are popular among Ukrainian data scientists retrained from professional mathematicians, developers, and market analysts. Besides, they are especially good at mathematical analysis and statistics and have analytical thinking.
Soft Skills and English Proficiency
As for the soft skills, Ukrainian IT professionals have close cultural affinity to the West and are experienced in everyday communication with foreign clients. Among other qualities desirable for a beneficial partnership, they offer a good sense of responsibility and teamwork as well as general emotional intelligence.
Good communication skills and knowledge of English make Ukrainian data scientists even more attractive. According to dou.ua, the number of Ukrainian IT professionals with fluent English is 40.2%, and of those with intermediate level is 38.6%. Basically, English is a must for any data scientist, otherwise, they wouldn’t have much chance to enter the profession.
Pros & Cons of Data Science Outsourcing to Ukraine
To sum up, Ukraine offers the following advantages:
- Ukraine offers competitive pricing for data science services that makes the country more attractive than other European outsourcing destinations.
- Ukrainian data scientists have the strong mathematical background and are united into an active community.
- The country has a large talent pool of qualified IT professionals including data scientists, machine learning engineers, data analysts and software engineers, and a wide choice of providers with over 1,000 companies.
- Ukrainian IT professionals have cultural affinity to the Western world, great soft skills, and proficiency in English.
- Ukrainian national government supports the IT industry by simplification of the taxation system and creation of the environment favorable for IT business.
As for the considerations that might be important to take into account before making a business decision, they are as follows:
- The EU membership might be subject to the corporate requirements of your business. Ukraine hasn’t joined the EU yet. However, there are many IT companies in Ukraine that have development centers in the EU countries where you may outsource your project.
- One of the major concerns of businesses that consider outsourcing software development to Ukraine is the political situation in the country. Still, keep in mind that it’s a developing country that faces its challenges on the way to European Union membership. What’s more, it’s one of the factors that influence the reasonable development cost.
- Maintaining effective communication with an offshore IT development provider might be challenging. As Ukraine is a European country and there is just 1-2 hour difference with the major European cities, it doesn’t pose a problem for the companies in this region. As for the North American clients, it shouldn’t cause too much inconvenience as the providers always adjust to the working hours of their customers.
In modern information society, the amount of digital data increases dramatically. About 90% of all the data was created in the past couple of years. Moreover, by 2020, the digital universe of data is predicted to grow tenfold and thus reach 44 zettabytes that equal 44 trillion gigabytes.
Practically every business can use data science and big data analytics to make their production processes more efficient and their marketing strategies more cost-effective and targeted. Your business can also gain a significant lead over the rest of the corporate world by collecting and analyzing the relevant data.
Data science outsourcing has a plenty of obvious benefits as a cost reduction strategy. Moreover, it is the only option in case the required talent is not available. The existing shortage of data science professionals and its predicted growth indicate that outsourcing big data analytics and data science services is a good bet for your business. Finally, Ukraine with its well-developed market of data science outsourcing services is the right destination to seek a provider.