Eastern Europe is known as one of the world’s top IT outsourcing markets thanks to its quality to price ratio and a growing talent pool. Apart from cost-saving, many US and European companies choose Ukrainian, Polish, Hungarian, Bulgarian, and Romanian developers for their skills, experience, and ability to work well in cross-cultural teams.
The choice of the outsourcing destination usually depends on many factors, including service quality, talent availability, as well as the business ecosystem. In this article, we will focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the two leading IT outsourcing destinations in Eastern Europe – Romania and Ukraine.
Tech talent pool in Ukraine and Romania
Ukraine has 1.6 times larger tech talent pool compared to Romania. Romanian developers are ranked 23 by SkillValue and 18 by TopCoders, while Ukrainian developers occupy the fifth and six positions respectively.
As for IT education in Romania, roughly 6,700 new specialists graduate from local universities and colleges, while Ukrainian universities and colleges have 15,000 ICT and 23,000 engineering grads every year.
Hard skills of Ukrainian and Romanian developers
Many developing countries of Eastern Europe are widely known as the home to the world’s best chess players, mathematicians, and engineers, including software developers [2,3].
For Romania and Ukraine, the industrialization of the second half of the 20th century resulted in the boom of technical education. The educational background gives Ukrainian and Romanian developers the high ground on the global software development market.
Cultural affinity with the US, EU, and UK clients
Cultural compatibility and mutual understanding with your outsourcing partner is an important point to consider when choosing an IT outsourcing destination. Both Romania and Ukraine have a close cultural affinity to the UK, US, and EU.
Both Ukrainian and Romanian IT professionals are known for common sense, positive and flexible attitude, high responsibility, and a good sense of teamwork. Ukrainian developers have experience in communicating with foreign clients, mostly from the US, the UK, and Western Europe. Many of them have international education or working experience abroad. Together with general emotional intelligence, it makes a great combination to deliver high quality software products.
Both Ukrainian and Romanian developers have strong communication skills and sufficient level of English.knowledge Romania scored 60.31 in the EF English Proficiency Index (2018 ranking). A lot of high school students also learn French . That makes Romanian IT developers attractive for French companies who are looking to outsource development to Eastern Europe.
Ukraine is a country with moderate English proficiency (other countries with moderate proficiency are France, Italy, Belarus). However, in the IT sector, the situation is better. According to DOU.ua, the number of IT professionals with fluent English skills is 47%, and of those with intermediate level is 34%. The competition among professionals in the field is high, and English is a must to be hired by any company.
Overview of the software industry in Romania and Ukraine
Eastern European IT sector has seen continuous growth over the last decade, despite political issues and the economic crisis. Both countries take necessary steps to maintain the IT sector growth rate. While having similar turnover of software and IT services sector ($4.5B in 2018), Ukraine shows higher growth rate compared to Romania.
In 2019, there are 70+ IT companies in Romania with 50+ employees . Clutch lists 13 companies with 250+ Romanian developers and only two companies with over 1,000 software engineers in Romania. On the contrary, Ukraine has over 250 vendors that employ more than 50 engineers, with over 40 companies that can handle enterprise-level development.
The recent study  shows that 75% of Romanian software development companies work for foreign clients. They include European (74%) and the US (22%) companies, with a tiny share of other countries. On the other hand, Ukrainian software development companies work primarily for foreign clients (US - 50%, UK & EU - 35%, 8% - Canada, and others).
R&D centers in Romania and Ukraine
Both countries have experience working with tech giants from all over the world. Such international giants as Samsung, Ericsson, Boeing, Oracle, Siemens, Wargaming, UpWork, Google, Cisco and over 100 other global companies of different industries, including gaming, telecommunications, software, and e-commerce have chosen Ukraine as a location for their R&D centers and offices. Romanian developers work for R&D centers of IBM, Siemens, Adobe, Intel, and Oracle.
Offshoring your software product development to a distant country may seem like a complicated task to handle. That is why choosing a convenient location is essential.
Romania and Ukraine lie at the frontiers of Central Europe bordering each other. The two countries have well-developed international transportation infrastructures, so regular business trips wouldn’t be a problem if you decided to outsource to one of them. If you opt for a flight, both Bucharest and Kyiv can be reached within 2-3 hours from most European countries. Ukraine and Romania use Eastern European Time – UTC+2. So, you can communicate with the team members at the most convenient time for both sides.
Many American and European companies choose Eastern European outsourcing firms as partners for augmentation of their onsite IT departments. Among the many reasons are cost-effective outsourcing, well-developed infrastructure, as well as the experience and qualification of both Ukrainian and Romania developers.
Providing services of the highest quality, Ukrainian and Romanian developers are successfully using a chance to show the global IT community what they are capable of.
Visual summary on Ukrainian and Romanian developers
- Software development in Ukraine, Poland, Belarus and Romania [Report]
- Where to find the best developers in 2019? SkillValue Report by Pentalog
- TopCoder Country Rankings
- Over 95% of Romanian secondary school students study at least two foreign languages by Romania-Insider.com