The software development market of Slovakia has grown significantly since the country joined the EU in 2004. Skilled talent, strong STEM education, and a stable economy make this location attractive for businesses worldwide.
At the same time, Ukraine boasts the second-largest tech talent pool in Eastern Europe, as well as the cost-efficiency of IT outsourcing.
What are the reasons to outsource software development to Slovakia and Ukraine? How to choose a trusted outsourcing provider? Let’s find out.
Software development in Slovakia and Ukraine: market overview
Software development in Slovakia
Here are the key factors that make Slovakia an alluring outsourcing destination:
- The country boasts a tech talent pool of 39,000+ software developers;
- Clutch.co lists 50 outsourcing vendors in the country;
- Slovakia boasts a GDP of $106.5B, with IT export of $2.5B;
- As an EU-member, Slovakia is a secure software development outsourcing destination. What’s more, the country is subject to the GDPR;
- It is a favorable business location: Doing Business 2020 ranks Slovakia 45th among 190 countries worldwide;
- The professionalism of developers from Slovakia is proven by the SkillValue report, where they have made it to the first place.
Software development in Ukraine
Here are the key reasons why businesses choose Ukraine as an outsourcing destination:
- Ukraine houses an extensive tech talent pool of 192,000 software developers;
- There are over 860 outsourcing companies in the country, according to Clutch.co;
- Ukraine has a GDP of $130.8B and IT export of $4.5B;
- Due to state legislation on Infosecurity, as well as GDPR, the county is a secure outsourcing destination;
- Ukraine is a favorable business location: according to the 2019 A.T. Kearney GSLI, the country ranks 20th out of 50 most attractive business locations worldwide;
- Ukrainian developers are recognized by TopCoder and SkillValue among the most skilled professionals across the globe.
Key insights: Ukraine boasts almost five times a bigger tech talent pool than Slovakia and 1,5 times bigger IT export. Slovakia, at the same time, has a more stable economy due to its EU-membership. Nevertheless, Ukraine is recognized by A.T. Kearney as a more attractive outsourcing destination than Slovakia.
The expertise of developers in Slovakia and Ukraine
Slovakia houses over 39,000 tech specialists. According to the ABSL report, around 46% of specialists are working for Shared Services Center (SSC)/Global Business Services (GBS) companies, software development providers employ 32%, and additional 22% work for BPO outsourcing firms. As a result, most developers in Slovakia are not available for outsourcing.
What concerns the tech expertise, according to the SkillValue report, Python developers from Slovakia are more skilled and knowledgeable than experts in other technologies.
Developers from Slovakia typically work with businesses in fintech, leisure, government, and others.
Ukraine is home to 192,000 software engineers, which is one of the most significant numbers in Eastern Europe. What’s more, the vast majority (around 60%) of Ukrainian developers work for outsourcing and outstaffing companies.
Ukrainian developers take 5th place among the best tech experts worldwide, according to SkillValue.
Key insights: Ukrainian developers are skilled in a wider variety of programming languages and technologies, whereas the primary specialty of developers from Slovakia is Python.
Tech education of developers in Slovakia and Ukraine
Slovak higher education institutions offer at least one foreign language course in their curriculum. As a result, 80% of the Slovaks speak at least one foreign language.
When it comes to ICT education, there are five major universities that offer computer science programs. They are Comenius University in Bratislava, Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Kosice, the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava, The Technical University of Kosice, and the University of Zilina. All these institutions are recognized by the Times Higher Education world universities ranking.
Ukraine boasts a high level of STEM-based education. 38 Ukrainian tech universities graduate around 23,000 qualified IT professionals annually. Thus, the IT outsourcing market experiences regular talent inflow.
What’s more, local IT outsourcing providers collaborate with the government to launch tech programs at Ukrainian universities.
For instance, N-iX supports professional training among youth. The vendor grants scholarships to the top students at the Computer Science Program in the Ukrainian Catholic University.
Key insights: Slovakia houses five top computer science universities, whereas Ukraine is home to nine such institutions.
English proficiency of developers in Slovakia and Ukraine
OutsourcingReview states that 92% of developers in Slovakia are fluent English speakers, 46% - German (due to proximity to Austria), 13% - Russian, and 5% - French. That is one of the reasons why software development in Slovakia is flourishing. What’s more, as far as English is concerned, the country is recognized by the EF English proficiency index as a country with high English proficiency.
According to DOU, 81% of the Ukrainian IT experts have an intermediate and higher English level. However, top management, project managers, as well as business analysts are more fluent than other specialists engaged in the industry.
Key insights: An overall English level in Slovakia is higher than in Ukraine. However, the majority of Ukrainian IT experts have intermediate and higher levels.
Tech conferences in Slovakia and Ukraine
Many experts state that conferences are an essential source of new information. Although in 2020, the vast majority of such events take place online, Slovakia still organizes around 50 versatile conferences annually. Bratislava, as a capital, houses the lion’s share of them. Such events as International Conference on Computer Science, Machine Learning and Big Data, International ITAPA Congress (the most prominent IT conference in Slovakia), and many others take place in Bratislava.
Ukraine hosts a vast number of tech conferences. The majority of such events take place in Kyiv, the capital of the country. However, the biggest one (IT Arena) used to take place in Lviv. In 2020, however, this conference was held online due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Among other big tech conferences, there are iForum, Saas Nation, Games Gathering, Analyze!, AI&Big Data Day, and many others.
According to StartupBlink, Slovakia ranks 51st among 202 countries, based on the strength of its startup and software development ecosystem. The cities with the most vibrant startup and IT outsourcing ecosystems are Bratislava and Kosice. Now, we will view these cities in more detail.
Software development hubs in Slovakia and Ukraine
Hubs of software development in Slovakia
Slovakia is home to 39,000 software developers, the vast majority of whom live in Bratislava, Kosice, and Zilina. However, the majority of developers in Slovakia live in the first two cities, so we will focus on them.
1. Software development in Bratislava (Slovakia)
Bratislava ranks first in Slovakia and 148th globally, due to the strength of its startup ecosystem, according to StartupBlink. Industries that opt for outsourcing software development to Bratislava most frequently are leisure and health.
As a capital, Bratislava attracts the best talent from the whole of Slovakia, so the salaries in the city are 3-5% higher than in other hubs. The Cost of Living Index by Numbeo ranks Bratislava as the most expensive city in the country.
Many global companies have established their presence in Bratislava. According to PayScale, the most popular employers in the capital are Amazon.com Inc., AT&T Inc., and Johnson Controls Inc. Their presence in the employment market, however, creates fierce competition for skilled talent.
2. Software development in Kosice (Slovakia)
According to StartupBlink, Kosice ranks second in Slovakia and 521st globally, based on the strength of its startup and outsourcing ecosystem. The most vibrant industries in the city are IT, leisure, and fintech.
Kosice boasts an IT cluster: Kosice IT Valley unites 30 companies and legal entities that created around 6K jobs since their inception.
Hubs of software development in Ukraine
There are five IT hubs in Ukraine: Kyiv, Lviv, Kharkiv, Dnipro, and Odesa. However, we will focus on the first two, as they house over 50% of Ukrainian talent.
1. Software development in Kyiv
Kyiv is home to the lion’s share of tech professionals (40%) in Ukraine. Global enterprises, including Samsung, Huawei, Ericsson, NetCracker, etc., have R&D centres in Kyiv. Many enterprises choose this city for outsourcing software development. As a result, the biggest Ukrainian IT vendors, such as N-iX, have development centers in the capital.
2. Software development in Lviv
Lviv takes third place in Ukraine by the number of tech professionals - over 20,000 programmers work in the IT industry. According to the State of European Tech report, most Lviv tech experts work for either outsourcing (46%) or outstaffing (11%) IT service providers. Also, the city is home to 317 IT companies, 90% of which provide outsourcing services.
Cost of software development in Slovakia and Ukraine
Rates of developers in Slovakia
The cost of living in Slovakia is relatively high compared to other Eastern European countries. According to the Cost of Living Index by Numbeo, the country’s capital has a 53.42 overall living index, which is the biggest in Eastern Europe. By contrast, Warsaw, Poland, has 46.70.
Office rent in the country’s capital ranges from $6 to $14 per square meter without and $9 with furniture. As a result, the rates of developers in Slovakia are also higher than in the other Eastern European countries. However, they are still significantly lower than in Western European countries.
Developers in Slovakia make from $1.125 per month to $3.900, depending on the city, years of experience, and education. Speaking of education, engineers that have master’s degrees earn 29% more than professionals with bachelor’s degrees.
The median salary of a developer in Slovakia is $2.600 per month.
Rates of developers in Ukraine
The cost of living in Ukraine is much lower than in Slovakia. According to the Cost of Living Index by Numbeo, Kyiv has 31.59, and Lviv, Ukraine, has a 29.11 overall living index. Numbeo compares the cost of living to New York, the USA, where the index amounts to 100.
When it comes to rates of Ukrainian developers, their rates differ depending on the city they live in, years of experience, and position. Salaries may vary from $700 (junior software engineer) to $5K (system architect).
Key insights: Rates of developers from Slovakia are 20% higher than the rates of Ukrainian professionals. What’s more, Ukrainian developers have more versatile expertise.
Slovakia and Ukraine are both alluring IT outsourcing destinations that provide high-quality services to businesses across the globe. These countries boast both human capital and expertise that make companies opt for outsourcing software development to Slovakia and Ukraine over other countries.
Now let’s recap the key insights about software development in Slovakia and Ukraine:
- Ukraine is home to a five times bigger tech talent pool and more outsourcing companies than Slovakia;
- Ukrainian universities graduate almost six times as many ICT students annually as Slovac educational institutions;
- Slovakia has a more stable economy, whereas Ukraine is recognized as a better IT outsourcing destination by A.T. Kearney;
- Ukraine has more IT outsourcing hubs (Kyiv, Lviv, Kharkiv, Dnipro, and Odesa) than Slovakia (Bratislava and Kosice);
- Slovakia boasts a higher overall English proficiency. However, 80% of Ukrainian tech experts have intermediate and higher levels of English proficiency.
How to choose a trusted partner for software development in Slovakia and Ukraine?
- Analyze the major IT hubs of software development in Slovakia and Ukraine in terms of their rates, availability of talent, as well as the experience of the local engineers;
- Compile a long list of outsourcing vendors in the chosen location and assess them based on their services quality, expertise, and security standards (ISO 27001:2013, PCI DSS, ISO 9001:2015, HIPAA);
- Keep in mind the size of your potential software development center in Slovakia or Ukraine. Remember, mid-size and large providers are more likely to have enough recruitment capabilities and resources you need internally;
- Look for a software development provider in Slovakia that has a robust portfolio of projects similar to yours, preferably in your industry;
- Assess the customer reviews and testimonials of your potential provider of software development in Slovakia;
- Ask your potential partner for software development in Slovakia these questions to make sure that the provider is trustworthy.
Why choose N-iX as your software development partner?
- N-iX has offices in multiple countries, such as Ukraine, Poland, Sweden, the USA, and Malta.
- The vendor is recognized by many industry rankings, IAOP, GSA, Inc. 5000, Software 500, Clutch.co, and others;
- N-iX has over 2,000+ experts on board and partners with 200+ companies, including Fortune 500 and Fortune 100 leaders.