#CyberMagazyn: An IT army and large corporation employees. Ukraine in the world of technology
The Central and Eastern Europe region is recognized as a technological talent center. “Ukrainian programmers are the world leaders, next to Polish ones. Many of them are working globally and for the leading companies in Poland. In 2021, Ukraine exceeded 200k specialists and 36k tech majors graduates, making it the second IT hub in Europe.” – says Katarzyna Kowaluk-Toszek.
CyberDefence 24.pl Katarzyna Kowaluk-Toszek, founder and CEO of Absolut Systems, the technology company and initiator of the action supporting Ukrainian people’s employment in the IT industry in Poland.
Ukraine is still fighting with the Russian invader. While the whole world admires the heroism of defending neighbor, CyberDefence24.pl takes a look at the input of Ukrainian people in technological development.
This country on the Dnieper is also defending cyberspace, gathering the “IT Army of Ukraine” to hack Russian websites and its allies and to call all technology leaders to fight in the cyber world.
Ukrainian technological “army” appeals for help in shutting down Russian websites, to catch Russian agents and other people working in agreement with the aggressor, and has got tens of thousands of followers. They are following their aims, next to Anonymous and other hackers.
“We are creating an IT Army. We need digital talents” – mentioned Mychajło Fiodorow on Twitter, who is both deputy prime minister of Ukraine and minister of digital transformation. “There will be tasks for everybody. We are still fighting on the cybernetic front. The first mission is to create the channel for digital specialists.”
Here they were Ukrainians. Their share in the development of new technologies.
The number of IT experts gives Ukraine second place after Poland which has more than 275k such employees. To compare, in Belarus there are only 55k of IT specialists, and in Romania 120k.
Many global companies, such as Siemens, Oracle, Samsung, Snapchat, Ericsson or Magento have or had their Research & Development offices in Kyiv, Lviv, Kharkiv, or Odesa. Ukrainian IT industry is one of the three biggest export services (after agriculture, and manufacturing), and in 2021 noted the increase up to 7 million dollars (starting from 5 million dollars in 2020).
WhatsApp, PayPal, Spark Mail, and People.ai were set up by Ukrainians, and the companies such as Grammarly have big offices in Kyiv. The company JustAnswer has its ⅓ of employees in Ukraine and is currently working on a way to move the employees and pay them compensation as many of them decided to evacuate or prepare for military service.
However, as per our expert, Ukraine is not only IT outsourcing or staff augmentation, but also start-ups. Ukrainian start-ups in the field of software and cosmic technology equipment, agrotech, science, medicine, logistic, artificial intelligence, and blockchain are very successful.
“The transformation from outsourcing to manufacturing companies with global potential is very noticeable. Some of them, such as Grammarly, Preply, or People.ai, are very well-known. The users know WhatsApp application, use it daily but they do not know that the co-founder comes from Ukraine and that Facebook bought it in 2014 for 1,3 milliard dollars” – says Katarzyna Kowaluk-Toszek.
Another application, known worldwide, is familiar especially for computer MAC users – CleanMyMac, which supports security and removes malware from the computers, and was set up in Kyiv. When it comes to Snapchat, the masking technology which is used in this application was made by Looksery company in Odesa, Ukraine.
“Talking about start-ups from Ukraine, we should mention the open-source device Gitlab, which was created in 2011 and now is listed on the American stock exchange NASDAQ. Among its users, there are the organizations such as NASA, European Organization of Nuclear Research, Goldman Sachs, Siemens, AT&T or IBM” – enumerates the expert.
New life. Help for Ukrainians in finding a job in IT.
Mrs. Katarzyna is also the originator of the campaign to help employ Ukrainians in the IT field, addressed to Polish companies. She is not from Ukraine, but she was born in eastern Poland where last names ending with “-uk” are associated with Ukrainian ones.
She adds: “After the first stage of material support, I started to think what is the other way to help. The men started to fight, the companies are taking away their projects from Ukraine, and women are going with children to Poland…Now it is a shock, stress, and emotions, but then there will be a lack of money and the necessity to start life all over again”.
“In only a few moments our previous order, life, and the world have collapsed. Women and children and young students from Ukraine were forced to pack their life into a few backpacks and run away. Among those people are women from the IT industry who need to start a new life in a new place and find a new job. This project is a spontaneous initiative.” – tells Katarzyna Kowaluk-Toszek. “This is how the initiative of helping in the employment of women and students refugees in IT was brought to life. Apart from the employment, we also want to help in learning polish or childcare” – she tells.
“Currently she supports polish women in the IT industry and that is why she feels somehow obliged to support the refugees, especially Ukrainian friends and students from IT.
“We aim to assist them in finding work and projects without taking into account their seniority or technology. Our initiative is directed to programmers, graphic designers, UX/UI Designers, project managers, scrum masters, testers, and many others, but thanks to our partners’ support we are now planning to prepare mentorship programs for students (Studies in Ukraine start earlier than in Poland) and organize re-skilling for women who want change their profession and are interested in the IT branch. We are also looking for partners to prepare and guide online courses of Polish language or kindergartens offering childcare just for the beginning” – indicates our interlocutor.
The founder of Absolut Systems and originator of the social campaign is the owner of a technological business and admits that it is quite surprising in this industry.
“The woman as a head of software house is really rare. Women count for barely 30% of all programmers in Poland, and in Ukraine, it is about 20%. Women deal very well in the IT branch and provide many values to the projects despite all stereotypes and false beliefs about them. It is my small mission, though I generally like helping others, to assist women to change their profession and start with the IT industry, or support “excluded ones” with Asperger’s dysfunction or autism and take advantage of their predispositions in the technological world – she says.