Ukraine’s Salvation lies in its IT sector
There are many misconceptions out there about what Ukraine is all about. The Euromaidan movement in Kyiv introduced many in the world to Ukraine for the first time, especially to those in the west. What many saw, scared them. They saw pain, they saw suffering, but they also saw hope and potential in what the future may hold for Ukraine and its people. The economy struggled, and continues to do so, as conflict in the east leaves more doubt and despair in its wake.
However, through all of the ups and subsequent downs Ukraine has experienced over the past two years, there has been one shining beacon of hope that still remains at least in terms of prospects for its economic recovery. That beacon being its internationally recognized IT sector. Ukraine has gradually moved from a resource based economy to a knowledge based one.
70,000 IT Professionals
Ukraine has over 70,000 IT professionals and the IT industry ranks third by export volumes, following metallurgy and agriculture. Yet, it’s expected to outgrow metallurgy and rank #2 by 2020. IT professionals will provide the cash strapped government of Ukraine around $142 million in paid taxes in the period between 2016 and 2020.Ukraine has over 500 outsourcing companies, over 100 global R&D centers, and more than 50,000 engineers employed by Ukrainian IT firms.
But those are just numbers. The true story here, lies beyond what those numbers represent. Ukraine in embracing IT, in cultivating an environment in which talent can grow, has given Its people, not just a means to make a living, but a means to craft a path for its country that reaches beyond its troubled shores.
IT in its simplest form, is all about linking us together. It’s all about being able to build a system that allows people to connect. Whether it’s web development, Big Data, IoT, mobile app development etc; it’s always about people and the way we interact. In interacting with the world Ukrainian IT professionals have a platform to grow and build that human connection that we all so desperately require.
They get to see more of the world, then the average Ukrainian would. They get to experience a world that as little as 20 years ago, seemed unimaginable. There is no brain drain in Ukraine, only development. These professionals are the ones who will truly influence change. If not because of the influence the sector has, or the companies who invest in Ukraine because of its IT industry, then for the mere fact that they have seen the world and in it recognize the potential there is for their country, more so than their compatriots. And it was not given to them, they worked for it, they earned it.
They are crafting their own period of enlightenment. they are developing the Ukrainian dream. One that rewards hard work, and dedication to your craft. With all of the misconceptions surrounding Ukraine and its soviet past, this new Ukraine, and the IT industry that has come to in many ways represent it, offers a look into what the country hopes to gain with its push for systemic reform.
Changes in IT Industry
Change is not something that happens with laws and regulations alone. Ukraine’s past is a difficult one to bear, and its future even more so. But the secret of change is not to focus all of your energy on fighting the old, but on building the new. The IT industry of Ukraine is all about moving forward. constantly pushing and driving technology and innovation. The IT industry of Ukraine is a vision of what could be for every industry in Ukraine.
This is a good thing. Change is a good thing. But people are afraid of change, because they are afraid of pain. The beauty of what Ukraine has become is that if any people understand the benefits of pain, its Ukrainians. There are two types of pain, pain that hurts you, and pain that changes you. Sometimes, (and this applies specifically to Ukraine and its turmoil and uncertainty), when things appear to be falling apart, they are actually falling into place.
Reform in Ukraine will not come until all of its people can envision a world where they matter. Right now, the IT professional of Ukraine, can see this world and its potential. Ukraine is looking to find itself, when in all actuality, all the people of Ukraine need to see, is the success that these dedicated specialists in the IT field have had. Their success, development and desire to share their vision, is the key to Ukraine’s future, it’s the key to this lands recovery. Salvation for Ukraine lies in it ability to show the world that as a country they are more than a means to an end.
There is expected to be 180,000 IT professionals in Ukraine by 2020, and annually there are 20,000 new IT employments. Ukraine’s IT industry will continue to grow and connect with the rest of the world. The more the IT industry grows, the more influence it will have not only on the rest of the world, but on its country itself. Ultimately Ukraine has realized that “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance” – Alan Watts; or in Ukraine’s case, plunge into and move with IT.