The astonishing phlegm of Ukrainian IT developers

Their calm commands the admiration of their Western interlocutors. Attentive to the movements of Russian tanks and bombing warning sirens, most Ukrainian computer developers continue to work for their European and American clients.

Renowned for its training in engineering, Ukraine, now in the grip of a Russian invasion, had become in recent decades one of the strongholds of global offshore computing. Some saw it as the European capital of the profession, renamed “near-shore” given the cultural and time proximity to end customers.

Without being able to be compared to India and its millions of engineers, the country employs tens of thousands of IT specialists on behalf of service companies themselves mandated by groups such as Deutsch Bank, IBM or the international telecom operator Lebara.

50,000 IT professionals in Ukraine

According to the market research firm Everest, everything could have stopped with the outbreak of hostilities. At the end of February, its analysts estimated at more than 50,000 the number of computer scientists in Ukraine whose work could be prevented by the conflict. Including the Russian and Belarusian markets, the count rises to 100,000 developers.

And yet… The French group Capgemini has offered its 1,500 employees to exfiltrate them in recent weeks far from combat zones, even in neighboring countries. But he finds that a large number of his employees continue their tasks despite the conditions. Asked in early March by the “Wall Street Journal”, the boss of N-Ix assured that 70% of the work of the 2,000 employees of this development provider were still insured.

Martial law

Many computer scientists have left Kyiv in the grip of bombs and operate from the west of the country, notably in Lviv. “They absolutely want to work to run the Ukrainian economy,” says Jean-Patrice Glafkidès, co-founder of Datavaloris, an artificial intelligence software publisher that employs four developers in Ukraine. Familiar with telecommuting, they can code from anywhere.

In a context fall of the Ukrainian currency, the possibility of being paid in euros by a foreign employer also sounds like a way for these junior professionals to help their parents and grandparents. It is also for these graduates to think of something else while martial law, in force since February 25, prohibits men aged 18 to 60 from leaving the country in the event of a general mobilization.

On a daily basis, the work has to deal with frequent power cuts, when it is not the Internet that is temporarily shut down. “At times, we know that they have to help their loved ones, go down to the shelters or that they prefer to follow the information but, in their job, they work at night to catch up”, continues Jean-Patrice Glafkidès. The boss nevertheless anticipates delays in the delivery of the next version of his software. A lesser evil.

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The astonishing phlegm of Ukrainian IT developers

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