Igor Byeda, GlobalLogic Ukraine: Modernization of Education is the background for the industry growth

Modernization of Education is the background for the industry growth

Igor Byeda has over 17 years' experience in the software development industry, both in Ukraine and abroad. He started his career at GlobalLogic in 2007 as a project manager in telecommunication, mobile application and embedded systems development.

Nowadays, as Chief Executive of the Ukrainian branch office, Igor bears the responsibility for all of GlobalLogic activities in the region: from business and software development to marketing, infrastructure and talented professionals' retention.
Under his leadership, GlobalLogic Ukraine has experienced a number of effective transformations and come up to 4000 specialists that closely cooperate with the company.

As part of the industry research, we have interviewed the top manager of one of the largest Ukrainian IT companies in terms of industry development, obstacles, prospects and top priorities for leading market players.

Current business indicators

In the last financial year (April 1, 2017 - March 31, 2018) GlobalLogic Ukraine has reached remarkable results: almost 24% increase. From year to year, we overfulfil key business goals and grow much faster than the market. It is important for the development of the entire company, as Ukraine is one of the key locations of GlobalLogic by the number of engineers and the size of the business. Today we are working on 300 projects for clients who are leaders in a variety of industries: from mechanical engineering to medicine, from media to telecommunications and financial technologies.

In 2018 GlobalLogic got a new strategic investor, an international company Partners Group headquartered in Switzerland. According to the agreement between Partners Group and the previous investor, Apax Partners, GlobalLogic was valued at more than $2 billion. That makes a very high market rating, which indicates that investors believe in the company's prospects and its further development.

In the current financial year, we also outpace our company growth plans. There is every reason to believe that we will not only repeat but also surpass the last year's success.

If we talk about human resources, over the last 12 months our Ukrainian branch staff have grown by more than 600 people. Thus, the increase in the number of engineers was more than 20%. Since any service business development depends on the number of specialists, we definitely plan to grow further in the future. Moreover, our growth rate over the past few years is only getting faster. Our company employs 4,000 specialists, although only a year ago there were just over 3,000 employees.

Client geography

Most of our customers come from the USA, Europe takes the second place. I am absolutely convinced that the number of European customers will constantly grow. Our colleagues from Poland, Slovakia and Croatia help us with it. With joint efforts it is easier to attract new clients and businesses that come to Ukraine as well.

Presence in Ukraine and regional specialization

The head office of GlobalLogic Ukraine is located in Kyiv and at the same time it is our largest software development center. Along with a small office in Mykolaiv, it employs almost 2000 people. Our office in Kharkiv is growing up to 1000 specialists. Over the last year, we have risen by 46% in a number of engineers and now we occupy 6 out of 9 floors of a local business center. Recently our office in Lviv has reached the mark of 1000 consultants. So far we have completely occupied the business center in the historic part of the city and opened the second office, constructed specifically for GlobalLogic. It is necessary to note that we are getting bigger in all our locations and actively preparing local infrastructure for our future growth.

Regional specialization used to be inherent in the company. For example, in our Kharkiv office we were mostly engaged with medical projects, and embedded systems engineering was well-developed in Lviv. In my opinion, these differences are fading away these days. For example, medical projects are almost equally performed in Kharkiv and Lviv and since recently in Kyiv, as well as other directions. We believe in success of allocated teams, therefore we try to develop the expertise where there are skilled specialists with appropriate experience. This is the advantage of a global company and we are actively taking it.

Labor Migration

According to our survey, the mass drain of specialists that started several years ago has slowed down and those who had left the country began to return. There are several reasons. Firstly, the situation in Ukraine has stabilized, putting an end to internal anxiety and tension. Secondly, as the market develops, more and more new IT projects are entering Ukraine and give opportunities to work with new technologies, create things that can change the people's lives worldwide.

Computer vision, self-diving cars, robot-surgeons, financial market analysis systems, media content broadcast technology through cloud services and state-of-the-art education systems - you can do all this and much more in Ukraine with the GlobalLogic team. And there is no need to move anywhere.

Of course, we are ready to support specialists who have decided to build up their careers outside the country. And as a global company we provide a wide range of job opportunities. However, I am delighted to realize that today our specialists tend to move not because they do not like something in Ukraine, but in search for additional career opportunities they can realize abroad.

Foreign specialists

There are foreign specialists in the GlobalLogic Ukraine office, although, of course, this is not a very common practice. Basically, they are foreigners with deep knowledge of a particular technology domain or industry that does not exist in Ukraine. Basically, such experts give advice on certain areas and help to develop an expertise we haven't had before.

I consider, owning to the simplification of foreign citizens registration we have achieved this year in close cooperation with the Association IT Ukraine and keep working on, the number of foreign IT specialists in Ukraine will grow. Our market is very attractive to residents of neighbouring countries, where IT engineers compensation is pegged to local currencies. I believe we should actively advertise career opportunities in Ukraine among our neighbours, and foreign specialists will come to us.

Projects for local clients

We have projects for the domestic market. There are few of them since the demand on the domestic IT market, as well as its capacity, is very low. It reflects the general state of the country's economy. Usually our customers are large international R&D-developers, and currently there are no such companies in Ukraine.

What we do for our national consumer, it is a part of corporate social responsibility, our desire to support important and necessary initiatives in Ukraine. For instance, our leading engineers help to create new military 'command, control and communication' systems, including software architecture up to user interface. The system created is unique, since it is based on the latest up-to-date NATO standards. This is not the one but very significant example when the knowledge and skills of Ukrainian engineers that they acquired in projects for foreign customers, help to solve important tasks inside the country.

As a part of our social responsibility, GlobalLogic engineers also consult other projects and initiatives to help them find the best architectural and technical solutions to their tasks. Performaning such projects on a voluntary basis, we share our unique technology and solutions experience with other industries, that allows build up work properly, as well as significantly reduce time and costs to create ready-made solutions. Over the last year, we have closely cooperated with many organizations, such as BRDO, Okhmadit, National Health Care e-system 'eHealth' and Veteran Hub.

Domestic market: current situation and prospects

Any market is based on two important elements: the solvency demand for goods or services and the product supply. The supply of software products and services, as well as their design and development, depends on the skills and abilities of people who can create these products.

I am sure that service companies like ours help to form the supply inside the country. To create competative products and services, it is not enough to have high programming skills, but also you should understand how the business functions and how software products can help to solve particular business tasks. Such skills and knowledge are gained by Ukrainian engineers while working with leading global brands together with GlobalLogic. Having learnt how to create high-quality products and services for others, you can do it well for your own use. Thus, the software development service industry forms a new generation of engineers capable of solving particular business tasks and its customers.

The second part is the solvency demand. The better the country's economy is, the more resources it has to invest in high technologies. This is where our industry makes its contribution to support the inflow of foreign currency into the domestic economy, including the taxes we pay (by the way, for many years GlobalLogic in Ukraine has been in the list of largest taxpayers according to the State Fiscal Service). Besides that we create the on-going demand in the office property market and related services.

But more important is how our software specialists spend money earned in the IT sector. They form a strong demand for customer services and goods on the domestic market in education, insurance, health care, real estate, various household services, etc. According to the survey, one software specialist creates up to 4 jobs in the related industries. They spend money inside the country and require certain service standards they have seen in other countries while visiting customers abroad.

Here is a simple example of a private clinic. The more clients it has, the higher financial opportunities there are to create a high-quality CRM-system, a well-designed website with personal offices and online check-in, chatbots for regular support, etc. This way a solvent demand for IT software solutions is created within the country. In addition, the draft bill on the output capital tax, supported by the Association "IT Ukraine", is another practical tool that will facilitate and attract even more investments in the Ukrainian economy from IT companies and many other businesses.

Opportunities and threats of the Ukrainian IT industry

Global interest in information technologies, digital transformation of individual businesses and entire industries create a favourable market environment. The demand for high-tech R&D services, digital products design and development, that GlobalLogic specializes in, keeps growing. All these factors favour our growth in Ukraine.

The factors that can slow down our growth are the image of Ukraine in the global market, political and economic instability, poor transparency and predictability of business conditions.

But the most important factor that decelerates the development of the industry, in my opinion, is the number of IT professionals on the market. It is known that technical universities of Ukraine train about 16 thousand young specialists annually, while the industry requires more than 20 thousand. It is necessary to remark that not all graduates are ready to work on foreign projects just after graduation. Therefore, we need to solve this problem and help young specialists get involved in commercial projects right after graduation. I believe that close cooperation of businesses and higher educational establishments to work out a mutual strategy may form the fundamentals for further industry growth in the long term perspective. Of course, both the IT industry and individual companies actively contribute to the modernization of the education system.

For example, GlobalLogic actively co-operates with theleading technical universities in Ukraine. This year we launch 4 university laboratories and workshops. In addition, we provide universities with modern technical hardware, conduct lectures and seminars and actively support academic activities. For many years we have been organising courses for young and experienced technical specialists - GL BaseCamp and GL ProCamp accordingly. A few years ago these programs were in limited access (a few dozens of people a year) but last year the total number of graduates exceeded the mark of 350 people. This year it will be even higher by all means.

Having built up a systematic work in education, we combine all our all-round activities under the unique GlobalLogic Education brand. We are the one of those IT companies that regularly cooperates with universities in Ukraine and the first among all GlobalLogic offices in the world. This way Ukraine sets a trend of cooperation with universities for our global company.

Market players' priorities

I would like to emphasize there are three main areas where consolidation of all industry players is essential. Firstly, it is a system approach of the IT industry to the Ukrainian educational system development and higher technical education in particular.

Secondly, it is important to join efforts to reform tax legislation and preserve comfortable business conditions so that the industry could develop and be more competitive internationally.

Thirdly, we should foster the positive image of Ukraine on the international scene. We need to speak less about Ukraine in the context of war and corruption, and put an emphasis on our participation in the global economy, innovation and strategic partnership with the leading international brands. And this is exactly what we do with you today.