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Programming IT Technology

Ukraine Holds 4th Largest Programmer Population 301

andrewuoft points out this BusinessWeek article on the budding technology sector of Ukraine; the article points out that Ukraine has -- "after the U.S., India, and Russia -- the fourth largest number of computer programmers in the world" and that "Even today, scientific institutes each year churn out some 50,000 science or technology graduates. Not surprisingly, Ukrainians don't see why their country can't become a big player in the global technology market, like India."
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Ukraine Holds 4th Largest Programmer Population

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  • by l810c ( 551591 ) * on Sunday November 14, 2004 @01:02AM (#10811056)
    4th largest Geek Population?

    Maybe this would explain why there seem to be so many Hot, Available Ukrainian Women [ukrainian-women.net] looking to get out.

    • Should we seriously believe that The Ukraine has more computer programmer productivity and output than:

      China - 1.3 billion people and a booming economy with millions of students studying technology?

      Korea - where 1/4 of the people have at-home broadband, and like China, has millions of people working in the technology industry?

      Taiwan - where nearly everything technological that isn't specifically designed to kill people who don't shop at the Baby Gap is designed, programmed, and manufactured?
      • Yes, but they are near the top - in the virus developer's community.
      • You need to take into account affordability in terms of outsourcing software development contracts to. In Australia, where I'm from, the big thing at the moment is outsourcing stuff to India, as their rates are somewhere between a third and a half of our local rates - and that's after factoring in travel expenses and the like.

        China might be a viable alternative, I don't know about the rest.

      • by antoy ( 665494 ) <alexis@then u l l .net> on Sunday November 14, 2004 @04:51AM (#10811868)
        Get a hold of yourself.

        Have you ever been to Ukraine? I haven't, but I've been to Romania, a neighbouring country with the same mindset regarding computer programming. I was there for BOI (the Balkan Olympiad in informatics) and let me tell you that Romanians kicked our Balkan (and in other times international) asses. I'm not going to chalk this up to training and practice because they were awfully talented guys (and it would like I'm bitter, which I am not), but they *do* have an excellent education system which, as I've heard, would teach them about graphs and minimum spanning trees while we were being taught on using MS Paint on Windows 3.1.

        Is it a rich country? From what I've seen in Iasi, it's not. Do they know how to get there? Somebody in their Ministry of Education sure does.
        • Romania is not Ukraine. In Ukraine they may teach students about graphs and minimum spanning trees, but with no students understanding what the hell this means, not asking questions, then pretending they do a project and pass an exam, without actually knowing ANYTHING in the end. This is not an understatement, that's exactly how it works for 95% or the students.
          • That's probably how it works for 95% of the students EVERYWHERE. It's the 5% that make the difference. If you foster and develop and value them, then they will excell. If you suppress them, they won't (or fewer of them will).

            Also, consider the other classes. Different classes have a different 5% at the very top. (With, admittedly, a reasonable overlap.) Different people are most skilled and most interested in different things. If you can get 5% interested in understanding what programming is about,
      • You are looking at numbers. But have you been to all those countries? I grew up in Soviet Union, lived close to Ukraine but I am a Romanian. Now I live in US and work and study along Indians, and Asians. I have to say, that China, Korea and India might have a larger population and more graduate students come from those countries, and the students from Ukraine, Russia, and Romania are fewer but they kick everyone's behind when it comes to doing math or developing an application from scratch, or doing somethi
    • Holy shit, those women are hot! Is this stuff for real? If my life is still this pathetic in 10 years...
      • Re:Correlation? (Score:3, Interesting)

        Yes, it is. My brother-in-law married a young lady from Russia and she's really good-looking.

        That's my wife's brother, BTW. I'm not saying my sister is from Russia.

        Unfortunately, it's not working out too well yet because Natalya has had some unreasonably high expectations with regard to material wealth, but she's a nice person, and did I mention, she's HOT. We're all hoping things improve.

    • The Ukraine is quite simply desperate for foreign currency. From what I know of the Ukraine, they are _well_ on the way to getting into a reasonable trade situation-which is more than I can say for the spoiled politicians and investors running the US and generating a $0.5 trillion annual trade deficit.
  • Globalization (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FiReaNGeL ( 312636 ) <fireang3l@NoSPam.hotmail.com> on Sunday November 14, 2004 @01:09AM (#10811084) Homepage
    With the economical globalization these days, the trend (strategy?) for some countries seem to overspecialize in one specific area (in this case, IT) to outperform competition on a worldwide scale. Risky for sure, but it seems to work right now (at least for India, who reap the profits of investing massively in IT).
    • Re:Globalization (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Tablizer ( 95088 )
      some countries seem to overspecialize in one specific area (in this case, IT) to outperform competition on a worldwide scale. Risky for sure, but it seems to work right now

      With our newfound IT dependence on India as a nation (US), imagine the termoil generated by a nuclear war between India and Pakistan. The tech centers of India are probably the top targets of Pakistan war planners. And, Pakistan is a power-keg of fundimentalism and India-haters inches from going off.

      For example, the moderate prime-mi
  • by derEikopf ( 624124 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @01:13AM (#10811103)
    What the future of technology needs more than anything is the reversal of the quantity philosophy. More is not always better.
    • more of quantity can turn in this case into more of quality.

      We as humans evolve.

      A crappy car will remain a crappy car no matter how much type-r stickers you put on it but as individuals who study and gain experience, programmers may not study in anything "outstanding" in the beginning but you never know what path they will take.
      • by derEikopf ( 624124 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @01:37AM (#10811217)
        Indeed, that is where people like Linus Torvalds make an odds-defying explosion into mainstream computing. However, there is more to my statement than just programmer population. Quality also refers to program quality. Not half-assed buggy software that was hurriedly released because of a dealine, and then half-assed patches and updates that were also released on a deadline.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        (People Against Akward Car Analogies)

        What the fuck do cars, human evolution, and type R stickers have to do with the price of eggs in russia?! Not everything is analogous to a car. Give it up!
        • Well, think of it like this - some analogies are like sports cars fast, sleek, expensive and to the point. The ones you want to avoid are the SUVs, big, clunky and wasteful of space.
    • And it's entirely possible that feeding nuclear radiation into people's skulls has breeded a race of super programmers.
    • by plopez ( 54068 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @03:08AM (#10811532) Journal
      I believe it was Stalin who said 'Quantity has a quality all its own'. How that applies to IT (vs military might), I am not sure but it seeems an appropriate qoute.
    • ... you are an expert about the quality of Ukranian education....
    • For the most part I agree with the parent. We don't need more idiots writing code. A few good programmers always outdoes a hundred bad ones. That might be the truth, but the truth does not matter: perception does.

      That quality is important is not very apparent to most managers (thought they might give lip service to quality). Quality is a very intangible and can't be crunched through a spreadsheet like quantity can. CEO or whatever thinks: "Hey I can get 15 Ukranians for one US programmer. Cool"

      There are how

  • hold on (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @01:15AM (#10811116) Homepage
    I wouldn't think that emulating India is really the way to go. The entire economic output of India is less than the state of Illinois. In addition, India's call center business is almost 100% U.S. customers. Ukraine has some, ahem, moral issues that make it politically difficult for American companies to outsource there.
    • Moral issues? Care to explain?
      • Re:hold on (Score:3, Informative)

        Well, like the fact that the Prime Minister of Ukraine was caught red-handed on a tape selling huge radar systems to Iraq in 2002?
        • Err... You are approaching this from your american moral perspective. From his perspective - business as usual.

          Also, it may have been better to allow him to sell it. It would not have been used to shoot down civilian airplanes with 70+ passengers flying on a scheduled international flight in an approved corridor. Which they did and tried to lie about it. So much for quality assurance of the system software I guess...
    • Re:hold on (Score:2, Insightful)

      Thats the real problem with outsourcing jobs anyway.
      the basic inequality of rights and responcebility

      wouldent it be nice if we held international corporations to provide the same level of economic and humanitarian funding outside the country, and taxed the pajamas out of importers that don't

      bye bye wallmart :*(
      • Re:hold on (Score:2, Insightful)

        by BobaFett ( 93158 )
        wouldent it be nice if we held international corporations to provide the same level of economic and humanitarian funding outside the country, and taxed the pajamas out of importers that don't

        Are you prepared to pay the significantly higher price for the goods you can by today cheap precisely because the companies do not provide the same level of funding outside the country?

        I have great respect for people who argue for equal wages and labor conditions and then live by their ideals (which means their leve

        • Everybody should strive to have no debt. Live within your means and you won't worry about overconsuming. I drive an old car, I could afford a new one if I wanted to but I won't buy another one until I can pay for it with cash.

          The problem is that most people live above what they could afford.
        • --
          I have great respect for people who argue for equal wages and labor conditions and then live by their ideals (which means their level of life is significantly lower than what they could afford otherwise). I may not agree with their ideas, but I respect them. Hypocrites who yak about terrible working conditions in the 3rd world and then go by chineese t-shirts on sale get no respect from me.

          Do we really have a choice? How often do YOU see a product that doesn't say Made in China on the back of it?

        • Hypocrites who yak about terrible working conditions in the 3rd world and then go by chineese t-shirts on sale get no respect from me.

          The people arguing for equal wages and labor conditions want the government and large businesses to enforce those standards, exactly for the reason you state- the consumers, even those who would support goverment initiatives to do same- are incapable of it.

          It becomes doubly expensive for an individual to buy things that were manufactured to some personal arbitrary standard
          • A. I want to buy only things that weren't made by slave labor (for example),

            C. I want other people to not buy products made by slave labor, whether or not they care, because I know a lot of people don't care but slave labor is wrong regardless.

            I don't feel strongly enough about A that I'll attempt it without B & C being in place...

            Let's see... You want other people to pay for something you want but you don't want to pay your fair share, and you use fancy words to achieve this result. As far as I

            • Hmm. BobaFett is afraid of "fancy words."

              It's perfectly common for the government to require certain information be made available to consumers. Every package of food comes with a listing of nutritional information, because it should be easy for consumers to make healthy choices. New cars are sold with information about what percentage of the car was built domestically, because it should be easy to "buy American".

              Have either of these practices vastly increased the cost of the food or automotive indus
              • So, what is the nature of your disapproval? Are you some libertarian nut-job who can't comprehend the idea that the government might be uniquely able to positively influence the market? Or are you afraid that such an initiative might hurt your Wal-Mart stock?

                Neither. You missed the point: I don't necessarily disapprove of government regulations (not in the context you are describing anyway), as long as they apply equally to everyone. I disapprove when people say "I want all of you (except me) to pay more

    • Re:hold on (Score:3, Insightful)

      by arbi ( 704462 )
      India will always have a natural advantage over countries like Russia and Ukraine in terms of American IT outsourcing because they can speak English.
      • Re:hold on (Score:2, Funny)

        by mnmn ( 145599 )
        They can?
        • Re:hold on (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Not exactly sure what he means by that, India has loads of different languages, but a big part of India (West, I think) does use English as its' primary language dating back to the British empire. A lot of Indians in these certain regions are deeply immersed in British culture, which is a large amount of Indians who move to the UK settle in easily, because back home they watched/played the same sports, went to the pub and were Christian etc.

          Something that does perplex me about call centres, though, is that
      • Re:hold on (Score:2, Insightful)

        by tftp ( 111690 )
        Is there any law of physics that stops everyone else from learning English? If you don't know already, Indian English is not any better than Polish English, for example. Indians often use a writing style totally alien to western literature and to western readers.
    • Re:hold on (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Ukraine has some, ahem, moral issues that make it politically difficult for American companies to outsource there.

      So what!? Large multinational companies are amoral in nature, they don't give a shit about "moral issues", only about profit and the bottom line.

      • Perhaps, but that doesn't have shit to do whether or not the U.S. government wants to open trade with Ukraine. Getting caught red-handed making arms deals with the U.S.'s primary rival isn't a good idea, diplomatically speaking.

        All this talk about Ukraine makes me feel like I'm playing Risk.

    • Re:hold on (Score:5, Funny)

      by eobanb ( 823187 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @01:58AM (#10811281) Homepage

      I wouldn't think that emulating India is really the way to go

      Yah, they should just run it natively.

    • India's call center business is almost 100% U.S. customers
      Wrong. There was a good docementary a few years ago that showed call centre workers keeping track of London weather and english football scores so that they could better relate to customers.

      Don't blame India for the actions of clueless American Managers who have given away the farm.

  • Small typo (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 14, 2004 @01:16AM (#10811125)
    Both the submitter and the FA author seem to have misspelled "Elbonia."
  • more to it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Quixote ( 154172 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @01:20AM (#10811142) Homepage Journal
    There's more to becoming a global player than just the number of programmers. The infrastructure is important: not only the physical infrastructure like roads, trains and powerlines, but also the governmental infrastructure (like courts, government offices, etc.). Plus, a stable government (not a one-man show like in many other places) is necessary: money flees uncertainty.

    It is unfortunate, but Ukraine has gained notoriety for being the base of a lot of the "east european bride" scammers. Plus, the general perceived lawlessness of the fUSSR republics is not conducive to investment. Face it: post communism, there were a lot of problems with foreign partners of Russian businessmen being bumped off and strong-armed.

    Things may be different now, but a good reputation takes time to develop.

    As far as India is concerned: there are many Indians in high places in tech companies in the US, and the natual tendency is for them to favor India (a known commodity, to them) for outsourcing their operations.

  • by a.different.perspect ( 817184 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @01:20AM (#10811143) Journal
    and the server goes down.

    Building The Muscle To Be A Tech Player

    Ukraine has a bunch of cornfields, a bunch of old steel mills, and not much else. Right? Well, Ukraine also has a budding technology sector, and -- after the U.S., India, and Russia -- the fourth largest number of computer programmers in the world. It was a main center of the Soviet programming industry. The first computer built in continental Europe was made in Ukraine in 1951. Even today, scientific institutes each year churn out some 50,000 science or technology graduates. Not surprisingly, Ukrainians don't see why their country can't become a big player in the global technology market, like India. "We want Ukraine to become a technological country again, not just a country with agriculture and tank production," says Yuri Sivitsky, chairman of Softline, one of Ukraine's largest software producers.

    What are the chances? While Ukraine isn't likely ever to rival India, it certainly has the potential to become a player. Just look at Softline. Founded by mathematicians in 1995, it has 500 employees, up from a dozen in 1998. Revenues are set to hit $10 million this year, up 70% from 2003. Its clients include Ingersoll-Rand Co. (IR ) and Hugo Boss.

    The offshore programming industry, although small, is growing fast. According to Market-Visio, a research firm in Moscow, Ukraine's software exports will grow 43% this year to $100 million. Around 10,000 programmers are employed in the industry, working for customers such as Boeing (BA ), DaimlerChrysler (DCX ), General Electric (GE ), Citibank (C ), and NASA. Much of the work is customized business software. But gaming is also growing. Kvasar-Micro, Ukraine's largest info tech company, recently landed an order to develop a computer game for mobile handsets.

    Ukraine's main selling point is the quality of its mathematical education. Another is cheap labor. An average programmer in Ukraine earns $500 a month, not quite as low as India, but half the level in Moscow and a fraction of programming salaries in the West. But the edge Ukraine gets from high education and low wages is offset by other factors. Around 90% of all software on sale in Ukraine is pirated, so domestic makers can't get the revenue they need to grow. Other problems are a lack of business skills, venture finance, and government support. But things are looking up. Management skills are improving as Ukrainians gain Western experience and earn MBAs. The government is mulling tax incentives for tech investment and starting to tighten piracy laws.

    Some of the biggest names in the global technology industry have started to wake up to Ukraine's potential. "Ukraine is building up quickly," says Gerard J. Kleisterlee, CEO of Dutch electronics giant Royal Philips Electronics (PHG ), which makes an array of high-tech goods there. Flextronics International Ltd. (FLEX ), a Singapore electronics powerhouse, recently set up a software design lab in Ukraine, and CEO Michael E. Marks is enthusiastic about the nation's potential as an engineering and design power. If he's right, Ukraine has a digital future.
  • by loraksus ( 171574 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @01:25AM (#10811164) Homepage
    Not surprisingly, Ukrainians don't see why their country can't become a big player in the global technology market, like India."

    Because of the massive amounts of corruption at all levels of government? Organized crime bosses who refuse to let companies set up shop without bribes?
  • in (Score:2, Funny)

    by Konster ( 252488 )
    In the former Soviet Union, the software compiled YOU!
  • by slavik1337 ( 705019 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @01:39AM (#10811223)
    the next Doom3/HL2/Far Cry killer that THQ will publish next year, STALKER: SHadow of Chernobyl is developed by a Ukrainian company called GSC gameworld. They also developed Firestarter if you played it :)
  • by Jimmy The Tulip ( 770323 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @01:48AM (#10811252) Homepage Journal
    dont underestimate about the upcoming rivals like ireland and china. who can offer cheap outsourcing than india. but i guess software-outsourcing industry will take 2-3 years more to mature well... and to decide where to put money.

    • In terms of revenue, Ireland is already Europe's biggest exporter of software, not bad for a country with 1/16th of the UK's population.

      They got there by having a well-educated, English-speaking workforce, a large number of returning emigres with experience working in America etc and a government willing to offer generous welcome packages to international corporations and Europe's lowest rate of corporate tax.

      India hopes to emulate that because the middle classes there are also English-speaking. So
  • by cdsr ( 791348 )
    [Kramer and Newman are playing Risk...] Newman: I'm not beaten yet. I still have armies in the Ukraine. Kramer: Ha ha, the Ukraine. Do you know what the Ukraine is? It's a sitting duck. A road apple, Newman. The Ukraine is weak. It's feeble. I think it's time to put the hurt on the Ukraine. Ukrainian: I come from Ukraine. You not say Ukraine weak. Kramer: Yeah, well we're playing a game here, pal. Ukrainian: Ukraine is game to you?! Howbout I take your little board and smash it!! The Ukrainian pounds
  • Wow. I really expected Germany to be on that list at least. After all, we do hear about most virus writers coming from this country, as well as the hackers they have.
  • They hold the third largest population of phishers scammers and hackers.
    Ukrainian programmers won't be the first to land fat outsourcing contracts: they are as mob-ridden as Russia [securitypipeline.com]and better known for This kind of programmer than India is. [crime-research.org]
    • Eastern european technical education has more in common with Taiwan and Korea than the US. A good deal of the programmers in Ukraine are NOT phishers/crackers (like you have in the US too), but mathemathicians, physicists or engineers with really good programming skills as a plus.

      Not to you in particular, but until you compare the average skill level of american college graduates with their ukrainian equivalients, people in this thread should be a bit more humble with respect to poorer nations.
  • by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @02:39AM (#10811429)
    Ukrainians don't see why their country can't become a big player in the global technology market, like India."

    Because "programming" isn't the key factor in whether your nation is a "big player" in the global technology market. It is a factor, but it's a ways down the list.
  • by AndreyFilippov ( 550131 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @02:41AM (#10811442) Homepage
    Last winter I've got an idea of trying a software competition to develop a video streamer for the network cameras developed by Elphel [slashdot.org] (both software and hardware are GPL'ed). I decided to try Russian software developers (I'm Russian myself) so I wrote an article in a Russian online magazine "Computerra" and offered a $3000 prize for the best streamer to use with the camera (the code was to retain author's copyright and be released under GNU/GPL). I did not expect many participants and thought I'l sacrifice 3 cameras. But it turned different and I've sent out 9 of them - 4 to Russia, 3 - to Ukraine, 1 - to Germany and 1 to India (the article was in Russian - that restricted participants to Russian-reading).

    Of those 9 participants 6 reached the finish line and the winner is Ukrainian Alexander Melichenko. What amazed me was that I've got the first version of his steamer in just a couple weeks after the announcement _before_ he received the hardware! Hi used my online camera to download his application over the Internet and made it working. And the camera uses Axis ETRAX100LX CPU - something he never programmed before.

    All that software is now on our Sourceforge project page - https://sourceforge.net/projects/elphel [sourceforge.net].
  • by DataDragon ( 693231 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @02:58AM (#10811501)

    I've just gotten done reading the initial reaction of trolls and jokes about this.

    Ukraine does have quality engineers, does have better economics and less corruption than other CIS countries, and has been a considerable supporter of US interests (e.g., they dropped one of the highest levels of troops into Iraq for support. Even though, honestly, a country like that couldn't afford large military action, they did so anyway and I might add- with a level of political push considerably lower than others.)

    They are a society with European heritage, a large number of the population understands English, German, French, Italian, etc.) and for most Americans travelling to a typical "outsource" destination, Ukraine is both a familiar and not-so-culture-shocking destination (Compared, say, to China or India, for most Americans)

    I cannot say they don't have drawbacks, but I've researched the area heavilly and found that the people are much like the USA glory days -- preferring "Handles" and such, for fun mostly, and their display of individual pride. Here in old Silicon Valley, I'm corporate Borg. Getting sick of it.

    The organized crime aspects, well, I've had many discussions about that as well-- software isn't really their target, though. In most cases, its usually "competition" that drives the hostilities, and likewise, the vast majority of such cases are non-violent... just annoying (phone turned off, electricity cut, etc.) Like anywhere in the world, if you don't want trouble, don't start trouble. Respect goes a long way in those cultures.

    Personally, I'd jump at the chance to go to Ukraine myself. I think it would be rewarding and fun to help cultivate not only the economic flow, but to work with the people there.

    For those who are more politically inclined about how the Ukrainian air is going, the present Presidential Elections in Ukraine are showing a huge outpouring of support for the new candidate that wishes to bring Ukraine into the EEC.

    There aren't that many CIS countries that can say they are trying quite as hard to embrace the Westernized world by cooperation and with as little grandstanding as Ukraine is doing.

    Anyway, they aren't so bad: Wikkkipedia on Ukraine [wikipedia.org] and they can ROCK [wikipedia.org] too!

    Peace out. :)

  • I've gotten the impression that there is lots of pascal development still going on in Easter Europe, including turbo. That seems to be something of a dying / lost art in the US. I wonder if there is a viable business in maintaining / updating pascal code.
  • Ukranians didn't have some asshole like Disraeli come through and give away the crown jewels in the form of enforced education in the English language.
  • Skills (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pipingguy ( 566974 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @04:20AM (#10811776)

    I used to have a defineable, pretty unique skill. I can draw stuff as a draftsman on paper. My unique "skill" was pretty much killed by widespread CAD adoption. This major change didn't just affect me, it screwed quite a few hundred thousand other people that had decades of experience and knowledge.

    This is not really a problem as it will only take two or three generations of designers to adapt to the new technology. Death will eventually solve this problem.

    I could elaborate, but it's probably pointless to do so in this forum where computerization=cool.
    • Re:Skills (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Zen Punk ( 785385 )
      I don't understand...if you are skilled draftsman, why is it that you cannot learn to use a CAD program in order to stay current with industry? You already understand the concepts, and you're here so I assume you aren't afraid of computers...

      Engineers and designers don't use CAD because "computerization is cool," they use it becuase it opens up the possibility of professional-level drafting to those who don't have the special skill of drawing, like yourself.

      • .

        CAD software is good if you make a mistake or if you want to make a derivative drawing. You don't have to start all over again.

        And CAD software is more fun than death.

        Give it a whirl. You'll have plenty of time for death later.

      • Which CAD program and which third-party apps should be learned? All of them? Because CAD has drastically reduced the need for draftsmen, knowledge of specific software decides whether resumes end up in the OK pile or file 13, no matter how much knowledge one has.

        When all that was important was the ability to draw (I can't really figure out a parallel situation for computer-only people, maybe you can) and understand a certain engineering discipline, draftsmen could easily move between jobs. Now their mobil
    • So what, exactly, is your point? Progress eliminates the need for some skill sets, while creating others. That's the way it's always been, and that's the way it always will be. The only way to guarantee that we'll always need the same skills is to stop all progress. If the old way of doing it is better, then there will always be a need for the old skills, even if they are drastically reduced in number. You should always be looking forward to keeping current with the future, though. Take your spare tim
  • With the amount of spam generated from Nigeria,
    I would have thought that Nigeria would made it to the list.
  • Went to Ukraine... (Score:2, Informative)

    by stibles ( 708899 )
    I actually went to Kiev in 2001 to start an outsourcing company. It was a FASCINATING if not profitable experience. Kiev is somewhat cosmopolitan for an Eastern European city though not Paris. We started a joint venture with a CompSci department at the University of Kiev. The first class of recruits would probably have gotten a B as a group with a couple of A students and a bunch of Bs and a couple of Cs. The educational system for tech there is very rigorous. These guys were ready to go in C++ but we
  • Expensive... (Score:3, Informative)

    by KontinMonet ( 737319 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @07:37AM (#10812229) Homepage Journal
    A few months ago, we tendered for some work in the region of US$2m to be outsourced. The best prices came from Poland and Bulgaria. Then Ukraine, then India. We did site visits to all but India (their quote was off the radar) to determine their capabilities. We were not impressed with the infrastructure or general atmosphere in the Ukraine although their guys seemed good - it was too much of a risk and we could see it costing us money. Poland looked good but Bulgaria was cheaper. What to do?

    And then, of course, the inevitable happened - the project got cancelled...
  • was build 1936 in Germany (Zuse Z1) and not 1951 in Ukraine as BusinessWeek claimed.
  • What Unit? (Score:3, Funny)

    by boatboy ( 549643 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @09:59AM (#10812592) Homepage
    Sure, maybe the 4th largest by quantity, but the US has the largest programmer population by volume.
    • Damn, you beat me with the joke opportunity. I was going to ask why the average Ukranian programmer was 4th in the size category. Oh well, better luck next time!

      It is very much like the Rodney Dangerfield quip:

      • Q:How many people work here?
      • A:One out of every four.

  • by patternjuggler ( 738978 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @01:00PM (#10813295) Homepage
    I kind of resent the fact that all these huge multi-billion dollar corporations get to save all this money with cheap overseas labor, when there is no parallel opportunity for me as an individual. I hear that there are programmers who will work for $5/hour (I don't know about the Ukraine)- it would be really great if I could jumpstart my sourceforge project by getting say 20 hours of programming time from someone for $100, or if I could do the same for art assets or anything else. Hell, if all the programming in this country is going to be outsourced while the management stays here, having this outsourcing management experience is going to look a lot better on my resume than if I had done all the coding myself.

    Seriously, I realize that Sourceforge has the paypal thing which probably is more for rewarding work that has already been done, but there also needs to be some kind of micro-contract agency that allows me to get a set amount of work done in the future.

  • by danila ( 69889 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @02:29PM (#10813765) Homepage
    My view on this is that this huge potential will remain just that - potential, without translating into anything tangible, like a huge booming offshore programming industry like in India.

    There are many reasons for this, but I'll list the main ones only:

    1) The government doesn't give a squat about programming industry or economy in general. They won't care about it unless there are some money to be had for them. It won't happen unless the industry magically develops by itself and even then will only be to its detriment.
    2) Yes, Ukraine is better than most other CIS countries, but that only means they are neck-deep in shit instead of being totally submerged like Uzbekistan, Kyrgistan, Tajikistan and other whateverstans. Ukraine is worse off than Russia and that's saying something.
    3) These graduates aren't good. You all know about problems in American educational system, but in Ukraine (and other CIS countries) people who graduate from schools are often simply functionally illiterate. They are just going through the motions without actually learning or understanding anything. You may think cheating and grade inflation became problems in the US. You aint's seen nothing until you visit CIS. These 50000 graduates are really bad programmers (ditto for 100000 in Russia).
    4) Obviously, with such a huge pool of programmers there are bound to be some who are really great. That's why Russia wins so many programming competitions. This doesn't mean that the other 99.9% of programmers are any good. So forget the stereotypes. Ukrainian/Russian programmers suck.
    5) You need good management to do this kind of business and the business education in Ukraine is basically as bad as IT education.
    6) Ukraine doesn't have good image abroad and noone really does anything to change it, so it would be hard to persuade the prospecting clients.

    So the only possible result is that the IT industry in Ukraine will remain quite small and insignificant in the international market. Sad, but true. Ditto for Russia.

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