UA IT Hub helps Ukrainian tech employees find work

Most of Ukraine’s international relief efforts have focused on charitable giving and humanitarian aid. Some brands have suspended trade relations in Russia as a show of solidarity with Ukraine while others have expressed their support in more symbolic ways. One Ukrainian company, called UA IT Hub, is seeking a different kind of comfort: nepotism. It reaches out to companies in Europe and North America asking them to hire Ukrainian tech talent for their contract development work.

Before the war began, it was estimated that as many as 200,000 computer programmers lived in Ukraine. Some worked for Ukrainian technology companies. Some worked as contractors for foreign companies. Some have worked for large companies that specialize in hiring talent for technology projects. Ivan Kosyuk, a 22-year-old Ukrainian expat who co-founded and serves as UA IT Hub, says many have lost their jobs as a result of the war and are trying to survive on what little savings they have left.

The idea behind the UA IT Hub, which now has a network of 1,200 programmers, designers and other specialists, is to find work on the project for Ukrainian technologists who need additional scheduling flexibility due to the realities of war. While the group has full-time workers, it also has many who cannot work full-time due to family obligations and volunteer work as part of the war effort, says Kosyuk, a first-year graduate student at Cornell University. Some engineers also need time to work on their government’s technical projects – for example developing defensive and offensive cybersecurity systems.

“Even small tech projects can help us create jobs for people, [to] Pay taxes for our country and keep volunteering,” says Kosyuk.

The UA IT Hub – which is still developing its website, but can be reached at [email protected] for now – brings together teams of technology professionals with the right mix of talent and time to fit the needs of the projects. The group’s network includes a variety of skill sets, from machine learning to cybersecurity to application development.

Kosyuk says potential clients are sometimes worried that Ukrainian workers will not be able to attend project management meetings or regularly progress. Therefore, UA IT Hub provides a layer of project management and coordination so that programmers and designers stay in sync with the project schedule and other client needs. It currently has four people dedicated to building teams and managing projects.

When a project becomes available, UA IT Hub publishes project requirements and other information online. Then you put together a team of engineers to match the project requirements, including skill sets and job availability.

“If the project requires high-level engineers, we can do it; if the project needs 20 junior developers, we can do it,” says Kosyuk. “It may require some combinations that may need to change over time to get the best possible performance .”

And the work pays off. “The salaries we offer are 40% or 50% higher than what the market typically offers,” says Kosyuk. So, instead of working 160 hours a week, a contractor can work much less and earn the same salary. This leaves them time to take care of their families.”

“I think the customer gets a much better product and more efficiencies,” he says.

Being an LLC registered in Ukraine, UA IT Hub pays taxes directly to the Ukrainian government. Some of that money, of course, will be used for the war effort. The company does not withhold money from contractors’ or self-employed checks, but it does provide them with the paperwork they need to know how much they will need to pay the government.

Kosyuk says that UA IT Hub has already completed one project. It built a system for an Australian shipping equipment company that scrapped competitors’ websites to collect data for competitive analysis and new product development.

Kosyuk says he is now helping a small US venture capital firm develop the software for one of its portfolio companies that manages staff in hospitals. It is in the early stages of a project for a Swedish recycling company where it will build a data analytics system; You also expect to build a computer vision system that accurately sorts different types of glass.

And things are getting better on the communication side. Kosyuk says the UA IT Hub has held talks with CitiBank and Stanford University about potential partnerships. In fact, both companies invited Kosyuk and the company to submit a business plan on their respective campuses.

Kosyuk has family members who chose to stay in Ukraine. His parents are both businessmen who run food production facilities. They now spend most of their time visiting the factory floors to help ensure food production continues during the war. He also has an uncle who is a doctor and works near the front lines and works on wounded soldiers.

Kosyuk told me that he was very worried about his family during the early days of the war in late February when many people believed that the Russian army would easily take Kyiv and overthrow Zelensky’s government. But when it became clear that a Russian victory was far from certain (or even likely), his anxiety receded.

“I think my family will be safe,” he says. “It inspired me so much that they decided to stay and help.”

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