A Look at Lviv, One of Europe’s Most Vibrant Tech Cities

Mar 22, 2018

Lviv (Ukraine) has long been recognized as a city of great cultural variety. Some even go as far as to call it Ukraine’s “capital of culture”. But the thing that interests us most — and probably you, too — is the fact that in less than two decades, Lviv has become one of the country’s largest tech hubs, alongside Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Dnipro.

Lviv is home to more than 200 tech companies and 20,000 tech workers, with over 4,000 graduates joining Lviv’s tech scene every year. The city’s tech sector makes up 14.4% of GRP ($280–$300M), and more impressively still, Lviv is the only Ukrainian city to have officially declared the tech industry as one of the key elements in the city’s competitiveness strategy.

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Still not impressed? Read on as we dig deeper into what makes Lviv an excellent destination to outsource your tech needs, or even to build your own software development team.

How to Hire Ukrainian Developers

200+ Tech Companies, Including 20 Product Companies and International R&D Offices 

90% percent of Lviv’s tech companies provide software development outsourcing services. Their clients are businesses mainly located in North America (58%) and Europe (35%). The remaining 10% consist of local and international product companies, including Siemens, Oracle, Gameloft, and TemplateMonster.

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Source: IT Research (2016) by Lviv IT Cluster

4,000+ Tech Graduates Annually

There are seven higher education establishments in Lviv that offer technical and engineering training, with Lviv Polytechnic National University being the leading provider of tech professionals. In 2016, the institution launched an Internet of Things specialization and introduced a new Data Science master’s program.

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The first students in the IoT program, Lviv Polytechnic National University, source: Lviv IT Cluster

In addition to the city’s universities and academies, there are plenty of smaller IT schools that provide high quality education in software development, QA engineering, system administration, UI/UX and graphic design, project management, and many other specializations. These include LITS, Logos IT Academy, ITEA, SkillUp, and various other schools.

Additionally, some of the larger tech companies have opened their own IT schools that help them train exactly the kinds of professionals they need.

Vibrant Tech Community

With so many professionals living in the city, it’s only natural that Lviv has turned into a vibrant, diverse, and welcoming tech community. Here are a few of Lviv’s largest and most prolific tech clubs and groups:

Lviv IT Cluster has brought together 63 companies that employ over 8 thousand tech workers combined. The community actively promotes Lviv as a tech city on both the domestic and international level, supports local educational projects, and conducts regular research in the industry. Lviv IT Cluster runs a wide range of projects, including the construction of an IT House, a dedicated residential area for tech specialists, and an IT Park. This is a brand new complex within the city that will include class A business centers, a university campus, a hotel, food and entertainment facilities, and a kindergarten.

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Renderings of the IT House and the IT Park. Source: Lviv IT Cluster

PLLUG Community, which stands for Programming in Lviv Linux Users Group, organizes regular meetups for people interested in software and hardware development. In addition to its meetups and workshops, the community also offers free front-end, C++/Qt, C#, Android, and iOS development training.

GDG Lviv is a community of developers who use Google technologies. They organize meetups and workshops in Android, Web, and Cloud development, as well as an annual GDG DevFest Ukraine conference.

Lviv StartUp Club supports local startup entrepreneurs and promotes the development of an innovative ecosystem in the city. The club hosts events that engage industry experts and investors, organizing monthly meetups for internet marketers, mobile and game developers, hardware engineers, and other tech specialists.

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Sources: Lviv IT Cluster, GDG Lviv

Aside from developer groups, there are also dedicated communities for QA engineers, CEOs, tech recruiters, and even teenagers looking to make their first steps in the tech sector.

Tech Events

Lviv hosts a great number of tech events and conferences for a wide range of specialists. Here are some of the largest:

Lviv IT Arena, which takes place every autumn, is one of the most prominent IT events in Ukraine. The conference brings together over 2,500 developers, designers, top managers, entrepreneurs, business analysts, and startup founders.

GDG DevFest Ukraine is the largest conference in Central Europe dedicated exclusively to Google technologies. The next GDG DevFest will take place in October and is expected to attract more than 1,000 participants from 20 countries, as well as multiple international speakers.

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Source: GDG DevFest Ukraine

GameDev Conference is the largest game event in Western Ukraine. The name says all you need to know: the conference is for everyone interested in games, their development, and their promotion.

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Source: Lviv Startup Club

Workspaces

There’s no shortage of convenient business centers in Lviv, but if you don’t feel the need to invest in your own office space right now, there are more than enough excellent coworking spaces that will provide you and your local team with all the necessary infrastructure. Here is our selection of top locations:

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Sources: Coworking Zone, iHUB, OK Factory Coworking

Geographical and Cultural Proximity

Among the many reasons to hire developers in Ukraine, cultural compatibility is definitely one of the most significant. In terms of working practice, Ukraine’s tech industry is very similar to that in the Western business world.

This is especially true in Lviv, from both a historical and geographical perspective. Throughout most of its 777-year history, Lviv was part of Poland, Hungary, and Austria. Today, the city is less than 100 km away from the Polish border. A 1 to 3 hour flight from Lviv can take you to multiple cities in Germany, Poland, Austria, Italy, Lithuania, Israel, Turkey, and further, with more international connections launching all the time. Add in the lower tech salaries and cost of living in Lviv to the mix, and you get an excellent destination for starting your own tech business.

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