Ukraine’s resilience also shows in its strong technology experts

By JJ Rosen March 10, 2022
Ukranian-Technology

This article originally appeared in The Tennessean.

The technology community prides itself on being resilient. With a life full of servers crashing, internet outages, and software bugs, resiliency is required if you want to succeed.

This trait was on my mind as I watched the news about Ukraine.

Resilience in tech, business, or most any other endeavor pales in comparison to the resilience the Ukrainian people have been showing in the face of war.  But I couldn’t help thinking about the resilience of my fellow techies who work and live in Ukraine during this tragic time.

It’s not commonly known, but over the past few years Ukraine has become a major technology hub.  With over 200,000 techies, Ukrainians have become a force in both the tech and startup world and have been on a path of tremendous growth.

Ukrainian techies have consistently been rated as among the best in Europe and have attracted recruiters from U.S. companies who are desperately needing to fill empty positions. Apple, Microsoft, Google, Salesforce, and Oracle are just a few of the U.S. behemoths that have either hired or outsourced work to the Ukraine tech community over the past few years. And successful Ukrainian startups like Grammarly, Readdle, MacPaw, and security hardware maker Ajax Systems have proven that Ukraine’s tech sector is for real.

Tech has become Ukraine’s third largest export, raking in an estimated $4.5 billion last year, and before the events of the past few weeks, was predicted to be at $8.5 billion by 2025. In a super competitive industry, it’s been nothing short of amazing how well Ukraine’s tech community has grown.

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On Feb. 26, Ukraine’s minister for digital transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, initiated the formation of a volunteer “IT Army.” He called on the country’s software developers, designers, copywriters, and network engineers to help fight back on the cyber front. And as expected, the tech community responded. Over 175,000 tech professionals have already volunteered to help. Their current missions are to defend against cyber-attacks as well as to stop the spread of disinformation online.

They are also getting support from the tech community outside of Ukraine.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX set up their satellite-based internet service, Starlink, to help the people of Ukraine maintain internet access so that they could better communicate and get information.

Airbnb has offered free housing to refugees.

Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have started blocking Russian propaganda.

Microsoft has been working with the Ukrainian government to warn of cyber-attacks.

Google has blocked the Russian military from using their Map app.

Apple has ceased selling its products in Russia and blocked access to the app store.

The list goes on.

No one knows whether these efforts will ultimately succeed. But knowing the tech community’s never-give-up approach to challenges, there’s a good chance they will make a difference.

Tech has not always been on the right side of what’s best for society, but it’s encouraging to see both the big tech companies and the Ukrainian tech community step up and play the role of cyber warrior alongside the brave citizens of Ukraine.

JJ Rosen is the founder of Atiba. A Nashville custom software development and IT support company. Visit www.atiba.com or www.atibanetworkservices.com for more info.

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