To quote David Burns, @AutomatedTester, “Soon to give another talk in Kiev, this city is buzzing with automators!”
This is quite an exciting development for me personally, because this is far removed from the technology level for an ex-Soviet Bloc country. When I moved from Russia to the US in the mid-90’s, a computer was something you only saw in Hollywood movies. I remember the first time I saw a computer, and was allowed to play what I now believe is Q*Bert, I knew I was hooked!
Unlike the majority of my co-workers who are my age, I did not get to build my first Hello World at the age of seven; I had to wait until 16 to do that. My personal experience is pretty much typical for Soviet Bloc kids. But now that our Russian and Ukrainian peers got their hands on the same technology as the rest of the world, they are not wasting time “catching up” because they already have caught up.
During these conferences I got a chance to meet with dozens of people who work for small software shops around here. Talking to them is like talking to any Silicon Valley start up employee. They are heavy on Agile, they love automation, do sprints/iterations or whatever you wanna call them in your team. They even have the same gripes about managers who demand too many features, while not giving enough time.
All of this progress paired with a pretty good handle on the English language by your average Joe or Ivan, if you wanna use an old school stereotype, is starting to make this area “Iron Valley” or maybe “Mother Valley.”
I’m excited to see what new companies will come out of this area. The next Google might be right around the corner, but in the mean time if you are looking to hire some contractors, you can do a lot worse than these guys.
According to this Forbes article, as the economic climate improves in the former Soviet Bloc states, a lot of the brain-drain which happened in the 90’s will start to reverse. The Iron Valley can become the dream work place for the geeks of eastern Europe, like Silicon Valley is for US geeks.