With the quarantine restrictions globally, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) sectors got a push: drones, mobile phone apps, teaching programs, medical equipment and software—AI and ML has become not only trendy but also vitally important for our lives. Sergey Kartashov (Sergejs Kartasovs), the Senior Partner of technology company Roosh, explains why Ukraine has all the chances to become a leader in these areas and what it needs to solve the problems on the way.
According to Sergey Kartashov, Ukraine has lots of young specialists willing to conquer not only Ukrainian IT market but also to apply their skills and ideas to international projects. However, often such specialists face lack of practical skills when it comes to starting their own project. Kartashov suggests that it can be referred to outdated system of education that lags behind the fast trends in the IT world and the lack of managing skills taught in universities.
As a result, recently graduated IT specialists in Ukraine are ambitious yet still require getting some additional knowledge to be hired by a respectful company. That is why such a company often promise to cover extra education in order to get a young specialist.
The thing is that even there are a great number of IT students in Ukraine, there is still a gap in demand and supply of IT professionals. There are so many IT companies there—big and small—that every IT specialist is counted. Even last year, with more than 200,000 IT workers in Ukraine, local companies could not fill 30 percent of their vacancies.
But even if an IT student or worker wants not to be hired but to create their own startup, they often face lack of managing, law, and other relevant skills to make their own business. Unfortunately, state Ukrainian universities do not teach their students of such skills. How to promote your idea? How to run your business? How to scale your project? How to pitch your idea to investors? Graduates barely know how to answer these questions.
That is why Ukrainian businesses open their own version of universities to attract and teach young people willing to start their IT career. One of these universities, for instance, was opened by Roosh founder Sergey Tokarev and Tymofiy Milovanov, the president of Kyiv School of Economics.
Such private universities prepare not only technical specialists but also future CEOs and managers that will know how to get a proper team together, how to set KPIs, promote any project, and reach their goals.
But when it comes to investing in startups, there is also one more obstacle in Ukrainian IT market that can prevent local AI and ML startup to develop. According to Sergey Kartashov, Ukraine lacks American approach to investing. In the US, it is okay for an investor to finance 10 projects with only two of them to succeed. These two will cover all the expenses anyway, and the rest eight will become more experienced so that their next project will get more chances to hit the market. In Ukraine, meanwhile, investors tend to discard startups that cannot prove they will succeed for 100%. Sergey Kartashov explains that new Apple or Amazon is possible only if there are experiments, lots of them, millions of them. But for Ukrainian investors it is still difficult to accept such a culture.
Yet, according to the Roosh partner, Ukraine has all the chances to change the situation. With private IT universities, with lots of IT workers willing to work and create new products, with investors willing to accept new approaches, the country will quickly gain the fame of a new leader in the IT market.