The year 2022 has been the most challenging in Techstack’s history—the war broke out in Ukraine, where most of our team has been located. We faced the need to relocate people into safer places, fulfill obligations to our partners, maintain and develop multiple unique products, and provide conditions for comfortable work and future growth. Looking back at what has been achieved, we can proudly say that each of us did his/her best and turned all challenges into opportunities for progress and development.
Throughout this exhausting year, Techstack managed to grow and expand the geography of its delivery hubs and the partners’ locations, domains, and industries. None of our team members have been left aside. The challenges we have faced this year prove that we can overcome any difficulties. So, now is the time to sum up our achievements and enter the new year inspired, confident in our abilities and the victory of Ukraine.
Techstack 2022 Milestones
This year brought us changes in all directions: business development, partner collaboration, and domain expertise. Let us take a closer look at the transformations and achievements of each field.
Business and Partners
The global challenge that any Ukrainian business, including Techstack, faced was adjusting operations to war conditions. Nevertheless, we overcame this situation more than successfully: opened new positions, gained new partners, established a stable delivery, fulfilled all our obligations, and launched three delivery hubs. At the same time, our partners provided us with all-encompassing support and understanding: helping evacuate our team and donating to Ukrainian charity organizations and the Armed Forces (AFU). We are proud of having customers who are also our friends.
Here you can read more about our collaboration with partners and our work on their products within the first months of the year.
Over the first months of the war, we kept adopting new partners and creating new teams. Moreover, the new partners kept coming during normally less-active summer months, too. All in all, the number of Techstack partners increased by six in 2022. This growth led to the expansion of our partners’ geography—we added innovative products from Finland, Sweden, and Germany to our portfolio. Furthermore, these products allowed us to demonstrate our expertise in three prospective industries: Energetics, AgroTech, and Logistics.
Another pleasant fact of this year is that the already existing development teams within Techstack have been steadily expanding and building plans for future growth together with us. We are happy to notice that some of the small teams that started from two or three people turned into major accounts with a dozen people onboard. At the same time, our large teams have become a regular extension of the product teams, reinforcing the bonds we formed years ago. Once again, we ensured that the stable expertise of our technical specialists, an understanding of our partners’ goals, and a confident teams’ leadership result in long-lasting and effective collaboration.
The last but not least important milestone in our business development process became our active engagement with tech conferences and festivals. In 2022, our business development team attended six events in Germany, the Netherlands, Finland, and Canada, bringing back new contacts, partnership agreements, and experience.
All the effort we put into doing our job the best we could has not only resulted in certain growth and individual achievements, but was also recognized by third-party individuals and organizations. This year, Techstack was honored with two awards:
- Top Fastest Growing Cross-Platform App Developer;
- Most Reviewed Software Testing Companies in Ukraine.
Recognitions like these signify that Techstack is on the right track. However, The pieces of feedback that we get from our partners are an even more valuable type of recognition for us. We are sure that our results speak for themselves, so we just want to share a few reviews we got this year.
Our partners’ credit and recognition from the industry representatives motivate us to continuously improve our skills and progress, delivering the most reliable solutions.
After the outbreak of the war, our team, previously located mostly in Kharkiv, was forced to move all over Ukraine. So, we decided to shift our development strategy, which was aimed at vertical expansion within one city, toward horizontal growth. We started by opening the first location for those of our team members who evacuated abroad and launched a delivery hub in Wrocław, Poland. It also allowed Techstack to grow its presence in the major IT hubs across Europe, support our partners, and reinforce their products, guaranteeing complete security and stability.
After the Wrocław launch followed two other openings: in Kyiv and Lviv. Preparing these hubs, we aimed to provide a comfortable and reliable location for our team. These openings also have a strategic meaning for Techstack, since they bring us one step closer to ensuring Techstack’s presence in all major Ukrainian cities.
You can find more information on our new locations in the blog posts on our hubs in Wrocław, Kyiv, Lviv.
Our major achievement of this year on the People side is that we managed to keep the team the same size it was before the war and even grow it. This is a big victory compared to the general 15x reduction in the number of open vacancies in the Ukrainian IT sector. Thanks to our stable growth, we don’t have plans to reduce the size of our team. On the contrary, we have built an ambitious growth plan for the next five years.
Another feature of this year has become an adaptation not only to remote mode but—even more challenging—to the combination of remote and distributed teams. With three new locations, a currently inactive Kharkiv hub and half of the team dispersed over Ukraine and the world, we needed to adjust to a totally new working format. Today, we are very proud of the great job our People team did to organize all processes in such a complicated setting.
Another big challenge for the People team has become psychological support and motivation building in conditions of extreme uncertainty, losses, and pain. To deal with this, the Techstack People team started paying major attention to the psychological state of each member, offering one-to-one meetings or professional psychological support. They also launched a series of informal online meetings, “Stand with Techstack”, which are aimed at creating a safe space for an exchange of worries and providing mutual support.
One of Techstack’s main values is to always be at the cutting edge of technology. This pushes us to constantly expand and deepen our expertise, domain scope, and technology stack. In the year 2022, our main focus was dedicated to the developments in AI, ML and IoT. This resulted in acquiring several innovative IoT products: a labor optimization system for AgroTech, a video-based quality control system, and a humidity and temperature control manufacturing system.
To automate Machine Learning work, we developed Machine Learning Pipelines (MLOps) which include various tools: VertexAI, Kuberflow, Google Cloud Storage, Google Cloud Registry, and GitHub. Now we can flawlessly fetch data, create a training set for the ML model, train it, evaluate, validate, and rank to get the best one. Finally, we can deploy the model as Docker to Google Cloud Registry.
We also added several new tools and frameworks that help us perform more exquisite solutions. To mention just a few:
- OpenTelemetry, an open-source framework for instrumenting, generating, collecting, and exporting telemetry data such as traces, metrics, logs;
- Pact, a code-first tool for testing HTTP and message integrations using contract tests;
- Nx, a smart, fast and extensible build system with first-class monorepo support and powerful integrations.
Apart from acquiring new expertise, we worked in the direction of officially confirming our well-developed skills. Therefore, this year we launched the preparation for the two certification programs: Google Cloud Certification and AWS Certification program.
In 2022, we built a foundation for future development. Based on new technological knowledge and skills, we plan to establish an R&D hub, which will constantly research innovations in IoT, AI, ML, and VR. On the people side, we are launching the Upskill program, which helps engineers to broaden and deepen their expertise or to get new qualifications.
Thus, we will always stay on the edge of technology and offer our partners the latest and most efficient technology to achieve their business goals.
Making an impact on the world around us is Techstack’s driving force. We do so not only by developing socially meaningful technological products, but also by providing help to those in need.
Volunteering & Charity
Since the outbreak of the war, our volunteering activities and participation in charity have immensely intensified. In the first days of the war, one of our team members noticed a Facebook post that the local orphanage urgently required ordinary household things, which were impossible to get in the constantly shelled Kharkiv back then. So, he decided to get those in the nearest cities and deliver them to Kharkiv. This is how he started to supply people and institutions in need with basic staff. One of the rides departed from the main Techstack location. Several cars full of our hub’s belongings (dishes, chairs and armchairs, board games, groceries, stationery etc.) were delivered to the orphanage.
However, the scope of people our members helped extended. So, later on, all the laptops and computers were delivered to the Armed Forces, and a kitchen refrigerator went to the garrison hospital. That is how our engagement with a volunteering hub was born.
Throughout all the time, Techstack kept supporting our member’s volunteering initiative, which today mainly focuses on providing the front-line soldiers with the necessary goods and equipment. Throughout these 10 months, the hub managed to support more than 20 units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
Supported by multiple participants, including Techstack and its team members, the variety of help the hub delivered to these units is enormously broad. To mention just a few major things:
- 10+ thermal imagers, 10 night vision devices, 30+ binoculars, 20+ Starlinks, 40+ large charging stations with built-in inverters or stations with solar panels, several sets of mine detectors;
- 20,000 units of ammunition: stove carriers, medical and tactical backpacks, backpacks for RPG shots, tactical gloves, knee and elbow pads, various types of pouches, grenade launchers, belts, masks and goggles, helmets, balaclavas, RPS, belt systems, hydrators, tents, thermal underwear, raincoats, tactical shovels;
- 100+ assault helmets and general military helmets;
- 500+ body armor kits, 30+ camouflage nets;
- Numerous radio stations, inverters, charging stations, armored tablets and laptops, scout pipes;
- 40 cars, 100+ tires, various auto equipment;
- 300+ mattresses and 200+ sleeping bags.
- 10 000+ units of tactical medicine (Celox, Israeli bandages, hemostats, tourniquets, atraumatic scissors, soft stretchers, nasopharyngeal tubes, burn dressings, decompression needles, atraumatic scissors, field surgical kits, immobilization tires).
- Repaired and modernized cars (including welding of power thresholds, power bumpers, installation of metal trunks for the transportation of BC, engine protection, additional lighting equipment, installation of fixed night vision devices, installation of “winches”), and camouflage.
We are proud that we can help our country to go through these trying times on different frontiers: developing the local economy and donating to the Armed Forces and people in need.
Apart from sponsoring the volunteering hub, over the last ten months, Techstack supported:
- Volunteering Organization “Happy Childhood of Ukraine”, which organizes entertaining events for children evacuated from the zones of active military actions.
- Charitable Foundation “Voices of Children”, which is aimed at helping children overcome the trauma of war.
- Charitable Foundation “Volonterska”, which helps people from the de-occupied territories survive through winter in the conditions of almost fully destroyed infrastructure.
Not only did Techstack as a company engage in charity, but many of our team members became volunteers themselves, delivering aid to people from the most dangerous areas, and supporting seniors, children, and pets that lost their homes. Others chose to donate to the Armed Forces and sponsor combatants. We believe that each of these actions contributes to our mutual victory. We are proud to have such caring and concerned team members. But we are even more proud of our team member who joined the Armed Forces.
Techstack Team in the Armed Forces of Ukraine
Oleksandr has collaborated with Techstack as a QA Automation Engineer since 2015. In 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea and the war on Donbas started, he made himself the promise to join the Armed Forces if the war escalated. In February 2022, when Kharkiv and many other Ukrainian cities were attacked, Oleksandr started volunteering, helping civil people and the army. Very soon, however, his native town was occupied, and he lost connection with his family. Two of his friends, who were civilians, joined the army. This motivated Oleksandr to voluntarily join the AFU, where he was assigned to the marine corps.
Today, Oleksandr takes part in military actions protecting our country. We all at Techstack cannot find enough words to express how proud and grateful we are for him. The whole team tries to support his unit, covering at least some of their needs. More than anything, we want to see Oleksandr safe and sound. He remains an important part of our team, and we hope to see him back any time.
Volunteering QA Courses
An essential direction where Techstack has always aimed to make an impact is education and professional development at all career stages. Under the conditions of the ongoing war, it has been more complicated to contribute to this—the most major efforts were put into keeping what has been already achieved. However, this does not prevent Techstack from taking action in this direction.
Once Techstack’s Sr. Director of Quality Engineering, Vitaliy Dolotov, and Head of QE Trainee Program, Dmytro Bondarenko, came up with the idea to help people who lost their job because of the war and would like to develop in the direction of Quality Engineering. Later on, they suggested other QA experts of the company contribute some of their time to the initiative, and they agreed. This is how our free-of-charge QA courses were born.
In October 2022, they accepted 18 people into the course. The program contains a series of lectures and practical tasks that junior specialists would likely meet working on their first product. It also includes workshops from our HR team, aimed at helping people learn more about the technology career market and self-presentation on it. Now, in December 2022, the group of students is finishing the course, and we have no doubts their first workplace will soon be found.
Prospects, Perspectives, and Plans
This has been a complicated and trying year, which has challenged us in many ways. At the same time, we live in exciting times when the world is going through a technological revolution, which challenges and drives us. Our team is looking forward to the opportunities this state will bring us already next year. We are eager to try new technologies, extend our expertise and emerge in this spirit of innovation. Developments in the field of AI and IoT will be of special interest to us next year.
There is no doubt that our team will keep growing and progressing. We will continue searching and developing talents in Ukraine and—for the first time next year—Poland. We will keep supporting our country and helping people in need. The difficulties brought us closer together and united us. Each member of the Techstack team kept doing his/her job no matter what. Thanks to this commitment, effort and devotion, we reached the point of stability where we are today.
Therefore, we want to thank our engineers for contributing to the most groundbreaking products; our managers for keeping all projects going; our office administrators for doing a great job of launching three new locations in half a year; our People department for supporting our team and establishing growth; and our Marketing and Design team for driving Techstack brand. Separate thanks go to our volunteers who kept devoting their resources to bringing Ukrainian victory closer. Techstack would not be possible without you all.
We give special gratitude to our partners who steadily entrust us with world-changing products: medical software, charity platforms, labor optimization systems and many more. Techstack is proud to be a part of global change.
The next year will become a year of great chances, improvements, and victories. United, we will make our wishes, plans and desires come true.