How to Find & Hire Top Russian Programmers

hire russian programmers

Is it possible to hire top Russian programmers for less than half the price of someone in the USA with the same skills or better?

Our experience is that you can but it’s not easy. You need to know exactly how to find the right people, and where to spend the time recruiting and selecting candidates. With the right know how, you can find programmers with the equivalent skills to someone earning $80 USD an hour for as little as $15 an hour.

Typical rates for Russian programmers and the former Soviet Union

It depends to some degree on the region and country. Salaries in Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus for example are significantly lower than Moscow (in Russia). In fact you will find salaries in Moscow are not that much lower than the west, so the comparative advantage of hiring a programmer in this city is not great. If you are hiring in the Russian Federation, you’ll have more luck elsewhere.

Rates that you can expect for programmers in most of the former Soviet Union vary depending on a number of factors. Keep in mind that local companies can hire with salaries 10-40% lower than this range (generally, but not always, there’s are a different set of rules for foreign businesses).

Typical salaries for a full staff member are around:

  • Php programmers – $1500-$2500 USD per month
  • C++ programmers – $2000-$3000 USD per month
  • J2E programmer – $2000-$3000 USD per month
  • Web developer – $1200-$2200 USD per month

As a general rule it’s better to find talent from the top of the pool, rather than hiring people who are willing to accept lower salaries.

Finding the right person for the role

You need to treat the recruitment effort more seriously than you would if hiring a person from your own country. It requires determination and effort to first find  and screen a significant number of suitable candidates, and then time to evaluate each applicant – don’t expect to succeed unless you put serious effort into the recruitment process.

Where to search

Cast a wide net and you’ll be more likely to find the person with the skills you really need. Try outsourcing sites such as Upwork (formerly oDesk) and All three of these sites have the advantage that they manage the payment process for you (and you can also test any promising candidates with a short project before moving on to more serious work).

You should also search in other locations including programming forums, especially those that target the skills that you are looking for. Linkedin and Facebook although less popular in Russia are still worth a look.

There are a number of excellent web sites in Russian where you can find great programmers such as, rsdn, Vkontakte (the equivalent of Facebook in Russia),, and You might need to hire someone to post the job ads for you (if this is the case, initially try an outsourcing site… which is in English).

You can’t expect to find someone great just from posting a job listing

Just like everywhere else, posting an advertisement for programmers in the newspaper might help you find someone good, but you are less likely to find someone great.

The great programmers usually already have jobs, or are working on their own projects. They may also be looking for challenges or a more dynamic and interesting environment (…and you need to sell the idea  that you can provide those challenges for them, as well as the opportunity to grow with your company).

If you want to find truly phenomenal Russian programmers you need to spend some significant efforts recruiting, and searching. You ideally need to speak Russian or have someone who speaks Russian to help you. It’s also more difficult to persuade highly talented people to work for you unless you meet them in person (or use a specialist recruitment company).

How to evaluate the candidates

A short test is a good way to initially evaluate candidates. If you can start with a local programmer who is excellent and get them to devise a very short (1-3 hour) test that is  difficult and exactly matches the skills that you are looking for. Then give all of your candidates this test.

Another option is working together on a short project to see how you work together. Also looking for people who have worked on programming projects in their spare time is a good way to find top talent.

Developing trust

If you don’t use a local recruiter or one of the freelancing sites you might find it difficult to develop trust with the person. However there are other ways to develop trust such as working together on some interesting but short projects first, and then moving later to a full time working arrangement.

In a longer term relationship it is ideal to meet in person. A remote working situation can work, but meeting face to face you will strengthen your relationship with your employee by gaining a deeper understanding of who they are, how they work, where they are working from what they have to offer.

How to pay your staff

There are a few options. If you are using Upwork or Freelancer they have their own payment process built in. They charge a 10% fee and use Payoneer which is a credit card service where the Russian programmers can simply go to the ATM to withdraw the money. You use Payoneer directly, or try Ikobo, Moneybookers. Sending a wire transfer directly to a person’s bank account or into their credit card is easier than it used to be, so talk to your bank.

Which countries should you hire from?

Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania, Georgia and Serbia all have talented coders. You will find the largest number of available programmers in Russia and Ukraine but all of these countries have great software developers.

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Leave a reply

  • Ritesh Verma

    Great bolg nice to read.
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • Raj Tiwari

    Thanks for writing great article, Your article very helpful for me.
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • Omega Softwares

    Nice Thanks a lot for sharing such important blog
    UpVote Reply 1 Upvotes
  • Sergei

    I'm not sure you'll be able to find some top C/C++ programmers in RF with $3K per month. This is not a bad salary for local job in Russia, but for remote one you should pay more: $4K for good and $5-$6 for very good :-)
    UpVote Reply 2 Upvotes
  • John Tie

    This is a great article! Helpful for readers.
    UpVote Reply 1 Upvotes
  • Asim Zaidi

    Excellent article. I however think that building personal connections in the country where you are doing business would be of great help. I run remotephpdevelopers and I have found out that there were occasions when we were working on big projects and our network in the country where we had the remotes developers had helped us tremendously to scale fast, security of our clients satisfaction (due to personal relations with coders) and just in over all team harmony. Again great article!
    UpVote Reply 3 Upvotes
  • Warren Hill

    I agree with Daria, Indian developers are among the cheapers one but you have to keep your eyes open for quality. The cheapest doesn't always meant the best.
    UpVote Reply 2 Upvotes
  • Nagedhwaram dev tiwari

    Hey sir I want to make a good programmer . and I m started my career as a software analysis but I can't found or learn much more in this field because my financial problem is this time so less and I would be not continues in this pattern. So someone send me some advanced tutorial relatives this field Its my pleasure that I'm going to connect this field Please send me toturial and learning process with practical because I believe in practical campares theory material so someone please help me I requested you all
    UpVote Reply 2 Upvotes
  • Олег Бабаков

    Russian programmers are not worse than any others. In general much better than programmers from India or China )) We also have good technical education level in math and computer science. I graduated Ural Federal Uniuversity and can say that there are lot of bright guys here who also won international ACM-ICPC contests. If you want more information, I can provide contacts: oleg.egorovich@gmail(dot)com
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
    • Zoltan Lieberman

      Hi! I am looking for someone to make a prototype of an interactive audio-visual two-way dictionary
      UpVote Reply 1 Upvotes
  • Alexander

    Hi there! I'm Alexander, I'm representing a full stack development team from Russia. Today our team has more than 10 years software developing experience. Our main profile is full stack web developing. Ready to work with clients abroad:)
    UpVote Reply 1 Upvotes
    • Massa

      What is your company called and how can someone contact you?
      UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • Nihar Sharma

    well it is nice information about to hire Russian programmers. But some it is better to hire Indian developer then Russian. Because in India, any IT services are so cheaper then any other country. It two to four times cheaper and the service is also up to the mark. For my business app I have hired IndiaNIC Infotech Ltd...and my experience with the company was so nice.
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
    • PostalHouse

      Indian programmers 2-4 times cheaper, but 5-6 times worse. There is no any good code style, deep knowledge, any understanding of what they are exactly doing on their jobs. Only thousands of lines of incompetent code which cannot be maintained.
      UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • Alexey Petrushin

    I'm russian programmer If you need help finding / interviewing / managing russian programmers or teams working with JavaScript, Ruby / RoR, Java I can help.
    UpVote Reply 1 Upvotes
  • alex

    Bulgaria and Serbia was not too.
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • Code Zero

    Romania was never part of the former Soviet Union :)
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
13 More Comments