Ukraine was not prepared for a rapid shift online, high level of IT skills becomes a must

Ukraine was not prepared for a rapid shift online, high level of IT skills becomes a must

Alina Shcherbyna, COO WTECH (International IT community For Women), Project Leader в Code Club UA (all-Ukrainian network of free coding clubs for children aged 8-17). Recently, the EU has been active in establishing a number of initiatives concerning the enhancement of IT sector in Eastern Partnership countries.

Thus, EU4Digital launched a new activity to support women mentorship programs in the tech sector in the EaP countries. StrategEast has interviewed experts from the EaP countries. Here are the answers from the expert on Ukraine.

Do you consider such programs to be timely in the pandemic period?

Today, many entrepreneurs have moved their businesses online. It is possible that such a growing trend of “transition” of business from offline, will continue after the quarantine and society will receive remote access to services that it could only dream of before as a result.

But at the same time, both business and employees faced a number of problems: cybersecurity, the transition of employees to remote work, new control and optimization systems, and most important – it has become a must to have a high level of IT skills to get a decent job.

Programs such as EU4Digital are helping citizens and markets embrace and adapt to the new world of digital technology. Unfortunately, the Ukrainian realities were not ready for such a rapid transition to online format, such important areas suffered most: medicine, education and infrastructure. Outdated technologies in organizations and the low level of IT skills of people are felt more and more sharply due to the disproportionate level of economic development of regions in our country. Now every large business, in conjunction with government and international programs, should contribute to the harmonization of digital structures in society in various areas.

Have you noticed the rising need for digital technologies to support the response to the pandemic consequences in your country?

During the pandemic, Ukraine, like other countries, moved to live and work online, but our realities showed how unprepared Ukrainians are. In all our projects, we began to use the simple programs to communicate with our clients: Zoom, Google Meets. But even the installation of the programs become a problem for some people. Going beyond the borders of Kyiv and other large cities, as well as beyond the age range of 35-40 years, we observe very low computer skills.

37.9% of Ukrainians aged 18-70 have digital skills below basic level, says the Ministry of Digital Science. At the same time, there is a simple pattern: the lower the level of digital competencies – the less desire to get new skills. Conversely, and vice versa – a higher level of digital skills increases the level of learning and expanding their skills.

Due to the quarantine, there was a demand and the need to develop and increase competencies, now it’s about information, education and the creation of infrastructure. In our projects, we work with children and women and, we create free educational projects, webinars and other initiatives to enable everyone to adapt to the new post-pandemic realities.