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Looking for IT resources in Central and Eastern Europe, one would most likely come across Ostrava, the prime outsourcing destination in the Czech Republic. Constantly changing, the city has shifted away from heavy industry and now it is attractive location for IT and outsourcing companies. This article has been written by Lukáš Dočkal, Managing Partner of Advanced Search Technology
Forgetting its Past Glory
The former eastern bloc knows a lot of cities like Ostrava. Their traditional mining and heavy industries have disintegrated after the fall of the communist regime and the cities were bogged down in chronic economic and social diseases. But Ostrava’s story is quite different. It survived the decline and focused on new opportunities in the free market.
Today Ostrava is not the dark and smoky city fallen into the trap of living in its past glory (although environmental problems are still significant). On the contrary, changes in infrastructure, transport systems, education and business attitude have attracted domestic and foreign investors such as Hyundai, Siemens, ArcelorMittal, CE Money, HSBC and many other companies.
Growing Direct Investment
In recent years the economic boom in Ostrava has been closely associated with investments in the automotive industry and other transport-related manufacturing. This was, however, only the first stage of its economic recovery. Subsequently it was followed by investments in other industry sectors such as services, research and science to enable balanced economic development.
Improvements in Higher Education
Ostrava is experiencing the next stage of economic development at present, thanks to the investment inflow and reforms in the university system. All main universities in the last few years have become modern business-oriented institutions focusing mainly on technology and business. The reason for that is clear: only top universities actively communicating with the commercial sector are able to attract high-tech investors.
The regional and city governments understand the importance of the links between business and higher education. So in addition to investing into the education system directly, the authorities also support other educational and scientific activities such as The Ostrava Science & Technology Park, The Business Innovation Centre, the Centre for Advanced Innovation Technologies and the Business Incubator.
The final stage in the development of technology in Ostrava is a unique project, IT4Innovations, which was launched in July 2011. The project, which encompasses four Moravian universities and the Institute of Geonics (a scientific research institution), will be the national Centre of Excellence in the field of information technology.
Project costs are 75 million Euros for the years 2011 – 2015 and will employ around 200 highly qualified specialists in the fields of environmental technologies, security, nano-technology, mechanical and power engineering, new materials and energy resources. The project also includes the acquisition of a high-performance supercomputer.
IT Resources in Ostrava
There are 10 major Czech IT and outsourcing companies based in Ostrava, but the market is not yet saturated. The top firms employ around 3000 experienced IT specialists. In addition there are IT students: In 2010, 700 of them graduated with an Electrical Engineering or Computer Science degree. There are also junior developers and specialists, who continuously relocate to Ostrava from other locations, attracted by the growth of the local IT and outsourcing industry.
The IT labour market in Ostrava remains competitive,: The salaries of IT specialists there are approximately 40 to 50 percent lower than in Prague, and 30 percent lower than in Brno.
IT Salaries in Ostrava, 2011
Source: Internal Research by Czech Recruitment Company Advanced Search Technology
Fact sheet – Ostrava, Czech Republic: Software Development and Outsourcing Destination
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