Fivefold Pay Surge Since 2006 Reveals Romania Tech Boom – Businessweek

10 May

With more than 64,000 certified IT specialists, Romania is the European Union leader in technology workers per capita and sixth in the world, according to Gartner Inc. (IT:US), a research company in Stamford, Connecticut. Romania’s strengths are its multilingual, educated labor force and its low costs for IT services, Gartner said in a Nov. 6 report.

“Many companies are completely moving their development here,” said Mihaiu, a software developer who chose to work for a smaller company that produces software for U.S. firms because of schedule flexibility. “I personally want to have a balance.” Some friends in Romania earn 4,000 euros a month working 14 to 15 hours a day, he said.

The rise in technology jobs in the EU’s second-poorest member isn’t just on the legal side. The country is struggling to contain a rising number of cybercrime networks even with the help of the U.S. Secret Service, which has a special office in Bucharest.

Converting Hackers

Romania accounted for about 1 percent of the world’s cyber-attack traffic during the fourth quarter of 2013, putting it in ninth place in the world after leaders China, the U.S, Canada and Indonesia, according to a report by Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Akamai Technologies Inc. (AKAM:US), which helps speed Internet-data delivery. A global study coordinated by Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ:US) placed Romania second after China in terms of cyber-attacks and data breaches in 2012.

President Traian Basescu said he was trying to “convince the hackers to come to the good side” when he asked the European Union Council in December 2013 to make Bucharest the location for a planned European agency to fight cybercrime. No decision has yet been made.

Three Romanian hackers last year received sentences ranging from 21 months to 15 years in U.S. federal prison after pleading guilty to hacking-related charges, admitting they hit more than 800 U.S. stores, about 250 of which were Subway sandwich shops.

Exit Strategy

With an education system oriented toward mathematics and foreign languages from primary school through university, Romania is looking to take advantage of an accelerating Europe-wide technology labor shortage.

The continent is facing 500,000 vacancies by 2015, up from the current 300,000, according to Danny Gooris, senior regional manager in Brussels at Oracle Academy, an Oracle unit that provides computer-science curricula and software to schools.

That may offer an exit strategy for the country, where the rusting ruins of factories still dot the landscape as reminders of the forced industrialization during communism, which ended 24 years ago. In cities including Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca and Iasi, steel-and-glass towers have risen in the past decade to house the programmers.

In Oracle’s offices in northern Bucharest, the software maker’s biggest operations and development center in Europe, Romanian employees speak 27 languages, said Sorin Mindrutescu, chief executive officer of the unit.

‘New Ways’

“It’s their innovative spirit that makes Romanians great at this job,” he said from his office in a modern building. “A Romanian immediately thinks of new ways to work around a brick wall when the only textbook solution would be to smash his head against it to break it.”

Romania also is attracting technology entrepreneurs seeking to use the country as a hub for European expansion. Among them is William Sterns, 36, who raised $185,000 from his family and friends in New York to set up a business in Bucharest to develop mobile-coupon and mobile-payment systems.

“Part of why we wanted to do it in Romania is because it’s very cheap to get a business off the ground,” Sterns, a professional photographer and the president of Mobuy Solutions, said in Bucharest. “The costs are much less than in other parts of Western Europe and the IT talent is plentiful.”

 

Fivefold Pay Surge Since 2006 Reveals Romania Tech Boom – Businessweek.

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