A New SoftTeco Office in Warsaw: An Interview With Serge Zenevich and Rafal Fiszer
As the year 2022 is coming to an end, we sat down with Rafal Fiszer, Director of SoftTeco PL, and Sergei Zenevich, SoftTeco’s Co-founder, to speak about the SoftTeco’s office in Poland and about the plans for its future development. Enjoy the reading!
Q: Please tell us briefly about the history of SoftTeco in Poland?
Serge: SoftTeco Poland has opened 2 years ago and the decision to open the Polish office was made really quickly. All decisions made within the company are based on people and this one was no exception. Considering that the geographical expansion of SoftTeco was on our to-do list, I’ve discussed it with other co-founders and Vladimir (Head of SoftTeco Poland) and we decided to give the green light for it.
Vladimir took responsibility for many major processes related to opening a new office, and we can’t thank him enough for that. First, we made sure to have a solid foundation: for that, we hired highly qualified legal professionals. After all organizational issues were resolved, we started setting up the processes and assisting people in relocation and in joining the team.
Now, SoftTeco Poland has a really great team and management and a wonderful office - I highly recommend checking it out if you get a chance. And obviously, we plan to expand the office in the future, attract new clients, and grow the team.
Q: How do you see the future development of the Polish office?
Serge: I believe that in 2-3 years, SoftTeco Poland will become a big player in the Polish IT market. We hope to have about 200-250 employees in this office in the future and we hope our clients and partners will visit it as well.
We’ve already started building different departments in SofTeco PL - the office structure will be similar to the one in Belarus (i.e. the iOS department, the Android department, the .NET department, etc.). There will be people responsible for managing the teams and ensuring the departments’ growth and smooth operation. In this way, we can safely grow the office and ensure its scalability.
Q: Rafal, please tell us about your career path. How did you become the Director of SoftTeco PL?
Rafal: My professional experience lasts over 25 years of working for the management and finances of trade and IT companies. I have a master’s degree in Finance and Accounting and practical skills in the field of running a company including accounting principles and business-related law. SoftTeco was looking for a person who could support the development of the company in the Polish market. My person was recommended to the owners of the company and approved by them and thus, I joined the company.
Q: What can you say about the Polish IT market and how is it transforming in recent years?
Serge: There are approximately 350,000 software developers that reside in Poland and about 900 outsourcing companies. So it’s safe to say that this area is steadily becoming one of the most prominent IT hubs in Eastern Europe. In recent years, the country also saw a significant inflow of specialists so, in addition to local developers, there is also a strong software engineering community of people who decided to relocate to Poland. As a result, we see an impressively diverse talent pool that keeps expanding.
We can definitely see a very positive shift towards growth and innovation in the Polish IT market, and we believe the demand for Polish IT services will grow significantly in the coming years. What’s also great is the location of the country. With an office in Poland, it becomes much easier to meet our clients and partners from Germany, the UK, Israel, or other countries. So this is one more reason why the Polish IT market is blooming.
Q: What are the main things to know about Poland for a person who plans to relocate?
Rafal: Before relocation, it is vital to choose a city to live in as it would impact your expenses and the cost of renting an apartment. And while the cost of rent in various regions differs, one thing remains the same and that’s the pawn (deposit). The pawn may equal one month of rent or it may be higher. You should pay the deposit when signing up for the rental agreement. Also, keep in mind that the demand for apartments in Poland is very high so it might take a while before you find a perfect apartment. To legalize your stay, you’ll need to visit Municipal Office (Urząd Miasta). Note that internal regulations in municipalities may be different and the same applies to banks, shops, etc. These are the rules in Poland and one needs to get accustomed to them.
A tip: you can follow the “Poland is here” Instagram page to always be updated on news and events in your city. What is more, the Russian-speaking community in Poland is pretty big so most of your questions will surely be answered in Telegram chats.
Poland is quite a bureaucratic country so you need to prepare for it in advance. In addition, Polish people are very fond of various cultural events and activities and every city hosts a lot of such events. The best part about them is that most of them are free to enter!
Q: Please name the biggest advantages of Poland as a country for relocation - what do you personally love about it?
Rafal: The country is located in the center of Europe, which will allow you to conveniently and quickly reach many countries for travel and business trips.
There are plenty of historical cities and monuments (Kraków, Toruń, Gdańsk, Zamość, Sandomierz). Poland also has outstanding nature: sea (Bałtyk), mountains (Tatry - Zakopane), lakes (Mazury), and centuries-old forests (National Parks). You name it!
Moreover, Poland ranks 27th in the world in the ranking of the safest countries in 2022 and has a very well-developed infrastructure and roads.
There is also an option to receive social and financial assistance from the State for young professionals and families with children.
Last but not least, Poland has a rich culture, that polish people are very proud of. I’m sure you’ll find it fascinating once you get a chance to experience it.
For people from eastern Europe polish language is quite easy to understand and learn. What’s great a lot of polish citizens understand Russian and English. Being in Poland you can feel the friendly and welcoming European atmosphere.
Q: Can you give any advice to those planning to relocate to Poland?
Rafal: I’d first recommend choosing the city as that would serve as a base for calculating your future expenses. The demand for apartments is really high these days so you should be ready to look for one as soon as you arrive in Poland. Also, it’s a good idea to work with real estate agents as they can help you find the perfect apartment much faster.
Second, double-check the period of validity of your visa! It’s better to arrive in Poland with a newly issued one so you can apply for the residence permit in the nearest future. Note that Poland does not offer permanent resident cards but rather various types of residence permits.
You can get permanent residence if you have Polish relatives and you’ve successfully passed the Polish history exam. Others can apply for temporary residence only.
It is recommended to apply for a residence permit after 6-9 months of being in Poland as the inspector should understand that you are interested in staying in Poland and have valid reasons for that. As well, consider signing up for free corporate Polish language courses - that would significantly facilitate your life in the country!
Bonus: you can also read an interview Tauras Justinas Janickas, the CEO of SoftTeco, here.
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