As Africa’s digital economy grows and startups continue to raise record funds, the demand and supply for software developers is growing across the continent. Foreign software companies are taking notice and the space is heating up.
This article was contributed to TechCabal by Conrad Onyango/Bird Stories Agency
Four in 10 African software developers now work for at least one company based outside the continent, while 5 work for local start-ups, according to a recent study, highlighting the dynamic and growing market for technical talent in the world. continent over the past 2 years. years.
A 22% increase in internet usage by small and medium-sized businesses in Africa, a record streak of fundraising by local startups in 2021, and demand for remote tech workers in more mature markets are all factors attributed to the growing awareness of African software. development skills. And, of course, there was the COVID pandemic.
According to Google’s African Developer Ecosystem Report 2021, there is an increased global demand for remote tech talent, which has been accelerated by the pandemic, creating more remote employment opportunities for African developers.
The report shows that the number of African professional developers in the workforce defied economic contractions to rise by 3.8%, or 716,000, or 0.4% of the continent’s non-farm workforce .
Nigeria has led the continent in producing talent in this field, adding around 5,000 new professional developers to its pool in 2021.
The country even has a number of online academies, like AltSchool Africa, which attract programming students from all over the world by offering an elaborate curriculum in computer programming.
By early February, the digital campus had already received more than 8,000 applications for its Batch A of software engineering programs starting in April – from 19 countries – and is about to start accepting applications for its Batch B.
Morocco added 3,000 new professionals, while South Africa, Kenya, Egypt and Tunisia added 2,000 each to their talent pool.
However, South Africa leads the continent in the total number of software developers, with 121,000, followed by Egypt and Nigeria equally, with 89,000 each.
The growth in the number of developers has not only been recorded in the continent’s top tech startup ecosystems. Other emerging ecosystems like Senegal, Algeria, Ethiopia, Cameroon and Mozambique have also increased their numbers, with these countries each adding around 1,000 software developers.
African startups are responsible for hiring more than half of local developers, with foreign companies outside the continent hiring 38% of the remaining talent.
While Africa has a nascent developer ecosystem, these latest statistics suggest a rush for the continent’s top talent, those with strong programming skills in web and mobile application development.
This competition seems to have had a positive effect on salaries and other forms of remuneration.
Last year, senior-level developer earnings increased by 11% to $55,500, while mid-level talent saw their annual income increase by 9% to $425,500.
According to the report, 80% of African developers are under the age of 35, with the average age being 29, much younger than the global average of 36.
Africa’s internet economy is expected to reach $180 billion by 2025, representing 5.2% of the continent’s gross domestic product (GDP), according to the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
By 2050, the projected potential contribution could reach $712 billion, or about 8.5% of the continent’s GDP.