According to the report, demand for African developers hit an all-time high in 2021 amid a global economic crisis and the impact of the pandemic.
With increased usage (+22%) of the internet among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) on the continent, the need for web development services has also increased alongside increased demand for remote development work (38% of African developers work for at least one company based outside the continent).
This is demonstrated by the scale of growth in Nigeria’s professional developer population, which added around 5,000 new professional developers to its pool in 2021.
“As Africa’s tech innovation sector gains momentum, global tech companies, educators and governments can do more to ensure the industry becomes a strategic economic pillar. At Google, we intend to further develop training and support for this community by addressing the developer skills gap and focusing our efforts on upskilling female developers who face cutting edge challenges,” said Nitin Gajria. , general manager of Google in Africa.
Following a series of initiatives (including developer advocacy, startup acceleration, training programs, and global technical mentorship) that the company has implemented over the past 10 years, Google aims to train 100,000 developers across the continent by 2022.
the Africa Developer Ecosystem Report 2021 is the second in a series of studies on the state of the continent’s internet economy.
The first, published in collaboration with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), revealed that Africa’s internet economy has the potential to reach 5.2% of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025, helping nearly $180 billion to the African economy.
The projected potential contribution could reach $712 billion by 2050.
“In order to reach this potential, we need to provide greater access to high-quality, world-class skills on mobile technology platforms, coupled with growing connectivity in Africa. Our efforts to increase connectivity focus on infrastructure, devices, tools and product localization,” adds Gajria.
Other key observations include:
The population of African developers is growing across the continent
Despite a shrinking economy, the pool of professional developers grew by 3.8% to represent 0.4% of the continent’s non-farm workforce. Wages and salaries also increased, and more developers got full-time jobs.
Venture capital investments in African startups have rebounded with the expansion of the digital economy
African startups raised over $4 billion in 2021, 2.5 times more than in 2020, with fintech startups accounting for more than half of that funding.
The shift to remote working has also created more job opportunities across time zones and continents for African developers while increasing the salary of senior talent. As a result, international companies are now recruiting African developers at a record pace.
Learners, junior developers, as well as underrepresented groups, including women, need more support
Without access to in-person education — or affordable, reliable internet access and home equipment — they struggled to make gains in the past year.
This can be seen in how the gap between male and female developers has widened: there are 2.5% fewer female developers in the workforce than there were in 2020.
Educators, tech companies and governments undertake initiatives to strengthen the developer pipeline
Educators, tech companies, and governments can help developers succeed by improving internet access, education, and business support.
Bootcamps and certifications, held as part of formal and informal education, help bridge the vocational training gap between traditional education and employment in the future.
Global tech companies are investing in building digital skills across the continent to improve job readiness and ease the tech talent bottleneck. Governments can also play a vital role in strengthening the pool of developers by investing in both Internet access and education.
Nigeria is a stark example of the symbiotic relationship between digital transformation and developer growth in Africa
The developer ecosystem in Nigeria is thriving thanks to strong demand for developer talent, strong backing from big tech, and startups raising the largest total amount of funding on the continent in 2021. While countries like Nigeria continue to transform, they will open up more opportunities for developers which, in turn, grow the economy.