With technology quickly taking over the world as both solution to many global problems and as a means of economic freedom, many young Nigerians are delving into that space.
Asides from earning a comfortable living mostly as developers and UI/UX designers, many of them are eyeing jobs overseas to help them earn even bigger wages in dollars. This is in a bid to escape the diminishing effects of the ever-dropping value of the Naira as well as aim for a better life away from the many ills of the country.
There are currently about 700,000 developers in Africa with nearly 115,000 of them from Nigeria. Only South Africa (133,195) and Egypt (125,270) have more.
In their bid to deal with the more pressing economic and financial problems, many of these developers have resorted to taking up multiple jobs, sometimes as freelancers and oftentimes as full-time staff of up to 2 different companies.
But Cofounder and CEO Co-Creation Hub (CCHub) Bosun Tijani thinks that is not the best way to go, especially for developers seeking to land mega jobs with the biggest tech companies in the world.
According to the tech entrepreneur, it would be wiser for developers to do one job, focus on self-development while on it, and stack their portfolios high enough to land those big tech jobs abroad.
“If you’re a young developer, don’t subscribe to the multiple gig culture. Find a local organisation that treats you well, pays a decent wage, then optimise and raise your game for global companies that can afford what you consider ‘great salary’. The global market is yours to take,” Bosun Tijani said in a tweet.
While this sounds like good advice, the harsh economic realities in the country would make one question if it is the ideal one. Indeed several people who replied have expressed valid concerns.
While some pointed out the difficulty of finding local organisations that would pay and treat developers well, others noted it might be better for a young developer to do what’s best given their present situations, after all, multiple gig has been a culture long before being a techie became a thing.
Bosun Tijani’s CC Hub has been at the forefront of tech development on the African scene. Founded in 2011, the hub is focused on technology as a means to economic prosperity. After 10 years of trying to solve this problem, its CEO is definitely an expert in this matter.
Global demand for senior developers
In the global market, senior developers are in great demand, especially in the west. Unfortunately, Africa is suffering from a lack of senior developers. TalentQL CEO, Adewale Yusuf broke down the problem in a chat with Technext just before launching his company’s Pipeline Program:
The Pipeline Program was necessitated by this huge gap in the supply of Senior Software Engineers on the continent as against demand. While running TalentQL, we also discovered that a lot of the available Senior Software Engineers lack the requisite soft skills that will position them for global opportunities.
Similarly, in September 2019, Andela found itself needing to lay off 400 of its junior developers. A few short months later, in January 2020, the international developers outsourcing company distributed a memo to its junior and mid-level developers that it was looking to drop many of them.
In May 2020, the company dropped 135 more at the height of Covid-19 lockdowns. The reason for these layoffs was because Andela could not find enough jobs that match the skill and experience of the talent pool. In other words, the international market which it services is not looking for junior and mid-level developers.
In essence, a lot of what Bosun said revolves around this problem. Globally, senior developers are in far more demand than junior and mid-level ones. His advice was basically for developers to build their skills and experience up to the level of a senior developer and be primed for that international mega paying job.
It is good advice for the long term. But in Nigeria, the short term matters as much, sometimes even more than the long term. And therein lies the problem.
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