How Andela built a world-class talent network in Africa

Gartner’s tech predictions for 2022 identify Africa as the next great startup hub—with an estimated 30% increase in tech talent across the continent by 2026.

While this signals that the tech world is finally waking up to engineering talent in the region, Andela has been on the ground in Africa since our beginnings in 2014. Andela was founded in Lagos, Nigeria, on the belief that while brilliance is evenly distributed, opportunity is not. Talented engineers with expert skill sets exist everywhere, yet many are limited by arbitrary factors like race, gender, nationality, or their time zone.

Before anyone else invested in the potential of Africa’s tech workforce, we spent our formative years training, engaging, and deploying technologists from across the continent. We saw in the continent what others didn’t at the time: a fast-growing population; increasing internet access; and emerging tech hubs and communities. Over the past seven years, we built a thriving talent network of technologists in Africa through our Andela Learning Community, strategic partnerships, and remote-forward workflows.

Investing in engineering careers with our Andela Learning Community

The Gartner tech prediction states, “the rise of information education channels for developers is making software development more accessible on a wide scale.” We were at the forefront of creating new education channels back in 2017, when we launched the Andela Learning Community (ALC) in Kenya and Nigeria in partnership with Google and Udacity.

The goal was always to empower engineers towards career advancement, leadership opportunities, and subject matter expertise. Over the years, the ALC has gone from a grassroots effort to a global hub for emerging tech talent. Through learning partnerships with Facebook, Microsoft, Salesforce, among others, we continue to match our growing talent network in Africa with new opportunities.

Strategic partnerships empower a pool of 175K+ developers

A recent study by Google and the International Finance Corporation revealed that 40% of the continent’s population is online, with another 11% increase projected over the next decade. As the continent comes online, we have been on the ground working with technologists entering the internet ecosystem and building career pathways through sustainable, long-term placements at global engineering teams.

Talent cultivated through ALC programming has gone on to successfully embed with rapidly scaling companies. When GitHub wanted to expand its international footprint, 20 Andela developers primarily based in Africa were embedded across their teams to accelerate their growth.

Developing remote processes that work on a global scale

The Gartner prediction for Africa’s tech future makes a final note that “other countries are beginning to tap into the talent resources available in Africa.” For companies looking to grow, it goes without saying that wanting global reach necessitates hiring global talent.

That also comes with the need for processes and workflows that can serve a distributed team. We know that a successful onboarding could make or break a new hire’s experience. When working across time zones seems daunting, we’re here to say that it’s a necessary part of stepping into the future of work. Especially when there’s so much talent to be found in a growing tech ecosystem such as Africa’s, the opportunities for new partnerships are limitless.

Even today we stay on the pulse of trends among technologists in Africa

The sheer speed and scale of change in Africa’s tech landscape makes monitoring trends a challenge. In 2021, we kicked off our first ever Africa Developer Survey to track insights across software engineers, developers, architects, and more in the region. We aim to capture and highlight the voice of this community, and we’re excited to share our report with the rest of the world soon. Stay tuned.

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