The future is Africa: How African developers are leading the remote workplace revolution

The Future is Africa: How African developers are leading the remote workplace revolution

Around 90% of African developers want to work fully or partially remotely, according to the results of Andela’s 2022 African Developer Survey. With over 75% of African developers currently working in a remote or hybrid workplace, this trend is continuing to rise. And with African technologists increasingly in-demand, organizations need to pick up the pace if they want to build engineering teams of the future.

With a population of over 1.2 billion people, Africa is home to an abundance of talent with skills and experience who positively contribute to the technological growth of companies all over the world.

Over the past decade, Africa has accelerated its technological progress, with high-speed internet becoming more prevalent across the continent.

As part of Andela’s 2022 Africa Developer Survey, we polled over 1,000 developers across the continent of Africa to gain insights into their needs, ambitions and their work environment.

The global lockdowns and the move towards remote work have been a boon for African developers, opening the doors to a greater acceptance of remote workers as a core component of any development team. African developers have long been trailblazers of the remote first culture, with a wealth of skills, talent and ambition to succeed – and finally, the workplace is catching on to their potential.

Some developers can’t believe it took organizations until now to embrace remote-first culture. “Remote working is such a no-brainer for our field, it’s amazing that it took so long to catch on” responds, Jesse Johnson, an Andela Community member, and Africa developer. “We’re proof that close-knit teams don’t need to be in the same room to create real value.”

Remote work isn’t something new to African developers. Around 39% of survey respondents indicated that they already work fully remotely, while another 35% work remotely some of the time.

With only a quarter of developers working full time in an office, the future of work across the continent seems to be remote-first. That’s not to say that there aren’t challenges associated with remote work in Africa. Many countries suffer from unreliable power and internet infrastructure and few people have the luxury of private workspaces in their own homes. However, in spite of these challenges, the majority of developers surveyed choose remote work over office-based environments.

Rosa Langhammer, Director of Talent Experience at Andela, explains that remote work creates new and exciting borderless opportunities on the global stage. “A lot of the people we work with don’t want to move away from their families, but they still want to participate in the exciting opportunities that technology offers. Being able to do this without having to worry about paperwork and visas is something that’s very attractive to the African developer community.”

Akinsola Akinwale, Andela Community member, agrees “This new era of remote work has given me as an African, and many others like me, opportunities that weren’t available locally, ethical practices that align with modern engineering practices, a great work-life balance, and robust salary.”

With around 90% of respondents of the Africa Developer Survey wanting to work, fully or partially remotely, the ability of African developers to operate effectively as part of geographically distributed teams was a clear trend throughout the survey. The experience of working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to have bolstered the preference towards remote work, as developers who may have been hesitant about the benefits of working from home witnessed the positive impact on their lifestyle. It’s not just that developers want to work remotely, it’s that they expect to – and now, they’re looking for opportunities to work with organizations that meet their needs.

However, the readiness of companies to support this work environment is currently lagging. It is clear that global organizations need to evolve to support remote teams, with less than half of developers surveyed believing that their employers were well prepared to support remote and flexible work, with just under one-third saying that their employers were somewhat prepared. Less than half of developers surveyed felt that their employers were well prepared to support remote and flexible work with just under one-third saying that their employers were somewhat prepared.

This finding is not unsurprising in that large and small companies, across the world, are still struggling to realign their workplace policies and systems to better support new ways of working. This reinforces the view that the lack of access to on-site resources was one of the negative side effects of remote work. Companies looking to adopt a remote-first work environment need to ensure that team members don’t feel that they’re losing out by working remotely.

For companies who embrace the remote-first workplace, the benefits of developer productivity are immeasurable.  Almost one-third of respondents indicated that the ability to focus on work (32%) and the ability to be creative (30%) were the areas of work that benefited most from working remotely. This reinforces the view that has emerged over the past two years, where companies across the spectrum have found that their remote workers have been more productive when freed from many of the distractions that office work brings.

For African developers, it’s not simply a matter of accepting remote work as the only option available. The developers surveyed as part of the Africa Developer Survey are actively embracing remote work and looking for global opportunities. While there is still some debate as to how global organizations will structure their teams, African developers are pushing ahead, looking for opportunities, and bringing their growing skillset to the international stage. As the community continues to grow, it’ll be not only possible but desirable for organizations to build cross-border teams leveraging the skills and knowledge that Africa’s developers offer.

As Rosa Langhammer comments, “People often forget that Africa is perfectly aligned with the technology hubs of Europe in terms of time zones, so there really isn’t any difference between a developer in Accra and one in Barcelona. It’s also well-positioned for resources to supplement resources in other timezones, enabling full 24/7 capabilities.”

It appears in the world of technology, the future is in the hands of Africa – and, in particular, Africa’s developers.

To discover more insights into the world of African developers, download the Africa Developer Survey now.
Watch the Africa Developer Survey video to discover highlights from the report.

Want to be part of the Andela Community? Then join the Andela Talent Network!

With more than 175,000 technologists in our community, in over 90 countries, we’re committed to creating diverse remote engineering teams with the world’s top talent. And our network members enjoy being part of a talented community, through activities, benefits, collaboration, and virtual and in-person meetups.

All you need to do to join the Andela Talent Network is to follow our simple sign-up process.

Submit your details via our online application then…

Complete an English fluency test – 15 minutes.

Complete a technical assessment on your chosen skill (Python, Golang, etc.) – 1 hour.

Meet with one of our Senior Developers for a technical interview – 1 hour.

Visit the Andela Talent Network sign-up page to find out more.

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