Andela—Africa Technology Company Filling the U.S. Skills Gap

September 18, 2019
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Author: Tyran Saffold Jr

The technology sector in Africa is expanding with, over 300 start-ups from 36 African countries all vying for a global audience. The growth has caught the attention of international investors, including Mark Zuckerberg and Al Gore. Part of this growth is due to outsourcing from the U.S. to fill its tech-talent shortage.

Africa Software Developers Help Fill U.S. Tech Talent Shortage

The Expanding Technology Sector

Technology employment in the United States expanded by nearly 261,000 jobs in 2017, to approximately 11.8 million workers in 2018, according to CompTIA. With the estimated output of the tech industry at $1.8 trillion, it is one of the largest contributors to the U.S. economy, representing 10.2 percent.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that basic tech occupations will increase by 626,000 workers by 2026. When factoring in the need to replace retiring or career-change workers, the total potential tech workforce will need 1.2 million more workers through 2026. “Employer demand for tech talent continues to outstrip supply in many markets,” said Tim Herbert, Senior Vice President of Research and Marketing Intelligence for CompTIA.

There are five open jobs for every software developer looking for work in the U.S. alone. Africa is home to 1.2 billion people and seven out of the world’s 10 fastest-growing internet populations. How can this incredibly large population be harnessed to mitigate the shortage of tech workers?

Welcome to Wakanda—er, Andela

Andela, an African company that launched operations in Nigeria in 2014, is helping to overcome the shortage of software developers by building distributed engineering teams for hire by global companies using Africa’s most talented software developers.

Andela only accepts the top one percent of developers, a lower rate than the most selective Ivy League universities. Andela uses software to evaluate applicants, train them and monitor their performance once they're on the job. This ensures employers that all talent has been vetted and prepped for work on a variety of software engineering projects.

To further ensure the company retains the right talent, it recently cut 400 junior engineers across Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria. “(The cuts) are due to market demand for more senior engineering talent,” Andela said in a company release.
“We’ve seen shifts in the market and our customers are looking for more experienced engineers,” said Andela CEO Jeremy Johnson. Figures indicate that the company will surpass $50 million in annual revenues for 2019.

Currently, developers on Andela’s staff are working for more than 200 companies, with nearly 90 percent of them located in America. As remote work becomes more of the norm in the U.S., the walls of businesses will continue to extend far beyond American soil.