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African Technical Skills in Demand and Helping to Empower Women Through Tech

There is a growth of software engineering talent in Africa in the last decade thanks in part to the work of companies like Andela that have helped produce the continent’s estimated 716,000 developers. Some of them have become startup founders who then hire developers, creating a ripple effect that inspires young students to consider careers in software engineering. Microsoft is returning to Africa to hire more developers, the company is interested in people still enrolled in or who have recently completed a bachelor’s or master’s degree in engineering, computer science, or related fields, and have a year’s programming experience in languages like Java, Python, and PHP.

Being able to show an understanding of data structures and algorithms is also required. By going directly to universities for candidates that do not necessarily have years of experience, Microsoft’s betting on the diffusion of the innovation buzz from African tech companies and communities typically based in cities like Lagos, Nairobi, Cape Town, and Kigali to other parts of each country. Microsoft may have to thank its competitor, Google, whose developer groups on campuses have become a key channel for introducing young African undergraduates to the world of software development. Meanwhile, Amazon is currently interviewing Nigerian developers for roles that promise relocation to Ireland and Canada.

The Ethiopia-based Tech African Women (TAW) programme has launched, taking businesses from the idea stage to operational. The UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) spearhead TAW, in partnership with Betacube, and invites female-led idea stage startups from Ethiopia, Senegal, Tanzania, and Tunisia to submit their applications to join. The programme’s objective is to empower female founders to leverage their skills in order to build strong tech startups, accelerate project ideas into validated business models, and develop alliances between different African ecosystems. Entrants will have access to a pool of tech developers and designers who will work to support and mentor their teams, as well as experts in marketing and finance. The programme will run from August to December and will include training bootcamps and pitching competitions, and a 2-month online incubation programme for the best 2 startups from each country.

Meanwhile, Kenya is the first African country to include coding for all in its secondary school curriculum.


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