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Microsoft is leading big tech companies to relocate African developers to North America

One month after graduating from the University of Lagos in November 2017, Timi Bolaji received the Microsoft Software Program after completing a process focused on recruiting computer science graduates from African universities Engineer’s invitation. A year later, he joined the company’s team in Seattle, where he’s been working on the Xbox cloud gaming team.

Microsoft is returning to Africa with the tantalizing promise of hiring more Bolaji-like developers and relocating them to offices in the US and Canada.

Companies interested are still reading or have recently completed a bachelor’s or master’s degree in engineering, computer science or a related field and have one year of programming experience in languages ​​such as Java, Python and PHP. There is also a need to be able to demonstrate an understanding of data structures and algorithms.

Microsoft isn’t the only big tech company looking directly for new talent in Africa. Amazon is currently interviewing Nigerian developers for positions that promise to relocate to Ireland and Canada. The moves coincide with the growth of software engineering talent in Africa over the past decade, thanks in part to the work of companies like Andela, which have helped train 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 software engineering.

Global Demand for African Developers

Microsoft and Amazon may just be looking for part of the already globalized African software engineering workforce, as four out of ten developers in Africa Work for at least one company located outside the African continent.

Chika Nwobi, founder and CEO of Nigerian firm Decagon, said that in the so-called “big resignations” of the past two years, “there is a global talent shortage and people see Africa as a source of talent. Origin”. Engineering training program. He is confident that big tech companies will find the high-quality talent they need in Nigeria as the growth of expertise leads to a vibrant tech-driven financial services ecosystem.

“We may not have as many engineers to operate at the scale of these big companies, but it’s just an implementation hurdle that’s easy to jump over, at a trivial risk,” says Nigeria for Justin Irabol, a developer working remotely for Europeans, said the company. “As with all professions, the quality of talent varies, but I firmly believe that we have good engineers here.”

With candidates going directly to college, not necessarily with years of experience, Microsoft Betting on the innovation boom of African tech companies and communities, often located in cities like Lagos, Nairobi and Kigali, spreads to the rest of each country. The Windows maker may have to thank its rival Google, whose on-campus developer groups have become an important conduit for introducing young African undergraduates into the world of software development.

Credits from African universities?

Due to university academic The strike by the Staff Union (ASUU), many students who may have applied to join Microsoft from Nigeria, may be at home for its seventh month. No end in sight.

Nevertheless, it is still a sign of the maturity of computer science programs in some schools in Africa , one of the largest companies in the world is looking for students or recent graduates. According to U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 rankings, Africa’s top engineering and computer science universities are located in Egypt and Tunisia. Greater interest in big tech companies could be a catalyst for schools from other parts of the continent to compete for such rankings in the future.



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