A Developer Winter May Be Upon Us. Thanks to Andela & Emefiele 😏

Cos one country’s minimum wage is another’s maximum wage

Prosper (middle) is leading the cadre of Nigerian developers going global

An alternative headline could have been “how a combination of a devalued naira and a more exposed Nigerian developer…”

You now see why I used this headline

Ok, let’s focus. First, some arithmetic

$7 x 40 x 50 x 400 = 5,600,000

Translation: A Nigerian developer that works for slightly less than the US minimum wage of $7.50/hour and works 40 hours per week for 50 weeks, and exchanges their earnings for at a generous rate of ₦400/$ will earn ₦5,600,000 in a year

Thanks to the CBN policies under the utterly incompetent Emefiele, our currency has gone to the dogs. Therefore, a person earning absolutely minimum US wages will be earning comparatively more than the banker that put in many years of work.

The interesting thing though is no US developer earns that little even the so called Junior Developers aka WordPress and Drupal Butchers start at about $10/hour. Possibly 10x their Nigerian butcher counterparts and possibly twice the Senior Developers here.

So why is it now that a winter may be upon us?

Well, our currency began going to the dogs recently and secondly, Andela.

Yes, Andela

Andela has been a blessing to the Nigerian developer (you were expecting something different eh 😉). I do not know how much our developers realize it. But Andela is like Channel O abi MTV Base, that gave our Nigerian artists a chance to be known outside our shores.

Andela did 2 things for our developer talent

  1. They opened their eyes. Gave them belief they were good enough to work for and with the best companies globally. Giving people belief is one of the greatest things you can do for them. You have no idea how much I tried to tell our guys. But Andela showed them
  2. This one is more important. They made the international companies recognize that beyond the emails, our guys were badass and could compete with their over paid developers.

Now these companies are coming for our folks directly. No need for the Andela cover, they have been sold.

Rather than pay a mid level dev $60 000/year, they can get 3 top Nigerian developers for the same amount. This is not limited to companies but also a number of premium outsourcing companies like Toptal are taking this route.

By the time Trump does the cut to H1B Visas that enabled US tech companies to import cheap labour from India, the appetite for our devs will only increase (This applies to UK post Brexit)

So if you want to compete for our talented developers, your generous 2.5 million/year is no longer going to cut it.

It is no surprise I have been seeing a lot of movement recently. People leaving our local startups in droves.

So we wey dey do Nigerian startup, what can we do?

No, you cannot legislate people to work locally! — before someone goes to start an embarrassing thread on radar. This is not a case BBNaija being shot in South Africa.

The only way around this is to work urgently to increase the production of Nigerian developers. Because this trend will only keep increasing. And with more of our guys getting international funding (awon YC and co), the cost of hiring developers will only keep going up!

You can notice the new swagger in our developers as they attend forLoop events. They are the new artists post Mo Hits.

Anyway, this is the best time to be a developer! — no one even asks if you’ve finished NYSC 😂 and you don’t need to leave your house to work!

PS: Google via the local Developer Groups has done a massive lot to build our developer community. I didn’t forget them

PPS: People usually ask how their siblings can get into software development. My response usually is, “visit Codecademy then apply to Andela”. And now, Switch.

PPPS: This trend and post hints at the thinking behind my statement about easily making Abuja a tech hub in 18 months. But I will not be expanding on the thought.