Yes you can! Cracking the international market as a software developer is no easy feat, but it can be done. Hey, that’s kind of our thing, remember?! In this blog, we share 12 tips that will help you set your growth path to succeed across the border.
1. Your foundation: tech skills
Your tech career starts with your tech expertise. In other words: work on your coding skills. Some devs are completely self-taught. Others follow a training course, like those at KampaBits. Whatever you do, don’t think it’s enough to know a language. Any veteran techie will remind you, you must really know a language. Breathe it. Dream it. Live it. Amos Walugembe simply says: “Be good at what you do.” Focus on one language, and excel. Learn to write the cleanest code you ever saw. Code poetry.
And please be patient and don’t expect quick results. It takes a tremendous amount of practice. Only when you’ve truly mastered your language, you may have a peek at another one.
2. Keep developing yourself
You won’t get employed with obsolete know-how. Have you noticed how there’s not much call for lamplighters these days? The same goes for Pascal and COBOL programmers. Developments in IT go crazy fast, so make sure you stay on top of your game. Keep studying, keep upskilling. Own your learning. Don’t take it from me, take it from someone who hires African IT wizards: “You should have the willingness to learn and invest in yourself, even in your own time.”
3. Work on your soft skills
Having said all that, your programming skills are pretty much useless if you lack decent soft skills. Call them interpersonal skills, non-technical skills or transferable skills – they are essential skills. Oxford defines them as: “Personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.”
The development of your soft skills is a compulsory part of any career growth path. They include critical thinking, problem-solving, public speaking, professional writing, teamwork, digital literacy, leadership, professional attitude, work ethic, career management and intercultural fluency.
While they cover a broader set of competencies, communication is a major part of your soft skills. Full Stack developer Amos Walugembe knows it: your potential employer will get to assess your communication skills before you have the opportunity to showcase your coding prowess. Mark van der Ploeg is the CEO of Tunga client rb2. He confirms: “In our hiring process, the soft skills are maybe more important than the hard skills, because anything else, you can learn from us.”
If you want to get hired by a company abroad, work on speaking clear and concise English. Practice presenting ideas and concepts. Think critically and learn to look at issues from other people’s perspectives. Make sure you can explain things clearly and patiently. Act professionally and be approachable and helpful. And oh-so important: excel at teamwork.