Looking for Python developers? Here’s an unexpected pool you might not know about yet

BY Tunga

If you are looking for Python developers, you’re increasingly less likely to find one. Among the most in-demand software skills, Python ranks #3. And from 2011 to 2015 demand for Python skills increased a whopping 456%, according to jobs-website Indeed.com, making it to the top-10 technical skills with explosive job demand.

Looking for Python developers can be hard

Not only is it not easy to find a Python developer, you will likely have to pay high fees or salaries once you have. A host of famous tools and organizations use Python, including Google, NASA, Disney, Ubuntu and Dropbox. It is also the most common language in scientific computing. This competition drives up the price, making Python the 2nd highest paying technical skill with an average salary of over $100.000,-.

So imagine my surprise when I found a substantial pool of skilled and affordable Python developers!

In East Africa Python is hot

When we started with Tunga almost two years ago, we traveled to Nairobi (Kenya) and Kampala (Uganda) on a fact-finding trip. Our primary goal was to find out whether the developers in the network of our partner — Bits Academy — were proficient enough for our plans: linking these African software developers to western tech firms. It turned out that not only was there a robust community of skilled software developers, but also that a disproportionate part of them is proficient in Python and Django.

No fact-finding trip to Nairobi can escape a visit to iHub, and that’s where I met Kirui Kennedy, former-director of iHub Consulting (now: Head of Product at Eneza Education). Some time ago I asked him how Python became so popular in East-Africa. His answer:

“Before Python, PHP was the most popular language locally. A good number of startups started using Python/Django mainly because of how well structured it is. As a result, Python soon became one of the sought of languages. This made it more lucrative for developers to learn Python instead of PHP. The community around it is also strong and so most new programmers end up there because of the strong community.”

This is consistent with how Python is generally viewed. Python is a language that is easy to learn and allows a developer to become productive quickly. It is also well-documented and has a broad support community. So even if you get into trouble, there are enough resources to help you fix it. It’s popular among startups as it gives rise to quick development by using less code. And it allows them to scale relatively easy.

Python community very visible

Unfortunately I haven’t found any numbers. So that leaves open the possibility that Python’s popularity in East-Africa is partly hyped. Which might be the case according to Loek van Gent (Lead Developer at 1%Club):

“I suspect that it has to do with the emerging market there. Possibly, they are following the “trend”. If you look at European start ups you can find relatively much Django / Python. But in my opinion, PHP is still more popular in Kenya. So maybe this perception exists because of the visibility of the Django/Python community in East-Africa and the open source mentality associated with those frameworks.”

Looking for Python developers in the Tunga database

Either way, we have first-hand proof, because by now a lot of those Python coders joined our platform. Moreover, we build the Tunga platform itself using Django with coders from our own community in Uganda! So if you’re looking to tap into East-Africa’s pool of undiscovered Python developers, a good way to start would be to visit the Tunga website and browse Python developer profiles there.

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