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 our partner’s network — Bits Academy — were proficient enough for our plans: linking these African software developers to western tech firms. It turned out that there was a robust community of skilled software developers, and a disproportionate part of them was 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. Many startups started using Python/Django mainly because of how well-structured it is. As a result, Python soon became one of the sought languages. This made it more lucrative for developers to learn Python instead of PHP. The community around it is also strong, 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 rapid development using less code. And it allows them to scale relatively quickly.
The Python community is evident.
Unfortunately, I haven’t found any numbers. So that leaves 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 startups, 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 many of those Python coders have joined our platform by now. 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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