Why more companies hire IoT developers from Africa [Tunga Dev Hour]

BY Ernesto Spruyt

When considering options for IoT implementations and sourcing IT developers, Africa may not be your first thought. But there are many reasons to make the continent of the future top of mind. Africa offers a vast range of opportunities for IoT development and is home to a lively and fast-growing pool of IT professionals.

In this edition of the Tunga Dev Hour we meet David Boxshall, Business Development Director EMEA for the POD Group – an Enterprise Network Operator that provides dedicated connectivity solutions to companies around the world. David explains how POD Group supports a range of IoT implementations in Africa.

Same same, but different

With a relatively low internet penetration rate, web usage in Africa is predominantly smartphone-based. POD Group responded to that trend by developing tailored IoT solutions such as a SIM-based tracking device for fleet managers. The tracker switches seamlessly from one network to the next. This way, cargo can be monitored without interruptions while it traverses the vast continent.

The African tracking market is less mature than in other continents, putting the IT scene in a promising position to leapfrog. Referring to IoT in general, Boxshall believes that the worldwide market is in an embryonic stage. One example concerns the possible IoT implementations related to preventative maintenance, which we are only beginning to leverage.

“It is a global community and with the internet, you are not alone anymore”

Félix Otañón is POD Group’s Director of Research and Development. Throughout the years, he has witnessed the changes in the entire development environment. It is more accessible than it ever was, with many more resources available – including open source. Félix praises the supportive developer community and stresses that location is no longer a constraint, “it is a global community and with the internet, you are not alone anymore.”

Hiring IoT developers from Africa

Tunga’s own Head of Talent Viola Nuwaha confirms that there is a burgeoning pool of African IT developers. The talented professionals are eager to grab opportunities with companies like POD. David Boxshall says they are more than welcome, “now, with the majority of the world working remotely, we can work from anywhere.”

Of course, Tunga knows everything about that. The company has been unleashing African talent since 2015. The remote professionals are well-vetted, speak good English and work in a time zone that largely overlaps with CET hours, making collaborations with companies on the US east coast possible as well.

But hiring IoT developers from Africa … how does that work in practice? How do you collaborate? Are they reliable and up to the task? The two Nigerian Tunga developers engaged by US-based MindRight adjusted their work hours so that they coincide with those of the US team, while still allowing for a normal day routine. By now, they are an integral part of the core team, communicating through the usual channels like GitHub, Slack, Skype, JIRA and Confluence.

“A match made in heaven”

Niluk founder Elena Köstler was caught in a tight spot when her head developer left unexpectedly, but Tunga came to the rescue. Elena has worked with many developers. “The African tech talents at Tunga have the technical knowledge and experience, but a lot more respect and appreciation for the client. (…) I trust them 100% and would recommend Tunga to anyone. They are not only professional, but they greatly appreciate the work and the collaboration too. Just like we do! A match made in heaven!”

A worldwide IoT coming to you soon

With so many untapped possibilities, the worldwide IoT is set for an exciting future, with unexpected use cases and markets. And African tech talent is an undeniable part of that terrific development. Make room for African-based remote workers on your team!

Listen to this and more in the Tunga Dev Hour. For more testimonials from Tunga clients, scroll down the Tunga home page.

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Niluk app built by Tunga devs: “A match made in heaven!”

Tunga has been working on the development of the Niluk app since the beginning of this year. Niluk is a mobile app to combat loneliness. Elena Köstler, the founder of Niluk, explains.

Dedicated developers for MindRight

MindRight is a US-based technology company. It aims to make mental health support radically accessible and inclusive. To do so, MindRight provides daily coaching via text messaging. Two Tunga developers in Nigeria work fulltime for them using MEAN (MongoDB, Express.js, Angular and Node.js) stack for the web application.