Building your career in Africa as a software developer for European or North American clients has some great benefits. It is intelligent work that pays good money. Remote work is now more accepted than ever, and it allows for a great quality of life. But how do you get there?
In the latest episode of the Tunga Dev Hour, Tunga CEO and founder Ernesto Spruyt shares tons of tips to advance your remote coding career. Below you’ll find a summary of his chat with Viola Nuwaha and Roger Kaweesa, but to get the most out of this candid convo, you should really listen to the entire podcast – and as a bonus, you’ll learn how to pronounce that tricky last name!
A successful IT career in Africa
Almost right from the start, it is clear that the big man himself, Ernesto, is the right source to pump for knowledge. Things have gone fast since Tunga’s foundation in 2015. From a marketplace for companies to source developers, to a fully-fledged remote IT staffing service: the company has come a long way. It now boasts a network with more than 500 developers from 24 African countries, with a Tunga Academy and Tunga Testing platform. But importantly it’s not all about work, Tunga is also about fun and joy!
Skills, skills, skills
Your IT career in Africa – of course! – starts with having the right tech skills. Know your programming languages, know your frameworks. Know how to deliver efficient, scalable and clean code. The right developers also keep developing themselves – they have a drive to learn, to grow and to succeed. But don’t forget the basic stuff. We hear that some applicants work with a poor internet connection, show up too late or neglect their presentation. Come on guys, that’s Job Interview Skills 101!
Communication is a crucial factor. In fact, unclear English is a major fear of clients. But besides speaking clear and concise English, you should be able to develop a quality relationship with the client. You are expected to have a good set of problem-solving skills and be proactive. Your European or North American client will want you to speak up and take the initiative. You may not be used to this at your current employer, but successful developers from Africa are expected to give their unsolicited input on various issues.
Successful developers from Africa are expected to give their unsolicited input
One of the main lessons that Ernesto shares is that both the developer and the client must be open to the other’s culture. It is crucial to understand each other’s background and be willing to bridge cultures. Ernesto recommends interested developers to learn as much as possible about their client’s country and its business culture, using all available resources: magazines, books, the internet – even movies will be helpful.
In fact, the relaxed and playful interaction between the Tunga speakers in this podcast is a nice illustration of the egalitarian company cultures typical of Northern Europe.
A good employer for good employees
Tunga aims to be a preferred employer for African developers. The company pays well and on time, and offers opportunities to work with international clients with challenging technology. But the Tunga vision does not stop there. The company fosters the growing community of African developers. Through the Tunga Academy, it offers free training courses for all African IT talent. Budding developers can practice their skills and identify training needs on the Tunga Testing platform.
Tunga creates various in-person events for the developer community, runs a community Slack group and organizes Retros, where developers can interact and learn from each other. The company also listens to complaints and other input from freelancers. So perhaps, if we all ask nicely, Ernesto may start paying in Bitcoin again…
Tunga fosters the growing community of African developers
Your code for success
So there you have it: your code for a successful IT career in Africa. It is all about expertise and attitude. So sharpen your skills, and not just the hard ones. Yes, you should be an experienced and knowledge-hungry techie, but you must also possess excellent soft skills. Clients expect a good command of English, coupled with clear and concise communication. They seek proactive problem solvers. And if you can nurture your relationships and bridge that culture gap, you’re good to go!