Why this is the best time to be a programmer in Nigeria

While youth unemployment in Nigeria is 45.65% and most industries are laying off workers, the tech industry in Nigeria has a different problem, it is struggling to find employees to fill vacancies. Technology company executives are reporting difficulty in recruiting talent with the relevant technical skills.

With executives ranking talent behind only broadband internet and mobile technology as a key driver for growth in the sector. It is important that this talent gap is filled if the Nigerian technology sector is to reach it’s full potential.

Difficulties in hiring

When asked about challenges in hiring, executives highlighted a lack of technical skills as the biggest issue. 81% stated difficulty in hiring applicants with the right technical skills, while only 67% said there was difficulty finding applicants with the right academic experience.

This means that a number of students are graduating with the right academic scores but without the relevant technical skills needed in the technology sector. In the second part of our study, we focus on how schools and other institutions are preparing their graduates for the labour market.

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MySQL, Python and JavaScript are the most in demand languages. Closely followed by PHP, CSS and HTML. Several JavaScript frameworks (jQuery, AngularJS, Node.js) also make the list.

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It’s an Employees Market

Technologies like mobile phones and cloud computing, coupled with increasing access to cheap internet access were highlighted as the drivers of growth in the tech sector. Companies however understand the pivotal role talent would play in building solutions to exploit the growth in the market driven by these trends. 32% of executives report talent as a major driver of future growth.

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The technology sector suffers from what Keynes called “the enormous anomaly of unemployment in a world full of wants”. This means that while there is a high demand for labour, supply has not yet caught up.

Historically startups have been known for their interesting work environment, flexible working conditions and similar perks. However, with executives understanding the importance of talent but supply not yet enough to meet demand; employers are increasingly turning to salaries as a way attract the best talent.

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A college degree is not needed for a job in the technology sector. Companies in the survey report paying around NGN 70,000 per month for a new employee without a university degree and NGN 95,000 for university graduates. A job in the tech sector can be very lucrative with salaries ranging from NGN 50,000 to above NGN 1,000,000 per month.

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Our survey indicates that talent is in high demand and employers willing to pay for the best talent. There’s never been a better time to become a developer in Nigeria. This talent gap project focuses on both the demand and supply of talent in the Nigerian ecosystem. We would explore the various sources of talent supply in next part of the project.