Interviews

From Restructuring to Full Remote Model, Andela is Expanding Africa’s Software Engineering Base

Andela - cfamedia

Since 2014, global talent company, Andela has been championing a course for talents in the software engineering ecosystem, across the African continent.

Andela was launched to combat the global technical talent shortage, by investing in Africa’s most talented software developers.

Serving its many partner companies across the world, Andela provides high-quality software engineers, to work through long-term projects, from its pool of talents.

Building high-performing remote engineering teams, the company connects its pool of specialized engineers, with opportunities.

The firm, initially, started operations in Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, moving to Ghana and Egypt, after some structural changes.

Recently, Andela expanded its operations, across all the countries on the African continent, after making a switch to a full remote model.

This, according to the company, will enable companies that work with Andela, easily source the talent they need and when they are required.

This, thus, opens up the capacity of including pools of talent, across the African continent, with an, even, greater diversity of experience and technology stacks.

Owing to this recent development, CFAmedia, caught up with Omowale David-Ashiru, VP Global Operations, Andela, who gave a brief, on the changes and what it entails, for the pool of engineering talents on the continent.

The transition to remote

Prior to going fully remote, Andela had operated physically, in Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, but carried out pilot testing of a remote work model in Ghana in 2018 and Egypt in 2019.

According to Omowale, going fully remote has always been a part of Andela’s long term strategy and after carrying out what appears to be successful pilot testing, the company went fully remote.

As many tech companies, like Google and Facebook, have embraced working from home, till the end of 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Andela might have just towed the same path, though, unlike these companies, Andela has tried it, pre-COVID-19 and would be on a permanent basis.

The COVID-19 pandemic was just the necessary catalyst required, to push the company into, finally, embracing its long term strategy.

New capacity of Senior Software Engineers

With the new Andela’s remote model, it is expected that the capacity of Senior Software Engineers would increase in number.

As a fully remote organisation, Andela is accepting applications, across Africa, from Senior Engineers, with experience in the most in-demand frameworks and programming languages, covering the front end, back end, full-stack, mobile and devops.

The company estimates that, approximately, 500,000 African engineers are able to access opportunities that the company is providing, by going fully remote.

We will continue to maintain our rigorous application process, in order to build the strongest talent pool of Software Engineers, across Africa.”, Omowale stressed.

Ending junior entry-level

In September 2019, Andela announced the departure of about 400 junior developers from its hub in Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya.

According to the company, the move was necessary, to restructure its talent pools, so as to align closely, with global market demand.

Andela - cfamedia

Omowale said it was a tough decision by the company, but emphasized that Andela is still committed, to growing the Software Engineering community, across the African continent.

“Offering  programs such as the Andela Learning Community, [ALC], which has enabled us to introduce more than 100,000 African learners, over the last four years, to software engineering fundamentals”, Omowale noted.

Role software development in the future of work

Omowale explained the vital role of software development, in the future of work. According to her, the future of work is not only remote and distributed, it is and will be enabled, by Technology.

Every technology requires Technologists to build, maintain and iterate the technologies, (both software and hardware).

“This only goes to show that more than ever, the role of software development and developers, remains vital, as the world evolves and Andela is excited to be able to continue connecting Software Developers to opportunities around the world”, she noted.

On the pandemic and future, Omowale said that COVID-19 has forced us all to adapt to a new way of working.

“I think a lot more companies will adapt to a digital workplace, especially, when it comes to shutting down physical offices and keeping a remote working, as a long-term option”, Omowale noted.

Omowale believes that technology can help combat the spread of COVID-19.

From contact tracing, fighting misinformation, to promoting social distancing, through contactless movements and virtual meetings.

In 2017, Fast Company ranked Andela as the most innovative company in Africa.

In 2018, Andela was named, by Wall Street Journal, as one of the 25 technology companies to watch.

With this new remote model, Andela has removed restrictions on locations, thus, doubling its pool of talent, to roughly 500,000 engineers in Africa.

Andela - cfamedia

According to Jeremy Johnson, Andela Co-founder and CEO:

“The world is beginning to realize that remote work is going to be a major catalyst for the democratization of opportunities”,

Luckily, engineering leaders, already know that remote work works, if you have the right processes and systems in place and are at the forefront of this change.

“By doubling our talent pool, we’re proud to help accelerate their critical work of building the future”, he noted.

Andela’s goal is to break down barriers that prevent talents from getting connected to companies.


Featured Image: Omowale David-Ashiru, VP Global Operations, Andela


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