Where are Africa’s software developers?

April 15, 2014 • Enterprise

Businesses in Africa are in dire need of sound business applications, and the shortage of qualified developers is having a negative impact on SME growth on the continent.

Petr Havlik, Managing Director of CyberPro Consulting (image: supplied)

Petr Havlik, Managing Director of CyberPro Consulting (image: supplied)

CyberPro Consulting, based in Johannesburg, is one such company providing software services, aimed at enabling businesses to better integrate their systems, and with a customer base ranging from enterprise to SME businesses is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner.

The company has been in the banking, investments and insurance sectors for over 14 years, and Petr Havlik, Managing Director of CyberPro Consulting, has noticed a number of trends that 2014 is leaning towards.

“There is a huge shift towards Business Intelligence. We have also seen that there has been more attention focused on regulation and the provision of resources. Mobile applications are also becoming more important to companies as technology grows,” Havlik told IT News Africa.

While those factors are immediate trends, Havlik looked a bit into the future, and said that there would be a greater focus on a number of different aspects in the long run.

“Our predictions for the future include the scalability of systems, and the issue of connectivity. There will be a ‘hosting on steroids’ mentality going forward as companies grow.” Havlik added that South Africa doesn’t have any Microsoft Azure servers, and in the future that will make a huge difference in the way that companies connect.

The issue of Azure servers in South Africa was raised again last month, as international video games distributor Electronic Arts decided to not sell Microsoft’s TitanFall Xbox title in South Africa, as the game makes exclusive use of Azure to run the multiplayer feature. The news rocked the South African gaming scene, as it was one of Microsoft’s most-anticipated games of the year.

Being in the space of software development, Havlik explained that there are a number of challenges for software and web development – especially in Africa.

“There are a number of challenges for software developers, and one of the biggest is being offshored to India. There is also a shortage of qualified workers, which is together coupled with a somewhat lack of resources. This is a challenge faced by smaller companies and as time goes on, it is compounding the issue.”

Asked whether Africa is on the same level in terms of standards as the rest of the world, Havlik explained to IT News Africa that it is not possible.

“I don’t think that it can be. There is no support and Africa is definitely behind. South Africa is a bit of a different story, but it’s not on the same level.”

But potential software developers shouldn’t be discouraged, as Havlik says that, even in Africa, there is the possibility for a successful career in software development.

“If you want to get into software development, you need to love what you are doing. You should also love solving problems and interacting with people.”

Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor

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