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Diversity in tech: An African's Perspective

Diversity in tech: An African's Perspective

In my talk, I share on the diversity interventions currently being done by many of the players in the Python/Django open source community to increase diversity in tech. I encourage African developers to partner with the rest of the tech community in increasing diversity in tech by increasing their visibility so they can be hired by tech companies who are hiring globally and also by growing their own local Python communities and joining community mailing lists.


Anna Makarudze

August 08, 2019



  2. About me ◦Software Engineer @ BriteCore ◦Vice President @ Django

    Software Foundation ◦Fundraising Coordinator @ Django Girls Foundation @amakarudze
  3. Overview Motivation and Full Disclosure Diversity and Interventions in Tech

    Role of African Developer
  4. Motivation International conference organisation and participation. Django Girls Foundation partners

    and their diversity efforts. Django Software Foundation board of directors. My employer’s diversity efforts (BriteCore).
  5. Motivation Unemployment statistics in Africa – percentage of people with

    no jobs. Unemployment statistics in developing countries – percentage of jobs in tech industry without people.
  6. Full Disclosure The aim of my talk is not to

    explore whether everybody else’s initiatives to increase diversity are good/ best/ enough. The aim of my talk is to share my perspective on what the African developer can do to increase diversity in tech for him/herself and others around him/her.
  7. Allo Allo Credit © Magical Quotes

  8. Diversity Credit © Andre Mustapha 2008

  9. Diversity ◦[uncountable, countable, usually singular] a range of many people

    or things that are very different from each other. ◦[uncountable] the quality or fact of including a range of many people or things. ◦ Source – Oxford Dictionary
  10. Global Diversity Statistics UNDP studies show that only 28% of

    the global tech workforce are women. 30% for Sub-Saharan Africa.
  11. Diversity Interventions Financial aid/opportunity grants Speaker mentorship programs to encourage

    first time speakers. Diversity advocacy.
  12. Python Community

  13. Tech Community ◦Refer good developers or friends. ◦Market job opportunities

    to their friends and networks. ◦Spread good word about speakers or developers from minority communities.
  14. Tech Companies ◦Sponsor events/ non-profits. ◦Hire diversity/developer advocates and talent

    acquisition managers. ◦Head hunting talent via social media platforms e.g. Linkedin.
  15. Diversity in BriteCore ◦ Britecore has employees from 29 countries

    in 5 continents (all but Australia). ◦ Africa – Cameroon, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe. ◦ 33% of our staff are women. ◦ 43% of our leadership are women. ◦ 68% of non-tech roles are women. ◦ 23% of our tech staff are women.
  16. Local Python Communities ◦Many African countries have active Python communities

    and events. ◦Django Girls events, PyLadies meet- ups, PyCons etc.
  17. What can an AFRICAN DEVELOPER do?

  18. African developer? Credit © Django Girls Kumasi

  19. Ideally… Local Meet-ups (PyLadies, Django Girls events) Mailing lists (local

    and international) Conferences (PyCons & DjangoCons) Personal skills development Software Engineer
  20. Ideally… We should all be working for our local companies

    or be entrepreneurs in our own countries…
  21. Django Girls Impact Report 2016 ◦In 2017 Django Girls Foundation

    published an Impact Report on their work. ◦21% of participants in the survey are now working in tech. ◦79% are still learning to code. ◦ Read more: report-2016-2017
  22. Ultimate goal Your ultimate goal should match the goal of

    the community and that is to become a SOFTWARE DEVELOPER or take up a RELATED ROLE in tech and thereby increase diversity in tech.
  23. SWOT Matrix for an African Developer Strengths •Population growth •Educated/

    Skills •Hard-working •Good at hustling Weaknesses •Lack exposure •Defined by circumstances Threats •Poverty •Internet Connectivity •Power Outages Opportunities •Global networks •Global opportunities •Local Entrepreneurship opportunities
  24. Letting your circumstances define you…

  25. Despite all this…

  26. Build your own bridges Credit © Virginia Hill, 2019

  27. Building bridges ◦Conference Participation. ◦Volunteering in OSS projects/ foundations. ◦Developing

    your coding skills.
  28. Build online profile ◦Linkedin ◦Twitter/Facebook ◦Personal Website/Blog ◦GitHub

  29. GitHub

  30. Mailing lists/ Membership ◦ Python Africa – africa ◦

    Django Girls – if you are an organizer. ◦ PSF membership - members ◦ Django mailing lists - ◦ DSF membership – nominate yourself or nominate someone here
  31. Remote or relocation? ◦Relocation is more complex. ◦Remote is much

    easier – requires contract between you and organisation and you setting up your remote office.
  32. Applying ◦Respond to online job postings or sent via mailing

    lists. ◦Respond to recruiters/ talent acquisition managers.
  33. Applying ◦Respond to postings by friends/ networks. ◦Do NOT respond

    to a posting sent via mailing list if you are not ready to interview yet.
  34. Interviewing ◦Interviewing process varies with company you’re applying to. ◦Be

    prepared for phone interview or video call – before or after coding question.
  35. Interviewing ◦Some companies may also ask you technical questions during

    phone interview. ◦Prepare rigorously for your interview.
  36. Coding interview Do your best to complete the coding task

    – meet all requirements. Projects you have to submit at your own time are less stressful than whiteboard coding interviews over the phone.
  37. Not successful? Continue working on your coding skills. Continue building

    your bridges. Continue applying for other positions. Try again after six months or a year.
  38. Successful? Negotiate and accept the offer. Work out on the

    required paperwork. Figure out your working environment – critical for your success.
  39. Working remotely Be open to diversity – accept your colleagues.

    Be flexible – very important in teams. Find ways to overcome your barriers (typical African barriers).
  40. My personal experience with remote working… Remote work offers more

    flexibility – working hours. Requires balance between work and family – and that is your responsibility. Removes need to commute to the office – love that bit during winter as well as in Zimbabwe where transport costs are high and fuel is a problem. Pays well – earning in a strong currency using global rates while living in a weaker currency country is an advantage.
  41. Don’t Burn your Bridges Credit © 2012

  42. Conclusion Africans are equally responsible for increasing diversity figures in

    tech by making sure that they are not underrepresented in the tech space. Be the next diversity attendee, speaker or hire.

  44. Questions Questions Answers

  45. THE END Thank you!