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OP-UNEDITED | Tracking the Number of Developers in Nigeria – By Babatope Falade

By Babatope Falade

IDC reports that there are over 29 million IT workers. This includes developers, business intelligence experts, database gurus, SAP consultants etc. This number constitutes 18 million who are actually developers.

That automatically became food for thought as I wondered how the world is over 7 billion in population and the IT professionals that are supposed to drive the information revolution are I meagre numbers.

On a second thought, since this wave of digital industrial revolution is dependent on high value knowledge workers there is the leverage on the fact that unlike typical labour work with human muscles, the brain is put at work and we don’t need as much man hours and a large number of people to get things done in an information/knowledge economy.

However, the scale of achievement and comparative advantage in meeting local demands and exporting local innovations requires that there is a sizeable number of IT professionals per capita. I am particular about developers because they are at the heart of creation in information technology.

I did some secondary research on the number of developers per country across the world. From IDC research of 2013; distribution of IT works segmented across regions is as follows;

“Slicing the numbers slightly differently, Asia-Pacific accounts for 36 percent of all ICT-skilled workers in the world, followed by the Americas with 33 percent and Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) with 31 percent. Asia-Pacific also accounts for 37 percent of the professional developers in the world, followed by the Americas with 33 percent and EMEA with 30 percent. Asia-Pacific is also home to 36 percent of all software developers in the world, followed by EMEA with 34 percent and the Americas with 30 percent. But when it comes to hobbyists, EMEA leads with 39 percent, followed by Asia-Pacific with 34 percent and the Americas with 27 percent.”

This explains distribution across geographies and behaviour of developers per hobby programming and professional programming.

The Stackoverflow a platform for developers in their survey show something quite exciting; in relation to having an appreciable number of developers to population, some countries have more developer per capita and some less per capita. Stackoverflow was able to capture this. See below;

Country Devs per 1,000 people
Luxembourg 39.8
Iceland 35.0
Sweden 35.0
Israel 33.4
Finland 33.0
Singapore 31.7

The report contains among many things, the lifestyle of developers and their likes and dislikes with tools of the trade.

For some like me, the most important question is; what is the number of developers per capita in Nigeria? Is it possible to have a national database of developers where government and private sector can use to plan for recruitment and capacity development interventions?

I know organizations like Andela is doing so much to train developers, but we need to have an idea of what the figures and status of the developer per capita in Nigeria is.


Babatope Falade-Onikoyi is a public policy analyst whose focus is on the knowledge economy. He has written extensively on the subject. He is the founder of Knowledge Economy Africa and the CEO of Walter and Edwards Communications. He tweets via @topefalade


Inspired by Steve Biko’s ‘I Write What I Like‘, OP-UNEDITED is the citizen opinion segment of SIGNAL. All opinions posted on the OP-UNEDITED page are unedited and the raw opinions of the writers.

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