OfferZen’s co-founder, Phil Joubert, says that massive global digital transformation has only made it more challenging for companies to find software developers. Demand for software developers’ skills is up by 20%, but the pool of developers in Europe is only growing by 8% year-on-year compared to 12% in Africa.

According to Joubert, the GMT+2 time zone is home to roughly five million developers, of which 700,000 are based in Africa. “The vast majority want to work remotely, yet it remains a generally untapped pool of talent for international companies – although some, like Amazon and Microsoft, are catching on.”

Being closely aligned to the whole of Europe, developers in the GMT+2 zone can work in real-time with team members in Europe, yet also overlap with parts of Asia and the Americas, said Joubert. This enables close cooperation – and easy relocation should they need to work onsite.

“It also makes them ideally situated for teams that use a follow-the-sun model. Developers located in GMT+2 can take over from their counterparts in the Asia Pacific region, work on the project, and hand it over to North American teams when they come online.”

The search for top tech talent has gone global and the world’s biggest tech companies know that there are good developers within this time zone, the tech expert said. “Demand for software developers is soaring across the US, because most industries rely on software for survival.

“As a result, the competition between companies to employ software developers has resulted in what Boston Consulting Group calls “The Code War” – an all-out war for tech talent. By contrast, Europe and even more so, Africa, has far less competition for skills, making the hiring process easier.”

According to OfferZen, remote work is becoming ubiquitous in the region. For example, 92% of South African developers now work in remote or hybrid set-ups. This means international companies that want to rapidly expand their teams can onboard new GMT+2 employees quickly – candidates in this time zone are often already working remotely, so they won’t find it hard to adjust.

At least 26 African countries list English as one of their official languages. English proficiency is particularly strong in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa, where it is widely used as a business language, and as a common language in multilingual communities. This reduces language barriers and makes it easier for teams that stretch across Europe, Asia, the Americas and Africa to communicate.

CareerJunction noted that findings from Q4 2020 to Q1 2021 and Q4 2021 to Q1 2022 revealed volatile salary trends within the information technology sector, whereas advertised salary packages for roles in sales, finance and admin are either similar or better than they were a year ago.

The majority of information technology candidates, at 64%, were based in Gauteng, South Africa’s smallest province but largest economic hub. The Western Cape followed with 14% of South Africa’s information technology candidates.

On average, people working in the information technology sector spend 27 months in their jobs, and 49% were willing to relocate, said Career Junction.

Just over two-thirds (68%) of all information technology candidates included in the Career Junction report had completed tertiary education. Just short of a quarter of candidates’ highest qualification was a diploma at 23%, with a degree following at 19%.

According to OfferZen’s State of the Software Developer Nation report — based on a survey of over 3,500 local developers — 36% of South African software developers did not study Computer Science.

OfferZen and Codehesion said that there are several in-demand fields of study that favour prospective software developers, including:

  • BEng in Electrical, Computer, and Mechatronics
  • BSc Multimedia
  • BCom informatics
  • B Information Systems (BIS) and Information Technology (BIT)

The companies also said that candidates do not necessarily need a tertiary degree to land a job as a software developer.

The firems highlighted anoticeable demand in the industry for self-taught candidates. “Talent comes from different avenues in tech, as there are so many sources available for candidates to upskill themselves,” said Codehesion CEO Hector Beyers.

OfferZen’s report showed that a quarter of developers taught themselves to code. “These developers used resources such as online tutorials and courses, side projects, and coding sites.”

According to OfferZen and Codehesion, South African companies are currently recruiting candidates that have skills and experience in the following languages:

  • C#
  • Ruby
  • Python
  • JavaScript

Experience with the React and Angular JavaScript frameworks are also sought-after skills for South African companies at the moment.