Report on Developer Training and Employment in Zimbabwe – November 2018

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It is sobering to consider how technology has entrenched itself in today’s society. A simple transaction like purchasing an apple can involve machinery and software systems worth millions of dollars. This technology coupled with the internet has given companies the ability to reach larger audiences across country borders. The improvements in smartphones mean their audiences can also be served anytime, anywhere.

Technology has provided small companies the means to compete with larger multinational conglomerates whilst larger companies have also been able to cut costs among other things. These technologies and systems are complicated and require skilled people to build and maintain, these would be developers.

Developers are important to the startup ecosystem, which in turn is important to the economy. So, proper training of developers is essential. In this document, we will explore where software developers/ programmers are getting their training, which skills they are being taught and then contrast that with the requirements of businesses.

Training is influenced by the job market and so it is important not to look at developer training in isolation or in just the limited view of startups but within the overall employment market context, which is what we will do.

In our interactions with software developers and their would-be employers, we found out that: Developers claim there are no employment opportunities whilst businesses claim there aren’t developers in the Zimbabwean market. I’m calling it the Zimbabwean developer paradox. There are various reasons why this scenario exists. It is the aim of this document to paint that picture.