An article and a bootcamp: the makings of a Nigerian-women-in-tech movement?

Lagos bridge

This is interesting. Last week an article on asked if you could hire a female developer in your company. The piece, based on nothing more than the author’s thought process, argued that women are not as dedicated as men would be in the world of coding.

That’s his opinion, and he is entitled to it, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s unfounded and kinda rude. The author reckons women aren’t willing to do what it takes or commit and sacrifice their time. His argument goes something like this:

“However a whole of sacrifice go into becoming a good programmer and I doubt if any woman has that gut. I am not being chauvinistic, it is just factual. I am yet to see a lady tell me she stayed up all because her codes didn’t work.”[sic]

This could be a symptom of a country and a continent that educates its girls in the rules of becoming perfect wives and caregivers but is somehow offended when they learn other things from that expensive education.

Truth is, I am not actually sure how to respond to this article. But that brings me to the reason I am actually bothering to give a thought to said article. The folks at Andela have decided to respond with a female developer bootcamp. The Andela Institute operates a global talent accelerator that claims to produce world-class developers.

In the post announcing the new initiative to women in Nigeria, the company asks Nigerian young women if they would like to be developers, stating that “no prior experience in technology is required”. In response to the question, “Can you hire a female developer in your company?” Andela seems to have sent out an enthusiastic “Yes!”, stating that 20% of the institute’s fellows are female.

“But the truth is, 20% is not high enough, and we need to do even more to prove people like the guy above wrong,” says the company. “We are announcing our first all female Boot Camp. Only women can apply.”

According to the Andela Institute, the basis for selection to the bootcamp is entirely merit-based. Candidates for the Andela Fellowship are offered a free two-week training programme where instructors teach the basics on front-end web development. Candidates are also guided to collaboratively build their first web development project.

The whole bootcamp seems to be big up yours to the author of the aforementioned article about women in tech. Kudos to Andela for responding in such a kickass fashion, but it would be better if it was a programme created before the piece was published. I think there is merit in the attempt. I do however hope that it’s a regular programme rather just a once-off attempt to prove a point and forgets to foster it.

Nigeria’s women in tech space is small but on the rise and there are women building cool and interesting companies – just look at Tranzit. Look at the She Leads initiative that is encouraging women entrepreneurship and technology. Nigeria has long been ready for the women in tech movement to really kick off.



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