App developers are leaving Africa at a time they are needed most


Finding good software developers is hard, conferences such as this one seeks to bring relevant skills in one place that will help people to network, this is according Robert MacLean, one of the organisers of the DevConf held in Johannesburg this Tuesday.

The DevConf that took place today at the Riverside Incubation Hub is the first major vendor natural developer conference in South Africa in years.

“The market had no enterprise event like this so we decided on our user group few years ago to bring together app developers for a one day conference,” said MacLean.


“We had a target of 350 people to attend the meeting, surprising over 500 developers attended and we had to turn back over 200.”

He highlighted the importance of apps in the fast changing world where everything now requires an app to function more effectively.

“Apps are at the centre of driving many businesses, they are also playing a huge role in democratising workplace and how business is done. This occasion was set to give opportunity to enterprise developers to learn from each other and prepare for the future,” he added.

“No business will not be impacted by apps the recent example is in the public transport where Uber has in less than three years managed to revolutionise the public transport system.”

MacLean said it was important for the region to invest in upskilling many young individuals                  .

“We are seeing knowledge gaps and little understanding of teamwork especially for skilled young people who come into workplace environment with no work experience. This is partly what this conference seeks to achieve.”

According to some developers attending the conference, they said, Africa was uniquely positioned as it remains largely an untapped region when it comes to apps development.

MacLean said the region’s app developers should take cue from Nigeria’s movie industry.

“Nigeria is not making Hollywood movies, they are making Nigerian movies. This trend that started in the cultural industry will spread to all areas including information technologies,” he said.

Also in attendance was Griffiths Sibeko, MTN Apps challenge winner in 2014.

“It is important for African app developers to device solutions for people in their communities. I am working on developing apps for low income earners especially in the transport industry,” he said.

“I am working on building apps that bring calm when there is chaos, like in South Africa’s taxi industry. This field requires passion, if you are in it for money then you will struggle to last a longer period,” he added.

Sibeko is one of many app developers who wish to leave the DevConf with vital skills, networks and more energy to solve challenges confronting the region.