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Agony of an African programmer

Load Shedding
In most countries in Africa, it is a challenge for power companies to generate or acquire enough electricity to satisfy demand. Unless you have a UPS (which is unlikely) or alternative power sources like solar energy you are more likely to miss deadlines. In Zimbabwe, load shedding was minimal for a number of years but now the power is now a problem and productivity of a developer is likely to go down.

High Internet Costs
The price of data has been a challenge in most of Africa although in Zimbabwe we enjoyed very cheap data for some time due to irregularities in the economy, now it is beyond the reach of many especially if you are not working online were you are paid in US Dollars.

Survival Mode
Survival has higher priority than passion, thus development can take a back-seat if there are other sources of income which can be achieved immediately. Programming is hard let no man lie to you, for one to be considered good it takes a lot of effort, sleepless nights, failures and in most cases no financial results to show for it.

Lack of opportunity/resources to work on cutting-edge tech
It’s a different issue to watch Youtube videos and working on real problems. To work on some cutting edge technology one is faced with many barriers which include high cost of equipment, want to dive into IOT? you might not have access resources like raspberry pi, Arduino etc by virtue of your location even if they are cheap in more developed countries. Want to develop a game? Sorry, pal your dual core, celeron piece of plastic you call a computer can’t handle that!.

In recent years a wave of so-called entrepreneurs have been glorified in blogs and tv but most of them turned out to be “pitchprenuers”. These guys specialise in making pitches of stuff they don’t understand by throwing around some “hot” buzzwords only to get the “prizes” even if they are not solving anything. I have seen this countless times in Zimbabwe and Africa as a whole.

Will things improve

I am hopeful of the future as more african programmers are managing to overcome challenges and proving to be at par with the best developers in the world

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