The world is getting digitized at an amazingly fast rate. Although Africa is lagging behind, the continent isn’t completely out of the loop. Tech hubs and coding programs across Africa have become increasingly popular, leading to more opportunities for the population at large and serving as a leveraging ground for the under-educated sect. But with this advantage comes a disadvantage. There are more programmers in Africa than full-time jobs to go around.
Since programming falls under the category of jobs that can be done remotely, the unemployment gap can be closed when programmers apply for jobs all across the world. Although the thought of competing with global counterparts can be intimidating, it’s totally worth the shot. Here are some tips on how to land foreign gigs, as an African programmer.
Set yourself up for success
Several things lead to success, but preparation is always the first step. In this case, having the right tools to execute tasks is paramount. You can start by having the right updated software, a bank card that works for intentional purchases, fast internet connection and a reasonably stable source of electricity. Then sign up to sites like Upwork and Freelancer. At the initial, you may get jobs that are seemingly small from these sites but small is a good place to start.
Being a programmer who is proficient in more than one programming language is good but narrowing down by picking one out of the others and becoming an expert at it is important. In your online profiles, state your preferred programming language. Clients usually feel better when they think they’re working with a specialist (which is essentially what you are, although you might not use that term). As a specialist, charging more than the average will go almost unquestioned. It also will not hurt to specify whether you’re a Software Developer, User Interface Designer or something else.
If you’ve only worked on bite-size projects, upsell those projects and the skills you gained while working on them.. However, at this stage, make sure you are only accepting low-risk jobs, while you build the much-needed skills to reach your target audience.
Show off your work
Although this is a form of marketing, it’s a low-cost high-value form. It might feel uncomfortable at first to blow your own trumpet (so to say), but just as it takes time to build up and train a muscle, you’ll get used to it. Showing off your works to friends, classmates, and even your internet community could easily equate to showing your works to potential employers. Don’t forget to place a code on your Github profile. It’s also really good to create a portfolio website, where potential clients can see more of your work.
Be visible both online and offline
In this era when significant and high-profile people like Mark Zuckerberg are visiting Africa, it is essential that you attend networking events. You never know who you might meet, — could be someone who has a direct link to a project you’re bidding for. You may not like it (as programmers are traditionally known as hermits), but it’s great for your career. Even if you don’t meet a potential connect, you get to meet people who do the same things you do. Moreover, in the freelance world, where you don’t have physical colleagues, it’s always great to have people you can call and run ideas through or even ask for feedback from.
You should also get on LinkedIn if you don’t have an account yet. Make sure you link your portfolio site to your profile.
Keep working on your track record
You’ll have moments when you’re not working on any paid projects, use this time to improve your track record and credibility as a professional programmer. Credibility leads to hire-ability, you must always work on upgrading your credibility. Learn a new technology or how to use a new tool. Build websites and apps to challenge yourself and for fun.
Join Charisol, we connect you to foreign gigs
Here at Charisol, we connect remote friendly companies to our skilled software developers. Our mission to help businesses around the world, build world-class products ensures that we welcome talented developers, with the best professional practices, to our ever-growing team.
If you are a keen programmer, Charisol is your best shot at connecting with opportunities beyond the shores of Africa. Start your journey to foreign gigs here.