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January 10, 2023

Software engineering training in Nigeria – Software development

Software engineering training in Nigeria – Software development

By Temilade Aderiye and Bisola Aduloju

The huge demand and scarcity of software developers in Nigeria and across the world has made software development training in Nigeria a very important national economic opportunity. The ongoing mass exodus of Nigerian tech and non-tech talents to Canada, United Kingdom and Australia has greatly hurt many Nigerian employers. Even many Nigerian tech talents that are still resident in the country are looking for offshore jobs abroad. Software developer hiring in Nigeria will continue to grow, but Nigeria must take advantage of its vast human resources to upskill people and get them ready for the digital world.

In this article, I will be discussing a little bit of history, but will focus on the different areas of expertise that aspiring software developers can focus on. I will also discuss how you can excel in your learning and refer to some advice from the #1 software engineering training institute in Nigeria – DelonAcademy. The company provides enterprise IT upskilling services to banks and is working hard to start providing free and affordable training services to individuals.

The earliest use of electronic digital computers in Nigeria was in 1963 when the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) set up the African Education Centre at the University of Ibadan (UI Computing Center). In connection with the analysis of the national census of 1962/1963. Between 1963 and 1973, Nigeria had about 20-25 computers, and six were associated with multinational companies. There were about seventy computer installations in Nigeria by 1977. In 1977, only three of these multinational computer vendors were in Nigeria. These were IBM, NCR, and JCL, and they all mostly dealt with mainframes and minicomputers. To ensure a more indigenous integration of Nigerians in the budding computer business, the government established the indigenization decree.

Nigeria has come a long way from the first recorded use of digital computers and the establishment of computer centers to the widespread use of computers. Nowadays, nearly every household has a functioning computer system. People no longer have to go to cafes to get their work done because everyone can do this from the comfort of their homes. Around the world, the software development industry is booming, and Nigeria is no different. Entrepreneurial software development training centers in Nigeria are emerging, especially in Lagos. Investments made by tech giants in the tech space have encouraged the establishment of software development hubs across the country

However, software development in Nigeria still faces the challenge of a talent deficit. As more Nigerians are becoming tech-inclined, there has been a high rate of migration to international companies that want to hire software engineers from Nigeria. This has led to the reduction of available tech talents in the country. Asides from the advantage of more career opportunities, some Nigerians migrate to other countries to gain more in-depth knowledge about software development. This habit would not benefit Nigeria’s economy in any way. Also, many foreign hirers are reluctant to hire software engineers from Nigeria because of the bad reputation the country has regarding the online space (i.e., fraud schemes such as 419, Naija Prince, etc.) They are wary of getting scammed or getting their work undone.

This leads to the need to train more talents in software development. More training centers have to be established in Nigeria to get more interested people trained and certified in software development. This would not only ensure the provision of more jobs in Nigeria, but it will also boost the economy.

There are several companies currently offering backend development training in Nigeria and other programs. DelonAcademy advises software developer students to seek good counseling from practicing developers, knowledgeable mentors or trainers before starting any training program. You should consider your strengths as well as the market opportunities before selecting areas of expertise to focus on. It is in fact sometimes good to take trial classes, and properly evaluate yourself before you get fully started. I know of a man that recently resigned his good job to pursue software development training. He spent over six months on the training but at the end of the day, he realized he could not pursue a career in coding. He went back to his previous work. If the person had sought good counseling and evaluated things well, he may not have made this mistake.

Software development is the process that is involved in creating and maintaining applications and other software components. These processes include ideating, specifying, designing, programming, documenting, testing, and bug-fixing. It involves all the processes in software development. The word software refers to the commands used to instruct a computer to carry out specific tasks. Someone who develops software is known as a software developer or software engineer.

The terms software engineers and software developers are often used interchangeably as they carry out many of the same tasks and share many of the same abilities. However, compared to software engineers, software developers frequently operate on a smaller scale and specialize in certain fields, such as the internet of things or mobile applications. While on the other hand, software engineers use a broad perspective that may encompass testing, scalability, and data analytics in addition to programming. Generally, though, these two terms can be used synonymously. Some trending software developer jobs in Nigeria.  include back-end developer, front-end developer, DevOps, etc.

Software Developer Jobs in Nigeria

1) Back-End developer in Nigeria: Back-end developers generally design, fix, and alter some elements of a software application. The back-end developer has to ensure that the software can effectively deliver the client’s requests. These professionals also maintain APIs, oversee critical databases, and conduct testing. Thus, a good back-end developer must know how to defend software against cybercrime threats. They help to support a project’s user interface and functionality.

They work with other team members to ensure that all pending projects are completed while meeting set deadlines. A backend developer’s job deals with scripting, website architecture, and writing codes that ensure the effective transfer of data between the website’s database and the user’s browser.

In Nigeria today, C# and asp.net core are the most sought after backend skills. Some companies require such skills as PHP and Java for backend development, while some use nodeJS for both frontend and backend. So if you like to pursue backend development career in Nigeria, these are the skills you should pursue. If you are thinking beyond Nigeria, you should include Ruby and Python Django in your plans.

2) Front-End developer: Front-end developer jobs in Nigeria requires skills related to creating prototypes of web pages and various other features. Often times, the developer is also in charge of testing the web pages to ensure that they work well.

In Nigeria today, the most commonly used frontend languages and frameworks are JavaScript, ReactJS, CSS, HTML, AngularJS and nodeJS. So if you are seeking to venture into frontend development, you should learn these languages.

3) Full stack engineer: A full stack engineer works with both the back-end and front-end of a website engineer. He works with both the front-end of a website and the back-end design of a website. My view is that it is very rare to develop great expertise in both frontend and backend. The skillsets are very different. A backend engineer is very logical and often not aesthetically inclined, while a frontend engineer is aesthetically inclined. Many times, a full stack engineer is a person that is either great in backend and below average in frontend, or great in frontend and below average in backend. So we always advise people to focus on their area of strength and be content with basic knowledge of other areas. There are too many frameworks and languages to cover in each area.

4) QA Engineer: QA stands for Quality Assurance (QA) and has to do with ensuring there are no mistakes in the manufactured product to be delivered to a client. A QA engineer in Nigeria is responsible for making sure that the product meets the required standard and design specifications.

Demand for QA engineers in Nigeria has increased a lot in recent years because companies are now appreciating the need for QA. Before now, employers expected software engineers to also handle QA.

In the past, QA skills did not require significant technical skills, but this has changed. QA engineers now need to have some basic coding knowledge. If you are interested in QA, consider learning tools like Cypress, Jmeter and Selenium.

5) Mobile developers: Mobile developers work with mobile operating systems and the frameworks and environments that are used to develop software programs on these operating systems. They utilize software development skills such as Swift (IOS), Xamarin (IOS), Java (Android), Xmarin (Android), Kotlin (Android), or Flutter.

Processes Involved in Software Development

Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC), also known as the software development process, is the process taken to create products that meet all the required specifications, standards, and users’ requirements. These processes include:

1) Planning

Proper planning is one of the most fundamental steps in software development. Most clients generally tend to have an abstract notion of what they want but not what the software would be able to do. Analysis of requirements is used to draft the fundamental design approach to the client’s need and carry out a feasibility study of the software. A technical feasibility study can be conducted to define the different technical approaches which can be used to successfully deploy the software with as little risk as possible. Planning for quality assurance requirements and identification of the risk associated with the design process is done during this first planning stage

2) Defining Requirements

After the analysis of requirements in this first planning stage, the next step in the software development life cycle process is to define and document the requirements of the software and then get them approved by the customer or market analysts this stage in the software development process is done via a software requirement specification document SRS includes all the requirements for the software that is to be designed and developed throughout the lifecycle of the project.

3) Designing the Software

The reference point for software engineers to build the best design for the software being developed is the SRS document. Using the software requirements which are specified in the software requirement specification (SRS) document, developers then propose (more than) one design structure for the software, and these structures are documented in the Design Document Specification (DDS).

4) Developing the Software

Software development is that part of the software development process where software engineers program the code for the software and then build the software. If the software design is properly structured, it will be possible to generate codes without expending too much time and effort. Codes are generated by software engineers using high-level languages such as C, Pascal, C++, and PHP. The software that is being developed determines the programming language used by software developers in Nigeria and around the world.

5) Software Testing

Software testing is an important process in all the stages of software development. After developing software, engineers conduct a test whereby the defects or mistakes in the software which has been built at detected, fixed, and then the software is retested. Testing the software at this stage gives the developer an unbiased and objective view of the software. Software testing can be explained as the process of verifying and validating a software application until it meets the standard of quality defined in the software requirement specification.

6) Software Deployment and Maintenance

After the software has been tested, the software is then deployed and approved for release in the appropriate market environment. It may be released and stages depending on the company’s marketing strategy. The software is also maintained by ensuring that it continues to operate well, and it can be further enhanced by updating the software to tackle recently discovered errors or faults. When the software is being deployed into the market space, it is important to carry out software training and support or create a manual to ensure that the software is correctly used by the end user.

Why The Software Development Industry Is Booming.

1) High Demand for Back-End Developers

Many Nigerian software development companies require the services of back end developers to achieve company growth. Recent reports indicate that almost 30% of the requested jobs on an engineering employment platform are for back-end engineers. Front-end developers, on the other hand, made up about 23% of this demand. Also, full-stack and mobile developers each made up about 20% of this data. This high demand for back-end developers in recent times is one of the reasons why the software development industry is booming.

2) Large DevOps Community

The large community of DevOps engineers in Nigeria is also contributing to the growth of the software development industry. Notably, DevOps engineers can get together, share their experiences, and find mentors at meetups hosted by some online groups. The country can move forward with its solutions more quickly because the DevOps methodology places an emphasis on automation and collaboration. Automation tools such as JFrog Pipelines are ideal for supporting startup developers in the software development process as their user base expands. In a nutshell, Nigeria’s software development industry is expanding as a result of the large DevOps community.

3) Growing Freelance Market

Some freelance platforms such as Upwork, Freelancer.io, Fiverr, etc., allow developers to create freelance profiles. These platforms allow people to create freelance profiles where they can upload their past employment, major projects (such as design, application testing, and back-end development), and their area of expertise (such as JavaScript, HTML/CSS, and Node.js). Business owners then use all the information provided to hire the right freelancer for their business. Innovations are advancing more quickly throughout the country due to the availability of greater access to some software.

4) The Rise of Learning Platforms

There has been the establishment of many learning platforms that offer training to interested people. A large number of these platforms provide programming lessons online while other organizations offer hands-on training sessions and meetups. For example, a top software development training institute in Nigeria – DelonMarket offers courses in Back-End Development, Front-End Development, Android Development, IOS Development, DevOps, and Data Science, and trainees can select between weekday and weekend courses.

5) Overcoming Challenges

The software industry in Nigerians is booming as more Nigerians are overcoming their stereotyping biases. An experienced developer in Nigeria reports that some international clients are often unfamiliar with the fast-paced growth of Nigeria’s tech space. Thus, they are stereotypical when it comes to making important employment decisions. However nowadays, major tech companies are beginning to spotlight the country’s achievements in the software industry. For example, GitHub released a report identifying Nigeria as the fourth-largest growing developer community worldwide. Also, major giants in the tech space have begun making investments in some software development companies in Nigeria. Despite the challenges Nigerians face due to global bias, the tides are turning as the skills of the country’s developers are starting to boost the industry’s growth.

How To Become a Software Engineer

1. Study Computer Science or Related Course

This is one of the more common ways to become a software developer in Nigeria. Many people decide on a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, or Information Technology because it allows them to study the theoretical side of computer scientific disciplines and assists them in understanding the basics of software engineering. Some courses learned include web technologies, database systems, computer networks, programming languages, data structures, algorithms, and mathematics. These courses will help upcoming developers completely understand contemporary software development techniques. Many hiring companies mandate a four-year bachelor’s degree program in Computer Science as a requirement for recruiting software developers. However, it would be unwise to depend only on getting a degree in Computer Science because it is often the practical experience one has that determines whether one would get hired or not. 

2. Learn Programming Languages

Programming languages are the computer equivalent of human language which are used to tell the computer what to do in the language the computer understands. A software developer’s major responsibility is to give the computer commands using these programming languages. Thus, it is necessary to not only have a degree in Computer Science or other related fields, but it is important to choose a programming language that best fulfills your needs and take time to learn it well. Some of these programming languages include Java, MS SQL, Azure, Python, Swift, and JavaScript. With time, fluency in more than one of these programming languages can be achieved. Learn the language’s syntax, practice writing computer programs, and learn the unique qualities associated with the language you have chosen.

3. Figure out your end goals

Having had the necessary knowledge to start working as a software developer, the next step is to outline your end goals. Ask yourself where you would like to work, how you would like to work (remote or onsite), and how much your fees would be. Some industries that software developers’ services are needed include financial institutions, software publishers, engineering or manufacturing industries, and insurance providers. Having a clear view of what you want in your career will help you achieve your goals faster.

4. Become Conversant with Algorithms and Data Structures

A data structure is a way of processing, storing, organizing, and retrieving data while an algorithm is a set of clearly defined instructions that can be used to solve particular problems. Software developers must be familiar with data structures and algorithms because they help software engineers quickly solve problems with less use of the computer’s memory. A software engineer’s responsibility is to provide the best solution to a specific problem while taking note of time restrictions and memory use.

5. Practice

Whether the knowledge of software development was gained through formal schooling or self-taught, it is necessary to put whatever has been learned into practice. As the saying goes practice makes perfect thus, putting the knowledge acquired to use will help better the software developer’s dexterity in utilizing programming languages. This skill set can then be used in various contexts such as DevOps engineering, front-end development, data science, etc.

6. Make a portfolio

A portfolio displays previous works. Having a portfolio shows prospective clients the software engineer has actual, theoretical knowledge of the skills listed on the CV or resume. An ideal portfolio should contain the following details short biography, contact information, skills, link to resume, awards (if any), and professional or personal projects. Include any new experience in the portfolio. For the sake of accuracy and interactivity, it is advisable to use portfolio design websites such as Wix, Journopolio, and Clippings.me.

7. Certify your skills

For people without actual job experience in software development, it is advisable to take some certified courses which offer certificates when completed. The certifications obtained will help potential clients verify the skillset, capabilities, and competence level of the prospective employee. Certifications can be gotten in data management, cloud computing, or data security.

Tools Used by Software Developers

1) GitHub

GitHub is a website hosting service that offers a location for a global developer community to exchange, enhance, and discuss software projects. GitHub is a version control and software development hosting service with a graphical interface and beneficial collaboration and project management functionalities. GitHub is said to have the world’s largest developer community, and is frequently used for issue tracking and code review.

2) LeanKit

A cloud-based visual management program that is considered one of the most user-friendly software products available when considering agile transformation in Nigeria. With custom board templates, advanced Kanban capabilities, and backlog management, it can assist a team of software developers to work faster and more effectively.

3) Codenvy

Codenvy is a cloud-based integrated programming environment that is used for developing apps and debugging. It is an open-source workspace server that serves as a platform for teams can use to develop remotely. Its best qualities include version control, APIs and extensions, and resource limits.

4) Code Climate

Code Climate is another useful software development tool. It is an automated, open-source tool used by software developers for code analysis or review. It assists in ensuring code quality by grading apps based on complexity, style, test coverage, and more. CodeClimate provides the software developer with valuable insight into the starting point for a software or code review. Other features of this tool include test coverage, team management, and data-based engineering.

5) Axosoft

Axosoft is one of the best tools for software development which is built on simple Scrum software. It is designed to assist engineering and development teams with issue tracking and project management. Axosoft is used by software developers because of its bug tracking, data visualization, and Scrum planning board.

6) Trello

Trello is a free app used for project management. It lets users make columns and place cards in them. These cards represent projects or tasks that need to be completed. Trello is an excellent way to organize personal workload, side projects, or things to be accomplished. Having an organized workflow can help a software developer be more productive. Jira is another more robust project management tool.

7) Sip

Sip is a simple tool used for selecting colours for front-end development. Any colour can be chosen in various formats (such as RGB and hex) from the device’s screen.

8) Evernote

Evernote is a virtual notebook that can be used by software developers to keep track of vital information which can be forgotten due to work overload. It serves as an external brain where details like courses, links, keyboard shortcuts, and software requirements can be posted for safekeeping. It can also include details such as diagrams of how the product being worked on fits, screencasts, or tech talks to be watched later, commands that can be easily forgotten, and so on.

9) CodeWars

This tool provides hundreds of small programming challenges that are ranked by difficulty and several programming languages. These challenges can help the software developer improve or increase his software development knowledge of the fundamentals of programming. CodeWars also exposes software engineers to other programming languages asides from the one(s) they are familiar with. After solutions to challenges have been submitted, CodeWars also offers highly rated solutions to the submitted challenges.

10) Apache NetBeans

This is a popular, open-source, and free Integrated Development Environment (IDE). It is one of the best software development tools that allow the development of mobile, desktop, and web applications. It supports fast and smart code editing, helps to write bug-free codes, and offers support for C, C++, and PHP software developers.

In conclusion, the Nigerian federal government and federating units (the states) need to come up with a digital upskilling policy to prepare millions of Nigerians for the growing digital market. We cannot limit things to the private sector. According to the leading IT recruitment company in Nigeria –  DelonApps, Nigeria’s software developer needs will require over one million specialists by the year 2030 because the demands continue to outnumber the growing supply. Individuals and private companies will continue to lead the training efforts, but government needs to do better. IT job candidates can visit top IT job site in Nigeria to read more about tech roles that they can pursue.