Andela, the Africa-based Engineering As A Service (EAAS) company, has officially launched in Egypt with a fully-remote centre located in Cairo, the capital of Egypt.

The launch ceremony, which held on Tuesday, is the climax of an expansion process that began in July 2018, when Andela opened applications to senior developers in Cairo. During this period, Andela has hired more than 80 senior developers across the River Nile country and it plans to hire at least 200 senior developers over the next three years.

Egypt joins Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria—where Andela first launched in 2014, Rwanda, Uganda and the United States—its headquarters—as the seventh country where Andela operates. The company, also, recently announced that it will surpass its $50 million annual revenue this year.

Related: Why is Andela recruiting mid- and senior-level developers and how does it make money?

According to a statement released by Andela, the senior developers will work remotely from Cairo, allowing them to gain experience while actively building their local tech ecosystems. Like its mantra, "brilliance is evenly distributed, but opportunity is not", Andela believes the future of work is distributed. Hence, the Cairo office is Andela's first fully-remote centre.

Speaking at the Technne Summit last month, Andela's Country Director in Egypt, Rama El Safty, said "The world is undergoing a rapid change with a movement towards digital and technological transformation which will play a vital role in reshaping the labour market. These changes, beside the resulting demand for good tech talents, are causing global companies to adopt employment policies that support a distributed workforce enabling them to access the best tech talents anywhere in the world".

Pan African Visions reported that Andela's Co-founder and CEO, Jeremy Johnson, the Vice President of Information Technology Industry and Development Agency (ITIDA), Ahmed El Sobky, and Rama were present at the official launch of Andela in Egypt.

On the sidelines of the launch ceremony, the ITIDA—the agency spearheading the development of the ICT industry in Egypt—signed an agreement with Andela to support the company in identifying and training a minimum of 200 top software engineers in Egypt.

Why Egypt?

As one of the technology-driven countries in North Africa, with a competitive technical talent pool and commitment to ICT growth, Cairo was an easy choice. The Egyptian government has a digital transformation strategy that aims to increase the contribution of ICT to the GDP to 5% over the next year.

Egypt's ICT sector has seen significant growth over the past years, as the governemnt has actively focused on strengthening and accelerating digital transformation. We would like to thank the Minister of Communications, Amr Talaat, and ITIDA for collaborating with us during our first move into the MENA [Middle East and North Africa] region.

Rama El Safty, Andela's Country Director

According to ITIDA, the launch of Andela in Egypt and the signing of the agreement is in line with the country's strategy to grow its ICT sector, valued at $3.67 billion in 2018, and to create more job opportunities for young Egyptians. The engineers that will be hired by Andela will get to work with some of the leading global technology companies remotely and showcase the Egyptian ICT sector to the global community.

Andela builds world-class engineering teams, and we are excited to be enhancing our talent pool as we expand into Egypt. We’ve been impressed by the incredible engineering talent we’ve seen so far across the country, and we’re excited to help raise the profile of Egypt’s tech ecosystem on the global stage.

Jeremy Johnson, Co-founder and CEO of Andela

What if?

Despite the perfect plan for Andela operations in the MENA region, some people are skeptical and paranoid that Andela could rescind on its promises if it does not align with its business objectives.

Dennis, a software developer, said "They promised heaven and earth when they launched in Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda too. Then, things weren't going as planned and they decided to sack people. While I understand it's a business decision, it would be better if they underpromise and overdeliver. What if things go awry in Egypt too?"

On September 17, 2019, Andela made a business decision to shed off 420 junior developers across Nigeria (200), Kenya (170) and Uganda (50), and focus on hiring senior developers, rather than training junior developers to become senior. While the Andela communications team did well in managing the narrative, the act has imbued into Andela developers, an uncertainty that's constantly asking, "how soon till they lay me off?"

Only senior developers are safe

Currently, 25% of Andela's 1,200 developers are senior developers. And by the end of 2020, Jeremy says, they would have hired another 700 experienced engineers to keep up with demand from their partners who engage Andelans.

While there is an avalanche of rookie developers emerging from the numerous bootcamps and learning communities, the market, clearly, only pays for senior developers. This is not peculiar to Andela.

For instance, eWorker—an HR company that connects companies to developers and other tech professionals—only accepts into its pool software developers, designers, product managers and data scientists with 3-5 years of commercial experience.

By focusing only on senior developers, is Andela and its ilk not ruining the fate of junior developers, who may not be able to land the job that will give them the required experience to become senior developers?

In the meantime, Andela is recruiting for different roles, including senior developers, across its various offices. Apply here.


*Updated Nov., 7, 1:51 PM: Andela plans to hire 200 senior engineers in Egypt over the next three years (not one year as previously stated).