The Nigerian tech ecosystem has grown over the past two decades to produce global businesses and world-class professionals, including developers, designers and product managers.
The Techosystem provides life-changing opportunities—both in addressing the country's pains and providing personal gains, despite its shortcomings.
As of Q2 2019, the ICT sector accounted for 13.8% of Nigeria's gross domestic product (GDP) growth. Also, the African Startup Compensation Survey submits that, on average, a junior engineer could earn as much as $12,000/annum (N4.3 million). This explains the growing interest of Nigerian youths in the ICT sector.
In the past 90 days, more than 149,110 Nigerians have visited freecodecamp.org—one of the platforms where people can learn how to code for free. This, as well as the teeming participants at various bootcamps and trainings, suggests that a lot of people want to learn how to code and build a career in the tech industry.
This article identifies the communities that tech enthusiasts and people just starting out in their tech career can join. Experts and professionals can also leverage the communities to network with peers.
In the past, all the disciplines in the tech ecosystem were subsumed under developer community. But now, the different disciplines are branching out to build their own communities, thereby providing a safe place for people who don't fancy coding and its patois.
Why you should be part of a tech community
It takes a village to raise a child. And wise dwarfs stand on the shoulders of giants.
If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.
- By joining a community, you will get access to valuable mentorship and wise counsel.
- As a member of a community, you will get to know about events, conferences, workshops, job openings and other opportunities
- You will be able to work on community projects and build your portfolio. These projects include, organising events and trainings, building apps for events and the community website.
- A community also provides a rich network and you get to make good friends. and As the saying goes, your network determines your net worth.
P.S: This is list is not exhaustive, but it's alive. Thus, it will be updated as frequeently as new communities emerge (or are discontinued).
28 Communities every Techie should join
This list is grouped into three—communities for developers, designers, and product managers.
We were able to identify 12 developer communities, 5 designer communities, 3 product manager communities and 10 others.
A. Communities for Developers
1. forloop Africa
This is indeed one of the fastest growing tech communities in Africa. Started as a community for Nigerian developers in 2016, forloop Africa has become a community for every (and any) software developer and enthusiast in Africa. It has chapters in different states across Nigeria, and in other African countries, namely, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
The organising team comprises of some of the great minds in the tech ecosystem. Notably, Prosper "unicodeveloper" Otemuyiwa, Ridwan Olalere, Christian Nwamba, Ire Aderinokun, Solomon Osadolo and Babajide Duroshola.
2. Google Developers Group
Who does not know Google Developers Group (GDG)? Even non-techies know the biggest developer community in the world, with chapters scattered around the world. In Nigeria, there's GDG in all the 36 states, with some states having more than chapter. For instance, Lagos has six.
GDG provide an opportunity for tech enthusiasts to learn new skills through workshops and its events create an inclusive environment where junior and senior developers can network and geek about their interests. The annual developer festival (#DevFest) organized by GDG Lagos holds the title for the largest gathering of developers in Nigeria.
You can join the GDG chapter close to you or connect with the amiable Aniedi Udo-Obong, Google's Programme Manager, Developer Ecosystem for Sub-Saharan Africa.
3. Google Developer Student Club
This is another Google-initiated developer community, but for student. There are 47 Google Developer Student Club (DSC) in Nigeria, spread across universities, colleges and polytechnics. DSCs are aimed to help students, undergraduate or postgraduate nurture their interest in programming and other Google developer technologies. You can check if there is a DSC in your institution.
4. Kotlin User Group
Unlike the aforementioned communities that are generalistic, Kotlin User Group is a community for developers that work with the Kotlin programming language. It also provide an opportunity for tech enthusiasts to be learn about the programming language.
Kotlin User Group Lagos was by Eyitayo Alimi, Founder and CTO of Nectar Hub Software Company, in 2017. And the Kotlin User Group in Abuja was started in the same year by Shola "Slick" Akinrolie, Adetayo James and other people. Today, Kotlin User Group has grown to have 13 more chapters across Nigeria.
Condennovation is a community of developers on mission to give back to the society. In partnership with the IBI Foundation and Major League Hacking, Codennovation organises meetups where young people learn programming, designing and other technology skills.
Among its organising team are members of Kotlin User Group, namely Shola "Slick" Akinrolie, David Ajah and Adetayo James.
6. Consonance Club
As the name implies, Consonance Club is a harmonious community of developers, designers, engineers and entrepreneurs. Started in 2017, Consonance Club is a closely-knit community that you can only get into through referrals. You can reach out to Kelvin Umechukwu or Mayowa Tudonu to be a part of Consonance Club.
7. Developer Career
This is the ultimate community for anyone just starting out their developer career. Developer Career (DevCareer) is a non-profit organisation that support anyone interested in venturing into programming and provide adequate resources to make them a world class developers.
8. Laravel Nigeria
This is another programming language specific community. It is a community of Nigerian developers interested in or currently using Laravel.
The organising team of Laravel Nigeria include Neo Ighodaro, Adewale "AceKYD" Abati, Stephen Afam-Osemene and Florence Okosun. Earlier this month, it held the biggest PHP conference in Nigeria. Join the community on Slack.
9. Angular Nigeria
10. DevOps Nigeria
DevOps is a portmanteau of development and operations. DevOps Nigeria is a community for professional devops engineers and developers looking to change their career path. Managed by Adedayo Akinpelu, DevOps Engineer at Quidax, DevOps Nigeria holds meetups every quarter across its chapters in Lagos and Abuja. You can join the community on Slack or Telegram.
11. JAMstack Lagos
12. Facebook Developer Circles
Facebook but for developers. With 14 circles spread across Nigeria, Facebook Developer Circles community bring together developers to explore shared interests, which range from open source technologies, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, internet of things. The Lagos circle boost of over 15,000 members and it hosted Facebook's Developer Summit in 2018. Join the circle close to you.
The Developer Circle is also hosting the 2019 React Summit on November 30.
13. Devcenter Square
14. AI Saturdays
AI Saturdays (AKA AI6) is a global community aimed making aritificial intelligence education accessible to anyone. As such, it is open to both developers and tech enthusiasts, who want to "kickass in AI".
Tejumade Afonja and Azeez Oluwafemi organized and first 16-week cycle of AI6 in Lagos last year. Within this short period, AI Saturdays Lagos has birthed chapters in Abuja, Abeokuta and Ibadan. Join the community to be a part of the next cohort.
B. Communities for Designers
15. Figma Africa
It is only appropriate that one of the applications used by designers has a community. Figma Africa is a community for professional and nascent designers to connect, network and grow their design skills. Figma Africa Nigeria, launched last year, convened 300 participants. Join the community to improve your design skill.
There is also an online Adobe XD community.
This close-knit community of "smart people wey sabi design" in Ibadan. CTRL+G: Ibadan Design Meet convenes designers to geek about visual and UI/UX design and everything in-between.
18. Interaction Design Foundation
Interaction Design Foundation (IDF) is a nonprofit initiative providing top-quality, online design courses. Through its 469 local community across the world, three are present in Nigeria: Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt. IDF communities provide an opportunity for designers to network and share knowledge.
19. Dribbble Meetups: Lagos Meet
Dribbble Meetups independently-organized events that bring togethers designers for networking and knowledge sharing. Like TEDx, different Dribbble Meetups are held in Nigeria, but the most popular is Lagos Meet.
Unfortunately, there is no Lagos Dribbble Meet this year. But the 2018 Lagos Dribbble Meet was a huge success.
C. Communities for Product Managers
Founded by Martin Eriksson in 2010, ProductTank has become the largest community of product managers in the world. Its meetups bring together product managers to share their experience. Join the Slack community.
ProductTank Lagos was started by Khadija Abu, Product Manager at Paystack. The community an opportunity for Nigerians to exchange ideas and experiences about the nitty-gritty of product management. Join the community so that you don't miss the next meetup.
21. Product School Lagos
22. Product Dive
ProductDive, launched by a former Co-organizer of Product School Lagos meetup, Oluwatobi Otokiti, provides professional training in product management and organises frequent meetups. Join the community.
23. Ingressive EDG
The Entrepreneur Development Group (EDG) of Ingressive is a community for tech professionals, including startup founders, in Africa. The group provides resources and tools needed for a successful career and business. Join the community.
24. Google Business Group
This is the sister group of the other Google communities. Through the 11 GBGs across Nigeria, entrepreneurs learn how to use Google products and other technologies in running their businesses.
25. Lagos Startup Founder 101
26. The Nigeria Testers Forum
The Association of Nigeria Software Testers (ANST) is a nonprofit organisation that is dedicated to building a robust product and software testing community. Join the community.
TechQuest STEM Academy is a nonprofit STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) organization dedicated to supporting STEM organizations and educators with ICT, digital literacy and STEM content, resources and tools needed to impact young people across Africa. TechQuest is on a mission to empower Africa for the digital economy. You can also volunteer with TechQuest in achieving this mission.
Kindly reach out to us: @dadabenblog to nominate a budding community for tech enthusiasts.