Blockchain jobs in Africa rising, but skills still inadequate

As blockchain technology continues to revolutionize several industries, it has opened up several job opportunities. A decade ago, blockchain developers were unheard of, but now, they are among the highest paid in the world. As CoinGeek has reported in the past, the demand for blockchain skills has mostly been higher than the supply. Most reports, however, focused on the Western world. But what about in Africa?

The rise of cryptos in Africa has been well documented, with South Africa leading in ownership as Nigeria leads in Bitcoin searches globally. However, the blockchain jobs market has been under the radar, mostly because the number of blockchain companies pursuing blockchain projects isn’t all that high.

This is not to say the continent hasn’t embraced blockchain technology. Ray Youssef, the founder and CEO of crypto wallet and exchange Paxful revealed that across Africa, developers are leveraging the technology to solve perennial challenges. Speaking to CoinGeek, he stated, “In every trip we have in Africa, may it be in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria or Ghana, we meet several blockchain-based startups, many of which are optimistic to solving the financial problems they are experiencing.”

Angus Brown, the co-founder of Bitcoin wallet Centbee clarified further regarding where the jobs are in Africa.

“What we are seeing growing is a demand for people who can create apps and services ‘on top of’ the blockchain, and not coding directly on the blockchain. This requires a good understanding of how blockchain works, but no need to create new ones,” Brown tells us.

Across the globe, it has been the big tech and financial firms that have provided the most opportunities for blockchain developers. IBM, JPMorgan, KPMG, Deloitte, Microsoft and Cisco are among the leaders in this field. Some governments have also tried their hand in blockchain.

In Africa, state corporations haven’t been as active in the field, Brown told CoinGeek. It has been private companies that provide the most opportunities, especially crypto wallets and exchanges. He stated, “I think the big, credible exchanges will continue to grow, as there are many countries in Africa that have no local crypto-exchange, and the big players will expand into these countries as the regulations open up. The regulators will want to see local presence and employment of locals, so that will be start spreading the job opportunities around.”

There’s still a lot to be done to push the African blockchain industry to the next level. For one, the government needs to get more involved, both by integrating the technology and implementing enabling regulations. If the government will nurture and motivate these young minds through various incentives like subsidies or scholarships, this can help them innovate blockchain even more and take this market to the next level, Youssef believes.

“Education, education, education! We need to educate regulators on the positive benefits of blockchain, we need to educate corporate CIO’s as to the opportunities to improve their processes, and keep training developers on how their skills can be linked to blockchain business opportunities,” Brown believes.

And while Brown is right about the need for education, the opportunities for blockchain education have been limited in the continent. Most top learning institutions don’t offer blockchain courses, leaving many Africans reliant on online resources. The African Blockchain Institute has been a beacon of hope for the continent, bringing blockchain courses to the continent. As CoinGeek reported recently, the ABI has its sights set on a blockchain-powered continent, where businesses integrate blockchain to lower costs, increase efficiency and boost security.

In an interview with CoinGeek, the executive director of ABI Kayode Babarinde revealed that there has been massive interest in blockchain skills acquisition. ABI is set to establish a new center this year in Rwanda, with its previous efforts in Ghana having been quite a success.

Paxful has become a dominant force in the African crypto market, becoming arguably the largest P2P platform for African crypto traders. Centbee also stands out as one of the most innovative crypto companies in Africa, availing the power of Bitcoin even to the rural areas. The two companies thus know a thing or two about whether it’s possible to find blockchain talent in Africa.

Youssef revealed, “Our search has led us to find that there is a pool of talented young Africans who understand the technology and make use of it. We’ve managed to find hundreds of young, qualified people in Africa who share a similar mission of financial inclusion. They were all familiar with the innovation of blockchain and bitcoin and how it’s slowly transforming our lives for the better.”

For Centbee, it has focused mainly on building apps that work on top of the massively scalable BSV blockchain. As such, it doesn’t seek blockchain developers mainly. Rather, it goes for “talented Java developers who have strong API and integration experience.” It then trains them on how the Bitcoin blockchain works.

Brown concluded, “We expect to see a big growth in ‘blockchain’ jobs in the next year – but not to code directly onto the blockchain, but rather to create apps and services that integrate with the largest and most capable blockchain networks.”

New to blockchain? Check out CoinGeek’s Blockchain for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about blockchain technology.