As the CTO and cofounder of a fast-growth startup, hiring technical talent is on my mind 24/7. In the past decade, recruiting and retaining top-tier talent has become fiercely competitive. Like countless other Silicon Valley companies, we are ceaselessly looking to hire developers and data scientists in what has been a years-long seller’s market.
We have investigated new approaches, tailored our perks and even tested remote teams as potential solutions. Each remote team we worked with eventually failed due to a lack of passion and commitment to the cause. Although it was a constant uphill battle, we continued to grow steadily. With this all too familiar backdrop, imagine my relief when my CEO came to me after a weekend climbing expedition to say she had solved all of our hiring problems.
Talent Too Good to Be True?
I was beyond thrilled, but of course skeptical. Once she clarified that the solution would be to hire developers in Africa through a talent accelerator, my excitement quickly evaporated. I wasn’t even willing to hire friends out of India, why would I turn to Africa after every remote team had ended poorly for us?
Another year passed of high growth coupled with increasing hiring turmoil, and I truthfully hadn’t given my CEO’s idea a second thought, until I was sitting at a table with a few fellow tech founders. They were raving about the performance of developers they had hired through a company called Andela. Turns out, it was the exact same accelerator Amanda told me about a year before.
The Andela developers had built these founders’ MVP (minimum viable product) in record time, and were also passionate about embracing the Silicon Valley culture. They were not only dedicated to delivering great software, but were also determined to learn as much as possible about entrepreneurship with their own hopes to ultimately start ventures to help solve poverty issues in Africa.
At a time when the unemployment rate for young people in Nigeria is more than 55 percent, it’s no wonder that companies like Andela are partnering with Nigerians to close the global skills gap. After speaking with the other founders and hearing about their successes with the developers, I decided to tell Amanda yes and give it a try.
Closing the Global Skills Gap
When I first met the two developers 6sense would be working with through Andela, Jyd and Ezekiel, I was blown away. During the initial interview, they had done an unbelievable amount of research, not just on our company and space, but on other employees and me personally. They were eager to learn and hungry to understand everything about their roles and 6sense. Their insatiable appetite for knowledge is what really drove me over the line and brought me completely on board to hire them.
Now after four months, my early reaction towards hiring remotely could not have been more wrong! Jyd and Ezekiel have not only contributed amazing code to 6sense (and with very little guidance), but they’ve made an immeasurable impact on our team. Our collective 6sense family feels so proud and grateful to be a part of something that is really making a difference. These kind of moments define your culture!
We in Silicon Valley are incredibly fortunate with the opportunities we have, but many of us take them for granted and some even have a feeling of entitlement. I am a true believer in Andela’s vision that talent is evenly distributed throughout the world, and I am so proud to be a part of the movement to ensure that opportunity is as well.