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  • June

A call out for Africa's Global Workforce

Good day and a Happy Sunday!

I hope you really are well, and that everything is looking up on your end. As much as life is playing out. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad, it's just life - so keep your chin up.

Me myself personally I've had quite the week, ramping up has been quite the ride. I used to be so responsible and productive, maybe I took the gap month a little too seriously. But, we move irregardless.

My friend and namesake June Seif shared this post several weeks ago and she kindly allowed me to reshare it here. I loved how open, real and hard hitting it was. She took no prisoners in the post and dishes out some tough love which I completely resonated with. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

I recently had a chat with an African technical recruiter working for a big Fintech company, and she was seeking to recruit more African engineers for her organization. This has been a recurring conversation in my tech social circle. I discovered a heartbreaking insight: Out of a pool of 50+ African engineers in her recruitment pipeline, she ended up hiring none of them.

In most of these conversations, the common recurring reason is the lack of soft skills required to thrive in the role. Technically most candidates usually perform exceptionally well. Soft skills greatly correlate with the person’s character, critical thinking, collaboration, ability to work from first principles, effective communication etc.

Dr. Myles Munroe once said, “People will not remember you for how quickly you got the job done, but for how well you got the job done.”

COVID-19 made working from home the new normal, stealing away the opportunity for recruits to enjoy cynical grumblings from a nearby office cubicle. In a more positive light, African engineers are beginning to seize attention because companies from Europe and Silicon Valley are recognizing that they can access excellent technical talent from this region and not break their pockets while doing that. Additionally, Africa is becoming the next big hub for trade and the digital revolution.

This presents an invaluable opportunity for us as Africans to elevate our careers and play on the global stage. In this article, I would love to unveil some trends and character-building tips that were once handed over to me. Some of these opinions may be tough but inasmuch as they punch, take some time to reflect on them.

Tough Love.

Let me start with some common pitfalls that, in my opinion, we make as African engineers. Unfortunately, I can’t mince my words.

People will not remember you for how quickly you got the job done, but for how well you got the job done


The quota system will work in my favor

In the spirit of cultural diversity and inclusion, we may sometimes get subconsciously swayed to the fact that we will be hired because a company needs to fill its quota of having Africans on its team.

While this is a strategy that may work in our favor, it’s still not enough to land you in a global role. Anything extending beyond your country’s borders seizes to be an African thing and translates into a global situation. We always back this up with the quote “Be local but think global.”

Tech and digitalization are boundary breakers. Your competition as an engineer in the African continent is most likely seated in Silicon Valley or Europe or Asia and most likely working for a big tech player. If you want to place yourself as a global candidate, you will need to set a higher bar of expectation for yourself: higher than what you are familiar with.

Tech and digitalization are boundary breakers.

There is a reward for being timid

Timidity is not a virtue. The scale of problems being solved by global companies does not require timidity but a mindset that can boldly and confidently tackle problems. The nature of problems tends to evolve very quickly and can be quite sophisticated given the impact they create. To solve this, you will require a fluid mindset that adapts faster and consistently seeks clarity to understand different contexts.

Unfortunately, our work culture has made us mistake timidity for respect and that there is a reward for timidity. This culture undermines people’s capacity and their ability to do more. Global tech companies require bold people who have the capacity to do more.

The CV Lies

If you cannot defend those achievements, do not add them to your CV.

Honesty is always the best policy.

Lying to others is unethical and lying to yourself is insanity.

One of the cultures of global tech companies is that they are all about solving real problems, and at the core of the stories they tell is authenticity. Be authentic and tell the truth.

Wing That Interview

You have no option but to be the best version of yourself because the role you are applying for has several other candidates around the globe eyeing it as well.

Ruthlessly prepare for your interviews. It doesn’t matter whether you are so familiar with the role you are applying for. Every organization, interview process, and interviewer is different even across similar roles.

Research about the company, take your time to understand the industry they are in, try engaging people who work there, and reach out to them to learn more about the organization.

Remote Roles: A Vacation Ticket To Do Your Own Stuff

A remote role is not an opportunity for you to solely focus on running your side hustle. To be brutally honest, if you are in this bucket, then there is no difference between you and a thief.

Our culture does not promote self-accountability. Bosses need you in the office physically so they can know what we are doing, when, and how we are going about it. Reality check: you are 95% not going to experience this in a global tech company–More so if it’s a remote role.

Working remotely is a skill. Friends, there is an art to this thing. Visibility and presence are critical because you don’t have the advantage of someone physically being in the same space with you. That green button on your slack profile is great, but it’s not enough. Actively participate in projects and discussions online and genuinely find interest in them.

No Need To Put Me Out There. Jobs Will Find Me.

Where are we hiding? Especially when content and online presence are key drivers for visibility, particularly to tech recruiters.

According to Jobvite report 87% of recruiters used LinkedIn to get candidates. Find an online community in addition to a platform where you can increase presence and visibility is important as it will give you a strategic advantage.

June has fantastic proposed solutions, so head out to the original medium post to find out.

There's a lot of things I'm loving this week, but let me share two. The first, is a home appliance. It's summer in DC and let me tell you Maina, the steamer is your friend! Whew! The most underrated home appliance in my opinion. Second, is the podcast Living Truthfully by Amani Maranga. In his own words, the podcast has … ‘Authentic conversations of an African Man, discovering self, owning choices, building spirituality, parenting, navigating relationships, work and business and all that is life.’ Highly recommend.

What if it does work out exactly how you imagined it or greater. Entertain that thought. -

I am actively looking at opening up the space to some of my close friends because we have such great and fantastic conversations over the following couple of weeks. I have a few ideas so far but will share more details on that next week. So here's to the first of many more!


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