• Nigeria is one of the fastest growing developer communities on software development platform GitHub.
• GitHub CEO Nat Friedman visited Nigeria on a "fact-finding mission" — GitHub teams have been here in the past but it was the head's first time in Nigeria.
• One of GitHub's plans for Nigeria is to double down on its education programs to better accommodate the peculiar challenges developers face in the country.
Nigerian software developers' community is a small one and, in some sense, very new too.
Software developers have been around in Nigeria for years, but they've mostly existed as individuals or small groups connected only through informal relationships or through work.
However, as a community working together, sharing code, ideas, and experiences with one other — and, once in a while, ruffling a few feathers — they haven't been around for long.
A developer meet-up here and a hackathon there, inspired by the rise of technology startups in Yaba, Lagos — now dubbed "Yabacon Valley" — the Nigerian developer community has grown considerably.
All of this has caught the attention of some of the most influential tech people and companies in the world.
"Nigeria is one of the fastest growing developer communities on GitHub and we are really impressed. Consistently, for two to three years now, Nigeria has been growing as fast or faster than any other country on GitHub," GitHub CEO Nat Friedman said.
GitHub is a software development platform where people can host and review code, manage engineering projects, and collaborate with a 36 million-strong community of developers.
"Most open source projects and communities live on GitHub," Friedman said, with as many as 100 million contributions taking place in the span of 30 days.
Friedman joined GitHub as CEO in late 2018 after Microsoft acquired the company for $7.5 billion, taking over from one of the co-founders, Chris Wanstrath.
At the time of this interview, Friedman was visiting Nigeria on a "fact-finding mission" alongside Omoju Miller, a Machine Learning expert.
This was Friedman's first time in Nigeria, although GitHub teams have been here in the past.
During the course of his visit, GitHub organized a few meetups with developers and some of the most prominent tech startups in Nigeria.
"Three days ago, we had a really fun event where we invited the top 50 open source contributors in Nigeria in the previous 60 days on GitHub to a mixer. And it was just awesome. The talent in the room was world-class. I was extremely impressed with every single person I met. Some of them knew each other already, some of them did not. They would say, 'Oh, who's this guy? He's working on the same thing I'm working on,'" Friedman said.
He added: "I'd say in terms of the talent here, what you see is a huge amount of potential and aptitude; incredibly smart people, motivated, persistent, and with a positive attitude. At the top, it's just world-class talent, with deep technical knowledge and skill.
"You go to a place like Paystack, and it is a top startup worldwide. Not just a top Nigerian startup, but worldwide. You see it in the team, the culture, the way they are thinking about how they're building the company, the growth rate, all world class."
Compiled by Olalekan Adeleye