In the global economic context in which we live, there is a question that we must ask ourselves: Can software developers trained under educational systems such as Colombia, compete in terms of quality and productivity with those who have been taught in educational systems in countries of the First world? Can I be as good or better than a developer in Silicon Valley?
Despite not having several of the clear economic and educational advantages of the first world or strong long-term government policies that support the strategic growth of the ICT sector, Colombia and less privileged countries have important opportunities that would allow any developer or programmer reach productivity levels above the average of those trained in countries with better economic contexts.
We cannot hide that governments of developing countries generally focus large investment and productivity efforts on the primary, secondary or tertiary sectors of the economy; and leave out, or with a very limited scope, the quaternary sector (which is understood as the economy based on the transformation of knowledge and information).
Success stories such as Chile, South Africa or Vietnam give an account of governments that have strategically supported public policies aimed at the growth of the sector and that today reap success. In Colombia, the absence or short-termism of such policies has generated a palpable lag in the country's competitiveness levels in terms of technological infrastructure and productivity. But despite the complicated situation, the good news is that in the information age, technology professionals from anywhere in the world have unlimited access to learning tools and instant professional growth, without being conditioned by the barriers of their macroeconomic context The lag of our country in technological infrastructure is not justification for reaching an individual level higher than the world standard as a software developer.
Today it is possible to specialize in different areas of software development with a marginal cost to the student, only an internet connection and a basic quality computer is required, the return on investment is really exponential. This added to the tendency of recent years to specialize in technological development in skills for the frontend layer and skills for the backend layers, facilitates the process of knowledge massification and value generation. So much so that a college student can become, by his own means, a junior frontend programmer in a matter of months without the obligation to go through an educational institution. Of course, focus and perseverance are required.
Interaction with other students and professionals is another of the basic factors necessary to learn and be an expert in a specific area. Learning by seeing, talking and doing with the other is an invaluable and necessary source of knowledge to be competitive. To achieve this requirement, the developer must take advantage of the community spaces that his city offers and that are already part of the sector's ecosystem: Meetups, bootcamps, hackatons, conferences, pitches, networking sessions, among others; These are spaces that a developer who wants to excel must take advantage of and get used to participating. You can't be the best if you don't share with the best or if you don't learn from the experience of others.
The paradox is that, despite the learning and global leveling facilities, there is not enough talent supply for the current demand and for which it is coming in the short and medium term. The world cries out for quality developers, who can provide efficient solutions to daily problems, are looking for developers passionate about continuous learning, who are never satisfied with their knowledge, who enjoy creating something from nothing. Talent is evenly distributed in the world, it is not an exclusive advantage of certain regions, this includes Colombian developers.
Today being a good developer in Colombia is as powerful as being a good developer in Silicon Valley and therefore there is no excuse to be at the level of professionals trained in prestigious universities or technologists who come from privileged places. Whoever wants to participate should only accept the challenge.
By: Oscar Lopez
CIO & Founder