Q&A: Inside Andela's move to a remote, contractor model for developers

Andela CTO David Blair explains why the tech talent company is shifting its business model, the role IT plays in supporting the move, and offers some best-practices tips for managing a remote workforce.


Tech talent company Andela has gone through wrenching change over the past year, not only due to the pandemic but also because it’s evolving from its initial incarnation as a company that hired and trained raw recruits, to a platform that connects remote-working, experienced contractors to software development jobs with major companies around the world.

The company, formed in 2014, is backed by an all-star cast of investors including Mark Zuckerberg and is one of the most internationally recognized African startups. It’s also one of the most globally prominent impact sourcers — outsourcing organizations whose business model is based on placing people from low-employment or developing economies with jobs for businesses internationally.

The coronavirus has forced most enterprises to go remote temporarily, but Andela has made the decision to go remote from now on, and has closed its facilities in Africa. In addition, it is moving to a contractor system.

At the moment just about 30 of its 750 developers are contractors but about 65% of the full-time employee engineers have requested to convert to contractor status and that conversion will take place on November 1, the company says.

The company had 1,575 programmers on staff before its first big round of layoffs, in September 2019, which eliminated junior developer positions. Subsequent layoffs followed, and last month the company placed 150 developers into its Talent Network on  unpaid status, to be  placed on future engagement as contractors. The company no longer employs engineers in training.

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