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Gaining Advantages Through Languages – of Code

By Wayan Vota on January 28, 2010

When people talk of the many languages of Africa, and need for localized content, they’re often thinking about English, French, Kiswalhili, or Xhosa.

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But in the technology space we have our own languages in addition to these. We have languages of hardware and networking, from servers, to routers, to nodes and bridges, to the languages of code, like PHP, Java, and C++.

Thanks to Jonathan Gosier, we now know the popularity of each programming language in Africa with this handy chart:

Now why would it matter to a business that Java is way more popular than J2ME? There is business opportunity in this variability. If you are a big company, you should try to dominate the Java and PHP market, but if your small, walk away from the popular languages. You’ll not beat the big players at their own game.

Yet a new entrant who is willing to gamble on Python or Ruby can make a name for themselves before the big players know what happened. Also, with unique skills, you can price your services at a premium to others, making your company much more profitable. See Apple as a great example.

Just be sure that if you choose one language to focus on, you keep some skills in several. This will allow you to translate between them as needed, matching the right software language to the job.


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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks and is the Digital Health Director at IntraHealth International. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of IntraHealth International or other ICTWorks sponsors.
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