The fastest-growing countries for software development, according to GitHub – Rest of World

Tee Rasheed
5 Min Read

For developers around the world, a busy GitHub profile is one of the best ways to land a programming job. The platform is one of the largest hubs for software development globally, split between public repositories (or repos) used for open-source collaboration and closed repos open only to project participants.
But while GitHub has long been used to assess individual programmers, the platform’s data also shows the developer contributions of every country on Earth, painting an interesting picture of which nations are rising the fastest. GitHub releases the data quarterly as part of a project it calls the Innovation Graph, with the most recent batch of data released on January 18. 
For some countries, the data shows a surprising jump in the number of developers over just the past year. In the three months leading up to September 2023, there were 945,696 Bangladeshi developers on GitHub. During the same period in 2022, there were only 568,145 developers in the country with accounts, making for a year-over-year jump of nearly two-thirds. It’s the largest proportional increase for any country in the world.
Like any data set, it comes with limitations: This data only measures registered accounts, rather than code commits, so it’s more heavily skewed to less active contributors.
Even GitHub itself is only a fraction of the software development happening in a given country. But the data shows a rising tide of programming in countries long ignored by much of the Western tech industry.
To find the fastest-growing countries, Rest of World compared developer figures from the most recent three-month period (covering September through December 2023) to the same period the previous year. We also disqualified countries with fewer than 500,000 active developer accounts in the most recent quarter, removing outliers like Vatican City or the Mariana Islands that put up big percentages with only negligible gains in absolute terms.
It’s a different view from the absolute figures published by GitHub, which show the U.S. in the lead with 20.2 million developers, followed by India (13.3 million), China (6.9 million), and Brazil (5.4 million). These are the high-GDP nations that typically dominate the tech industry, and the figures dwarf smaller countries like Bangladesh and Nigeria, both of which represent fewer than 1 million accounts.
The harder question is what it means for countries to suddenly see a surge of GitHub contributors. A surging number of GitHub accounts might suggest a rising tech sector — but it might also represent a decline in actual work, as developers turn to unpaid work on public repos after paid work disappears.
Mike Linksvayer, GitHub’s vice president of developer policy, told Rest of World it was hard to say what the numbers meant for tech workers in a given country. “Is more public developer activity a leading or trailing indicator for other kinds of development?” he said, reframing the question. “It might be leading for some and trailing for others.”
Still, the countries highlighted by GitHub’s data show many other signs of growing pools of tech talent. In Bangladesh, a steady rise in GDP has also seen millions of young people gaining access to digital tools for the first time, fueling the country’s IT sector and boosting companies like bKash that can build infrastructure for the transition. As one ed-tech founder told Rest of World, “We’ve got 180 million people and 90 million people below the age of 25.” 
In Nigeria, high-flying startups like Opay, Jumia, and Flutterwave have produced their own wave of software development projects, funded by both venture capital interest and government investment. In that context, it’s no surprise that platforms like GitHub would see a surge of Nigerian developers.
“The potential is amazing,” a local investor told Rest of World in December. “We have young people that can be trained. We have real problems that can be addressed using digital technology innovation.”
Update: A previous version of this piece mischaracterized GitHub’s developer account totals.

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