I’m finding great unease in recent conversations with leading technology for development practitioners in Washington, DC and elsewhere. They are all nervous about where the international development industry is headed, if ICT4D has a long-term future within it, and what they should do next.
What to Worry About?
There were three general themes that I found people worrying about when it came to their ICT4D career as part of the international development community:
- Reduced Government Funding: US, UK, and other governments are reducing funding, which is dropping overall funding rates.
- Shift to In-Country Expertise: more and more work is moving to host country nationals – as it should.
- Competing Private Sector Solutions: the private sector has finally realized there is money to be made in developing countries.
What Will You Do About It?
If we are entering a musical chairs of shrinking jobs for international ICT4D practitioners (which I think is debatable), then what should a digital development practitioner do about it?
First, and foremost, if you are a competent host country national with quality technology skills, try to get a third-country national position now, while they still exist. This is your fastest route to greater pay and promotions in any country.
Then enjoy the ride as you are head-hunted from one job to the next for another 20 years across multiple developing countries. I think your career will be long and prosperous.
5 Options for International ICT4D Experts
For the international ICT4D expert, I have five options for you to consider if you’re worried about the future of international development writ large, and our sub-sector specifically.
Yes, this is where you have to click over to the ICTworks post Is a Post-ICT4D World is Coming? What Will You Do About It? for more details. Oh, and you should probably subscribe to ICTworks, if you haven’t already.