The incredible odyssey of Celestine Omin, a Nigerian software engineer who at New York’s JFK airport was told he didn’t look like a software engineer and asked to take a coding exam, has caused quite an uproar on social media.
Now his company Andela— a tech startup that connects developers in Africa with U.S. employers — has penned a passionate LinkedIn post hitting back at it.
"This past weekend, an Andela engineer from Nigeria named Celestine Omin made his first trip to the United States," Jeremy Johnson, co-founder and CEO of the company wrote.
"He’s not what many in Silicon Valley think of when they imagine a stereotypical software engineer. Celestine — a tall, lanky 28-year-old Nigerian who just became a father — is a leading figure in the Lagos, Nigeria technology scene."
After detailing Omin’s ordeal and the subsequent backlash, Johnson explained Andela’s process to "seek out the most talented engineers in Africa and embed them within elite technology teams around the world."
"Andela solves an urgent recruiting challenge facing technology companies today: there are five job openings for every software developer looking for a job in the United States," he continued.
"Africa, meanwhile, has the youngest, fastest-growing population on earth, with more people joining the labor force over the next 20 years than the rest of the world combined."
He goes on to explain that the engineers of tomorrow "will not just be young men in hoodies coding into the night on Ivy League campuses."
"The technologists of tomorrow will be every race, gender and religion, and they will hail from every corner of the globe — from Silicon Valley to Sub Saharan Africa."
"If leaders in this country — from established CEOs, to newly minted founders, to government officials — don’t embrace the fact that talent is not based on what you look like or where you are from, as the tech sector so fervently has, we will be left behind," he said.
"Celestine, who followed all the rules, deserved better. If we want to maintain our position in the world or, better yet, enhance it, we need to do better."