The growing demand for digital skills in global development

Anand Varghese talks to Devex about the demand and opportunities for professionals with digital expertise.

New technologies have had a significant impact on the global development sector. They are changing the way information is collected and how aid is delivered on the ground, improving how programs are monitored, and fostering cross-sectoral collaborations in areas such as public health, governance, and disaster response. As a result, there is an increasing demand across the sector for different skill sets.

In the next 10 years, the demand for professionals with digital technology expertise will continue to increase, explained Anand Varghese, digital advisory manager at DAI’s Center for Digital Acceleration. While there will still be a need for social science professionals and more traditional development profiles who have a solid understanding of technology in the sector, the number of professionals with information technology, computer science, or data science backgrounds will grow, he continued.

There is a growing demand for expertise in data analysis, data visualization, and similar platforms, he said. Bespoke apps, software, and web platforms are being developed that focus on the challenges of development, so there is a need here for regular coding skills, he added.

Coders and mobile app developers aren’t the only ones who can help integrate digital technology into development work — there is a growing need for integrators who can translate development challenges in ways that technology experts can grasp, Varghese explained. The sector needs to find ways to integrate the skills, insights, and tools that technologists bring to development, he concluded.

About the author

  • Emma Smith

    Emma Smith is a Reporter at Devex. She covers all things related to careers and hiring in the global development community as well as mental health within the sector — from tips on supporting humanitarian staff to designing mental health programs for refugees. Emma has reported from key development hubs in Europe and co-produced Devex’s DevProWomen2030 podcast series. She holds a degree in journalism from Glasgow Caledonian University and a master's in media and international conflict. In addition to writing for regional news publications, she has worked with organizations focused on child and women’s rights.