How Gatekeeping Hinders Progress in IT

Gate keeping


In the IT sector, gatekeeping can act as a significant barrier to progress, particularly in developing nations like Malawi. It often arises from factors such as competition, status concerns, and a reluctance to embrace change. This story explores a real-life example of gatekeeping in action, illustrating how initiatives aimed at bridging the digital divide can face resistance from professionals within the industry.


As a digital marketing specialist operating in Malawi, I launched a promotion offering free web design services for small businesses in 2022. However, if one was to closely examine the terms and conditions, it was evident that the service wasn’t entirely free. The businesses were required to purchase a domain from me in exchange for the “free” service, with the intention of potentially engaging them for additional marketing services in the future. Despite the genuine effort to empower small businesses online, this initiative faced criticism from some industry professionals who failed to grasp the underlying strategy or neglected to review the promotion’s terms thoroughly.

Reasons for Gatekeeping

The resistance encountered by initiatives like the aforementioned promotion can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, competition and concerns regarding job security often drive IT professionals to view such endeavors as potential threats to their livelihoods. Additionally, there’s a perception that offering services at lower rates may diminish the prestige of the industry. This lack of understanding can lead to skepticism and resistance towards initiatives aimed at providing affordable or free IT services to underserved communities.

What They Can Do Instead

Instead of succumbing to gatekeeping tendencies, IT professionals can play a pivotal role in fostering inclusivity and innovation within the industry. Supporting and collaborating with initiatives aimed at bridging the digital divide, such as offering mentorship or volunteering expertise, can contribute positively to societal progress. Moreover, education and advocacy efforts can help raise awareness about the transformative potential of technology, thereby empowering marginalized communities.


Gatekeeping in the IT sector poses significant challenges to the goal of achieving digital inclusion, particularly in regions like Malawi where access to technology remains limited. By recognizing the detrimental impact of gatekeeping and actively embracing inclusivity, IT professionals can pave the way for a more equitable and prosperous digital future. Initiatives aimed at bridging the digital divide should be celebrated and supported, as they represent crucial steps towards unlocking the transformative power of technology for all segments of society.

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