Now, more than ever, universities in the UAE are seeing a spike in the number of students taking up tech courses — and with the new national strategy to attract and train coders, industry experts believe the digital landscape will continue to grow exponentially.
Launched on Saturday, the National Programme for Coders aims to attract 100,000 programmers and set up 1,000 digital companies within five years, in cooperation with Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Cisco, IBM, HPE, LinkedIn, Nvidia and Facebook.
Industry experts believe that with these tech giants involved, the initiative could open big doors for students and aspiring tech entrepreneurs.
“We see a large number of start-ups coming through this initiative. Through our own Incubator Programme we have seen an increase in the number of student start-ups that are focused on digital transformation,” said Dr Vajahat Hussain, CEO of Amity Education ME.
“The region’s association with some of the world’s largest tech companies will also play a large role in the increase in student interest in such sectors. The launch of the National Programme for Coders will enhance student experience in the digital field and give them the exposure they need to achieve global success.”
Other varsities say that since the start of the pandemic, they have been receving more enquiries about IT programmes, not only from incoming freshmen but also from working professionals seeking diplomas who wanted to specialise in various types of tech.
Dr Vikas Nand Kumar Batheja, co-founder and director of Capital University College, said: “I believe the initiative is very timely considering how the pandemic has accelerated technology usage on all fronts, resulting in IT professionals learning, unlearning and relearning. From retail to medicine, companies are constantly on the lookout for people who can specialise in artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, blockchain, quantum computing and other tools that will maximise company performance.
“Overall, I am certain that this programme will help UAE develop further, as an economically stronger nation and expand businesses on international levels.”
BITS Pilani Dubai campus (BPDC) has also witnessed an ‘exponential rise’ in demand for programming courses — from coding to artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning, said Dr Raja M, head of the campus’ Department of Computer Science.
“The performance of the BPDC in the coding competitions substantiates the interest and potential of our students. The campus has seen a considerable increase in the students who prefer to take up project courses based on coding,” he added.
Soon enough, there will be a ‘quantum leap’ in the demand for programming skills, educationists have said. Though a slight decline was seen previously — owing to the ‘low-paying, demanding nature’ of available jobs — the scenario is changing fast as the demand for quality coders is being recognised across industries and geographies,
Professor Amitabh Upadhya, president of Global Business Studies (GBS) Dubai, said: “Technology is going to play a major role in all walks of life and making technology user-friendly is possible only with more and more technically skilled human resources.
“The initiative for setting up 1,000 digital companies will certainly prove a game-changer in building vital human capital and making the UAE stronger in its acknowledged global soft-power and influence.”
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