Coders critical for digital transformation in Middle East


Philip Andrews, vice president and general manager of Red Hat in the CEMEA region
Philip Andrews, vice president and general manager of Red Hat in the CEMEA region

Published: Wed 20 Oct 2021, 1:07 PM

If data is the new oil in a knowledge-based economy, then coding is all the people that are working on how to get that oil out of the ground and to the customer, said Philip Andrews, vice president and general manager of Red Hat in the CEMEA region.


Rohma Sadaqat

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Speaking to Khaleej Times at Gitex Technology Week 2021, Andrews highlighted the importance of providing proper training for the next generation of coders, who will play a critical role in the digital transformation of industries.

“When we look at how people are building digital businesses now, fundamentally, it is about building an application that will do what the customer needs and deliver the services that are needed by the company; and, the only way you can do that is by writing code,” he explained.

“If you don’t have enough people being able to develop new applications, then you aren’t moving fast,” he added. “For example, if you are a bank that needs to go digital, then you will already have existing systems; now, when you want to create a new digital banking application, you will firstly need to access all those existing systems, and then you will need to focus on creating the perfect user experience on different devices.”

No one wants an interface that only works on one device since you have people accessing the application on their smartphones, tablets, and their PCs, he noted. “So, there is somebody that has to write all this code. This where the developers come in, and it is all about creating teams of people that are writing the programs that engage with the customer to do digital business. And, it takes quite a while to develop people’s skill sets to become coders. This is where education and training comes into play.”

Red Hat is provider of enterprise open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to deliver reliable and high-performing Linux, hybrid cloud, container, and Kubernetes technologies. The company helps customers integrate new and existing IT applications, develop cloud-native applications, and automate, secure, and manage complex environments. Red Hat also offers support, training, and consulting services to support customers on their journey.

Last year, the company announced a collaboration with the American University in Dubai to create the AUD Red Hat Academy. The move is designed to address the shortage of qualified personnel within the region to execute on the customer and consumer demands. The announcement is also in line with the One Million Arab Coders initiative launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in October 2017.

The initiative provided an opportunity for young Arab talent to learn a wide variety of coding skills and apply them in website and mobile application development, blockchain, artificial intelligence, data, and cloud computing. Since then, the coders have clocked in five million training hours, participated in 76,000 workshops, and completed 100,000 successful graduation projects.

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