KT UniExpo: UAE students keen to embrace AI, data analysis, cloud computing courses

Top educators and over 35 universities shared their insights as they came together for the two-day event


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Sun 24 Sep 2023, 5:49 PM

Last updated: Mon 25 Sep 2023, 4:30 PM

There is a growing trend among students in the UAE to gravitate towards courses related to Artificial Intelligence (AI), data analysis, and cloud computing.

That was the predominant thought at the 5th edition of KT Uni Expo, which opened at Conrad Dubai on Sunday.

Top educators and over 35 universities shared their insights as they came together for the two-day event.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony on the inaugural day was graced by Habiba Al Marashi, Chairperson, Emirates Environmental Group (EEG), Prof. Abhilasha Singh, Vice President of Academic Affairs, American University in the Emirates, Dubai, UAE, and Ravi Tharoor, CEO, Khaleej Times.

Taking to the stage, to share their insights, industry experts highlighted that post-Covid, around 70 per cent of students pursuing the science stream are drawn towards courses like data analytics and cloud computing these days.

Aravind Arasavilli, Chairman at Exxeella Global Edu Management Consultancy, said, “Students are fascinated to learn about AI. I see a lot of people going into artificial intelligence and data analytics. In small to big businesses, people need to know analytics. If you see Facebook, Instagram, everywhere, they have the analytics of which product is selling. So, I see a lot of students interested in data analytics and cloud computing. Around 70 per cent of students are interested in learning about computer-related courses.”

With the shift towards serverless work, both employees and employers demand and provide flexibility these days. “I see a lot of students interested in this (AI and cloud computing) branch of study from the UAE and students want to go abroad to pursue such courses. They are in great demand,” he added.

Opt for a university that ‘fits’ you best

Many others point out that although traditional fields such as medicine and engineering are consistent in observing traction, “there are a wide number of contemporary pathways that are popular amongst students nowadays. Whether that is data science or industrial design, the possibilities are endless. When working towards practicing in the field of your dreams, the goal should be to find the school that ‘fits’ you best,” adds Varun Jain, Founder and CE, UniHawk.

In fact, many companies like Wipro, TCS, and Apple are making substantial investments in various universities to create programs aimed at cultivating a workforce for upcoming positions reliant on these technologies.

However, experts also point out it's crucial for students to adapt to these emerging technologies and leverage these capabilities to optimize their strategies and improve efficiency.

Students must position themselves well while applying

Abdulmuttalib (Talib) Hashim, Managing Director, TBH Advisory said, “We are talking about the fourth industrial revolution that is happening. We are at the cusp of a revolution, a transition. So, my advice would be to be in touch with the market and see what is changing. There are a lot of students who are second-year students and don't know how the market is changing within months. Today the UAE, in AI and Metaverse aims to create 20,000 to 40,000 jobs. How are you preparing for that? There is for example a lot of focus on digital marketing, how has ChatGPT changed marketing? So, tomorrow if you're going to work for a corporate or an agency, how does that impact you? How are you positioning yourself?” he added.

Industry experts shed light on how to maximize chances for varsity of choice

Meanwhile, field experts also shared tips on maximizing students' chances of success in gaining admission to the university of their choice.

Maria Lopez-Puigdollers, Senior Educational Counsellor, LeapScholar said, “You have to show to the university that you are really interested and passionate about getting into the course you want to pursue. There are various components for a successful course, and you have to be mindful of those checklists.”

They also shared that timeliness in applying for colleges is crucial to ensure one has the best chance of gaining admission to their desired institutions.

Kuldeep Singh, Counselling Manager at Glinks International said, “A lot of these things are on a first-come-first-serve basis. Universities go through your profile and see if a student meets the minimum requirement, and they give the offer at the same time (provisional). So, students don’t have to wait till their final results. Even if you do not get into the university of your choice at the beginning, you can get into another college for the first year and then in the second year with better grades, you can migrate to the university of your choice. So, we assist students on how this transition is possible to get into the top-notch universities.”

Nada Sayarh Lebbar, Assistant Dean-EMBRA and Associate Professor Marketing, Head of ESG for Dubai, Mumbai, Singapore and Sydney, SP Jain School of Global Management, said venturing abroad, travelling extensively, and interacting with individuals from diverse cultures can provide invaluable learning opportunities.

She said, “Emotional Intelligence is very important for adaptability. Students should try to have as much of a global experience as possible instead of staying in their comfort zone. You can learn much more by going abroad, travelling around, and dealing with people of multiple cultures. Trace your own way by being able to leverage your own network. Keep connected to people who can be of high value to your objective. The network will help you achieve a lot of things in life.”

Students, parents, and teachers talk about opportunities galore

Participating students, parents, and teachers hailed the career guidance fair saying it’s a platform that allows people to explore many unknown opportunities.

Grade 12 student at India International School, Aminta Binu, who wants to be a software engineer said, “One of the key things that I learnt is that I could opt for many minor courses as well even with my main bachelor’s degree. This would help my portfolio. They gave wide options like AI, cybersecurity, aeronautics, along with computer science that broadens my perspective while applying for courses."

Another Grade 12 student, Muhammed Abdul Latheef, said, “There are several universities here that offer what I am looking for. I am seeking something in the aviation sector. I found a disciplinary course in BITS Pilani that can be done along with Mechanical Engineering. So, you can take up aeronautics or aircraft propulsion. One can for example take up computer engineering and take up an aeronautic discipline with it. I learnt a lot about scholarships as well.”

Teachers and parents commended the initiative and said such forums help bring in greater clarity and stand students in good stead about their career choices.

The parent of a high school student, Binci Matthew, said, “It’s a very informative platform. My daughter is looking for post-graduation courses. When we searched online, we didn’t get as much information as we would have liked. But in such Expos, the information is more precise and instant as we get to meet representatives from those universities. They are also there to answer all our questions, dispelling all doubts. So, the immediate response is quite helpful, otherwise students have to wait for an email response that comes in much later.”


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