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Unlocking the opportunity for women in the National Programme for Coders

Unlocking the opportunity for women in the National Programme for Coders

An ambitious plan by the UAE to attract and train 100,000 coders to underpin the Emirates’ digital economy will improve opportunities for women entrepreneurs say business leaders. The National Program for Coders has been launched by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in collaboration with the likes of Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Cisco, IBM,

An ambitious plan by the UAE to attract and train 100,000 coders to underpin the Emirates’ digital economy will improve opportunities for women entrepreneurs say business leaders.

The National Program for Coders has been launched by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in collaboration with the likes of Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Cisco, IBM, HPE, LinkedIn, Nvidia and Facebook. Its aim is training and attracting 100,000 coders, establishing 1000 digital companies within five years and increasing investment in startups from AED 1.5 billion to AED 4 billion.”

Experts have hailed it as an opportunity to plug a skills gap which has existed in the region, giving the UAE and Dubai an edge when attracting investment. Within that rising tide of opportunity exists potential for female entrepreneurs to benefit, say advocates.

How the ‘National Programme for Coders’ will ‘future proof’ the UAE

Attracting and training a 100,000 coders will fill a talent-shortage gap and give Dubai an ‘edge over rivals’, industry leaders said

Kellie Whitehead, Founding Partner, Female Fusion Network, said: “Creating thousands of skilled coders locally will benefit both the region as an attractive tech hub and also a wider knock-on effect to plug an obvious talent gap in the digital space as a whole. This creates more earning opportunities for women and benefits other SME’s looking for a deeper expertise into growing and automating their businesses online.

“As a digital marketer myself, working in the UAE for 12 years, I see a very much widening skills gap in this space, so this announcement is very welcome news. Digital marketing as an industry is particularly attractive to women as theoretically, it offers a more flexible earning opportunity with regards to hours and location. It is very much time to plug the talent gap with a better understanding and training beyond curating attractive social media imagery and community management.

“Within our network of thousands of women in the UAE, digital marketing and management is both a popular skillset for solopreneurs but also a very necessary and increasingly bigger need from fellow female business owners looking to widen their reach online and attract more sales. Combined with an increase in bricks and mortar stores and e-commerce hybrid businesses, systems and processes need to be linked and automated effectively – which is where the talent gap exists. Modern digital marketeers need to understand the wider digital ecosystem and real business need to be able to serve clients properly, whilst business owners need to be able to rely on the 360 skillset of agencies and practitioners for positive growth.

Kellie Whitehead, Founding Partner, Female Fusion Network.

“For business owners in our network – tech is often outsourced to the sub-continent due to a lack of regionally available or cost-effective coders and developers. It will be fantastic to see a local injection of available talent via niche training, which offers further upskilling opportunities for women alongside businesses who would always prefer to work with local talent and businesses.”

The National Program for Coders strategy focuses on five key pillars, namely: supporting coders, entrepreneurs, startups, large companies and the academic sector; developing a comprehensive platform for linking coders with local companies and universities; launching global initiatives supervised by a host of international trainers to enhance the efficiency of local talents; attracting the best International coding cadres to the UAE, and suggesting policies to empower the coding sector in cooperation with various government entities.

Kamal Nazha, founder of celebrity shout-out platform Oulo, agreed there was a gap in tech-talent, with UAE based startups usually outsourcing their coding needs.

“The UAE is the only country in the world to have minted so many unicorns without being a tech development hub. Most of these companies rely on software developers in markets where skills and cost converge (Lebanon, Egypt, India, Eastern Europe, etc),” he said.

“This has so far created a limit to innovation within this ecosystem. Therefore, by nurturing and enabling the future generation of software engineers closer to home, the prospect of the UAE tech industry is even more promising,” he continued.

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