The newly launched National Program for Coders announced the start of receiving applications for a golden visa from entrepreneurs and start-ups specialized in computer programming in the UAE and beyond.
The move is in line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who launched the program on Saturday, July 10 to attract 100,000 brilliant coders.
This initiative is available to both residents and non-residents of the UAE.
Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications stated that providing this opportunity for coders will facilitate the nationwide establishment of new start-ups and enterprises specialized in coding.
Coders of all nationalities and age groups may apply for the UAE golden visa through The Office of Artificial Intelligence in the UAE government or the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship.
The application eligibility extends to distinguished experts and talents who achieved success in various areas of coding, those who work for pioneering international technological firms, graduates of software engineering, computer sciences, hardware engineering, information technology, artificial intelligence, data science, big data, and electrical engineering.
The UAE has also signed a deal with a host of technology giants, including Google and Amazon, to train 100,000 young people in computer programming.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, unveiled the agreement with Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Cisco, IBM, LinkedIn, Nvidia, and Facebook on Saturday.
Within five years, he wants to train 100,000 programmers and coders, create 1,000 digital companies to boost the Emirati economy, and increase government support for start-ups from $0.41bn to $1.08 bn
The UAE will host 10 “hackathon” competitions that will bring together the elite programmers for events in the emirates.
In 2018, it was estimated there were 23 million coders in the world – and that would rise to 28 million by 2023.
Digital skills gap
According to the Coursera Global Skills Report 2021, the UAE placed in the 99th percentile for business skills, ranking second globally.
Coursera’s report indicated a pressing need for the UAE professionals to upskill in the fields of technology and data science as the country’s talent pools for technology and data science skills ranked just 72nd and 71st respectively.
Consequently, understaffed IT teams and the lack of technical resources have compelled many businesses in the Emirates to outsource the development of innovative applications to countries such as India, Turkey, and Jordan.
Traditionally, the development of software solutions has been entrusted solely to technical resources with deep-set knowledge of coding languages. These coders are not usually in tune with how end-users like to utilize technology or UX.
Rapid advancements in the area of Low-Code and No-Code platforms enable non-technical professionals to develop software solutions just as easily and efficiently as their technical counterparts.
This ‘democratization of IT’ makes it possible for a far broader segment of society to be a part of the innovation process.
This will translate to digital services that have been designed by individuals who are best suited to understand what the ideal features, functionality, and workflows look like.
MENA’s consumer digital economy
The size of the consumer digital economy in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is estimated to more than double from around $40-45 billion in 2020 to $100 bn by 2023, according to a new report released by consulting firm RedSeer.
The study found that the UAE and Saudi Arabia will continue to be the pillar of the digital economy in MENA, contributing around 70% of the total digital economy. Today, over 90% of customers in UAE and Saudi Arabia say they bought a retail product online.
“More than 60% of consumers are now choosing experiential factors such as service quality, delivery speed, and product description in their decision-making. As the digital economy is becoming mainstream, players will have to provide a better experience in addition to discounts to win in the digital economy race,” said Sandeep Ganediwalla, managing partner at RedSeer Consulting.
“Supportive policies in UAE enable the ecosystem to attract the right talent and retain it,” said the report.