Coding is an enormously flexible tool that you can use to do amazing things that are otherwise manual and laborious or just impossible. If you’re using a smart phone or a computer, then you must know that all these devices are using some kind of programming.
Kuwait Times explored Coded, the first academy in the Middle East that offers coding bootcamps that teach web and mobile development using the latest programming languages and frameworks. The academy aims to create a generation of world-class Arab coders. With 24 completed bootcamps and more than 250 graduated coders, it is trying to take Kuwait into a new world of digits and codes.
Hamza Abdel Moneim, a senior instructor at the academy, told Kuwait Times the academy was founded in 2015 by Ahmad Marafi and Hashim Behbehani, who established it out of a need for coders in Kuwait and the Middle East, where according to him, there is a lack of this type of talent.
“After four years of establishing Coded, we expanded into other GCC countries. We held two bootcamps in Saudi Arabia – a 14-weekbootcamp in cooperation with the Saudi Federation for Cyber Security, and another two-week bootcamp later,” he said.
Abdel Moneim noted that the bootcamps are ideal for anyone serious about learning coding in order to build or work in a startup or tech team. “We offer intensive courses that teach the latest programming languages and frameworks currently used by leading tech companies. The student will undergo logic and technical tests and a personality interview to prove their commitment to the teaching program. We select specific people, where we take up to 20 students for the graduate students’ program, who will be learning for up to eight hours a day,” he explained.
The academy has a Full-Stack intensive web and mobile development bootcamp for complete beginners, even those from different major backgrounds. Fresh Grad is an intensive web and mobile development bootcamp for recent university graduates. It is a 12-week course teaching the fundamentals of web and app development to fresh graduates. Enterprise is a fully customized intensive coding bootcamp for companies and organizations. Games Dev and Juniors coding camps are for children aged 6 up to 14, to teach them the ABCs of coding and technology using robots, art and science.
Shereen AbdulQader, a computer science graduate, told Kuwait Times that joining the coding academy changed her computer skill level.”I joined to put my skills to the test because I heard that it pushes you to do better and takes your skills to another level. Also, coding will help you in the job market. When I graduated, I felt that what I had was not enough,” she said.
Studying for three months and building more than three functioning applications, students expressed their happiness over what they have accomplished so far.”What we do in a full semester or one course of learning programming at the university, we can do that here in one to three weeks max. It is not only trying to teach us programming, but they make sure that the programming languages, tools and techniques are in demand in Kuwait and the Middle East,” AbdulQader said.
She starts at 8:30 am and stays until 10 pm.”The day ends at 4:30 pm, but we passionate about coding, so we stay on to learn, because you are building a career by learning and developing,” she added.
“I joined because now we are entering the fourth industrial revolution, and all industries are trying to shift to digital transformation. I need to have the basic mindset of what program languages exist in the market,” said Abdullah Al-Hassan, who majored in industrial engineering.
Hassan said that four years ago when he was studying in the US, he heard about coding from his friend.”My friend explained to me about coding. Every time I came to Kuwait, they had talks in Al-Hamra, so I make sure to attend those talks. After I graduated, I joined them.”
He noted that students are developing websites and apps from zero.”We developed a game over a weekend – in two days. You are always applying what you have learned. My mindset has shifted to be more technical. They gave us the framework and mindset to get into new technology, and it was a challenge when we were going to present the final demo of our project. I think there is potential for the project, as I have never heard of artificial intelligence technology in the Middle East,” Hassan told Kuwait Times.
Coding and programming can be argued to be one of the most important skills for current and future generations to learn. Many have argued that it should form part of a national curriculum on par with a native language, the sciences, and math.
On that regard, many countries especially in Gulf, started to organizing boot camps, workshops, and exhibitions to let the new generation introduced to the technology world.
Kuwait began to be active in that field and we can see that through the corporation of public and private sectors to held forums, exhibitions, and programs for youth such as Zain Great Idea (ZGI) tech startup accelerator program, inaugurated of the Kuwait CERN, His Highness Sheikh Salem Al-Ali Al-Sabah Informatics Award, Arab Robotics Championship that was held in Kuwait University, Technical support project for youth by UNDP, and many more.
Kuwait was not the only one to held such events, United Arab Emirates organized the “million Arab programmer” initiative to empower the Arab youth of modern technology and its basic tools, namely programming, the language of the modern era.
Also, it has a partnership between the world’s leading technology companies and educational systems in various countries to strengthen the education sector and raise the quality standards and outputs under the umbrella of technology like Smart Learning Initiative it has.
As for Qatar, the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MCIT) organized the second edition of the Digital Youth Festival (Your Ambitions). Also, youth can have fun with robotics and coding at Qatar National Library.
The Kingdom of Bahrain’s steady evolution into a regional hub for technology start-ups has begun to influence young people there to develop the skills required for the jobs and roles. The digital empowerment in education in Bahrain starts in very early stages at schools’ curriculum in which Information and communications technology (ICT).
Bahrain offers many innovations for youth such as the youth innovation center e-services, young coders club, and UNDP Bahrain and Microsoft partnered to create a computing curriculum to secondary students that explores digital empowerment and online safety.
Bahrain’s steady evolution into a regional hub for technology start-ups has begun to influence young people in the country to develop the skills required for the jobs and roles needed in the nascent ecosystem.
Oman is also going in that path where the Oman Technology Fund Programme for developing youth skills. In addition to an IT Kids Innovation and after-School Engineering Classes that both sectors are organizing.
The situation is the same in Saudi Arabia, where millions of Arab coders are refining their digital skills to take on the future through a program aimed at strengthening their technological expertise. The Udacity partnered with the Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Foundation (Misk) in Saudi Arabia on the Misk Udacity Connect Program to provide young Saudi nationals with the knowledge and skills needed.
We are living in the digital age and the growth of technology does not seem to be coming to a stop. As a matter of fact, the use of electronic devices is growing exponentially every year. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected job outlook between 2014-2024 is going to be 17%, almost twice the rate of job growth for any other occupation.