In UAE, the right online course could land you a coding job

Long before Covid-19 hit, governments in parts of the Arab world launched economic diversification programs. But the sudden shift to remote working has sped up automation, the cloud, digitization and other initiatives that have revealed a skills gap. This prompted government and business stakeholders to ensure that a healthy digital talent pool was in place.

The Gulf never lacks ambition or vision. And an example of this is the launch of the UAE government’s national program for coders. By training citizens and encouraging other foreigners to live in the country, the government aims to create 100,000 software professionals and 1,000 digital businesses.

The government is partnering with big names in tech to ensure the program is recognized and is a desirable career path, with every industry partner offering training courses. For example, Facebook can offer people careers as marketing analysts, IBM as data engineers, or Google as project managers. Many of these courses are designed to prepare candidates for entry-level positions in less than six months.

While the increase in digital skills is popular, our enrollment data this year shows that UAE learners are enrolling in a variety of courses. “The Science of Wellness” and “Covid-19 Contact Tracing” are the two most popular courses in the UAE this year. The course “Learning to Learn: Powerful Mental Tools to Help You Master Difficult Subjects” ranks third on the list, indicating that people are realizing that they need to improve their skills, even if it means getting out of business. their comfort zone to stay relevant.

The “Machine Learning”, “Excel Skills for Business: Essentials” and “Programming for Everybody” courses ranked fifth, eighth and ninth, respectively, suggesting that despite Covid-19, today’s professionals are preparing for the future digital.

While for full-time students, online learning offers a broader educational experience to complement their conventional learning, our data suggests that for many others, especially people with busy careers, it is about ‘an essential element of professional development. These people could potentially represent a significant portion of the 100,000 coders sought by the UAE government.

It is clear to us that online learning will play an important role in achieving the goals of the National Coder Program. Developing a local talent pool is an important and difficult part of the coder program. Retraining is a risk if it takes time away from one’s career, especially at a time when many believe their jobs might be on the line. Flexible training at a pace that adapts to people’s lives is essential in attracting future learners. And course content must reflect real-world demands to produce high-caliber professionals, with the abilities to lead and contribute to the government’s 1,000 digital businesses plan.

Online training platforms present an alternative option. They can be customized to meet the language chosen by the learner, which is an essential feature for the diverse workforce in the UAE. Their popularity increased during the pandemic. Many of the region’s top universities have partnered with platform providers, such as Coursera, to deliver content.

Flexible training at a pace that adapts to people’s lives is essential to attract future learners

Self-paced online learning is essential for expanding the skills of a workforce. Learners choose their own pace and determine how much time they want to spend on learning activities. We found that three-quarters of active learners spend less than three hours per week in lessons and almost one in five spend less than an hour per week retraining.

The best online course catalogs cater for all levels of learners, from beginners to advanced levels. From formal college degrees to industry accreditations completed by professors from renowned universities, these courses can open doors to careers or lay the groundwork for further training in an existing field of work.

Training providers who are good at what they do help people choose the courses that are in demand. They help students and learners of all ages acquire relevant skills and also mentor them to find the jobs they want.

Some skills can be learned within 35 hours of study, showing that learners who try to add to their professional skills, while balancing a full-time job, can progress in just a few weeks. For example, data from the UAE shows a digital labor market, evolving into programming, machine learning, and other similar skills. While a traditional computer science course requires a three- or four-year commitment to cover these areas, entry-level professional certificates such as the Google Computing Certificate on Coursera, allow a learner to prepare for employment in IT, without any training or prior experience, in less than three months.

Online courses are a means by which people can develop and broaden their skills at their own pace so that in the future, if they wish, they can become coders and contribute to the national curriculum.

Posted: Oct 25, 2021 9:00 a.m.

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