The fast-paced rise of Saudi Arabia and its neighbouring countries as a cluster of tech hubs in the Middle East, has attracted attention of global big-tech brands rushing to facilitate digitisation in the region. Amazon is adding sustainability to its supply chain with fulfilment centres that have their own solar plants, and Google has joined hands with the kingdom’s oil giant Aramco, to roll out cloud services.
As Microsoft bolsters its presence by building data centres in the Middle East, a surge in the number of Saudi firms going online has prompted IBM to offer assistance with cybersecurity. After enjoying a loyal following among Arab consumers looking for high-end phones and accessories, Apple is now poised to polish regional tech talent, by opening doors to its own academy.
The institute meant for training app developers and designers, is a result of Apple’s collaboration with the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity and Programming. It’ll focus on empowering women in the country with skills to build iOS apps, so that female entrepreneurs could amplify their startups via digital platforms.
Women seeking employment as designers and developers in the connected realm, which is flooded with apps for every task, will also be trained at Apple’s academy in Riyadh. The course material will go beyond programming, and students will gain also knowhow about business apps and marketing design.
Apple’s first such institute in the Middle East, has been set up five years after it initiated the programme with an academy in Italy. Young minds which sharpened their tech skills at its campuses across the globe, have so far launched 190 startups and built 1500 apps.
The move by Apple is among several initiatives in the gulf, which promise to prepare local talent for industries of the future. Abu Dhabi for instance, now has the world’s first university dedicated entirely to AI, while Kuwait has launched a satellite solely for the purpose of allowing students to explore space tech.