The debut of DevSlam, a co-located event at Gitex Global 2022, demonstrated the growing profile of coding as the foundation of the digital world. Organisers described DevSlam as an opportunity for the global coder community to engage with the UAE’s thriving tech market and learn from top coders, entrepreneurs and business leaders.
Similarly, the UAE has pledged to offer Golden Visas to 100,000 qualified and talented coders worldwide. This follows the National Program for Coders, a series of national initiatives to develop talent, expertise and innovation in coding. During the launch, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai. said, “Nurturing and empowering advanced skills represents a major pillar of the nation’s strategy for building a thriving digital future driven by advances in science, knowledge, innovation and technology.”
These developments come as demand for software developers soars, doubling in 2021 as the pandemic pushed digitisation into overdrive. Demand for advanced computing skills will continue to soar in the foreseeable future, forecasts show.
Countries that want to remain competitive are preparing for this future by introducing computing skills as early as possible in the education cycle. UAE and Accenture announced a partnership in 2019 to bring coding to schools ahead of Expo 2020. The consulting firm said children can begin to pick up programming concepts before they know how to read and write. “Younger children are naturally more inclined to be curious. By targetting primary school students, we can nurture and help shape this curiosity while giving them a head start.”
That said, there are questions about whether learning code is essential with increased accessibility of low-code and no-code developer platforms such as Mendix and Quixy. These websites replace technical coding environments with intuitive drag-and-drop interfaces, allowing all development skill levels to create enterprise-level applications. In fact, there are AI platforms that write their own code, short-circuiting the need for developers.
The answer to this question is to think of coding as the raw material for developing, and developers as the architects of our new digital age. Developers aren’t simply coders; they are problem solvers and are more creative than most people realise, and this is why developer talent is in more demand than ever. In fact, low-code and no-code environments add more value to developers by allowing them to focus on the creative process rather than the mechanical parts of writing code. By democratising coding, these platforms also help relieve the labour shortages plaguing the IT sector while accelerating digital transformation. Research and Markets expect the global low-code development platform market size to reach $35.2bn by 2030, registering a CAGR of 22.9 per cent from 2022 to 2030.
Indeed, coding is valued by employers across the spectrum, technical background or not. This is because coding is essentially all about problem-solving. Writing a programme requires strategic thinking about inputs and outputs, user intent, how to handle errors, etc. This type of calculated thinking helps foster logical reasoning skills applicable to many other aspects.