UAE Codes Day, a government initiative aimed at supporting the Emirates' digital transformation and economy, is set to start on October 29, with several events organised by dozens of government and private entities.
The event, which was launched in 2021, focuses on supporting the UAE's coding community by providing a platform to exchange experiences, ideas and skills to create a digital economy based on innovation backed by artificial intelligence, the Ministry of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications said on Wednesday.
It will also coincide with the date of the announcement on October 29, 2001, by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, in which he launched the first e-government in the region, which was a major component of the UAE's digitisation journey.
“UAE Codes Day consolidates the first digital achievement in the UAE. It celebrates technological achievements and anticipates future developments by motivating youth in utilising coding and AI technologies in future projects, enhancing their capabilities and supporting their talents to design a better future,” Omar Al Olama, Minister of State for AI, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications, said.
The UAE has long championed the critical role digital transformation plays in its economy and society, particularly focusing on honing talented young people to prepare them to help shape the future, as the country positions itself as a global hub for innovation.
Writing code, building computer software and creating mobile applications are among the most sought-after skills in the future global job market.
Jobs in coding and programming are also in high demand and they can also be a rewarding career compensation-wise, according to a 2021 study by recruitment firm Michael Page.
AI, a key component of coding, is also considered one of the UAE's most important industries over the next 10 years, a May study from the UK-based Institution of Engineering and Technology found.
In January, the UAE government unveiled Coders HQ, aimed at developing the nation's coder ecosystem. Launched by Mr Al Olama, it is geared towards developing a new generation of coders, which will allow them to design innovative solutions addressing local and global challenges.
The Emirates also launched the National Programme for Coders in July last year, in collaboration with technology companies including Google, Amazon and Microsoft to bolster coding skills, particularly among young people.
It aims to train 100,000 coders and establish 1,000 technology companies that will go global and increase start-up investments from Dh1.5 billion to Dh4bn, Sheikh Mohammed said at the time.
42 Abu Dhabi, a coding school without teachers or classrooms in the capital, opened last October. The programme, which is open 24/7, works on a tuition-free model that is based on peer-to-peer learning, and encourages participants to study independently and work on projects.
On Sunday, the UAE announced the selection of 56 coding ambassadors to help champion the country's digital drive, with 23 of them Emiratis who represent all seven emirates.
Sheikh Mohammed's “proactive thinking” has been the “cornerstone enhancing the UAE's ranking as a future pioneer and a global platform building capabilities and empowering youth with future tools and technology solutions”, Mr Al Olama said.
During UAE Codes Day, more than 70 events will be hosted by about 50 federal government and private entities across the UAE, including workshops, competitions, and hackathons.
“This day reflects the UAE leaders' mindset and visions in enhancing the global ranking and status of the country to reach comprehensive digital transformation,” the statement said.
“It also reflects the efforts of the National Programme for Coders to help talented coders develop their coding journey and enhance their readiness to innovate in the future.”