Recent research suggests tech giant Microsoft could create 55,000 new UAE jobs over the next five years, as digital devices and cloud computing play a bigger part in our lives.
As automation and the Internet of Things become ever-present in modern life, technology experts speaking at Dubai’s Gitex Technology Week also predicted a bright future for young people hoping for a career in the industry.
A report by the International Data Corporation also forecast a need for 520,000 tech-related jobs in important markets across the region over the next five years.
Spending in the UAE on cloud computing services – where data is saved and shared over the internet remotely – is expected to quadruple in that time, reaching Dh1.5 billion.
“There has been a big change in the economy, driven by technology and the way we work, learn and communicate,” said Jaime Galviz, Microsoft chief operating officer for the Middle East and Africa.
“People are concerned about what will happen with their jobs in the near future as well as their privacy and security online. There will be enormous disruption through automation, so people will need to develop new skills to adapt to a changing environment.
“These jobs will be created to work within a system of intelligence. More jobs will be created to promote efficiency through machine learning and artificial intelligence.”
According to the IDC report, the use of public cloud services and investments in private and business cloud services will help organisations in the UAE to innovate, grow and develop.
Cloud services will make nearly Dh20 billion in net new revenue by 2022, the report said.
Education is rapidly evolving to keep up with the anticipated demand for these specific roles in the technology sector.
Microsoft has developed an online academy to train graduates who may wish to make themselves more employable in the near future through its Cloud Society.
People who sign up can learn new Microsoft-accredited skills to work in cloud-related industries.
About 120,000 people in the region are already engaged in this online learning portal.
“The UAE has been identified as having a shortage of coders and skilled engineers to work in government sectors so a learning path has been developed to specifically to fill this gap,” Mr Galviz said.
“Children are already learning basic skills by playing games like Minecraft, where they learn problem-solving skills and how to work in a team remotely.
“We envisage these to be key components of future employment.”
A report from the World Bank on the growth of the technology sector, automation and artificial intelligence estimates that for every new job created, four related posts will be needed as a result.
“Managing change will be the biggest challenge we will face in utilising the developing technology that we will find in the future design of modern cities,” said Nawaf Al Sahhaf – chief executive of Badir, a technology incubator in Saudi Arabia – at a Gitex forum on the future of emerging technologies.
“If there are a million lorry drivers around the world who rely on that industry, if automation takes over in the transport sector then those people will need an alternative source of employment.
“Inevitably new jobs will come, but it will take time to manage that transition towards automation that will be a key factor in the development of modern cities.”