Being a coder is turning out to be a sound career option in the UAE
Dubai: Entry level salaries for coders are set to shoot past Dh15,000 a month levels as UAE organisations compete to pick out the best talent and track-record available in the market. If retail-focussed businesses were the most active last year, it’s the banking and healthcare sectors that have their eyes on coders now.
Each new app or digital service launched by a bank in the UAE is feeding demand for computer programmers, with senior UAE Government sources saying that 100 coder jobs will be created a day. If in the past, organisations were outsourcing most of their tech development, many are now bringing these skills in-house to ensure a tighter grip on cyber security.
“Working as a coder can be a lucrative and fulfilling career once you’ve gained experience in the field,” said Vijay Gandhi, Regional Director at the HR consultancy Korn Ferry. “One can continue to increase the earning potential through expertise in a particular specialization – software coder, computer and network security coder, web coder or app coder.
“The pay levels then tend to start around Dh27,000 a month.”
Those pay scales look all set to revised, with the job portal Bayt.com in a survey last week confirming that IT/internet/e-commerce in the UAE will see the highest growth in new positions getting added in 2022. (The Bayt.com survey also found that a job in government, the oil and gas industry, or one in tech are the “most attractive to work in when it comes to maintaining a work-life balance”.)
Ola Haddad, Director of Human Resources at Bayt.com said: “The job market is constantly evolving – and so are the needs of jobseekers. To understand the factors influencing industry attractiveness, we conducted the ‘Top Industries in the MENA’ survey to determine how people identify, apply for and evaluate job opportunities across a range of industries.”
The emphasis from the government – also reflected in the upcoming ‘Data Law’ – should see “more students taking courses in coding, robotics and artificial intelligence,” said Gandhi. “The career map for coders usually starts as junior developer, and then moves on to be a senior developer and specialist developer/lead architect before going into the management roles.”
Homegrown talent that can emerge in the next three to five years also plays well for organisations wanting to employ those skillsets than outsource them from India, Egypt, Jordan or elsewhere. “Organisations tend to use firms to build the IT infrastructure and coding for them – but with the rising cyber security and data privacy needs, we are seeing more companies hiring internally to develop and maintain the software architecture.”
This is where the Data Law will have a role, in creating an environment where data protection and privacy are tightly woven into the regulations. The Law was drafted with inputs from best practices seen in other jurisdictions as well as from tech companies. “While the burden of compliance is squarely on businesses to safeguard consumer data, this new law will enable companies to ensure transparency with their customers,” said Johnny Karam, Managing Director and Vice-President of International Emerging Region at Veritas Technologies. “And empower consumers with greater control of how their personal data is used, stored and shared.”
For that empowering to be there, organisations, businesses and government agencies need a new wave of coders – and those with all the digital attributes this marketplace needs. And will keep needing for years to come.
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