Bahrain - A total of 10,000 Bahrainis will be trained to write computer code within the next five years, announced the Nasser Vocational Training Centre (NVTC).

Men and women aged over 18 will receive programming training under a ‘Smart Coders’ initiative regardless of their educational or professional backgrounds, with 2,000 individuals set to be trained every year until the end of 2027.

The large-scale project is being carried out by the NVTC, in partnership with ThinkSmart Development and Training, the details of which were revealed at a Press conference yesterday at the centre located in Jaw.“This project is ambitious and exceptional.

We will empower and educate 10,000 people in the language of the future,” NVTC Dr Abdulla Al Noaimi said.“There will be four levels: beginner, intermediate, advanced and expert. Bahrainis from all walks of life, including school and university students, jobseekers or those currently in employment, can join the classes.”

The Nasser Vocational Training Centre, named after and chaired by His Majesty’s representative for humanitarian work and youth affairs, Supreme Council for Youth and Sport chairman Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa.It was established by His Majesty King Hamad through Royal Decree No 37 in 2014 and is governed by a board of trustees that includes renowned industry and community leaders.

The first coding classes are set to kick off next week with the opening batch of students completing their training by the end of the year with a hackathon competition.

“All sorts of programming languages will be offered including HyperText Markup Language (HTML), JavaScript, Python, .NET and many more,” ThinkSmart chief executive Ahmed Al Hujairi said.“Applicants will be interviewed to determine their skill level – people who hold computer-related degrees can jump right to the ‘expert’ training level.”

Those who complete the course will be presented with professional certification from Microsoft which could help them secure much-cherished jobs in the sector.

“With this training, some people who want to change their career direction will be empowered to do so,” he said, adding that the classes would focus on how to build web and mobile applications.

The training also involves a team-building final project to build a computer programme using their new-found knowledge.Mr Al Hujairi said there was a demand for skilled programmers and he expects the need to continue to grow.

The project will offer a supply of skilled people to local companies who may no longer have to entice expatriate talent from overseas.A directory of those who had completed all stages of the training will be made available to businesses highlighting their skillsets and availability for full-time or freelance opportunities.

“We need to be ready to meet the growing demand,” he added. “We should also strive to achieve a balance between men and women in the coding workforce.”

Meanwhile, NVTC is working with Injaz Bahrain to upskill students by educating them in the principles and possibilities of artificial intelligence.Injaz, established in 2005, is a not-for-profit organisation, aimed at empowering young people to make smarter economic choices.

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