Untapped promise of IT sector

By Usman Hanif
Published in The Express Tribune on August 09, 2022

KARACHI: Despite garnering global recognition in the field of Information Technology (IT), Pakistani talent lacks efficient access to the international market as there are very few technological and professional organisations or platforms active locally to connect foreign companies with local resources.

Most engineers and IT professionals in Pakistan are providing services to clients abroad and working to utilise their skills on local platforms.

“Pakistani talent in the field of IT has garnered global recognition,” noted Turing CEO and co-founder of Artificial Intelligence (AI)-backed talent hunt platform, Jonathan Siddharth, while speaking with The Express Tribune.

Pakistan has been ranked number four for freelance software development globally, with IT exports increasing significantly in recent years. Given the growth of Pakistan’s IT sector, the country has a lot to offer, he added.

“Software engineering is a popular field in Pakistan. Tech talent in the country is up-and-coming, with skilled individuals providing IT services and products worldwide.

The rise of IT-related courses and programs aimed at nurturing talent is also one of the reasons behind the competence and credibility of software developers and engineers in Pakistan”, he said.

Pakistan has significant potential in the IT sector with more than 300,000 English-speaking IT professionals, more than 2000 IT companies and call centres, 13 software technology parks and more than 20,000 annual IT graduates and engineers and a rising startup culture. The major areas of growth are software development, BPO and freelancing.

Pakistani diaspora abroad – particularly those working in the IT field, and academic institutions in the western countries – could play an effective role in this regard, said ICT expert, Parvez Iftikhar. “The government needs to mobilise these channels directly, as well as through our embassies”, he emphasised.

International companies benefit significantly by hiring tech talent from developing countries like Pakistan, but they face some challenges while doing so. Although the number of skilled developers and engineers is growing in Pakistan, there is a considerable amount of untapped potential in the country, said Jonathan Siddharth.

“A system to integrate local universities with global businesses is necessary”, said JS Global ICT analyst, Waqas Ghani Kukaswadia. Every year, several Indian students are able to bag international offers while studying in their last year of university.

“HEC and other stakeholders should cooperate and work for an updated curriculum in-line with global standards, one which can help address foreign client needs,” he said.

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