(Opportunities for IT Industry in Pakistan to Flourish)
- Highest Percentage of Youth Population
Pakistani population comprises of the highest number of youth and the majority among them are illiterate, unemployed or unskilled. This presents a great opportunity for the country to explore the potential and engage youth in activities bolstering the economy. By creating opportunities like free quality education, training, and development, vocational training, skill development programs, IT awareness campaigns, scholarships, and grants for students in universities, the increased quota for students belonging to remote areas, etc. can elevate the youth population from unproductive to the productive and skillful segment.
- A large Number of IT Graduates in Country
Universities in Pakistan have unfortunately turned into commercial entities and their prime focus is to reap enormous gains at the cost of quality education. IT graduates are facing a crisis of quality education and well-trained staff. Curriculums are not up to date and Regulatory authorities responsible for maintaining the standards of the education system have also turned blind eyes towards malice of institutions. Students in numerous universities have accomplished promising accolades for their brilliant ideas and inventions. But lack of support and acknowledgment has either left them discouraged or they left in search for better opportunities abroad. Sustainable IT policy is needed to strengthen the skills of graduates to meet the ever-increasing demand of the IT industry and also to get equipped with the latest certifications for progress and capacity building of individuals and companies alike.
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- IT parks and Tech Hubs
IT parks, IT hubs, Incubations centers for Startups, acceleration programs, software technology parks, IT Capitals, Tech Cities, etc. are the IT-centric platforms to promote businesses related to IT. In Pakistan, there exists IT parks in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar, and Abbottabad, along with national incubations centers to uplift new startups and acceleration programs to strengthen the skills and knowledge of IT startups to grow and expand. But owing to the effective IT model the IT Parks and such ecosystems are less effective to capture the potential in the Industry. Many companies want to be part of IT parks to get benefited from the unified ecosystem and synergy with other potential IT companies but lack of infrastructure and funds limit the numbers of IT companies to very few. The process to get registered in IT parks is so cumbersome and hectic that many prefer staying outside. Plus, currently many complain about lack of proper office space, internet connectivity, Power backup, abysmal administrative support, etc. To counter the challenges IT boards are making efforts to create effective avenues for business development of IT companies but it will take some time to reap its benefits. IT parks also support their members by arranging workshops, subsidized international conference and IT expo visits. IT Parks facilitates member companies on various fronts such as for participation in government tenders; you must be affiliated with IT regulatory bodies, boards, and associations such as PSEB, Pasha, PITB, KPITB, etc. for availing tendered projects by the government. They also help in resolving issues between member companies and other institutions such as EOBI and etc. Across the world, IT ecosystems are designed to promote IT businesses; highly specialized infrastructures are established to empower the IT industry. Silicon Valley and IT hubs in China, Singapore, India, Japan, and European countries are a few examples of centralized setup for all IT related activities. Investors and Pakistani diaspora can be mobilized for the creation of IT parks and tech hubs in the country and also the government can dedicate funds to construct infrastructures to support IT businesses.
- Import/Export of IT Products and Service
IT products and services are demanded all across the globe. Companies develop customized IT software, applications, and programs to support activities in nearly every industry. IT services have transformed transportations, logistics, tourism, health, engineering, medical sciences, business management systems, and etc. into an efficient, reliable, cost-effective and productive venture. IT imports are rampant in developing countries due to inadequate infrastructure, lack of resources essential for IT, government support and insufficient capital. Recently, Prime Minister Imran Khan has vowed to boost the IT exports by providing grants and subsidies to the industry. He also stressed the benefits to be reaped from the implementation of 5G in the region. IT city will be built in the vicinity of Islamabad to promote and flourish IT activities.
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- Training and Development
Skilled IT graduates are the need of time and the Government has already taken some highly commendable steps to generate a pool of skilled resources but more is to be done. An initiative on Behalf of his Excellency Arif Alvi, President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan has been undertaken which will train individuals for Blockchain, Cloud Computing and Artificial Intelligence under the banner of PIAIC. Similarly, in Digiskills an initiative by the Ministry of Information technology and Telecom, a wide variety of courses are offered free of cost by expert mentors. This will not only improve the skills set of individuals but also, enable them to earn from the comfort of their home.
Such training and development programs at national, provincial and district levels are very crucial for IT graduates to get themselves acquainted with the latest needs of the market and once they are in a position to earn from projects this will ultimately improve the accounts of the national exchequer.
Next Episode of IT industry Guide will cover ‘Opportunities available Abroad to Uplift local Industry‘