1 million coders initiative

1 million coders initiative

This week, first President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hinted at the possibility and then Treasury and Finance Minister Berak Albayrak announced the 1 Million Coders Initiative. Albayrak said that anyone can sign up to the 1milyonistihdam.hmb.gov.tr website and then start their lesson at the Communication Technologies Institution’s (BTK) online course website.

He added that there will be new lessons added soon. The point is to reach 1 million people and teach them coding. People will be certified and their CVs will be forwarded to any firms which would be hiring coders.

Before writing what I think about the initiative, let me state that this sounds awfully familiar, from its name to the structure.

In 2017, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE vice president, prime minister and ruler of Dubai, launched the “One Million Arab Coders” initiative, an educational platform that offers free exceptional programs for individuals interested in developing their digital skills.

Being the largest of its kind in the Arab world, the initiative aims to empower one million young Arabs with the essential future skills required for the labor market by learning the language of the future: Coding.

Their goal is to graduate a generation of digital experts, equipping them with all the tools required to understand and leading the future through digital transformation.

Dubai’s initiative reported 1.1 million applicants from around the Arab world since its October 2017 launch.
Khalfan Bel Houl, CEO of Dubai Future Foundation says about the results that “We can consider around 350,000 of those registered at the initiative to be “computer literate,” whereas out of 22,000 graduates, 250 have achieved the ‘Nano degree’ which is equivalent to a BA in computer science.

So out of 1,1 Million Arab coders only 250 earned the right to get a degree similar to that of a university education. Mind you that this program had a one-million-dollar carrot to be given to the best of the coders among the attendees.

Our program is exactly the same — except the one-million-dollar award.

So, what should we expect?

I believe that we should expect a similar success with our campaign. There would be more than a million attendees, but fewer than 500 successful coders that would see it through.
Which is, of course, much better than nothing at all. At least we will have a database of a million people who want to learn coding. That database will be very valuable even by itself.

We would have fewer than 50,000 people who would be able to do simple coding, which is awesome as well.

So this project will be very good in terms of data gathering and creating an interest in the society, but it will do very little to add to our ranks of data scientists, data miners, blockchain experts and computer scientists, unlike what is being advertised.

I believe that creating great expectations with mega projects and discarding mega projects once these goals are not attained is the greatest mistake that our politicians make. I call upon our politicians to keep our expectations to where they should be, or we won’t see the second wave of this initiative.  Let the 1 million coder project not share the grim fate of multibillion-dollar Fatih project.

Ersu Ablak, Turkey,