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EG23_IT_ITI_Heba Saleh

EGYPT - Telecoms & IT

Heba Saleh

Chairwoman, Information Technology Institute (ITI)

Bio

H. Saleh currently is the chairwoman of the Information Technology Institute ITI which is the main training affiliate of the Egyptian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. ITI’s mission is the development of human cadres to actively participate in the Egyptian ICT sector as well as the international market, This comes as a result of extensive experience she gained in the field of human capacity building and development. He has a Bachelor degree in engineering from Cairo University by 1996, and earned her Master degree in computer science from the University of Louisville, USA, then obtained Ph. D. from the University of Sunderland in the United Kingdom by 2014. During 20 years of successful professional life, and being a key contributor in the field of human capacity building and development, she played a pivotal role in the development, formulation and implementation of several national strategies for human capacity building and development in ICT sector. At the African level, she is one of the first sector leaders that sought to joint strategic cooperation with African countries through the establishment of a mutual partnership, this was in the framework of the preparation and qualification of human resources and development of the African government capacity. He is a member of the Egyptian computer science committee in the Supreme Council of Egyptian Universities. He published numerous research and scientific publications in the field of business intelligence and data mining practices focusing on the capacity-building field and its models.

"We are here in the Egyptian market since 1993, and we are fully funded by the ministry of communications and information technology."
TBY talks to Heba Saleh, Chairwoman of Information Technology Institute (ITI), about the development of the Egyptian market and priorities for the company.
Could you give us an overview of the ITI?

We are here in the Egyptian market since 1993, and we are fully funded by the ministry of communications and information technology. This directly shows the government’s keenness to invest and develop skills to empower this sector. It is a fact that there is a huge global demand for talent. In Egypt, the government exerts efforts in the files of digital Egypt, attracting FDIs, and empowering entrepreneurship, these pillars increased the demand for more and more of qualified talents. Egypt is known as a young country full of youth (around 60% of the population); so there is a huge opportunity to position Egypt as a destination for the tech world and leverage more of high value job opportunities for Egyptian young talents if well trained and prepared. Here comes ITI mission, since establishment, as an affiliate to the cabinet since 1993, then MCIT affiliate since 2005, with a main mission revolves around preparing talents in the tech field and to contribute in growing FDI and SME’s business through finding the right talents. For the last 10 consecutive years, we managed to secure 85% of employment for our interns and before their graduation, thanks to the non-stop dynamic collaboration with industry partners from local, and international market it helped us developing world class talent. Also reaching talents wouldn’t be feasible without our close relation with the academia, we are almost partnering with most of them. Working closely with academia and industry is one of ITI key principles to fulfill our business ROI in terms of high employment percentages for our graduates.

What initiatives did you undertake to develop the ICT sector in education?

We have several initiatives that helped creating a continuous pipeline of qualified cadres across the whole year and in different specializations. They all preceded by studying and understanding the industry demand, ICT industry is a crazy, dynamic, non-stop changing field. Spotting these changes, doing the right partnership, reflecting on the program design with the qualifies experts of trainers is a long journey, yet critical foundation for a long lasting impact. Also our initiatives target IT and non IT backgrounds, you know the beauty of IT is that it has a wide conjunction across all sectors. The market needs infrastructure, cybersecurity, embedded engineering specialists that suit grads from engineering faculties. There is another market opportunities for game developers, media specializes that open the door for arts graduates and any passionate learner with artistic skills, also those from the faculty of education has their own share in areas like instruction design and eLearning, itself a booming sector. Also, students of business and commerce are attracted to the ERP and data sector. We are lucky to be working in such a vibrant market. So our plans take this in consideration while designing our plans and network with partners from both sides; industry and academia. Once done with the planning, our plans is rich and full of different initiatives that include initiatives for undergrad, postgrad, eLearning, and generation Z like for example (i)undergrad interventions as a part of the academic electives studies with a number of faculties through introducing students from first and second academic year to dedicated tech topics, (ii)train of trainers programs in targeted topics and in collaboration with the relevant faculties like for ex. TTT initiative for electronics, TTT initiative for ERP, TTT initiative for GIS. This pillar is important for creating a strong base of professional to support the mid and long outreach plan of the institution (iii)summer code camps for undergrads that tackles IT and non IT faculties as explained, (iv) Another programs have been designed and offered for fresh grads in the form of fully funded 9-month and 4-month duration scholarships in areas like fintech, Data and Machine Learning, software development among other disciplines that reflects the local and international demand for fresh grads. (v) Other initiatives target fresher from the military conscripts, in addition to (vi) other initiatives related to elearning to avail learning at scale for the Egyptian youth and passionate learners in all of the Egyptian cities in collaboration with a wide network of professionals and international content providers. (vii) Other programs to position Egypt’s talent on the freelancing market is important to create equal job opportunities for talents in tier B cities without being limited to classical jobs or specific destinations. And of course, all of these interventions is done in collaboration with the tech providers as well as the private sector players who are doing a great job in rolling out as well as advancing the outputs in the form of the international and standardized certificates

Do you encounter any challenges?

ITI has a local presence in most of Egyptian governorates. When you look at the demand, you will notice substantial difference between capital city and tier “A city” versus the rest, as most of the classical demand found in Cairo, Alex, Mansoura, and few other spots. While we are spreading all over Egypt, it has been always of concern for us, about how to keep our ROI in terms of creating job opportunities specially for grads from low demand destinations. Before knocking the freelancing doors, this was a real challenge. Thanks to the early actions and newly designed initiatives we introduced to tie between the technical training and freelancing and remote jobs skills, we’ve been able to create non classical job opportunities for our grads from upper Egypt and distant hubs either remotely or in the form of freelancing. In other words, we benefited from the beauty and opportunities created by ICT when it comes to the working delivery style that has been already disrupted. We have thousands of graduates from Upper Egypt, the Delta grasped their remote opportunities with many companies from US, Scandinavian countries, Europe, and Gulf. The world is developing, and we are lucky to catch up with this revolutionary time. It would have been a challenge if we had limited ourselves to local demand alone. But we focus on globalized heat map of opportunities to prepare a global talent.

What’s next for ITI, and what are your urgent priorities?

We have established a strong base of talent throughout Egypt and the Middle East. We have also expanded recently across the governorates as a part of the national project of CREATIVA centers in all of the Egyptian governorates. We are dreaming of empowering different zones in Egypt with different tech flavors, like for example Hub of designers, another Hub of software developers, Hub of electronic engineers, …etc. Also we are counting down to launch new national eLearning platforms with a special focus on artificial intelligence and cybersecurity targeting its full levels of job profiles and in collaboration with expert partners, and international certificate providers. AI continues to develop and has merited considerable attention, and speculation as to its future applications. It’s important to take part of the global momentum and empower your talents from new generations, public citizens, and professionals without leaving someone behind. It will be an open opportunity for all passionate learners from 9-99 years old.

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