RIYADH: The first group of students have graduated from Riyadh’s Apple Developer Academy, established last year in collaboration with Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University, Tuwaiq Academy and the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones.
The all-women program brought together graduates on Sunday night to celebrate the study of the expanding iOS app economy.
Esther Hare, senior director of worldwide developer marketing at Apple, said: “The women graduating today from the Apple Developer Academy are creators, designers, coders and entrepreneurs. They have bright futures ahead, and we can’t wait to see how they will use their skills and experience to leave their mark on the region and the world.”
She added: “Already, many of our graduates here have lined up wonderful jobs as they launch their careers as iOS developers, UX designers, project managers and more. As we expand the program, we expect to eventually reach over 600 women each year with these world-class learning opportunities.”
The Academy helps women entrepreneurs and developers to begin careers in the app economy.
More than 100 students gained coding, design, marketing and professional skills over the course of nine months, and they now graduate with the full set of abilities required to take part in the iOS app economy, and even launch their own businesses.
“Our mission this year was to fully support our learners’ education ambitions, wherever they are and at whatever level, regardless of age, technical knowledge or background,” said Ohood Al-Nayel, director of the Riyadh Apple Developer Academy.
“We were very mindful from the beginning in equipping each and every Apple Developer Academy learner today with relevant real-world knowledge and skills, to ensure the region’s app development environment of tomorrow is an exceptional one,” added Al-Nayel.
The Academy began offering in-person classroom instruction in February. The facility is housed at PNU, which has the largest women’s university campus in the world, offering students access to top-class amenities including dorms, athletics facilities and quick links to Riyadh.
“Following my time at the Academy, I am proud to witness my own change and evolution,” said Academy student Samah Bamumin.
In order to connect with businesses for career and funding opportunities, students took part in a job fair before the graduation ceremony.
“It was an absolute honor to witness how the Apple Developer Academy delivered skilled developers, designers and entrepreneurs to the Saudi market,” said Ahmed Dulli, executive manager of mobile development at Elm Company, one of the Kingdom’s largest development houses that offers custom-made solutions for the government and private sector.
“There is a dire need for iOS developers in the Kingdom, especially with iOS being the most used mobile platform in the country. Therefore, we truly appreciate Apple’s efforts for supporting that.”
To help aspiring business owners, developers and designers find and create jobs in the booming iOS app economy, Apple has established more than a dozen Apple Developer Academy locations around the world.
Academy graduates go on to launch their own companies, develop and market apps on the App Store, and volunteer in their communities.
Applications are now open to all women across the region. Students do not need to have a connection to PNU, nor do they need a university degree or any coding experience.
Commenting on why the Apple Developer Academy is offered at no cost, Hare said: “We believe apps for everyone should be designed by everyone and we want to ensure that passionate learners have the opportunity to be part of this program, regardless of financial ability. Across the world, we offer this program at no cost so that we can increase equity, access and opportunity.”
Saudi Investment Minister Khalid Al-Falih said that within weeks, Apple will launch a special logistics zone at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh to manufacture and export devices to markets in the region.