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French Version

Interface - Tackling the skills shortage

Now, though, once again the brain-drain is on as software experts move on to greener pastures. The story with hardware, particularly networking professionals is different.

JORDAN (Star) - As part of the continuous "brain-drain" Jordan has suffered throughout the past decade with our best software and hardware professionals leaving for jobs in the Gulf the issue of skill shortage in the country.

However, prior to the recent tech-slowdown, Jordan was managing to retain its best software developers in local companies that paid excellent salaries and worked on some of the biggest projects in the region.

Now, though, once again the brain-drain is on as software experts move on to greener pastures. The story with hardware, particularly networking professionals is different. There has always been a shortage of those in the country. For some reason, few engineering and computer science graduates enter the field of networking.

International Data Corp (IDC), the well-known research firm, predicts the skills shortage in the Middle East will continue until 2004, with Jordan having a 36 percent shortfall in networking professionals by that time. Nowadays, training centers are trying to reverse that trend by training people to become networking professionals. Accordingly, training centers are emerging in Jordan with the aim of capitalizing on the current and future demand for qualified networking professionals at present.

Already, the country's biggest training centers such as ExecuTrain, CompuBase and CompuTeach have adopted such programs and there's more to come.

A new training firm called MasterIT is setting up a specialized Cisco Training Center, in partnership with Synergy Professional Services of the UAE.

Their training programs will start from the entry level Cisco Certified Network Associates certificate (CCNA) up to the highest Cisco Advanced Certification Programs. This center is an example of a joint a Jordanian-foreign project.

All of these training initiatives are driven by the public and private sector efforts in Jordan to expand information technology capabilities.

The government is working hard towards achieving the IT initiatives laid out over the past few years in cooperation with Int@j(the Jordanian Association of Information Technology Companies).

Even before these efforts got organized, Jordan was an incubator for talent and skills due to the very high percentage of university and community college graduates in the country who have worked across the region for decades, playing a major role in the regions' ICT development.

The latest initiatives from the government, Intaj and the private sector as whole will help polish and refine those IT skills and therefore provide our professionals with the skills needed to in today's complex ICT sector.

So it seems that the market for training in Jordan will continue to be strong, provided local companies continue to expand their networking installations and remain up-to-date.

Employers in the country will drive both training and hiring. Hopefully, to stem the brain drain, the information technology market in Jordan will grow in spite of the relatively difficult political situation in the region.

Zeid Nasser
The Star

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