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Making Computer Skills Count
Nomadx is transforming the landscape in Iraq through digital skills
Working as a digital programmer in Iraq, Abdullah Nabeel noticed a glaring gap in the market. It wasn’t a shortage of aspiring programmers or even a lack of jobs. “The Iraqi market does have employment opportunities in this field, but people don’t know how to access them,” he says.
Stuck indoors during the pandemic, many Iraqis realized that programming was an ideal job to do from home. There was a surge of interest in programming courses as people set out to acquire basic skills.
“A lot of people went out and took short courses then claimed to be programmers,” Nabeel says. “Some then started giving courses to other people so the quality of knowledge in the Iraqi market is very low. People not even qualified are actually giving courses to the public.”
Nabeel’s mission through his organization, Nomadx, is to provide aspiring programmers with the knowledge and support they need to navigate the job market. “Plenty of students have theoretical knowledge but no practical experience and many don’t know much about the market,” he says.
Since launching in 2020, Nomadx has run five free bootcamps and more than 50 workshops, reaching around 2,000 people. With an Innovation Hub grant from Ideas Beyond Borders, he plans to support more participants on their path to employment.
“We now have a new vision to not only equip those participants with the required hard and soft skills but also to provide them with a road map on how to put those skills into practice,” he says. He also plans to expand the range of topics covered and widen the age bracket, so more people can take the course.
“Computer literacy is very poor in Iraq, and we want to tackle this. The Innovation Hub grant will allow us to do just that.”
One of the challenges they face is a reluctance from people to accept help. “We’re working hard to change that culture by showing that those who participated benefitted. Many Nomadx participants are now employed or have launched their own startups. It has made their lives better,” Nabeel says.
*Pseudonyms have been used for several individuals featured in this story to protect their identity. This article was written by Olivia Cuthbert.
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