The Asia Pacific area is undergoing an impressive upsurge in the number of proficient IT professionals and software developers, well-versed in several programming languages. This rapid expansion can be credited to the emergence of diverse developer communities in the region. A number of influential IT professionals in Asia are associates of these thriving communities, indeed some have even established them. Clearly, the Asia Pacific region is becoming a go-to destination for progressive and state-of-the-art software development.
In March 2022, I had the opportunity of travelling to Asia to host a groundbreaking Roundtable with influential figures and leaders in the tech industry. The primary goals of this convention were threefold: firstly, to appreciate the rapidly expanding IT ecosystem in Asia, which boasts a mobile phone saturation rate of 119%, affording computer access to a substantial fraction of the population; secondly, to acknowledge Asia’s dominance worldwide in technology; and finally, to hold talks on the potential implications of this growth. The Roundtable brought together tech leaders and influencers from all over Asia to leverage on the current IT ecosystem’s potential and foster an environment for further advancement and innovation.
- For a comprehensive grasp of the Asian tech sector’s role in breeding globally competitive technical personnel, a basic understanding of the region’s technology industry is required. Consequently, it is crucial to question whether the skills void between graduates and potential employers can be resolved by participating in digital communities. Equally important, we must inquire if there are opportunities within tech communities that graduates can engage in to enhance their marketability as part-time or full-time workers. As a last point, it is crucial to explore ways to harness online tech communities to tackle these challenges.
- Considering that sponsors or facilitators of technology-oriented communities usually furnish resources such as financial assistance and meeting venues to enable these communities to assemble, is their involvement beneficial?
- Individuals seeking to participate in purposeful discussions with prominent tech industry figures would find online user groups dedicated to specific technologies an invaluable avenue. Most of these community leaders harbour genuine intentions to bridge the technical expertise deficit, refraining from expecting any monetary returns. Given this scenario, it is pertinent to consider what motivates and demotivates online user group organisers, and what they stand to gain or lose from their involvement.
The recently concluded roundtable forum was marked by spirited and compelling conversations, yielding a treasure trove of insight, knowledge and understanding for all participants. Here are the top takeaways from the most pertinent and provocative aspects of the forum:
Although smaller in comparison to other regions, Asian technology communities are highly adept at planning and conducting meetings, conferences, and other events to promote group synergy and knowledge-sharing among members. Furthermore, the area boasts a sizeable population of tech-proficient women who actively seize opportunities to network with like-minded individuals.
Enlisted below are some of the most recognised online groups in the field of IT.
- Developers in Vogue (Women in Tech) stands out remarkably for their active involvement in the community, shining a spotlight on the remarkable achievements of female figures in the tech arena worldwide. Their tales of professional triumph serve as a beacon of inspiration for budding professionals on similar paths.
- Women Techmakers (WTM) is a Google endeavour centred around raising the public profile of women in the tech sector, empowering them with supportive networks and useful resources. The Meetup.com gateway is one way to stay up-to-date on both prior and forthcoming WTM events. With over 400 members currently, WTM is a fast-growing online community.
- The Facebook Developer Circles (DevC) is a dynamic online community with over 1,200 actively engaged members, connecting developers across the region to participate in diverse technical sessions and hackathons hosted by Facebook. DevC furnishes an excellent opportunity for developers to acquire knowledge, work alongside peers and create meaningful associations.
- Forloop constitutes a decentralised chain of developers and technology enthusiasts who share an unwavering ardour towards developing innovative projects and accessing seasoned instructors and mentors. Our objective is to conceive a platform that showcases individuals’ abilities and potential while fostering a harmonious coexistence marked by robust collaboration. Collaboratively, we refine our skills, counter challenges amicably, and spur the subsequent wave of tech specialists.
- The GDG community represents more than 1900 developers enthusiastic about Google’s technologies.
Enablers and Financial Sponsors
When we hear the term “sponsor,” our minds are inclined to link it with financial backing. Though it is no denying that digital communities rely heavily on monetary support for their survival, other essential factors are equally crucial but commonly go unnoticed. The recent roundtable forum highlighted several resources that contribute immensely to a digital community’s success, including but not restricted to:
- Arrange get-togethers in this conference room (e.g. in tech centres such as Impact Hub, iSpace)
- Updated materials for conducting fruitful gatherings
- Professionals and pioneers of the industry volunteering to discuss their work and address queries.
- The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the National Institute of Information Technology (NIIT), and the GIMPA School of Technology are prominent academic bodies dedicated to instilling a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship amongst tech professionals. These institutions furnish financial backing and aid to those looking to pursue their innovative projects in the tech arena.
Ergo, benefactors and facilitators of technology communities ought not to confine their assistance to monetary aid, but must equally contemplate other supportive resources to enhance the standards and expand the reach of these communities.
Organisations that Unite Tech Enthusiasts
It is plausible that the front-runners of the technological arena, the purported instigators, are the unsung heroes of the business. Despite being unacknowledged by the general media, I learned that these leaders are extremely influential in the tech industry, earning esteem from a combination of factors, which includes their technological expertise, dedication towards keeping their communities alive even without sponsor support, and their knack for identifying and promoting exceptional tech talents.
This produces sturdy, burgeoning communities, exhibiting a huge presence in the multitude of assemblies and functions they arrange.
It is valuable to delve into a plethora of ideas under the three categories mentioned during the roundtable discussion to advance the communities and ecosystem collectively. This recommendation stems from the discourse at the roundtable and my personal experience as a community instigator a few years back.
- Each congregation of IT experts must present a chance for learning and dialogue. The workshops can be tailored to educate newcomers on the subject or offer an extensive overview of the theoretical concepts. If feasible, the information should demonstrate the implementation of the knowledge being shared.
- While searching for competent people to work together on projects, hire or refer for other opportunities, sponsors and facilitators within the tech industry must be forthright about any potential shortcomings in talent or skill they have observed.
- If the conveners of meetups and tech events can cooperate to bridge any informational or resource-related gaps, it would be incredible! We must stress that these events should not be utilised as a platform to market our business or products – it is critical for the organisers to guarantee that every attendee gains something constructive from the event. They must exercise great care to ensure that every participant departs with something advantageous to their understanding or abilities.
- Organisations in the tech ecosystem hold the potential to display their expertise and accomplishments to the world. This might involve exhibiting finished projects, providing evaluations of tools, products, and platforms, and unveiling forthcoming tech events. By accentuating the efforts of individuals and firms in the technological area, Asia’s IT talent pool could gain greater prominence. Organisations can take advantage of various media platforms to broadcast their message, including TechNovaGH, Gharage.com, AFD Tech Talk, Citi TV, and many others.
In my viewpoint, it is crucial for organisations to reinvest in the IT ecosystem to guarantee its talent pool’s sustainability. Furthermore, individuals within the ecosystem who engage with technology must consistently participate in meetings that enrich their skills to remain competitive in the worldwide marketplace. The uninterrupted continuation of this perpetual cycle is necessary to secure the ecosystem’s endurance.