As soon as possible and before we miss the opportunity again, technology gurus in Jordan need to sit and identify our current stand from technology as a country. Where are on the international map?
During my IT career in the past 17 years I have had the opportunity to see (and live actually) all different kinds of activities, opportunities, up and down, good times and bad times in the IT life of Jordan.
We need to have an identity, no matter how small or ineffective or big and influential. But we need to know where we do stand.
This has to be done with a down to earth approach without the usual exaggeration or magnification of achievements. This has to be done with complete transparency.
Are we India? Are we Israel? Are we China? Are we Dubai?
Well, anyone can certainly confirm we are not anywhere near any west European country or USA.
India? Mmm, mass production of software predesigned somewhere else in the west, mass offshored development, companies which sustained economy tough times and grew actually. Well, we are certainly not like that. However, several successful models do exist here in Jordan which mimic India IT offshore development companies. There is better opportunity there. But in reality, can you imagine a software developer living in Amman having a more competitive wage that a software developer living in Bangalore suburbs. Certainly not. So, it is so obvious that a software development company following this model may only exist in Ajloun or Tafila (small rural cities in Jordan). But, hey, do we have enough competent labor residing “and willing to continue” in those areas? May be. But that might sound a good option. However, what I can certainly be sure of, is that we would never compete price wise while hiring developers from Amman. Quality can be a differentiator. But hey, we are talking about pure code writing here, in which quality is a process that can be achieved systematically by obtaining CMMI3,4 or 5 and guess how many companies in India have CMMI levels, thousands, in Jordan we have a number that is certainly less than 10.
China? Mass production of hardware, I have little know how in this but I know that brands such as Huawei came out of china. Huawei were originally hardware implementers of CISCO designs. China is at its best if you want to copy something and make it so affordable. Low wage people and masses of them. We are so not like this. However, I can comfortably say that if something similar to this model that could evolve, it can never be even near the major cities where living cost is so high.
Israel? Mmm, research, in microprocessor architecture, graphics, security, computer algorithms and calculations such as cryptography. That is a tough game. However, considerable amounts of money need to be put there in research centers and results can happen. Our pharma industry, namely Hikma is an example of how this can happen. And you know in this type of industry you need more mathematicians than software engineers. IDF employee 90K developers BTW!
Dubai? Well from my numerous visits to Dubai I could barely see a technology guy who is not sales, presales, aftersales “during sales” position, or, and this is a big or, consulting. There is a huge IT community in Dubai living a fairly good life, well paid and growing. The whole gulf area actually is like this. Dubai or the gulf are on the consuming side. No IP, no serious software development is there. Big gulf brands such emirates do have actually very impressive local IT departments and they have developed to a great extent their own local patents.
In the gulf, you see very impressive implementations of big systems, and reference cases actually for Oracle, Microsoft, SAP CISCO and all the others. But again, I see this a positive development on the consumption side rather on the production side.