Jamaica makes big move in software development market

January 15, 2021
Dushyant Savadia
Dushyant Savadia
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Dushyant Savadia, a man who was kicked out of his parents' house at 19 and became an alcoholic and chain smoker five years thereafter, says he sees himself in the eyes of many young Jamaicans.

Dushyant, founder and CEO of Amber Group, a technology conglomerate based in Kingston, began working as a waiter in a restaurant. He came to Jamaica in 2012 on a humanitarian mission and has since made the country his home.

"This country has some of the best and brightest in the world," said Dushyant, who started Amber with a laptop and smartphone. Amber produces several products including Amber vehicle tracker.

Amber has joined forces with HEART/NSTA Trust for the establishment of a coding academy in Jamaica. Dushyant, speaking at yesterday's launch, said that the initiative, which will teach youngsters to be software developers, will transform lives. Some 100 youngsters are currently being trained as coders. Successful graduates will then transition into coding jobs that are waiting for them. Some 20,000 coders are expected to be trained over the next five years.

MARKET VALUE

Coding involves the creation of instructions that are written for computers to understand and respond accordingly. The software development market worldwide was valued at US$487 billion last year, and is expected to grow to US$507 billion this year.

Dushyant, noting that technology is incorporated in everyday life, said that the COVID-19 pandemic has made sure that technology will continue to be the fastest growing sector in the world. For illustration, he pointed to the role Alexa, a virtual assistant with artificial intelligence technology, plays in his life.

"Alexa wakes me up and turns on all the appliances I need. My water heater, coffeemaker, even turns on the TV and tunes me into the news. Imagine, my smart toothbrush tells me the pressure I am applying and if I cleaned my teeth properly or not," Dushyant said.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, the engine behind the Amber/HEART NSTA Coding Academy, said it was always known that Jamaica's future will lie in our embrace of technology.

"We are all using cellphones ... For us, we are saying that that is technology. That is just the face of technology. I want us now to go beyond that interface and actually create the interface. Look around us at the problems we have and see how we can transform those problems into digital representation, code them into machine languages and use that to create solutions," Holness said.

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