His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum honoured the winners of the Innovative Emirati Programmer competition, which was organised by the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University (HBMSU) and Emirates Talent Association.
According to HBMSU, the recognition marked the culmination of the successful first batch of Emirati Programmer initiative, the first-of-its-kind in the UAE, is aimed at enhancing the skills of Emirati youth in programming languages, computer thinking systems, the basics of digital application and electronic games development.
An international jury chose the winners based onset criteria, including the ability to link the creative programming projects to national policies and initiatives such as adopting a competitive and knowledge- and innovation-driven economy.
“We are proud to honour young talents with enormous creative potentials who have shown thirst for knowledge and strong interest to be part of the development process for a more advanced and prosperous future,” HE Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, Deputy Chairman of Police and General Security in Dubai, Chairman of HBMSU’s Board of Governors. “Furthermore, the Emirati Programmer initiative has pushed young people to be creators of a bright future for all using their talents and achieve the highest international ranks. This success has further inspired us to excel in preparing a generation of qualified, innovative, and creative local and international young programmers.”
The four winners of the Innovative Emirati Programmer title bagged the Golden Award in four categories. They were Hamdan Al Maqoodi, ‘Developing Game – Kudo Category’ for age group 7-10; Saud Ahmed Al Hosani, ‘Developing Game – Kudo Category’ for age group 11- 15; Shaikha Khalid Al Ali, ‘Developing App – Bloxmob Category’ for age group 7-10; and Saif Adnan Al Marri, ‘Developing App – Swift Category’ forage group 11-15. The four were among the 12 finalists of the ‘Hackathon’ competition, which served as a platform to put the spotlight on the global programming talents.
“The youth is the future and hope of our country.’ We are undoubtedly taking proactive steps to provide the world of programming with creative talents who have confidence, knowledge, determination, and leadership to guide the economy towards the highest levels of innovation and creativity,” added HE Al Tamim.
Aside from the Gold Award, Silver and Bronze Awards were also given across the four categories. The panel of judges were comprised of technology leaders such as Lewis Hall, English as Medium of Instruction (EMI) Manager, Apple Distinguished Educator; Rayan Karaky, Head of DoubleClick MENA & Turkey, Google; Ahmed Ebrahim, Microsoft Gulf Teacher Engagements Manager; and Hanan Hasan, Head of Technology Development at Al Ittihad National Private School in Abu Dhabi, Apple Distinguished Educator.
After the ceremony, the winners presented their applications and projects at the ‘Coding Expo.’
The winners in the ‘Developing App – Bloxmob’ (7 to 10 years old) category are Shaikha Khalid Al Ali – Diabetes Learning Bag (Gold); Sarah Saeed Al Awar – Read-ester (Silver); and Wid Hamad Al Awar – Slime Angle (Bronze); and in the ‘Developing App – Swift’ (11 to 15 years old), Saif Adnan Al Marri – Discount Me IN (Gold); Abdulla Al Jawi- Discover Dubai (Silver); and Mohammed Alowais – Family Hub (Bronze).
The victors in the ‘Developing App – Swift’ (7 to 10 years old) are Hamadan Al Maqoodi – Road Kill (Gold); Zayed Saif Al Zaabi – Death Road (Silver); and Ali Saif Al Zaabi – Save Water Save Life (Bronze); while Saud Al Hosani – Star Fires (Gold); Hind Saad Abbas – Mars Rock On (Silver); Fahad Al Awadi – Dodge and Race (Bronze) won in ‘Developing Game – Kudo’ (11 and 15 years old) category.
About 96 graduates comprised the first batch of the Emirati Programmer initiative, 46 of whom qualified for the semi-finals and 12 reached the finals. The participants received high-level training under the direct supervision of renowned instructors who specialise in the three-level ‘Lifelong learning model.’ The training ensured that the local contestants would excel in the “Hackathon” competition. The ‘Emirati Programmer’ focused on providing talented youth with new knowledge and skills in computer language programming to design games and digital and electronic applications using multiple programming platforms such as Microsoft’s KODU Game Lab, Apple’s Swift, Google’s Blockly, and ‘Cloud Campus.’