All you need to know about Bahrain’s latest tech milestone, the AI Academy

Sarah Faisal

In a positive turn of events that resulted in one of the best things that happened in 2020, Bahrain officially has an academy specifically dedicated towards the empowerment of youth who seek to pursue a career in technology – and it’s called The Artificial Intelligence (AI) Academy.

The AI Academy was launched as a division in Bahrain Polytechnic, in collaboration with Tamkeen Bahrain and Microsoft. Since it’s such an important milestone for Bahrain, we naturally wanted to learn more about it, so we reached out to Tamkeen’s Eman Janahi to get all the juicy details you’re eager to know.

For starters, it’s interesting to note that the initiative actually dates back to a few years ago during a time when Tamkeen and Bahrain Polytechnic were the lead partners in H.H. Sh. Khalid bin Hamad’s competition for Innovation in Artificial Intelligence. Ever since then, the collaboration kickstarted between Tamkeen, Polytechnic, and Microsoft.

The Academy was constructed to build a powerful network of capable students, equipping them with the knowledge and skills needed to scale and develop the tech community in the Kingdom. Not to mention attracting international companies to Bahrain.

Now that we know the aim of it, let’s dig into how it works, and the programs currently offered for students. Eman Janahi shared that the participants will need to complete 2 programs:

  1. Microsoft Professional Program for Artificial Intelligence
  2. Intelligence” & “Microsoft Professional Program for Data Science

For both programs, students will need to get the certification over the upcoming 6-12 months. But that’s not it; participants will also need to come up with awesome projects to be able to compete with at Sh. Khalid Bin Hamad Competition for Innovation In Artificial Intelligence next year. (I mean, you get to study, AND partake in a competition that contributes to the growth of your country? Wowza!)

If all of this sounds great to you, but you’re a bit concerned about passing the program, no worries! The requirement for the program is basic IT skills (Math, Programming (Python) & Cloud Services), that’s just the way it’s designed. 

If you meet the above mentioned criteria, and you’re a fan of practical environments where you can apply all the concepts you learn – you know what to do.

Got you interested? Want to learn more about applying? You’d be excited to know that the first batch of 38 students enrolled at the program, which kicked off on September 5, 2020, were jobseekers and students from the age of 18+ who possess the requirements we had already mentioned.

Before selecting the lucky 38, 126 candidates were evaluated by a committee consisting of representatives from the collaborating entities along with experts in the field. The evaluation process went smoothly, and they were assessed based on their project ideas, field knowledge, academic background, experience, and personal skills.

Eman Janahi told us to keep an eye out for the AI Academy’s website, as well as Tamkeen & Bahrain Polytechnic’s websites to learn about the upcoming batch’s announcements, which we hope to see all of you apply to.

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Alas, we couldn’t let such an inspiring mind like Eman Janahi go without getting some of that shine; so we asked her about her tips for young aspiring techies who are a little intimidated by the job market. 

Before sharing her tips, Eman Janahi shared: “Undoubtedly, the information and communication technology sector has gained an increasing importance both locally and globally, especially in light of the current circumstances in the world, which have pushed industries and sectors towards digital transformation and to focus on employment in the field of technology in a way that contributes to the sustainability of its business.”

  • Focus on technology but blend it with other areas of knowledge. Consider specializing in technology in the fields of education or health for example. This unique blend of skills and experience is what organizations and governments are currently looking for. 
  • Ongoing learning is a key to future success. Whether it’s in the field of technology, or any other field, be curious and always keep an eye on new topics that are related to your interests. 
  • If you are skilled in something, always try to combine it with a professional certificate. This will give you the label you need to progress with your career.
  • Academic degrees are important, but the labor market is hungry for professional skills. Never underestimate the power of short internships and focused training courses provided by trusted training providers.
  • Stay optimistic and enjoy the adaptation journey. No matter how tough this challenging time might sound, remember that it also comes with lots of opportunities that we can capitalize on.

Mr. Ali Hasan, ICTS Director at Bahrain Polytechnic, also shared his thoughts on how the academy paves the way to meet Bahrain’s 2030 Vision: “Producing work-ready graduates has always been our mission, and by establishing this academy, we aim to produce a national workforce which contributes to improving our digital economy and artificial intelligence capabilities. The participants will earn an international certificate from Microsoft that qualifies them to serve the community using the latest tools and technology to meet the labor market requirements, which is in line with the Bahrain 2030 Vision.

We don’t know about you, but that was quite the motivation for us. The program comes at the perfect timing, where the world is hungry to learn and to go places in their careers, and now Bahrain has something to help those people get what they want. 

Got any questions about the AI Academy? Shoot them at us on our social media platforms on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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