Do You Have What it Takes to Succeed in Dubai’s Silicon Valley?

Dubai’s astounding population growth rate of 7% per year is driving growth in many industry areas, including construction, hospitality, food, and retail banking services. This growth has been characterised by a large influx of expatriates/professionals which has in itself created a secondary demand in Dubai for consumer centered internet and mobile  services. In fact, experts at Euromonitor International revealed that UAE online sales hit US 1 Billion for the first time last year and they are expecting a continued upward growth trend, during 2012 and beyond.

This surge in online sales will be increasing the demand for services within Dubai’s software and internet sector, the heart of which is in Dubai Internet City, which put itself on the map in March this year by hosting the first Tbreak Developers conference which brought together developers and platform providers such as RIM, Nokia and Qualcomm.

With US based technology speculators also heading to Dubai to look for investment opportunities, the Dubai Internet Sector is set to make an irresistible move forwards onto the global stage of technology innovation. This makes it a perfect time to start building your career in the Dubai Internet sector, however IT and internet professionals do need to exhibit quite specific personal qualities to gain employment and excel in the new media and IT sectors, and I have described these below.

Creativity, Entrepreneurship and Risk-taking

The chief characterizing features of the world renowned US Silicon valley are creativity, entrepreneurship, risk-taking and innovation; these same features characterize Dubai Internet City. In fact, Dubai is fostering innovation across all sectors, especially in the hi-tech sector. If you are a candidate and you want to appeal to hi-tech employers within the Dubai Internet Sector you must be able to demonstrate that you are an innovator, that you come up with new ideas and turn them into products and services.

Write web applications in your spare time

As an aspiring developer trying to break into Dubai Internet City, it is not enough to say “I can program, so hire me”. This is because there are many good programmers out there and you need to set yourself apart. One way to do this is develop your own  web/mobile applications in your spare time and attempt to market them to consumers. When you make job applications and attend interviews, you can then show them your portfolio of web applications and services that you have developed. This is one of the best ways for you to show that you are capable of developing market ready mobile apps, web apps and video games. And, it will help to distinguish you from other candidates, increasing your chances of being selected for your dream role in the Dubai Internet City.

Run your own blog on web and mobile technology trends

If you are looking to break into an executive role, covering areas like marketing and sales, you will of course need a good quality business degree, but this will just bring you in line with your peers. You should also be able to demonstrate an ability to think creatively and to generate ideas for new marketable products and services, and, of course, you must show an excellent understanding of the online landscape. The best way to do this is to establish, market and manage your own blog which should be in the area of online, mobile, technology and consumerism. Being able to showcase your  blog at interview is a great way to show your understanding, dynamism and entrepreneurship and will impress the hiring manager.

Making speculative employment inquiries to hi-tech employers

You can consider making speculative applications to Dubai Internet city employers, but if you do, make sure that your application is well researched and well targeted. To do this, firstly identify the employers you are interested in, and then prepare a letter explaining your skills and how you feel you can provide benefit to their business. This must be very specific. For example, if they are a mobile apps producer, you must clearly explain your experience of developing apps and your knowledge and understanding of their product strategy. You should be able to make suggestions as to how they could improve their products or services, and if you are going for an executive role, you should be able to suggest an idea or two for new apps that would fit well into the prospective employee’s portfolio.

Final Words

As you can see, candidates must adopt a slightly different approach to finding a job in the innovative Dubai internet sector than in the more risk averse engineering, banking or food sectors. The Dubai Internet sector is looking for innovators, entrepreneurs and ideas people. If you think you can offer these skills and qualities than the Dubai internet is the perfect place for you to make your next career step.

About the author

Kazim Ladimeji is the Director of—a resource for start-ups, small business and job seekers. It includes a blog with career and small business advice articles. Kazim is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and has been a practising HR professional for 14 years.

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