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JEDDAH: The Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones (SAFCSP) has called on Saudi women over the age 18 and interested in programming to apply to the Apple Developer Academy.

Tuwaiq Academy, which was included in Apple’s Authorized Training Center for Education (AATCE) program last November, said on its website that the program was open to all females, regardless of coding knowledge or background. However, it added, the ideal candidate should be able to demonstrate a high quality of work, motivation to learn and thrive in a collaborative learning environment.

Tuwaiq Academy became Apple’s first educational training center in the Middle East after it was included in its AATCE program.

Candidates who successfully pass the standard assessment test will be provided with the skills, resources and training to find and create jobs in the booming iOS app economy. They will also graduate with the skills needed to contribute to local business communities.

The program has two main levels — the Apple Foundation program and the Academy program.

The first is a four-week program, and is designed for learners wanting to discover what being a developer means. It is also tailored for those who are interested in learning more about coding, design and app development for the iOS environment, using the latest Apple technologies available.

The second program is a one-year course, in which students use the Apple ecosystem to learn coding, design fundamentals, business apps, game design and marketing, as well as process and professional skills.

Tuwaiq Academy, which has invited experienced mentors to be part of its teaching staff, explained that the curriculum incorporates Apple’s values throughout the coursework, encouraging students to design inclusively and make a positive impact in the world.

Although no previous coding experience is expected, Tuwaiq Academy urged passionate and highly motivated applicants to review the documents and videos it provided to help them prepare for the assessment test.

The academy added that the selected candidates will receive a full scholarship without any payment due, and all the technology needed will be provided.

Twitter users reacted to a post by SAFCSP announcing the academy, asking when the programs would begin and whether the training course would contradict with applicants’ university studies.

SAFCSP chairman, Faisal Al-Khamisi, was not available for more information on the programs and whether attendance would be remote or in person, especially in light of current concerns over the pandemic.

Noura Al-Khudair, who is studying the Internet of Things (IoT) at the Saudi Digital Academy, told Arab News that she was thrilled to learn about the opening of the Apple Developer Academy in the Saudi capital.

“I will surely apply to the academy as I am eager to improve my skills and create my own application, which I am hopeful would be of importance to people, especially shoppers, and I will not hesitate to move to Riyadh to attend the academy,” she said.

She added that she appreciated the support of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in creating initiatives to empower Saudi women.

Mishael Abdul Aziz, a Jeddah-based freelance web developer, said that she would not think twice about going to Riyadh once admitted to the academy.

“I have got a number of application ideas, and I am sure this academy can help me make my plans a reality. Whether in Riyadh or any other Saudi city, it is everyone’s dream to join such an academy,” she told Arab News.

She said that Saudi women were receiving unprecedented support from the government. “With this impressive support, Saudi men and women can now join hands and continue to contribute to the development projects the Kingdom is witnessing.”

Graduates of the Apple Developer Academy in the US, Italy, South Korea, Brazil and Indonesia have created more than 1,500 iOS-supported applications on the App Store. They have also established more than 160 startup companies.

In a statement posted by SAFCSP, Apple said that it believed technology could be a strong tool for good: “We also believe that technology can open up new doors to learning, innovation and participation in the thriving app economy. The Apple Developer Academy has been designed to inspire and empower a new group of entrepreneurs and app developers. It supports them with the skills and resources needed to start their digital jobs.”

The new academy, Apple’s first-of-its-kind in the MENA region, is a partnership with SAFCSP, represented by Tuwaiq Academy and Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University, the world’s largest women’s university.

Tech giant Apple has chosen Riyadh as the home for its latest Developer Academy, where young entrepreneurs produce innovative software for the iOS operating system that powers its phones and tablets.

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