Microsoft launches Code; Without Barriers across nine countries in Asia Pacific

 |   Microsoft Malaysia

Thirteen companies join Microsoft to increase employability of female technical talent and nurture entrepreneurs across Asia Pacific

Asia Pacific, 23 September 2021 – Microsoft and 13 companies across nine Asia Pacific countries today launched Code; Without Barriers to help close the gender gap in the region’s fast-growing cloud, artificial intelligence (AI) and digital technology sectors.

The program provides a platform to enable female developers, coders, and other technical talent to contribute towards inclusive economic growth, encourage innovation and better reflect the societal makeup of their region.

“The balance between consumption and creation is changing. We see developers increasingly influencing every business process and function. Which is why Code; Without Barriers was created. We identified an urgent need to increase the diversity of cloud, AI and technical talent in APAC, so every country can achieve their national digital agendas and have truly inclusive economic growth,” said Andrea Della Mattea, President for Microsoft in Asia Pacific.

The partners in the program include Accenture, AvePoint, Government Big Data Institute (GBDi), HCL Technologies, Just Analytics, MetLife, NTT Ltd, PALO IT, Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS), Simbiotik Technologies, Thoughtworks, Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK), and Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM).

These organizations operate in the areas of education, energy, financial services, public sector and technology in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Microsoft will provide skilling and certification in cloud and AI to increase the technical talent pools in the countries. Each of the 13 companies are committed to improving diversity within their organizations and offer career opportunities to female creators and developers. Equally, through a series of engagements, from career fairs to hackathons to mentorship and support from business leaders, Code; Without Barriers will nurture and develop female entrepreneurs in APAC.

Code; Without Barriers works with more than 21 developer communities across APAC, reaching more than 407,000 developers across data, AI, DevOps, Java, JavaScript and Python and Women in Tech.

“We identified an urgent need in our region to increase the diversity of technical talent, as only 26% of professionals in data and AI are women and this drops to 12% for professionals in cloud computing. For this to change, and for APAC markets to have a truly inclusive national digital agenda, it starts with breaking barriers and empowering developer diversity in our organizations and industries. It’s our responsibility as leaders of this community to shape what comes next; to show what’s possible when our digital worlds reflect the diversity of the society we live in,” Ms Della Mattea said.

Code; Without Barriers has piloted 18 Women in AI certification programs across eight APAC markets, training more than 480 women, and certifying 203 developers. Microsoft also hosted cloud skills challenges for more than 7,617 developers.

“Gender-diverse teams are smarter and more productive,” said Gina Smith, PhD, IDC’s lead analyst for DevOps and digital innovation in the Asia/Pacific region. “Hiring women in technology roles adds far more than a fresh perspective. Recent studies quantifiably demonstrate that gender-diverse enterprises demonstrably more innovation and higher returns than the mean overall. Programs like Microsoft’s Code; Without Barriers go a long way toward bridging that critical gap.”

“It is an established fact that having more women in the tech industry benefits companies and societies. But creating the conditions for a more diverse workforce is a complex challenge – no single organization can do this alone. We have a shared responsibility to simultaneously remove barriers and uplift women, and I’m thrilled to see companies and organisations collaborate through Code; Without Barriers,” said Leanne Robers, Co-founder and Co-CEO, She Loves Tech.

Our business partners

“We can’t do this in isolation and are thankful that organizations across industry sectors have joined us in APAC,” shared Annie Mathew, Director, Developer Relations and Program Lead for Code; Without Barriers at Microsoft in APAC.

Sustaining diversity by advocating for responsible AI

Microsoft’s Code; Without Barriers team is taking this further, with an upcoming community playbook that tackles how to handle bias and how to sustain diversity in emerging tech.

“Communities look to Microsoft to address and share the best practices in Responsible AI, so that they can build in diversity, reduce bias, and ensure transparency in the work that they do. We are empowering a new generation of women in technology through Code; Without Barriers,” concluded Ms Mathew.

Learn more about Code; Without Barriers: Listen to our Podcast series on Spotify, watch the YouTube playlist, and read more at 

About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

For more information, please contact:

Microsoft Asia Pacific
Supriya Addanki
[email protected]
Edelman (Partner Agency for Microsoft Asia)
Charis Pek
[email protected]

Appendix: Our Partners

  • Accenture

“Code; Without Barriers comes at the right time in our social climate. True progress in equality can only be made when women have the opportunities and the support to pursue and advance their careers. At Accenture, we are committed to ensuring an inclusive and diverse culture where all our women can be their authentic selves and thrive in their tech careers.  I want my female colleagues to feel that they belong, and encourage them to take on the goal to become future-ready. For companies to attract and retain more talented women, particularly in areas of cloud, data and artificial intelligence, collaboration across the industry is required. Working hand-in-hand with Microsoft, we look forward to making this a reality by increasing opportunities for women, taking definitive steps to develop talent, and build fulfilling careers in an inclusive and diverse environment” said Ng Wee Wei, Country Managing Director of Accenture Singapore.

  • AvePoint

“AvePoint is delighted to partner with Microsoft in Code; without Barriers as part of our commitment to empowering diversity in the tech-community. Our company is made of a community of experts with unique backgrounds, all of whom collectively challenge and hone the value of our solutions for customers. Diversity has been a key value driver for AvePoint, and we will continue to advocate for the many benefits it brings to any organization,” said Elisa Pang, Director of Product Marketing for AvePoint EduTech.

  • Government Big Data Institute (GBDi)

“At GBDi, we recognize the importance of young people in the future of the tech world.  One of our priorities is to give them equal opportunities in developing skills and attitudes, no matter which gender they are.  In partnering with the Code; without Barriers program, we hope to equip the new generation as well as to encourage them to be a part of building the world that they, themselves would want to live in,” said Associate Professor Tiranee Achalakul, Director, GBDi, Thailand.

  • Just Analytics

“New age leaders have emphasized how nurturing diverse teams, brings in the best- diverse thought process, rich competencies and innovative ways to mitigate risks. Today, with the redefined work culture, the need for higher Emotional Intelligence and Empathy at work is critical. This can be nurtured by encouraging different school of thoughts. The only way to build more resilient workforce is to acknowledge and respect diversity and consciously create growth ecosystem. Leveraging each other’s expertise through platforms like Code; Without Barriers opens more opportunity and ideas for an inclusive environment,” said Nisha Sullia, Head of Solution Engineering, Just Analytics.

  • MetLife

“Our commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is deeply ingrained in our company’s purpose to help people build a more confident future. Our ability to innovate and meet diverse customer needs depends on us having an inclusive culture that values people with diverse ideas and experience who can anticipate, understand, design, and deliver relevant solutions that matter, which is why we’re proud to be part of the Microsoft Code; Without Barriers program” said Vikrant Tripathi, Vice President, Asia Regional Solutions Delivery, MetLife Asia


“It is great to be selected as a partner with Microsoft on the Code; without Barriers program. This program closely aligns with our company vision to ensure inclusion and diversity are the bedrock of all initiatives we launch. The journey towards gender parity is complex, multifaceted and it requires continuous education of every stakeholder to seed the message across the organization and beyond. This partnership with Microsoft will provide us and the community with a platform to scale the reach that we have,” said Eugene Yang, Business Innovation Director, PALO IT.

  • Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS)

“PETRONAS is proud to yet again be part of a global inspiration to make lives better with data and pushing our digital agenda to new heights.  Talents with prowess in data skillsets are essential to drive the pace towards a Data-Driven Organisation,” said Datin Habsah Nordin, General Manager Enterprise Data, PETRONAS.

  • Simbiotik Technologies

“SimbiotikTech is extremely happy to be a part of this revolutionary program led by Microsoft to address gender parity. We believe that having the right mindset to challenge such issue is critical irrespective of what role we play in the organization. Embracing diversity and increasing inclusivity can spark a game-changing impact on our future,” said Dipankar Mitra, MD & CEO for Simbiotik Technologies, Malaysia.

  • Thoughtworks

“Diversity, equity and inclusion have the power to create transformative social change. At Thoughtworks, we aim to include all of society, both in our community and through our tech. For us, inclusion is everyone’s job; it unifies us as a community and brings out the best in individuals and teams; together we strive to have an extraordinary impact on the world. We are proud to partner in The Code; Without Barriers program is an important initiative in continuing this journey towards creating an industry that is truly diverse,” said Wen Shun Wong, Managing Director, Thoughtworks Southeast Asia.

  • Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK)

“This partnership is momentous for Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK) as it serves as a powerful platform for us to work alongside Microsoft in bridging the gender gap in the IR4.0 ecosystem.  This program allows UMK, as an education provider, to further emphasize the importance of a technology-based curriculum and the need to strengthen the university-industry-community relationships. As a university with entrepreneurship as its thrust, our role in the Malaysia’s East Coast digital age socio-economic transformation can also further be boosted.  Optimistic about training more certified digitally skilled students in AI & Technology and via mentorships and coaching, students and faculties will be prepared to leverage emerging technologies like AI, IoT, cloud computing and big data analytics to innovate and solve real-world problems. With these needed skills, graduate employability can also be increased. By providing access to opportunities in IR4.0 knowledge and skills through digital skilling, gender diversity and diversifying this field, in general, can be addressed, and inclusivity can be enhanced among the community,” said Dr. Hasyiya Karimah Binti Adli, Doctor of Philosophy, Fellow of Institute for Artificial Intelligence and Big Data (AIBIG), Universiti Malaysia Kelantan.

  • Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM)

“Tech skills are never about mastering the technology itself. They are the essence of problem solving. It is always about decoding the problem, not coding the solutions. Hence UTHM’s partnership with Microsoft in Code; without Barriers is truly about resolving real world problems, diversity starting with the talent supply in education, nurturing skills needed for an increasing digital world and creating equitable opportunities for our girls and students,” said Dr Aida Binti Mustapha, Head of Center of Computational Mathematics (CERCOM) and Faculty of Applied Science and Technology at Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia.

Appendix: Microsoft country leaders on the program

  • Ji Eun Lee, General Manager and CEO, Microsoft Korea

“Microsoft embraces diversity and inclusion as a company-wide culture and aims to extend the value to the society. Microsoft Korea will keep supporting diverse communities through skilling and accessibility initiatives to empower more people to achieve more.”

  • Linda Dwiyanti, Chief Partnership Officer, Microsoft Indonesia

“Microsoft Indonesia is thrilled to support Code; Without Barriers, as we partner with other organizations in providing a platform that can open more opportunities and guidance for women to excel in technology. This will promote diversity and inclusivity in technology, while empowering more people and organizations to achieve more.”

  • Paulo Fernandes, General Manager, Small, Medium and Corporate Business APAC and Vietnam country leader

“We are thrilled to land the Code; Without Barriers in Vietnam as diversity and inclusion has become one of our company-wide culture for years. Nowadays, when technologies have increasingly played a vital role in our socio-economy, so do the women. Thus, together with other partners in the region, we will strongly drive this initiative so that more and more people can be equipped with better digital skills in the future.”

  • Andres Ortola, General Manager, Microsoft Philippines

“The Code; Without Barriers program will enable more Filipino women to harness their technological aptitude and talents for the country’s development–effectively accelerating our economic recovery from the pandemic. We are thrilled to be a part of an initiative that champions for diversity and inclusion, so that we may continue to stay true to our mission of empowering every organization and individual to achieve more.”

  • Dhanawat Suthumpun, Managing Director, Microsoft Thailand

“Developers today operate at the forefront of social and economic development, and many times they are just a few brilliant ideas away from entirely reshaping how we live and work. The tech industry has never been better placed to change the world, and it is more important than ever to ensure that our tech workforce is more diverse and more equally representative of the society we live in. With Code; Without Barriers, we are proud to be empowering women across Asia Pacific with the potential to transform our digital future together.”

  • K Raman, Managing Director, Microsoft Malaysia

“In recent years we have seen unprecedented digital transformation across industries, as businesses adapt newer and more advanced technologies to build business resilience whilst accelerating growth. Parallel to this is a rise in demand for digital skills, and it is critical that we meet this demand in an inclusive manner. Code; Without Barriers provides an important stepping-stone for women looking to explore careers in technology, empowering them with the skills needed to thrive in technical roles so they can contribute to Malaysia’s growth and diversity of the workforce across the region.”

  • Kevin Wo, Managing Director, Microsoft Singapore

“Skills will be the new currency our post-pandemic world. For us to emerge stronger, digital skilling through initiatives like Code without Barriers will be key to our economic reset. Together with our national skilling initiatives, we continue to create a diverse and inclusive skills-based labor market in Singapore, offering more alternatives and greater flexibility through new job opportunities in our hybrid world.”

  • Sook Hoon Cheah, General Manager, Microsoft SEA New Markets

“The World Economic Forum and LinkedIn reports that female workers make up an estimated 26% of workers in Data and AI roles, 15% of workers in Engineering roles and 12% of workers in Cloud Computing roles. With more women in Sri Lanka pursuing technology education, we believe more work can be done to make the country’s workforce reflect its diverse society. Through initiatives like ‘Code; Without Barriers’, we hope to skill women and women with disabilities, raise employability and learning opportunities, and bridge the gender parity gap in our region.”

  • Md Yousup Faruqu, Country Manager, Microsoft Bangladesh

“Bangladesh has closed 72.6% of its overall gender gap and ranks 50th on the Global Gender Gap Index. The country is the best performer in South Asia, but its presence in the top 50 should not hide the fact that there is considerable room to bolster basic rights of women and improve our economic and political prospects. At Microsoft, we are focusing on developer diversity bringing customers, partners and communities together. Our ‘Code; Without Barriers’ initiative will help the country to continue making significant strides in narrowing its educational gender gap.”