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

 |   Singapore News Center

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

Singapore, 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.

“Skills will be the new currency of 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,” said Kevin Wo, Managing Director, Microsoft Singapore.

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 is committed to improving diversity within their organizations and offers 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 organizations collaborate through Code; Without Barriers,” said Leanne Robers, Co-founder and Co-CEO, She Loves Tech.

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“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 https://aka.ms/codewithoutbarriers

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.

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

  • PALO IT

“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.