Future of IT in Pakistan
Pakistan had been here before technology. Be that as it may, Pakistan has benefited and will still benefit further from the world of technology. This country is having a share of the dividends of technological advancement in the Asian, Arabian and other parts of the world. Countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and China are also principal beneficiaries of the goodies brought by information technology. While Pakistan may not presently have the same level of exposer to the IT world like some of these other counties, the country is rising fast as virtually everything is now getting integrated into information technology, thereby taking the country to the next step of glory and bring it close to other advanced nations of the world.
Pakistan has quite a history behind it regarding information technology. Even if the country is not as advanced as other countries like China, it is one of the countries in the world to first experience the goodness of information technology. For example, the very first prudence of IT was felt in this country as far back as the 1960s, when the very first 2nd generation computer got installed in Karachi; this was long before many other countries in the world ever knew about computers. Then it is right to say that Pakistan is one of the earliest countries to have any association with information technology. The idea of computer science and information technology first gained popularity in Pakistan in the 1980s. While western nations like the United States might have had prior exposure, it does not remove the fact that Pakistan also stands tall as one of the countries to have access to information technology in the eastern hemisphere and the Arabian world. Some may think Pakistan is a late starter, but it is an early starter compared to more than 100 other countries in the world.
As hinted above, Pakistan has quite a history in information technology, even though their first experience began around the middle of the previous century. However, the country is among the top performers and users of technology in the world today. The information technology industry in Pakistan is doing very well and competing favorably with those of other countries like Singapore, Indonesia, China, Malaysia and even India. Today in Pakistan, up to 500,000 computers are being purchased almost every year; you will agree that is a huge number. This means it is a question of time before virtually every Pakistani has a computer and becomes computer literate; this is a feat not expected from a so-called third world country. The rate of awareness in information technology is increasing fast in this country, and one can only imagine what the future will look like. The number of computers being bought and the rise in knowledge about information technology reached began to flourish notably in 2013 and 2014. However, the surge had been sustained since then.
Pakistan is not just an end user of information technology; the country is also a producer/manufacturer of information technology. Today, the number of information technology gadgets being exported from this country has increased like never before. As a result, the country’s internally generated revenue has also increased same for her foreign reserves; economists will agree that increase in foreign exchanger supply will culminate in a better economy. With the rise in the amount coming into Pakistan in the form of foreign exchange, the government is more able to meet the needs of the citizens by proving amenities required for good living.
In 2002, Pakistan could only generate a total of $202 million from exporting information technology gadgets. The figure, however, more than doubled between 2014 and 2015 and the country could generate up to $530 million as foreign exchange. The country already has a higher target for 2017-2018; they plan to increase their foreign exchange generation to $1230 million. This is to say that the government is not only concerned with improving the awareness of its citizens for information technology but also bent on making a good income for the country from information technology. The Pakistani government is now more determined than ever to strengthen and facilitate the various IT industries within its boundaries with the required zeal to perform. The new wave of improvement will undoubtedly create more employment and make Pakistan inch closer to the other global countries regarding technological advancement.
Today, Pakistanis are tapping into the benefits of the internet to make a living. Gone are the days when you have to leave your home in the morning and head for a brick and mortar office before you can make a living; these days, you can stay right in the comfort of your home to make good money by accessing the power of the internet. Many Pakistani are already benefiting from this today. They are involved in web designing, computer programing, information management, website management, search engine optimization and so on. In fact, many of the information technology companies in Pakistani are already outsourcing technology jobs to other parts of the world; not because they do not have the professionals to get these jobs done, but because they have an excess of IT related jobs to be completed within a short period, thereby necessitating outsourcing.
You may not believe it, but one of the best hackers in the world today is from this country. He claimed he had made up to 1.5 Crores ($150,000) as profit since he began his hacking journey. He is ranked as the third-best bug hunter globally and also as the 11th best hacker globally. His name is Shahmeer Amir. Since he began his hacking career, he had successfully reported bugs to more than 300 global organizations, like Dropbox, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook. He had not been here for long; he only attained this new status over the past two years as a bug hunter.
In 2000, very few cities could access the internet. However, the tide has turned today, as more than half of the country now has access to the internet.
What the future holds?
The government of Pakistan has discovered that information technology can be a good source of government revenue. At present, mining and agriculture are the primary sources of revenue for the Pakistani government. However, the government is looking to adding information technology as a principal source of government income. It has been hinted earlier that the country is already recording a rise in the foreign exchange generated via information technology, but there are plans to strengthen this industry further to create more than it is doing now. If the plans on a ground sail through, then the revenue generated from information technology will get higher than what obtains in other sectors, like communication, transportation, insurance, construction, textile, and sports equipment.
One of the best ways to bring the dreams of the government to pass in the information technology world is to develop the human resources aspect of information technology better than it is today. Such a development will enable the government harvest more profit from this industry. It is true that the country has reached an enviable status in the information technology. However, Pakistan still has a long way to go in the information technology world. The country still needs to do more to be able to compete with other countries of the world. Yes, the government has plans to improve this sector, and the programs are already bearing good fruits. However, there is still need to do even more than they are presently doing if they are to compete and get ahead of several other countries. There are indications that the country will be exalted above the demeaning status of a third world country if it can put all its resources together to improve the information technology industry. The trend has been looking up for more than a decade now. Sustenance of this beneficial trend can take the country beyond poverty level and makes it one of the best in the world, both economically and technologically.
As part of its plan for the future, the Pakistan government, following up on its National IT Policy passed by the Federal Cabinet in 2000, will focus on building its economy on information technology. Other plans for the future in the information technology industry are:
- Furtherance of human resources development in information technology
- Information technology infrastructural development
- Using information technology for establishment of transparency and efficiency in governance
- Improving information technology services to the citizenry
- Stimulate an increase in information technology exportation and domestic economy.
Many more Pakistanis are being employed in the world of technology. The country has a total population of up to 193.2 million according to a 2016 census, and the government plans to increase the number of those who are computer literate among the populace. This informed the decision of Microsoft to reach an agreement with the Pakistani government to launch a computer literacy program that would expose the yet-to-be-informed sets of individuals in Pakistan to the world of information technology. The program began some several years ago, and it has educated many Pakistani in this regard. However, the progress has not spread as far as desired. The government seems to have re-enacted its effort to bring to birth an improvement in this program. The end goal is to bride the digital divide in this country at a faster rate than is available now so that a greater percentage of its youth can be computer literate within the next couple of years.
The Microsoft/Pakistan, computer literacy programs, started with just 700 students. However, the tide has turned today, and hundreds of students have enlisted. Much more is expected to also enlist for the program in the nearest future, which means the country will be transformed into an embodiment of computer literate men and women.
The computer literacy program is expected to touch the lives of many in the northern part of the country. Other parts, like Sindh and Punjab, are also expected to be reached in the years to come. The training will also be extended to the local private sector of the country. They also plan to utilize the help of the academia in propagating computer literacy in the country.
The government plans to raise men and woman that can stand tall on a global scale, like Shahmeer Amir. Even if not all of them are involved in bug hunting, they will contribute their quotas to other aspects of the information technology industry in Pakistan. The government plans to re-engineer the old processes of doing things via information technology. It also plans to bring a lot of improvement in communication to increase its speed. In the future, for example, the government will shift all its date from the conventional paper form to electronic form, which will further increase the efficiency of government services and also be about more efficiency. Adopting the information technology solution will equally make it easy to measure government’s functional performances. Over the years, many more universities now offer a technology-focused course of study. In the future, many more universities will add to their information technology-related courses, and new faculties will be included. Aside from the universities, vocational institutions will also be established to cater to the information technology education of the people of Pakistan.
The country has already developed a reliably strong information technology infrastructure. Be that as it may, there is plan on the ground to strengthen the present day infrastructure further and make accessibility possible all over the country. Pakistanis can access the internet and other dividends of infrastructural development at a highly affordable rate. The end goal is to make Pakistan a regional hub of technology and information flow. Furthermore, there is a plan to strengthen the available geo satellite technology to make communication broadcast more accessible in all the remote areas of this country. The strengthening is also expected to benefit the countries around its borders.
The internet is vital to the lives of virtually everyone these days. The information technology advancement being planned by the government will undoubtedly connect virtually everyone in this country to the World Wide Web and make information sharing even easier than ever before. The number of software houses in this country has also increased drastically, and the new wave of information technology in the country indicates that many more of such companies will be established in the nearest future. Many more homes, offices, colleges, and schools will have easier access to the internet, which will make research and entertainment readily available at the snap of the finger.