Saturday, 18 September 2021 03:44 GMT

Apps UP 2021: Three Women Trailblazing Regional App Development

(MENAFN - Golin Mena) Tech Women’s Award category in Huawei’s Apps UP 2021, a global initiative to celebrate women in the developer community

Riyadh, 01 September, 2021: From e-commerce to healthcare and social impact, women leaders play a unique role and make key contributions, transforming industries by pursuing bold ideas that solve day-to-day problems. Huawei is committed to encouraging and supporting women as they create innovative technological applications and tools that enable social impact.

Huawei HMS App Innovation Contest (Apps UP) features eight categories, including the Tech Women’s Award, created to showcase the impactful work done by female app developers. In the MENA region, a growing number of women are leading the creation of apps for the Huawei ecosystem, such as Amal Al Saadi, a Mobile Architect Consultant with OrangeJo and the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of VineTech – a mobile apps development house. Amal is also closely involved in the development of ‘Aman’, the community-built and privacy-oriented Covid-19 contact-tracing app used in Jordan.

Amal describes herself as a computer scientist, software engineer and architect, Blockchain and cryptocurrency researcher and an overall technology fanatic. Her ambition is for VineTech to be listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

Amal notes that the regional app development industry is mostly populated by males, but believes that the tide is turning. “I believe that in time, we will see many more focused and passionate ladies emerging in the industry,” she says. “I can already see that a great deal has changed in recent times to encourage female participation in ICT careers and there are a number of successful initiatives and bursaries by international bodies, governments, civil society, educational institutions, and the industry itself to encourage women to join the ICT sector.”

She believes it is essential that women in the industry support each other, and encourages women not to be held back by anything that limits their aspirations to pursue technical careers. “We often categorise career choices based on their fit for a man or a woman when we should really be looking at the skill or talent of a person, rather than their gender,” Amal says. “As a woman, I believe it’s important to act as an inspiration for others to pursue their dreams. We need to have more organizations like Girls in Tech, to prepare women for careers in the technology sector.”

Amal has worked with Huawei on several fronts. At her own company, Huawei has provided vital training and has always been prompt in resolving queries and helping developers overcome problems. Huawei has supported the Aman app with considerable development assistance and a prominent listing in HUAWEI AppGallery, the default app marketplace on Huawei smart devices.

Another regional female developer making waves on the Huawei platform is Nour Shammout, development team lead at Baaz, a new social platform based in Jordan. Nour was interested in technology from an early age and was encouraged by her parents to pursue a career in tech. She was in her third year at university when she was chosen by a professor to develop a medical application along with two of her peers. It was from there that Nour’s interest in app development began.

Nour believes that gender diversity is essential for the software development industry in MENA to develop. “Although there is a huge gender gap in the app development sector, not just in the MENA region but also worldwide, the demand for women programmers is on the rise because the industry realises it has a long-standing programmer shortage and will be economically stunted by a lack of gender and socio-economic diversity,” she says.

Progress, she believes, will depend on overcoming the myth that women are perhaps less suited to STEM. While they may be less represented in these fields, Nour believes this is “not related to their abilities, it’s totally related to the social structure and stereotyping. Statistics show that this situation has been changing recently. Maybe the change is not fast enough, but I’m optimistic about the future.”

She advises aspiring female programmers to pursue their tech interests to help close the gender gap. “I was there at one point in my life, now I look to myself working with Baaz and say: Here, I’m a part of the change I want to see in the MENA region. I’m part of the first Arab social media platform. I’m sure, years from now, I’ll look back, smile, content that I pursued my dreams and did it my way.”
Jacqueline Rogers is the founder of My Pregnancy Journey App. The app was one of three winners in the Social Impact category of the Apps UP 2020 competition and was developed by African women for African women. It aims to help address the lack of locally-relevant content and assistance for expecting mothers during a very special time of their lives. Each user can personalize the app for themselves and use any of the 30 features to track her pregnancy from week to week. The app updates new content, videos, and information every week.
Rogers is vocally appreciative about the support she received from Huawei. Since listing the app on HUAWEI AppGallery, it has also been integrated with key HMS Core functionalities such as analytics and in-app purchases. “These integrations and Huawei’s support have given us the opportunity to turn our app into a business,” says Rogers. “I would definitely urge all aspiring tech entrepreneurs, especially women, to enter this competition for the wealth of direct and indirect rewards on offer. Winning the competition has jumpstarted the growth of our app!”
September 5th is the last date for entries to Apps UP 2021, one of the top global competitions for mobile app developers. This year’s competition is again divided into five geographical regions, including Middle East & Africa (MEA), Asia, North America, South America and Europe. A total of US $200,000 in cash prizes is available to developers in each region.

With less than a week remaining for the application deadline, to register and learn more about Huawei HMS App Innovation Contest (Apps UP) please visit:


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