The Urgent Need to Develop a Conducive Tech Ecosystem in Bhutan

As the world is advancing towards digitalization, Information Technology (IT) skills have become increasingly important in the global job market. Bhutan is no exception to this trend, with the demand for IT skills growing rapidly in the country. Unfortunately, Bhutan is facing a shortage of IT skills and experts that are needed to meet the increasing demand for such skills. This shortage could significantly impact the country’s transition towards a digitally advanced nation.

Bhutan has made commendable progress in the field of IT, with the government prioritizing the ICT sector as a key enabler for economic growth. The establishment of Gyalpozhing College for Information Technology (GCIT) is an excellent initiative towards empowering the tech generation of learners with cutting edge skills and knowledge in modern software technology and interactive design. However, it seems that this college alone is not enough to cater to the growing demand for IT skills.

According to an official from GovTech, the country’s digital agency, Bhutan needs to build a pool of 1,000 deep tech professionals by 2030 to meet the increasing demand for IT skills. To achieve this, the agency is working on developing an adequate skilling program for tech professionals across the country, facilitating them to get internationally accredited certificates in deep tech areas. The agency is also exploring the possibility of engaging international domain experts for short term employment to fill up the resource gaps and transfer knowledge to build domestic experience and capacity in the medium term.

Despite these efforts, the sad reality of the huge prospects for job opportunities in the field of IT is saddled by the trend of people going outside the country. This trend is mainly due to the lack of opportunities and better prospects in terms of better income and college courses outside Bhutan. Many graduates are opting to leave the country, pursuing post-graduates and masters in other countries for better opportunities outside.

The issue of attrition is also a pertinent challenge faced by Bhutan in retaining skilled tech professionals. The attrition rate has hit almost all sectors in Bhutan, and this trend is likely to increase in the future if certain mechanisms are not put in place.

As a small and landlocked country, Bhutan faces numerous challenges in developing and retaining skilled IT professionals. However, the lack of IT skills will impact the country’s transition towards a digitalized nation. It is, therefore, imperative to develop a conducive tech ecosystem that offers gainful employment opportunities and economic empowerment to retain skilled tech professionals.

The government needs to take concrete steps to address this issue, including providing better job opportunities, improving the quality of IT education, and promoting entrepreneurship in the IT sector. The private sector should also come forward to play its role in developing the IT ecosystem in Bhutan by investing in research and development, infrastructure, and training programs for IT professionals.

The growing demand for IT skills in Bhutan is a call to action for the government and the private sector to work together to develop and retain skilled IT professionals in the country. It is only by doing so that Bhutan can achieve its digital vision of a technologically advanced nation with empowered citizens and a thriving digital economy.

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