Largest Saudi coding initiative reaches over 1 million


RIYADH — The Misk Foundation celebrated the completion of the second edition of Saudi Codes, the largest initiative of its kind ever held in Saudi Arabia, at an event in Riyadh on Saturday.

Saudi Codes is an initiative designed to break the barrier of fear many people have towards computer programming, by making the learning of programming languages fun, accessible, and relevant. This second edition of the initiative has introduced over 1 million participants in Saudi Arabia and over 130 countries worldwide to coding, using the JavaScript, Python and MakeCode languages.

Available online globally and through a series of travelling roadshows across the cities and villages of the Kingdom, Saudi Codes is a partnership between Misk, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and Saudi Telecom Company (STC). Saudi Codes consists of four elements: supplying coding instruction, a coding pioneers program, a 2030 coding competition, and a special program to empower women to enter the coding field.

Attendees of the event, held at AlRaidah Digital City, included Abdullah Al-Swaha, minister of communications and information technology, Bader Al-Asaker, chairman of the Board of the Misk Initiatives Center, and representatives of the private and non-profit sector partner organizations.

Deemah Alyahya, executive manager of Misk Innovation, welcomed the partnership between the public, private, and non-profit sectors, saying, “This partnership has brought new skills and opportunities to a wider array of people than ever before. Together we are demonstrating that coding skills can and should be brought within anyone’s reach, and together we are empowering people with the knowledge, skills, and coding confidence they need for a bright future in the Knowledge Economy. In doing so, we are driving the digital transformation of the Kingdom and ensuring its place on the global front-line of innovation.”

The daylong celebration saw 60 participants take on an “Ideathon” to develop solutions for improving Saudi lifestyles through sports, entertainment, healthcare, transportation, financial awareness, and recycling and sustainability. The winners of this final challenge were announced in an evening ceremony, which also recognized the achievements of the Saudi Codes ambassadors, the support of numerous private and public sector partners, and the wider results of the initiative.

The second initiative of Saudi Codes focused on the MakeCode, JavaScript and Python programming languages, and also trained Saudi Codes Ambassadors to further promote the initiative within the Kingdom and act as mentors to new participants.

Misk is planning a third edition of Saudi Codes which will focus on future skills such as AI and data analytics for people with non-technology backgrounds. — SG