Information Technology can play an important role in strengthening the economy of a country. IT industry has become one of the robust industries of the world especially in the developed countries as it plays an important role in driving the economic growth. The efficient use of information technology is an essential element for competing in a rapidly growing economy.
In Pakistan, Information technology has emerged as a flourishing sector. In recent years, with concerted patronage of the government with sizable investments, IT infrastructure is on the road towards success. Every year a huge chunk of investment is distributed to human resource development and provision of enabling infrastructure. Pakistan is a developing country and is facing the same problems in adoption and diffusion of technology as the other developing economies and therefore in the beginning, the introduction of information technology was a bit slow in the country.
This sector gained importance in the 2000s as the government started to give a lot of emphasis to information technology. Proper institutes were opened and IT professionals were hired to give IT training in the universities. By adopting IT as a national program, the government of Pakistan is taking every necessary step to make it an IT super power. The infrastructure of IT sector in Pakistan consists of hardware and software, telecommunications and human resources. For the development of organization, IT infrastructure is an obligation. And as Pakistan itself is developing, it is still far away from being self-sufficient in developing a well-established IT infrastructure.
During the last ten years, IT industry has grown at a tremendous speed and in order to cope with the rapid advancement, Pakistan is emphasizing more on IT human resource and necessary infrastructure. With the support of government and private sector, it is considered to be catching up with the global industry and now it is emerging as the fastest growing industry.
In the last three years, international telecom traffic has almost doubled. Initiatives are being taken to increase the network capacity through up-gradation of SEA-ME- WE-3 from 0.4 m to2.8 million MIU kms. Also, Pakistan second cables SEA-ME- WE-4 started operating in January 2006. In private sector, more optic fiber cables are planned to be laid down in the coming years. In order to meet the urgent need for reliable international connectivity, Pakistan’s first undersea optic fiber cable operator-TWA-1 has landed its cabling station in Karachi. TWA will own Pakistan landing of SEA-ME- WE-5 and will be ready for service by mid of 2016. It is a good development and will improve our strategic positioning in the world of IT and telecommunications. The new submarine cable will provide more flexibility to the country’s internet backbone connectivity.
IT industry provides a cost-efficient platform for small businesses to connect with the skilled global labor force. It builds an integrated set up where parties can assist and empower each other towards growth and development. This emerging market in Pakistan has found lots of talented professionals in the areas of web designing, graphic designing, blogging and freelancing. The culture of self-employment is being promoted by these professionals in the world of Information technology. Freelancing enables people with professional skills to market their services from their own comfort zone in the global market. With an increase in the use of internet in the country, freelancing has brought millions of clients and service providers together on the international platform. Platforms like Upwork, Guru, Freelance, Rozgar Pakistan and many more are contributing actively in this field. These platforms provide connections among online and offline groups and share advice by arranging events thus encouraging environment for both new and established freelancers. They enable buyers to post their information about projects so that they can be outsourced for development through freelancers internationally. Out of four million freelancers around the world, nearly 2.14 million Pakistani freelancers are registered with O Desk which is the world’s largest online marketplace. According to a survey report in July 2013, Pakistan was ranked on the fifth place in the internet top freelancer countries list.
Lack of communication skills lead to misinterpretation and as a result freelancer fails to deliver the required product. With the passage of time, Pakistani freelancers are developing their skills and are earning a lot in the fields of web development, graphic designing, mobile application development etc. By provision of good quality projects in the international market, freelancers are increasing their earning potential. In Pakistan, there are now 1500 registered IT companies and every year 10,000 IT graduates enter the market. It is becoming an ideal place for IT programmers, application designers and software coders. Platforms such as Fiver and Upwork offer jobs to people with various skill set from web to internet marketing, content creation and virtual assistance.
In Pakistan, freelancers are most in-demand category which shows that it has more IT opportunities for contractors from all countries. According to Pakistan software export board, Pakistan’s IT industry has been steady over the last couple of years due to online job marketplace despite of the sluggish economic growth.
In the global market, IT industry is evolving at a breakneck speed and is bringing tremendous opportunities for mankind. In Pakistan, even as a slow starter, this industry is progressing smoothly to meet challenges of the globalization Era of 21st century. Its growth has been unleashed in the past few years and almost every organization working in the country is using IT for its work. In almost all areas of Pakistan, manufacturing and banking industries are also using IT to improve their performance.
Despite all the advancement taking place in this field, we have not yet become self-sufficient to face severe competition in the international market. The IT institutions that are working in the country are needed to be monitored for quality education to produce IT experts that can efficiently work in the global market. Pakistan needs to pay more attention to the optic fiber telecommunication infrastructure in order to create business models and new plans for growth of hardware and quality software in the country. And for this purpose, government is taking every necessary step for diffusion of IT in the state at priority. Our country’s current IT policy and action plans intend to involve all walks of life e.g. banking and insurance, finance and revenue, defense, communication, media and human resource development.