Recent visa extension scheme is expected to boost the number of students in Dubai and those who stay in the emirate to pursue their career

Educators have revealed the top higher education trends in 2019, with information technology (IT), business management and digital skills taking the lead.

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Khaleej Times asked several educators what the most sought-after higher education degrees will be next year and what kinds of jobs fresh graduates should expect.

The recent visa extension scheme is expected to boost the number of students in Dubai and those who stay in the emirate to pursue their career, educators said.

Dr Cody Morris Paris, deputy director of Middlesex University Dubai, said: “In 2019, we will continue to see a large number of students enrolling in programmes in business management, accounting and finance, law and IT, as these are essential areas for economic growth and development.

“We will also see a growth in the student interest in emerging and specialised subject areas that align with the growth vision and plan of the UAE. More students will be seeking out degree programmes in subject areas like robotics, data science, sustainable development, hospitality and tourism, logistics and supply chain, and Islamic finance.”

Andy Pacino, the training and learning coordinator at Murdoch University Dubai, said he gets “a huge amount of requests” from employers who are looking for students who understand blockchain.

He also said the most sought-after degree next year is likely to be computer technology, as it covers many different areas, including programming, website design and app development.

“By the time some of our first-year students graduate, there will be jobs that we aren’t yet aware of. Once again, I would advise towards finance, which is always going to need new blood, and IT, which covers a huge swathe of ground from computer systems, web design, artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things,” Pacino said.

“One final thing I would say is to also look at the route towards running your own business. The UAE is currently offering some fantastic opportunities for students to work on innovative business ideas, and, with Expo2020 looming, organisers are offering hundreds of thousands of dirhams in investments to students with brilliant ideas and business schemes.”

Roy Strik, head of business development at Pearson Professional Middle East, said STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) skills are currently “in high demand” in the UAE’s job market; hence, more students are expected to take up degrees in these areas next year.

“Examples of skills that employers are now actively looking for include business analytics and complex thinking, cyber-security and AI knowledge, as well as the understanding of digital marketing,” Strik said.

“The modern workplace is a competitive area, with a constant demand for new and futuristic skills. Recruitment consultants are today hiring for roles that weren’t even in existence 10 years ago. There are many forces at play that continue to disrupt the world of work: advances in technology, increasing globalisation, robotisation and more. All these trends will affect the nature of the job market in 2019, including the skills and degrees required to support them.”

sarwat@khaleejtimes.com

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