Nortal HQ, May 23, 2023
As part of our commitment to developing and hiring local talent in Saudi Arabia, we created the Saudi Changemakers Program – a new type of internship program for junior software developers looking to get hands-on experience with Java, React and SQL outside of the Middle East.
The Saudi Changemakers Program, which is specifically targeted at national talent in Saudi Arabia, kicked off in December 2022. More than 300 talented young Saudis applied to be part of the first cohort, with eligible candidates completing an online test created by our tech team. In the end, 60 applicants were shortlisted and half of those invited for an in-person interview in Riyadh. There, our mentoring team met with each candidate over a five-day period. They took the time to really get to know each candidate – their background, tech experience and knowledge, interest in projects, and more. They also introduced Nortal and our culture to the prospective interns. Finally, from 30 hopefuls, nine young Saudis were invited to join the program in February of this year.
As part of their 3-month Changemakers journey, the interns traveled to Serbia in early March for an intensive two-week training, which included workshops, tech trainings, and lessons with our highly skilled engineers, to gain practical experience with Java, SQL and React technologies. There was also time for sightseeing in Belgrade and getting to know other Nortalists.
“The workshops were phenomenal! I can’t really express the depth of the emotions I’m experiencing right now. The level of professionalism demonstrated by everyone at Nortal in Serbia was very inspiring. Knowledge sharing and mentorship were exceptional, their expertise and insights will undoubtedly benefit me in my professional life. I feel grateful to have been a part of this incredible journey, and I know the insights and experiences gained here will stay with me for a lifetime.” – Muayyad Al Hazmy, a Saudi Changemaker
The training trip culminated with a simulation of a real agile project. The group was divided into two teams who were tasked with developing two internal applications for Nortal – one for booking desks in the office and the other for booking vacation days. The final projects were a resounding success, both from the standpoint of our Changemakers and the mentors. In fact, the apps developed during the team challenge will be used in Nortal’s Serbian offices going forward.
“I’ve been blown away by the level of talent and expertise at Nortal. It’s been inspiring to work alongside such skilled professionals and learn from them. And on top of that, Belgrade is a beautiful city with a rich history, culture, and food! I feel lucky to have had the chance to experience it.” – Waleed Khalid Al-Dukhail, a Saudi Changemaker
Ana Marjanovic, a Software Architect at Nortal also shared her feedback about the program: “As a mentor for the internship program, I had the pleasure of working with bright and eager Saudi graduates in Belgrade. Seeing their growth and progress over the course of the internship has been truly rewarding and I am excited to see where their careers will take them in the future.” A sentiment that was echoed by others who worked with the interns during the program.
After finishing the two-week intensive, the interns returned to Saudi Arabia where they had the opportunity to gain additional knowledge and put what they had learned into practice on various client projects.
The internship program finally concluded earlier this month, with all the participants invited to stay with Nortal in permanent roles in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We want to thank everyone who took part in the program and can’t wait to see what’s next for this amazing cohort of Saudi Changemakers.
“What do I think about the Saudi Changemakers Program? Saying that it was a truly amazing experience will not be enough. I will always keep the two weeks I spent working and hanging out with young, bright minds from Saudi Arabia as a fond memory. Their dedication, professionalism and enthusiasm were something you do not see every day. Without any exaggeration, I think that they improved us as much as we improved them. I am proud to call them my colleagues,” said Marko Nikolic, a Nortal Partner and a Solution Architect.
If you would like to join our next cohort of Saudi Changemakers, follow us on LinkedIn to see when applications open next.