Inspiration, Innovation, Individuals: Understanding Huawei ICT Competition’s Impact

ByHarriet Gaywood

June 9, 2023

Harriet Gaywood

“I participated in Huawei ICT Competition Innovation Track 2023 and I am a Grand Prize Winner. I am a law student and I didn’t know anything about ICT, Huawei, or tech before I started. I studied the whole year to do this and I am proud of myself. I hope this inspires somebody out there to go for what they want. You are more than enough. Nobody is better than you.”

Jimoh Maryam Ololade. Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State, Nigeria, Grand Prize Winner, Innovation – Nigeria Team ABU

This spontaneous quote by Jimoh just after she collected her Grand Prize at the Global Finals of Huawei ICT Competition 2022-2023 demonstrated the value of providing people with opportunities to develop digital skills. Access is critical, and it is only with opportunities to learn that talent can be nurtured and local insight-led innovation for the future can be imagined.

Building confidence for a career in ICT

Watching the excitement of 146 finalist teams and 36 countries who had competed among 120,000 students from 2,000 universities and 74 countries was an incredible experience.  Most striking was their response to what they had learned from participating in the competition. For many student finalists there were lots of firsts – from learning about AI and cloud to visiting Shenzhen in China and travelling abroad for the first time. They loved the opportunity to visit Huawei and meet students from other countries and exchange ideas. They were impressed by the city. But most of all, they were impressed by themselves because they felt a sense of achievement after studying for nearly a year, passing qualifying exams, working together in teams, achieving results on a national, regional and then global level. 

“We are very grateful to win this competition and we are very grateful to our teachers. This competition means a lot to us because throughout the competition from the prelim to the national to the regional to the global rounds we amassed great knowledge and we feel that after this competition we want to break into the ICT sector and apply the knowledge that we have learned.”

Ogum Confidence Tukwasichukwuobu; Amachree Michael; Aronimo Goodness Bosede; First Prize: Network 1: Network Track – Nigeria Network Team 1 – University of Port Harcourt

What is Huawei ICT Competition and why is it so valuable?

As a key project of Huawei’s Seeds for the Future 2.0 initiative, the Huawei ICT Competition aims to provide a platform for global college students to compete in the ICT field.  The Huawei ICT Competition is intended for students worldwide who are either enrolled in Huawei ICT academies or those in higher education institutions that are willing to join the ICT Academy. Huawei ICT Academy is a partnership between Huawei and Academies around the world. Through this partnership, the Academy delivers Huawei ICT training, encourages students to get Huawei certification, and develops talents with practical skills for the ICT industry and the community.  Huawei ICT Competition therefore enhances the ICT knowledge and practical skills of students well as increasing their ability to innovate by using new technologies and platforms.  

Since its inception in 2015, Huawei ICT Competition’s influence has only kept growing. This year was the 7th edition and to date over 580,000 students have participated in the competition.  Through a systematic approach, with structured skills assessment, Huawei ICT Competition not only showcases innovation but promotes development of knowledge. The competition includes three categories:

  • Practice Competition

The Practice Competition includes the Network, Cloud and Computing Tracks, which examine students’ theoretical knowledge and hands-on ICT skills as well as their ability to work in a team. Participants are ranked according to their scores for theoretical and lab exams.

  • Innovation Competition

Students use ICTs (such as AI, IoT, big data, and cloud) to resolve real-life problems, propose solutions that have social and business value, and design models with comprehensive functions.

  • Industry Competition

This was a new competition this year. Students tackled real industry challenges. Under the guidance of their instructors, students performed extensive research and proposed innovative solutions that combine their knowledge of ICTs and industry know-how.

Whilst the students reflected that they had found the competition tough but learned a lot the benefit of participating.

“This competition had a deep impression on me. In particular the support I received from my school, the friends I made including new friends from overseas. Through this competition I learned about my own weaknesses and had to work hard. I would like to thank my school, teachers and Huawei for giving me an opportunity to attend this competition.”

Wang Zhe from Jiangxi University of Software Professional Technology, China

This sentiment was echoed by lecturers from their universities.

“This isn’t the first time we have participated in Huawei ICT competition. The main objective is to build a bridge between industry and education institutions and at the same time teach the students how to problem solve different issues. This project was part of the vision created between our Princess Sumaya University and Huawei.

Instructor Ammar Odeh from Princess Sumaya University for Technology, Jordan

The importance of the competition was emphasized by instructor Samuel Kinuthia, from Zetech University, Nairobi, Kenya:

“We had 50 students participating in the competition. We had two teams participating in the Cloud Track, two teams in the Network Track and one team in the Innovation Track. Five instructors accompanied the team and the Vice Chancellor from Nairobi University also accompanied. The competition was very good to us. All five teams came to China for the finals and all the teams won awards and we are very grateful to the organizers of the competition for organizing a very good competition and I am also grateful to the teams for putting in a lot of effort and making our country Kenya proud.”

Samuel Kinuthia, from Zetech University, Nairobi Kenya

Click the link for more on the winning teams.

Closing the gap: Matching skills with national digital strategies

While 170 countries have digital strategies, talent and development roadmaps are essential for implementation.  The OECD estimated that by 2030 over one third of jobs will have been transformed by technology by 2030 and will require reskilling to include digital skills as well as interpersonal skills. Meanwhile the World Economic Forum estimates that over 150 million new technology jobs will be created during the new five years and and 77% of jobs will require digital skills.  A digital divide in society therefore means a gap in economic and social opportunities including access to technology, education levels, income disparities and type of employment. This in turn affects the productivity of a nation including its ability to digitalize.

Huawei’s talent development solution has been developed in collaboration with government and industry organisations to support career development of individuals and promote digital transformation. This is provided through 120 authorized learning partners. Each year, 85,000 trainees are Huawei certified to help upskill the public in digital technology. More than 17,000 have entered global job market as Huawei Certified ICT Expert (HCIE) since the commencement of the certification system. 

Promoting diversity within ICT is essential which is why this year a Women in Tech Award was added to Huawei ICT Competition.

“Huawei has set up the Women in Tech Award to encourage female contestants, promoting gender equality in the ICT industry and social inclusion. This year, the proportion of female contestants in the global final exceeded 21%, an increase of 8% compared to 3 years ago.”

Vicky Zhang, Vice President of Huawei Corporate Communications Dept
The Women in Tech award

Digital skills are the foundation of the digital economy

So what are the solutions for developing digital skills? The challenge cannot be solved by governments alone. Companies must also play their part. Speaking at the Global Finals, said,

“In the future, Huawei will bring ICT education resources to more schools around the world. We are projected to build 7,000 Huawei ICT Academies in total by 2026, train more than 1 million students every year, greatly improving students’ digital literacy and skills for a more dynamic and inclusive digital world.”

Xiao Haijun, President of Global Partner Development and Sales Dept, Huawei Enterprise Business Group

Speaking via video at the finals of the ICT competition, Professor Mohan Munasinghe, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate in 2007, Blue Planet Prize Laureate in 2021, Former Vice-Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), emphasized the importance of ICT in harmonizing the sustainable development triangle of economy, environment, and society.  While digital technology will help to boost productivity and growth, facilitate productivity and economic growth, and strengthen inclusiveness and cooperation.

“I am so glad that I participated in the competition it helped me a lot – it helped me gain a lot of knowledge helped me about my career. It made me certain that I made the right choice and I joined the right field of ICT.”

Yasmin Rezk, Third Prize – Practice Network 2: Network Track, Egypt Network Track Team 2

By the end of 2022, Huawei’s global ICT talent development efforts had benefited as many as 2.2 million people in over 150 countries. This is an amazing milestone that encourages us to do more on a greater scale. It’s concrete proof that Huawei is fulfilling its promise to invest US$150 million in digital talent development before 2026.

Learn more about the Huawei ICT Competition.

Disclaimer: Any views and/or opinions expressed in this post by individual authors or contributors are their personal views and/or opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views and/or opinions of Huawei Technologies.

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Harriet Gaywood

International Media Advisor, Huawei Technologies

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