In the times of the Soviet Union, Armenia was identified as the Silicon Valley of the USSR. It’s already 29 years since Armenia is an independent republic, but it is still one of the leading software development countries.
While the Soviet period, Armenian computer scientists and hardware engineers became very adept at driving more performance from inferior Soviet military hardware. The Mergelyan Cluster was adopted by the Soviet regime for IT research. As a result, there is a deep tradition and expertise in developing software algorithms that perform better in constrained environments. Nowadays, start-ups and IT organizations have moved in. It is one of those places where Armenia, which was once labeled the ‘Silicon Valley of the Soviet Union’, is working on reclaiming its prior status in the IT-industry.
Let’s explore the IT-sphere of this country a little bit more.
Armenia’s Information and Communication technologies sector has been increasing over the past decade. The tech industry of Armenia is growing by 20% annually, hugely exceeding the country’s 2% economic extension. In 2018 the income from the industry equaled $922.3 million.
The reasons for the ICT sector’s boost in the country were various governmental and regulatory changes that occurred during the last few years. The most transcendent step for industry growth was the founding of the Ministry of High-Tech in Armenia.
In only the 2015-2016 period, over 80 new companies were established, creating about 800 new job opportunities in the IT-sphere of Armenia. Moreover, existing IT firms expanded and created over 600 new jobs.
In 2018 a Silicon Valley-based venture capital fund SmartGater wrote an overview of Armenia’s tech sphere: “Armenia’s tech industry is a hyper-growing one today. It has a massive shift from outsourcing to product construction, a generation of advanced engineers, who have a working experience of over five years on cutting edge projects in international corporations and Silicon Valley startups, and swiftly progressing need for senior talent engineering and tech business construction.”
At the same time, the prime minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan mentioned in one of his speeches, that Armenia has a demand of more than 4000 IT specialists. This was a sign for the educational sector of the country to make changes and prepare courses for the needed professions. Currently, several institutions are supporting tech talent are growing a generation of IT experts: BS in Data Science program at the American University of Armenia, Machine Learning and other related training, research and grants offered by Innovative Solutions and Technologies Center, Applied Statistics and Data Science Masters Program at Yerevan’s State University, training programs at the Armenian Code Academy, and so on. Major tech corporations are also committing to this process with experience and knowledge sharing programs.
Another thing that made the Armenian IT sphere develop recently was the WCIT 2019 held in the country. The world’s famous professionals in tech and not only gathered in Yerevan to share their thoughts and experience with Armenians. That was also an excellent step for the world to know about the perspectives of the country.
Presently, there are over 500 IT businesses registered in Armenia. The state of the country is encouraging these firms and has determined lowered taxes for the companies working in this field. Some various digital forums and workshops are being held in Yerevan every year. Armenia isn’t standing still and does everything to become more successful in the IT industry.