IT Development Center, Stepanakert, Artsakh

IT Development Center, founded on May 20010, is located in the Youth Center, Stepanakert. The center is the major organizer of Artsakh Barcamp. Besides being the event host, it has also has additional activities of holding trainings and seminars regarding IT and social media topics. We talked to Vladimir Grigoryan, the center director. Enjoy our talk below. How was the idea born to found IT Development Center in Artsakh? Who are the founders?

Vladimir Grigoryan: We had the idea many years ago, but only in 2010 we presented our idea to the Ministry of Culture of Nagorno Karabakh Republic. In May, 2010 we opened the center with various kinds of activities. At the beginning our focus was on social media, because it was a new trend in the society, and people did not know how to use it and how to stay secure. We also tried to raise awareness of such tools as social platforms, because our youth was too passive and one could hardly find any users, pages or groups from Artskah. We organized trainings, seminars, invited specialists and experts from abroad to work with our society. And we did not limit ourselves only with Stepanakert. We worked in the regions and villages as well,  including Qarvachar, Qashatax, Berdzor, Shushi, Martakert, etc.. As a result we have very active groups in those regions. Raising awareness of social media and having our society get integrated into those new technology platforms was also important from the point of view of the border conflict we have, because few years ago the information in the social media was provided only by Azerbaijan. Now people can read and be informed from our sources, which is a really important achievement. What are the main activities of the center?

Vladimir Grigoryan: Besides the trainings on the social media topics, we came up with an idea to organize Barcamp Artsakh. In 2010 the first Barcamp Atsakh was hold in Stepanakert. It was a two day event: we had workshops in Stepnakaert for the first day, then the second day was held in Shushi. In 2011 Barcamp Artsakh was totally held in Shushi. We had an idea to hold the event in remote villages of Artsakh, but in those years, the internet connection was unavailable for those remote regions. This is the first year that we decided to hold Barcamp in its traditional classic way, in tents. Editor: Barcamp Artsakh was hold in Tsmakahogh village. Tsmakahogh is 20 km far from Shushi. You can read more here. Do you hold IT trainings, including teaching programming languages and preparing specialists for Artsakh companies? 

Vladimir Grigoryan: Yes, we had an experience to hold 3 months trainings for the basics of programming. Then we send our best students to Yerevan, namely X-Tech Creative Studio to participate in an internship and come back with practical skills and knowledge. Most of our students find jobs in existing IT companies of Artsakh. Our center is like a mini incubator to bring people her and to put them on the right direction. What is your opinion of IT field in Atsakh?

Vladimir Grigoryan: This is a new direction for us. As usual, the beginning is really difficult. We lack professionals and more important, quality institutions to grow and train professionals. The best way is to look at other states and try to copy and implement their best practices. Regarding the market, it is clear we can not rely on selling in the inner market. We should look to exporting our products and services. That is why we need international quality professionals to meet the demands of the world market. It is really difficult and we need more initiatives and resources to put in this field. What about the Government initiative of building the Artsakh IT Center?

Vladimir Grigoryan: The Government wants to create an IT incubator. I hope it will not become a mere business center or an office block to rent a space. We will be happy to co-operate if we see it becomes a real incubator for IT startups and ideas. Thank you Mr. Grigoryan, for great ideas and initiatives in Artsakh. We will follow up and tell our readers IT Development Center future achievements.