Facebook trains developers for the first time in Pakistan- Enterprising the Digital Landscape

Facebook for Developers in Collaboration with PlanX Lahore conducted a one day workshop and tech talk for developers. This was the first instance of such an event in Pakistan and the 6th in the overall world where Facebook Engineers travelled to a particular country, interacted and trained developers about the usage of Facebook for Developer tools and technologies. This was a full-day workshop from Facebook, designed for priority partners.

During the workshop, trainers from Facebook Product, Partnerships, and Engineering teams provided hands on instructions through tech talks, code-labs and updates on latest Facebook products and services designed to help grow and monetize businesses around the world. The attendees of the event were a group of developers and digital media marketers from various regions of Pakistan.

The Tech Talks and Presentations

Sarim Aziz, the Strategist for Product Partnership at Facebook shared the agenda of the event and provided a bird’s eye view of services that are made available by Facebook team for developers to build and grow their online businesses. He presented the vision of Facebook to provide opportunities to the developers and business community around the globe to build monetize and grow their products and businesses using Facebook tools, services and products. According to him it is important for his team to travel around the world and explore the nature of demands and challenges developers face while using Facebook services, as almost 90% consumer of Facebook services are from outside US.

According to him Pakistan is one of the growing entrepreneurial hubs and a great market for Facebook services. One of the Engineers went through most of the open source tools and services made available by Facebook and explained how these tools can help design interactive applications and integrate different Facebook Platform services to monetize and share their work.


Workshops on Account Kit, Bots on Messenger and React Native

Later on the day, three workshops were conducted to provide opportunity for the attendees to dive a little deep into the services of Account Kit, Bots on Messenger and React Native. For the account kit, Andrey Belokrylov, Software Engineer from the Facebook Platform Login team and Ethan Goldman-Kirst, Software Engineer Identify Tools Team conducted a training session explaining why they made account kit, why it should be used and what needs to be done with this Facebook tool.

The second workshop was Bots on Messenger, a new way to engage customers using Facebook messenger conversations. This workshop was delivered by Adnan Majeed, Software Engineer in the Traffic team at Facebook New York and Hasnain Lakhani Software Engineer, Program Analysis at Facebook California.

The last workshop was React Native which was the most advanced training session out of the three, delivered by Abdullah Jibaly Software Engineer Oculus at Facebook and Umair Sadiq, Software Engineer at Facebook in Large Scale Distributed Systems. React Native helps developers save time by not having to learn multiple platforms and languages, and still share as much common code as possible.

PITB’s point of view on conducting Such Workshops

Dr. Umar Saif, Chairman Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) gave a closing note after the workshops, saying;

“We need one tech startup from Pakistan to go big and become a billion dollar company and we will see investment pouring into our ecosystem. Facebook coming to Pakistan and arranging workshops for developers is definitely a step in the right direction.”

PITB considers such workshops important because they help build and gain the confidence of foreign investors in Pakistani startups. It is necessary for at least one of the Pakistani startups to become a billion dollar company and make an impact that gets noticed around the globe. Through these platforms businesses can target international markets, customers and generate better revenues. Such workshops can prepare developers in Pakistan to take advantages of multiple platforms and will eventually help businesses create greater impact.

Insights for Developers, Freelancers and Digital Marketers

The event was designed specifically for the developers with a background in monetization and Facebook tools, with a little insight for digital marketers as well. Around 200 individuals attended the tech talks and the workshops, out of which approximately 90% were either developers or freelancers, rest of them were Digital Media people.
For Developers and Freelancers with no prior experience of Facebook development tools, it was an opportunity to get introduced to the tools and services that Facebook provides to grow build and monetize their applications. It was also an opportunity for them to learn how to get started with tools and discuss prospects of these tools, related to their applications, with Facebook Engineers during the discussion break.
The Developers and Freelancers already working with the tools of Facebook platform gained a deeper insight on how things work when it comes to monetization through Facebook developer tools. Developers and Freelancers working with cross platforms application had an opportunity to dive into react native and learn how they can make cross platform applications with ease without sacrificing time and design.

One major piece of information for Freelancers and Developers (specially those who work in an individual capacity) is that, they only need a single application of any platform (android, ios etc) to sign up with the monetization packages that Facebook provides. Digital marketers learnt about how they can use their development team to improve upon digital marketing and create impact using developer tools.

For FB Team and Future engagements

The Facebook Team explored challenges, related to Facebook development tools, that developers face and shared how they can address those challenges for better outcomes. They also received feedback on further improvements of current services. The team from Facebook received queries and feedbacks related to the demands of this region.

It maybe fair to say that there is a clear need for such workshops and exposure for the local developers. These workshops may become more impactful if conducted on a regular basis with clearer goals and arrangements. According to a few developers, there were three workshops related to three different technologies being conducted simultaneously therefore an attendee’s choice was limited to one of these. Since all three workshops had their own benefits, individuals who wanted to learn all three or two of three found it a little difficult to manage and process all the information.

If you missed it- Here is what may help :

1) Join the Facebook for Developer Community. Here is the link for Developers group (Lahore ); https://www.facebook.com/groups/DevCLahore/.
2) For more updates on tools and serivces participate in regular webinars.
3) For queries the Developers team can always be reached out directly.

About the Contributor:
Murtaza Ali Baig is a young IT researcher, entrepreneur and a social worker.He is currently working as a researcher at LUMS, where he is also pursuing his MS in computer Sciences. Apart from the research and academia he is working with different tech startups in various capacities.

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