Delivering impact through technology

Aziz Ahmad is a veteran network architect and business leader with extensive experience in core networking infrastructure in the late 90s. As the lead architect of AT&T’s 21st century networks, he made his first million back in 1997. Aziz is the Co-founder of a Bangladesh-based IT training academy called CodersTrust and the President and CEO of a leading systems integration & technology consulting company called UTC Associates,. Prior to entering his own business, Aziz directed AT&T’s Next Generation Internet (NGI) Team. He has been recognised by both New York Stock Exchange & NASDAQ, not only for his business success but also for his many philanthropic endeavours. As an Electrical Engineering graduate of City College University of New York (CUNY) and a Business Management graduate of Dartmouth, this Bangladeshi-American has 25+ years of network infrastructure management and leadership experience.

CodersTrust, a glocal IT-based skill development organisation, was founded with only one goal in mind – to create an impact through IT amongst the next millions of the country. That’s what has been reiterated in the recent conversation that I had with Aziz Ahmad. The former engineer and networking wiz wants to train and guide the youngsters to become professional developers, designers, digital marketers and more, giving them a chance to radically change their lifestyle and career. With a demure smile he said, ‘With CodersTrust we wanted to harness the power of technology to change lives and provide the youth with an opportunity of a lifetime. We must understand digital values to consider how CodersTrust’s presence can create change.’ He added, ‘Delivering impact has been the single driving principle behind CodersTrust. With digital resources and appropriate training, we focus on introducing both a mechanism and a way of thinking for men and women; it’s benefits can easily extend to impact.’

When asked how CodersTrust differs from the other training academies, Aziz said, ‘To begin with, we don’t have any teachers. Rather, we have mentors who are the best in their fields and experts in bringing out the best in our students. There’s a subtle but important difference that distinguishes mentors and teachers- a teacher has greater knowledge than a student; a mentor has greater perspective.’

When asked if CodersTrust has been able to create a long-term impact in the last five years, Aziz took a brief pause and said, ‘We are giving people new hope for life, creating inspiring stories, and breaking traditional career beliefs. People from every background are joining us – from housewives to jobholders and even those who are underemployed. Our operation has gone three times bigger than our projection; we have opened five campuses, trained thousands of people. I won’t say we are where we want to be yet but we are certainly on the right track. We don’t worry about the revenue here at CodersTrust. As long as we are creating an impact, we will keep on moving.’

Aziz also has high hopes for the local IT scene. ‘Being a core networking engineering person, I always believed that Bangladesh should have opened up the voice over internet protocol (VoIP) technology, focusing on the private sector to extend affordable services to the mass. Fortunately, to some extent, we have been able to do that. There are countless other instances where I believe the same can be done,’ he said.

Terming the e-government as the right approach to delivering service to the masses, Aziz believes that, with the right private-public collaboration, Bangladesh will be able to radicalise the way a citizen can access services. ‘We are halfway there in having the right infrastructure, technology, roads and highways, as all are related to attaining a Digital Bangladesh.  The government already has the right vision. With the right policies and the right focus, we will be able to deliver the right kind of impact in no time.’

When asked what his take on entrepreneurship is, Aziz laughed and said, ‘While many success stories exist, a number of obstacles to reach the scale of entrepreneurial growth desired in Bangladesh remains. That’s why at CodersTrust, we try to instil entrepreneurial thinking into our students. Aspiring entrepreneurs will be contending with challenges such as insufficient access to financing and stiff competition. But with the right kind of vision and right kind of perseverance, success will come. Maybe not today, but tomorrow for sure.’

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