Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

India's developer community to play a key role in global AI innovation: Satya Nadella

The Microsoft chairman and CEO lauded the country's developers for applying technology and tools to build the future for India and the world. He also announced the expansion of the 'Code; Without Barriers' programme, a skilling initiative for women

Naini Thaker
Published: Feb 8, 2024 01:02:31 PM IST
Updated: Feb 8, 2024 01:14:23 PM IST

India's developer community to play a key role in global AI innovation: Satya NadellaMicrosoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella’s address to 1,100 developers and technology leaders at the Microsoft AI Tour in Bengaluru on 7th Feb 2024.Image: Courtesy Microsoft

During Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella’s address to 1,100 developers and technology leaders at the Microsoft AI Tour in Bengaluru on Thursday, he highlighted the pivotal role of India’s developer community in building cutting-edge products and solutions that solve challenges for the nation and can be deployed around the world.

“This next generation of AI (artificial intelligence) is changing how and what developers build everywhere, including in India,” said Nadella. “It’s fantastic to see how India’s developer community is applying our technology and tools to build the future for India and the world.”

During the address, he highlighted how GitHub CoPilot has been helping the developer community immensely, especially by ramping up productivity. “People ask me, what’s the AI product? I say everything,” said Nadella. “What we're doing, whether it's in the infrastructure or the tools, every part of what we have done as a company, now thinks about AI as first class.”

India is the fastest-growing market on GitHub, a Microsoft-owned software collaboration and innovation platform, with 13.2 million developers using the platform. It is expected to overtake the US as the largest developer community on GitHub by 2027. India also has the second-highest number of generative AI projects on GitHub after the US.

One of the GitHub team members also demonstrated how some of the Indian languages and GitHub CoPilot are coming together. The demonstration reflected how the platform can “explain code that's already been written, create code you need to write and also collaborate with others when creating pull requests”. The platform understands queries like asking it to create an entire signup page in languages such as Hindi or Tamil, and presents the ready page in a few seconds.

Nadella also announced the expansion of the ‘Code; Without Barriers’ programme to India this month, as the company aims to democratise access to tech skills nationwide. The programme provides support, training, and networking opportunities for female developers and coders, and those in other technical roles to contribute to inclusive economic growth, encourage innovation, and reflect the region’s social makeup. Through Code; Without Barriers, Microsoft will provide skilling and certification to 75,000 women developers in India in 2024. The programme was first launched in 2021 across nine Asia-Pacific (APAC) countries to help close the gender gap in the region’s fast-growing cloud, AI, and digital technology sectors.

This builds on the announcement made on Wednesday for its new skilling initiative in India to empower people and organisations to thrive in the AI era. The investment will see Microsoft provide 2 million people in India with AI skilling opportunities by 2025 through its ADVANTA(I)GE INDIA initiative.

Also read: Microsoft will provide AI skilling opportunities to 2 million Indians by 2025: Satya Nadella

In November 2022, Microsoft India launched the Azure Society of Excellence (ASE) in collaboration with premier technology institutes like IITs, IIMs and BITS Pilani to work with startups and their incubation cells.

Microsoft has successfully onboarded over 1,700 Indian startups to the Microsoft Founders Hub through the ASE. Microsoft India engages with a community of 2 million professional and student developers across 100 cities in India to help them acquire skills and prepare for jobs. “I always remind myself that Microsoft, at the end of the day, is a developer company. We got started building tools. And here we are, close to 50 years since our founding, as excited about building tools and platforms for developers,” he said.