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    Armenia: A Tradition of Education and Technology

    Armenia is a country with 1,600 years of literary tradition. Since the creation of its alphabet in the year 406, Armenians have held their education and literature as imperative to their very existence. Within the Soviet Union, Armenians were one of the most educated people in the country. A large number of Armenians represented the intelligentsia of the USSR. Armenian universities continue to be held in high esteem. In fact, thousands of foreign students from India, Iran and other countries have graduated in Armenia and apply their knowledge in the U.S.A., Canada, Latin America, Europe and Asia

    Another area where Armenia has been very progress is technology. The Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic was at one time known as the “Soviet Silicon Valley” since 40% of the mainframes of the entire USSR were produced there and there was so many people employed in the computer industry. As Armenia emerged from independence from the Soviet Union, Armenia was once again on the path to recovering its tradition of education, technology and progressive thought. The IT sector was one of the first industries to regain a foothold in the early 1990s. Numerous software companies started to be formed in Armenia. By the early 2000s, many companies found Armenia to be an attractive country for IT outsourcing.

    With a traditionally highly-educated populous, Armenian firms were able to provide reliable and innovative solutions for all types of software projects. Where IT is newly developing in other outsourcing destinations such as India and China, Armenia is found to be more attractive with a tradition of technology as well as a historically, highly-urbanized population. By 2005, companies like Microsoft started to take notice. Since 2006, Microsoft has operated a number of offices in Armenia and continues to be involved in many projects across the country. Not only does Microsoft work with Armenian IT specialists for software development, but it is also involved in the education sector with projects such as the MSDN Academic Alliance Program.

    The Armenian government of the last few years has declared IT, particularly the Internet, to be one of the sectors that it plans to develop to an even higher degree in Armenia. Internet connectivity has increased greatly in the country over the past few years. A number of firms have been instrumental in this effort. Besides various free WIFI hotspots throughout the cities of Armenia, the capital of Yerevan is fully connected wirelessly through the WIMAX services of companies such as iCON Communications. Other companies like VivaCell MTS and Beeline provide 3G (and soon 4G) Internet connectivity to 90% of the territory of Armenia.

    Armenians are constantly growing their presence on the Internet. Adding to the potential of Armenia are millions of diaspora Armenians who use the Internet to communicate and contribute to their homeland. The ever increasing presence of Armenians on the Internet is evidenced by web-ranking sites such as HyeTopia.com and Circle.am. Diaspora Armenians not only use the Internet for keeping in touch with the homeland, but they partake in projects and ventures with their compatriots in Armenia. An example is the education website holdthatword.com; a collaboration between diaspora Armenians and Armenians in Armenia. For a technology driven and diaspora people that the Armenians are, the presence of Armenians on-line can do nothing but grow even further for years to come. For anyone involved in IT and web-based development, Armenia is quite an attractive location for investment.

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