Artificial intelligence and analytics is a dynamic profession where jobs, duties and roles are fluid and ever-changing. Different sectors have seen different penetration and adoption of analytics, and so is the revenue generation from these sectors. The skills which were once relevant, may be completely redundant in a matter of five to 10 years. To keep up with the constant change many companies are now investing in the workforce, right from the inception point — when the potential workforce is still studying.
Tapped At School Level
Indian and multinational companies from almost every industry are hiring data science experts to help them garner newer, fresher insights. The industry has seen a sharp increase in demand for highly-skilled professionals. Companies are also on a constant lookout for fresh talented persons who can fill in the gap.
This journey sometimes starts right from school level. There are many companies, organisations as well as government entities who are working hard to make sure that young adults who are in schools right now, have the access to work with new technologies. For example, in an effort to promote more “tinkering” in Indian schools, the NITI Aayog in association with global software giant SAP has established the Atal Tinkering Labs programme. Here, the programme will enable SAP to adopt 100 Atal Tinkering Laboratories (ATL) to promote advanced technologies such as, internet of things, AI, blockchain, 3D and robotics, among others.
Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog, had said at the inauguration, “India’s growth for the next few decades will depend on the innovations coming out of these tinkering labs. Tomorrow’s ideas come from students, who will disrupt industries and creative sectors with new technologies and processes which will thrust India into the leadership position for technological creativity and innovation.”
A recent study by Analytics India Magazine showed that 33 percent employers, employees as well as job seekers thought that formal education was crucial to get a job in AI, analytics, data science or machine learning sector. Another survey showcased that 57 percent of analytics professionals have a Master’s or a Postgraduate degree.
It, therefore, comes as no surprise that many noted companies, especially tech giants are partnering with colleges and other educational institutes to make sure that the students who graduate are fully equipped and skilled to join the workforce.
For example, Philips is working with institutes like Manipal University, IISc, UVCE, MSRIT and IIT-Kharagpur, among others, to support adoption of artificial intelligence and analytics in the curricula. Deepak Shetty, senior director, HR at Philips Innovation Campus, told a financial newspaper, “This helps ensure that the skills and knowledge students are learning are in line with what is required in the industry.”
The AI Task Force set up by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, said in their recent report that while AI would eliminate 1.8 million jobs in 2020, it would create 2.3 million new jobs. The report also suggested that while some of the jobs that exist today may disappear, it is likely that new jobs will also appear. “A study commissioned by FICCI, NASSCOM and EY has projected that 9% of India’s 600 million estimated workforce would be deployed in new jobs that do not exist today, while 37% would be in jobs that have radically changed skill sets,” said the report.
This is where upskilling comes in. Employees who have been working the tech sector constantly need to refurbish their skills to stay on top of the ongoing trends. For example, in April 2018, tech giant Microsoft opened an AI learning track to the public, making training courses available for everyone. The tech giant’s programme has been designed around
- Introduction to AI
- Python for data science
- Mathematics and statistics
- Ethics for AI
- Deep Learning
Through the program, developers can acquire job-ready skills and real-world experience. They can sharpen their skills in AI and data science through a series of online courses that feature hands-on labs and expert instructors.
Employers Investing In Employees
Experts universally have agreed that no matter how efficient artificial intelligence gets, problem finding is uniquely a human trait. This is one of the key reasons why most tech giants still prefer to reskill or repurpose employees whose roles can be taken over by automatons. A recent research report by Infosys specifically reveals:
“84 percent of the companies plan to train employees about the benefits and use of AI, and 80 percent plan to retrain or redeploy impacted employees.”
Abdul Razack of Infosys wrote for an online publication that educating the workforce with training and learning programmes creates a more healthy, motivated and inspired environment. “It also creates the type of employees that become ‘problem-finders’ seeking out the ‘unknown unknowns,’ and begin the work of turning these problems into solutions, he wrote for Entrepreneur.
In fact, many global giants such as Google and Microsoft, among others are on the crusade to democratise basic reskilling by offering multitudes of massive open online courses (MOOCs).
It is therefore clear that with the evolving technologies, the companies are also struggling to find the perfect candidates for the changing roles in the organisations. By helping students, freshers, employees as well as veterans stay updated, the tech giants also stand to win by getting a better set of qualified candidates to choose from. It’s a win-win situation for all those who want to progress and move ahead.
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Prajakta is a Writer/Editor/Social Media diva. Lover of all that is 'quaint', her favourite things include dogs, Starbucks, butter popcorn, Jane Austen novels and neo-noir films. She has previously worked for HuffPost, CNN IBN, The Indian Express and Bose.