As a leading analytics services and solutions company, delivering competitive advantages via data insights to leading Fortune 500 companies, Tredence is on a constant lookout for talent that can bring capabilities in data management, data visualisation, advanced analytics and machine learning to the table. To understand the analytics hiring scenario and the initiatives that Tredence has taken to bridge the talent demand and supply gap, we interacted with Tapan Rayaguru, COO at Tredence and Sanat Pai Raikar, who is the mastermind behind the Gateway program by Tredence.
A quick glimpse of the analytics hiring scenario at Tredence
Our hiring process is divided into two blocks—entry level as analysts and at experienced level as supervisors and managers. Some of the positions at Tredence are those of business analyst, senior business analyst, data scientist, associate manager- data analytics, manager- data analytics, manager- consulting, principal- engineering.
As Rayaguru says, at an analyst level, most companies take to indirect campus or lateral hiring, or a combination of both. A typical recruitment process involves going to an engineering college, looking for Engineers or Masters in Economics and Statistics, and then training them according to the job profile. “This fulfils almost 50% of our hiring needs, but the other 50% demand for inexperienced professionals remains an issue to be solved.”
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For managerial roles, Tredence hires people with analytics experience or look for candidates from B-schools who work up their skills through a Management Trainee Program.
“This approach to hiring allows us to boil it down to technology experience, more or less around data. We look for skills around building data warehouses, whether they have been a part of data engineering assignment, their understanding of marketing supply chain, sales etc,” says Rayaguru. Once candidates are selected, they are trained using enhanced modules to build a muscle in business points of view, applying their MBA knowledge to real-world business, with the aim of creating managers that suit this industry.
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“As the growth rate and the number of managers available is disproportionate, this once in a year program adds resources to management talent”, added Rayaguru.
Introducing the Gateway Program, analytics career launchpad for fresher
Coming back to fulfilling the non-campus 50% of fresher demand, Tredence under the leadership of Sanat Pai Raikar has come up with an innovative program called the Gateway. This 12-week program provides an excellent opportunity to young talent to establish their footing in the analytics industry. The program which is already witnessing a great success, is aimed at creating analytics talent at the entry level.
Pai Raikar explains, “If a candidate has missed out on an analytics job in campus recruitment, there is usually no second chance. If you have graduated from college in the last two years, i.e. in 2016 or 2017 and have got into a job that is not fulfilling, this program will provide a path to a fast growing career in analytics.” As a part of the program, a candidate needs to clear three courses, content for which is provided from websites like Udemy. Experts at Tredence help in clearing the courses via sessions that are conducted at the Tredence office and through doubt clearing sessions over email.
“Once they clear it, they earn themselves the right to appear for a business analyst interview at Tredence. On clearing the process, we make them a job offer of 6.5 lakhs,” he shared.
Pai Raikar believes that while these candidates are a year or two behind their batch mates, at least they don’t end up doing a redundant job, and get into the analytics industry.
Gateway Program in detail
Pai Raikar says, “There are many institutes that offer a lot of courses in analytics. There is no backing for jobs by them. In the Gateway program there is no such issue, as we are the only employer.”
Explaining the program in detail, he said that candidates have to complete three online courses—in Python, R and SQL. Once they do so, they have to go through the Tredence interview process, which simply checks their topical understanding. “It involves an aptitude test followed by a couple of business scenarios to understand if they can structure a problem, rather than solving it”.
It is a 3-hour process: an online aptitude followed by a written technical cum business review; followed by a 45-minute interview; and another 10 minutes for a fitment interview.
Sanat states, “For a program which is just a few weeks old, the first round turned out to quite surprising as we got people with good educational background from colleges like NIT, IIT-BHU, BITS Pilani and others, who could not make it to campus placements in analytics”. Sharing the idea behind founding it, he said that they initially wanted to name it ‘Second Chance’.
Numbers at the Gateway Program
Rayaguru says that since the start of this program a few weeks ago, they have had 750+ registrants, of which 100 have already cleared the courses. Over 50 of them have been selected for an interview, and job offers have been made to 20 candidates. Seven of them have already joined the company in less than six weeks, while other 2 are expected to join the company shortly.
“From our point of view, it provides a constant pipeline of suitable candidates who are not new to the corporate world, have understood the value of a 9-to-5 job, have a positive attitude, are looking to learn something new, and for whom this opportunity is more than just an entitlement. It means that we do not have to wait only for campus recruitments, which happen only in May or June, but have a steady stream of joinees every month,” he added.
Hiring at other positions at Tredence
Rayaguru believes that just deriving insights from data is not enough. “You have to take insights and operationalise them to gain business benefits. We hire people for whom technology comes first, who have data warehouse, BI experience, and are good with techniques around machine learning, ML algorithms, Azure, AWS and others. Typical positions for beginner to mid-level are business analyst, data scientist etc.
At managerial and senior level, they look for people from a consulting background, with the primary attribute of problem solving, who can manage a team of analysts. Typical positions for senior level are associates, associate principals, managers- data analytics, amongst others.
Typical hiring process at Tredence
The hiring process as Tredence has four stages— the first is completely objective, with a combination of aptitude, English, data interpretation etc. This carries 60% weightage and involves no human intervention. The second step is pseudo-coding, which involves writing pseudo codes of logic of a given problem, or vice versa, without using any specific language. This is to get a glimpse on code familiarity and forms a basis for shortlisting.
The next step is interview rounds. At the managerial level, the candidates are asked to solve a case study, where they are provided with data and a business problem. They are expected to come up with insights and a way of representing those insights.
For non-managers, this round is split into two parts— a technical round, for understanding technical skills, and a business round, where the candidate accesses shorter case studies. While they are not given data and any specific business scenario, they are expected to answer questions based on hypothetical scenarios. This is to understand the candidate’s reaction to various situations.
“The entire process takes half a day, and the candidate walks home with an offer or regret the same day,” says Rayaguru.
Challenges while looking for people in analytics
Rayaguru is quick to add that there are more fakes than genuine cases in the market. “There is no way to validate what they claim unless you engage with them. Therefore, we test for aptitude first and then test for skills. We believe skills are temporary as every 6 months there is something new, and every year something gets thrown out, which means native intelligence has to be good for a longer-term association,” he said.
Advice to analytics professionals
For the entry level, Rayaguru suggests that candidates should look at the Gateway Program, which is highly structured and can prove effective for those looking to switch to the analytics domain. “For people with 5+ years of experience I would say that technology has become slightly harder so it is important to keep looking at newer versions of it and focus on reskilling”. Anyone above that, he advices to focus on business, as there is a need for translators who can understand business more than math, and can interact with clients over business problems.