As some offices cautiously reopen and resume work, employees are finding themselves in an altered workplace. While tangible measures to enforce social distancing protocols have become a fixture across offices, the fact that fewer employees remain to join work post the lockdown is not lost on anyone.
The uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc in the global economy, accelerating an oncoming recession, leading to loss of jobs across industries. However, despite that, some believe that jobs anchored around emerging technologies like AI, big data, etc are still available. If it is true, then landing a data science job amid the Covid-19 pandemic should not be challenging. Companies operating in the space weigh in:
Increased Interest In Data Amid Covid-19
The application of AI and related technologies may have been approached with some trepidation by many, but it seems to have gained wider acceptance amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Not only advancements in research helped manage the crisis better, businesses have also relied on these technologies to pivot and manage resources as they navigate the effects of the pandemic.
“The Covid-19 crisis and associated challenges are being fought on the basis of numbers and data, and this has renewed interest in data science, artificial intelligence and machine learning,” says Kapil Bardeja, CEO and co-founder of Vehant Technologies.
According to him, the data science job segment has been relatively less affected than others, which has generally been marked by hiring freezes, mass layoffs and salary cuts.
“I believe data science jobs will continue to be sought after despite the downturn as companies need the skill sets they possess now more than ever,” he says. “Given that most companies have to actively seek out data-driven solutions to overcome some of these challenges, and given that the pandemic has widened the scope and understanding of these new technologies, data science hires will continue,” he adds.
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In fact, according to Sumit Mittal, CEO of VentAllOut, these technologies are currently being employed to screen applicants for these positions.
“AI and big data has been reshaping traditional business functions, and as work takes a hit amid the current crisis, these innovative solutions will be more sought after than ever,” he says. “In fact, not just companies, but even governments have been adopting these technologies to combat the crisis and put the economy back together,” he adds.
Remote Work Boosting Data Science Jobs
While remote work has emerged as a double-edged sword for some who are struggling to maintain a healthy work-life balance, many in the data science community are celebrating. Not only do presently available tools enable them to work efficiently at home but also the expansion of remote work has opened up many opportunities for freelance work as well.
“Although the pandemic has brought the entire world to a standstill, it has initiated a discussion on the much-needed methods of working efficiently, giving major mileage to virtual and digital working methods,” says Ankush Singla, co-founder at Coding Ninjas. “This has also given an impetus to data science jobs which may be accomplished by individuals or teams connected remotely with the help of various tools,” he adds.
According to him, the tech job market will witness a sharp rise in data science roles because “the pandemic is no longer about remote working alone, but also the significance of AI, ML, cloud computing and web applications being a major turning point in the lives of people.”
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Singla quotes a study conducted by Appen that states that the pandemic has no “negative impact” on AI strategies of companies, who are relying on the positive impact that these technologies could have on “their organisation’s resiliency, efficiency, and innovation.” He adds, “Jobs anchored around these technologies will not only ramp up but also be instrumental in adopting cost-efficient ways of working in the future.”
Concurs Misaal Turakhia, CPO at StepSetGo, “Since it is widely believed that AI is part of the way forward, I would be very surprised if companies decide to make sacrifices in such departments.”
Affected, But Relatively Less So
While all of the above may be true, there is no contending the fact that recession cannot mean life as usual for any industry, even in data science. And the travesty here is that it is not because these jobs are not critical today, but because they, like other jobs, have fallen prey to cost-cutting measures.
“Given that data science is an evolving field, most of its projects across organisations tend to be strategic in nature, with mid to long-term outcomes,” says Narinder Kumar, COO and co-founder of To The New. “In the current pandemic, as organisations scrutinise cash flows, such projects may be put on the backburner,” he adds.According to him, although this may limit some job opportunities in data science, companies which are prudent will retain these jobs since “organisations that spend in data science R&D today will reap its benefits in the not-so-distant future post the Covid-19 pandemic.”