Technology, Management or Data? How To Choose Your Career

Dr Sarkar talked about three circles: a technology circle, a management circle and a data circle.

“Technology, management and data are equally important to solve the current problems.”

Dr Abhinanda Sarkar, Great Learning, presented “Technology, Management, Data: Choosing What And How To Learn” at SkillUp 2021.

Dr Sarkar is the Academic Director at Great Learning for Data Science and Machine Learning Programs. He received his B.Stat. and M.Stat. degrees from the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) and a PhD in Statistics from Stanford University. 

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Dr Sarkar has offered perspectives on the dynamics of the current job landscape. Citing the World Economic Forum jobs report 2020, he said, by the year 2025, new jobs will emerge and others will be displaced by a shift in the division of labour between humans and machines.

At present, demand for the following roles are on the rise:

  • Data Analysts and Scientists
  • AI and Machine Learning Specialists
  • Big Data Specialists
  • Digital Marketing and Strategy Specialists
  • Process Automation Specialists
  • Business Developments Professionals
  • Digital Transformation Specialists
  • Information Security Analysts
  • Software and Applications Developers
  • IoT Specialists

On the other hand, demand for a few other jobs are on the decline:

  • Data Entry Clerks
  • Administrative and Executive Secretaries
  • Accounting, Bookkeeping and Payroll Clerks
  • Accountants and Auditors
  • Assembly and Factory Workers
  • Business Services and Administration Managers
  • Client Information and Customer Service Workers
  • General and Operations Managers
  • Mechanics and Machinery Repairers
  • Material-Recording and Stock-Keeping Clerks

Dr Sarkar talked about three circles: a technology circle, a management circle and a data circle. He asked the attendees, “What would be your comfortable entry point into the current world?

Information technology includes both hardware and software engineering (can be further split into cybersecurity, cloud computing, etc). Management circle deals with all the classical ways to run organisations, such as strategy, operations, marketing, finance, design thinking, among others. The third direction is a set of techniques such as statistics, data science, machine learning etc to explore data sensibly and scientifically. 

Also, there are some intersections between the three circles such as digital marketing (involves both technology and marketing), business analytics (involves data and management), artificial intelligence (involves data and technology), etc.

Dr Sarkar said it is not mandatory to be always at the intersection of these three circles to be at the top, but s/he must have concrete domain knowledge in the area. He added, “The highest-paid people in the above mentioned three circles often tend to have deep domain knowledge and skills in all the three.”

Dr Sarkar stated, “Given the current job landscape, the methods of pursuing degrees and programs are evolving and getting digitised. Let’s take a look at a couple of examples, such as MTech Programs and MBA Programs. Classically, they are about depth in specific branches. Now, an MTech program or MBA program no longer includes only the core disciplines, rather, it has become a fusion of important disciplines required to solve real-time problems.”

 “Therefore, even if you are trying to think of yourself as going through the technology route, doing an MTech program, you will probably end up doing a fair amount of business applications using data, given the kinds of projects and courses. Similarly for an MBA program, you will go beyond the core disciplines and you will also use data and technology. The traditional programs are evolving to fit today’s workplace,”he added.

At present, data holds a special place among organisations. This is one of the reasons why data is embedded within the current programs. The deployment of data is done through technology, for instance through cloud-based applications, he said.

Dr Sarkar mentioned some of the advantages of the current online projects, programs and degrees, such as:

  • It is making the learning environment much more useful. 
  • It is getting various technologies into the industrial domain and applications.

“It is important that you find your entry point, whether it is technology or management or data. It is also important to understand the methods we are using to learn. When we do a project of a particular kind it is important to ask several questions, such as do I approach it from a soft skill perspective? What will be the soft skill perspective here? How will I use this? What is the product definition?.  Also, my appeal to you is to be able to think a little bit of yourself and say what kind of person am I and how will I specifically learn?,” concluded Dr Sarkar.

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Ambika Choudhury
A Technical Journalist who loves writing about Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. A lover of music, writing and learning something out of the box.

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