Architecting The Future of India’s IT Talent
By Arijit Banerjee
With India playing a key role in the technology strategy among global corporations today, Indian IT is constantly evolving to keep pace with client-expectations. For instance, cost of service, although important, is no longer the primary consideration of clients who are increasingly looking for additional competencies in vendors. As new businesses with customer engagement models, new organization structures, and new leadership styles come into play, it is becoming clearer that the industry’s ability to leverage its opportunities and overcome its challenges will depend on the availability of talent. The talent situation, therefore, merits serious attention.
THE DIRE NEED FOR SOFTWARE ARCHITECTS
An annual talent shortage survey in 2015 by Manpower Group threw light on the fact that IT skills are the worst hit in India. The shortage is especially acute in high-end roles, such as software architects.
The software architect is arguably the most important link in the IT product development and management value chain. With technology competence shifting to global delivery centers, such as India, a number of product decisions need to be taken. This is reinforcing the need for product expertise and software architecting skills among Indian IT services companies, so that they can speak the client’s product language right from the early stages of engagement.
Going forward, India’s ability to sustain the growth of its IT industry will greatly depend on its availability of senior technical personnel, including software architects. The quality of architects will determine how much high value work, and how many high value clients, flock to this part of the world.
TO BUILD OR TO BUY
As of now, IT companies have trained software architects on their own, drawing upon internal resources for this purpose. This puts those resources – in extreme demand for live projects – out of play for the duration of the program. Therefore, there is a huge opportunity cost to conducting this type of training in-house.
Partnering with the experts makes business sense for this reason and brings in an “outside perspective” as well. As a result, finding the right training provider is extremely important given that software architects go on to hold senior, critical positions within the organization. Enterprises must ensure that they ally with a partner with strong credentials in education and training, and are well recognized for their content, faculty and infrastructure.
WHERE MANIPAL PROLEARN COMES IN
Unlike entry level IT courses, a training program for software architects has to do more than merely imparting architecting skills. In fact, the program should aim to build solid technical careers with greater business skills, such as the ability to solve clients’ problems. Another goal should be to provide a holistic perspective of the technical challenges awaiting the industry. Given such targeted outcomes, the program should admit only those who have the all-round ability to perform in a senior role. Potential candidates must be examined for suitability using a variety of evaluation techniques, from cognitive and psychometric examinations to comprehensive personal interviews with the candidates and their colleagues, subordinates and managers.
Given these requirements, Manipal ProLearn software architect training program focuses on building expertise along multiple dimensions:
- Domain Expertise: It is essential for an architect to understand the business of the client in considerable depth. So, architects need to be given industry-specific education – in domains like energy, transportation, BFSI and so on – depending on the clients they serve. This is, of course, in addition to engineering and computer science training, and software engineering training across the product lifecycle.
- Professional Competence: A successful architect is one who can effortlessly shift between thinking up abstract concepts and micromanaging the details of execution, as and when needed. One should be empowered to analyze a situation holistically to come up with a solution for a seemingly intractable problem. This calls for developing skills in decision-making, problem solving and creativity.
- Business Acumen: Architects should also possess the necessary business acumen to make sure that their technical expertise ultimately manifests business value for the client and their own organization.
- Leadership Competence: It goes without saying that architects need to exhibit leadership qualities to be considered truly successful. These qualities include strategic thinking and operational excellence, the ability to deal with uncertainty and risk, and last but not least, excellent team skills.
Presently, IT training in India has focused on meeting very basic needs, namely, getting fresh engineering graduates ready for entry-level positions in a software career. This has meant that the demand for higher order skills has gone largely unfulfilled. But now companies like Manipal Global Education are stepping in to close this gap with pioneering programs, such as the Architect Leadership Program (ALP). Already an industry benchmark, the ALP stands out for its extensive curriculum, caliber of faculty, and quality of infrastructure. The program has been devised to suit the needs of IT companies in India, and has been thoroughly vetted by a panel of industry experts.
The ALP is transforming the way IT companies, particularly their technical organizations, look at the business and their customers. This program also aims to fulfill the country’s huge appetite for highly skilled software architects.