Transforming Talent for the Tech Industry
By Mr. Gopal Devanahalli
The Indian IT-BPM industry is going through a structural change. It was worth $129 bn in 2016 and will reach about $200 bn by 2021. Several technological changes are disrupting the industry. For this very reason, there is a need for organizational transformation. Globally, digital technology spend is going to increase from 10% in 2014 to 60% by 2025. Due to the evolution of roles there is an accelerated movement towards higher skilled work.
Based on the trend of hiring in large companies in the industry, industry hiring for conventional skills will continue to slowdown. This is leading to the largest ever skilling requirement where 0.5 to 0.6 mn freshers and 1 to 1.5 mn existing employees will need to be skilled on emerging technologies in the next 3 years. Employability of fresh graduate is still a big concern as studies say only 12-18% of engineers are employable by the software services sector.
This shift has also resulted in an exodus of employees from traditional models of working to gig economy. In India, the growth of the internet and mobile has created a boom of freelancers using digital platforms to earn their livelihood. With 15 mn independent workers, India is second only to the US (60 mn) in terms of count.
Employability issues need to be resolved
A survey by FICCI and World Bank found that 64% of employers are “somewhat” or “not at all” satisfied with the quality of engineering graduates” skills and over 3-6 months training is required for engineers to be employable. Despite having the third largest education system in the world, less than 15 of Indian Institutes are featured among the top 1000 colleges/universities of the world. Our ‘not so evolved’ curriculum is one of the vital reasons for this. There is also a basic lack of reinforcement towards basic or applied research at an undergraduate level unlike the western counterparts. As a result, the culture of curiosity and interest is lacking in the current under graduates who are unable to clear professional assessments.
In the field of emerging technologies, a basic understanding of the current trends is to be imparted to students of all backgrounds. With the pervasive advent of technology in almost every field, subjects like Artificial Intelligence, Analytics, Cloud Computing, AR, VR, IoT etc. become essential to everyone regardless of their specializations.
Improved Industry-Academia collaboration could benefit all stakeholders
In today’s world, academic training is not sufficient. To become job ready from day one, students should also be imparted with professional training. Such training is done through collaborations with industry partners who would be best equipped to train students on the necessary skills for the job. However, such collaborations are rare in India and are mostly facilitated by premier institutes. Globally, there have been various such collaborations which has helped in upskilling the emerging workforce.
Employees need to define their own future
Today, employees who exhibit themselves as having an interest in investing in themselves and having a learnability quotient are preferred by employers. Learnability quotients is a term that signifies creating a learning path for yourself leading to a desired goal. It is more than just getting multiple degrees or certifications. It is evidence that you are a continuous learner and have the ability to adapt to the need for the hour.
The idea is to stay updated with trending skills that are in line with your core profession. For example, a coder needs to know skills like Data Science tools, Mobile tools, Machine Learning, Dev Ops and Cybersecurity to stay relevant. However, staying updated with skills is not sufficient. One must learn to develop certain traits as well, such as analytical and critical thinking and problem solving. A coder must learn how to make the code bullet-proof and test it at the same time across various digital platforms. Therefore, one must know not only how to write a code but understand the problem the code solves and the way in which users apply the solution.
The aim is to reach the Triad, which reflects multiple technical skills along with soft skills, domain knowledge and very importantly the new horizontal, which represents cognitive and problem-solving skills. This will ensure that you have something new to offer your company as business solutions.
(In the T, the vertical denotes presence of a single technical skill and a limited range of soft skills are represented by the horizontal. The Pi represents a professional with multiple technological skills coupled with a horizontal expansion of soft skills, while the verticals in the Triad indicate a professional with domain skills, technological skills, and soft skills and the horizontal in the Triad is the cognitive/design thinking skill, which provides solutions to real-life problems. The flexibility in the Triad model enables both individuals and organizations to define their learning paths across all the vertical and horizontal lines.)
It’s all about having the right decision-making and problem-solving skills to solve real-life problems.
While automation may be taking over jobs, it will only impact those jobs that are repetitive in nature. Problem and solution statements still require human intervention. Therefore humans need to learn to upgrade to higher skills which is still a few years off for machines.
This article was originally published in SiliconIndia Magazine.
About the Author:
Mr. Gopal Devanahalli is currently the Senior Vice President at Manipal Global Education Services. He is responsible for digital initiatives across the company as well as the consumer business. Prior to Manipal, he has spent over 15 years at Infosys. Gopal has an Engineering Degree in Computer Science, from BITS, Pilani and a PGDM from IIM, Calcutta.