Past noon, every Friday, CA Technologies in Hyderabad is more school than office. Around 40 associates put aside their regular work for an upskilling programme.
The exercise, which includes training in product management and data science, soaks up half the day. But there are no clucks of disapproval. The participants understand that their future prospects depend on how well they make use of this opportunity.
Employees at ADP in Hyderabad are similarly receptive to a six-month upskilling programme.
Being clued into the latest technologies and developments in their fields is necessary for employees to stay employable and hope for a huge jump in salary.
And, upskilling of existing employees helps companies cut down on unnecessary hires.
As a result, companies aggressively promote the idea of certifications through online courses as well as classroom training among their employees.
What makes it challenging for employees and employers is that the necessary skills keep changing, sometimes from year to year.
A recent survey by Simplilearn, a professional certification training provider, shows a difference between the skills that professionals had to hone in the period between November 2017 and March 2018 than those during the corresponding period in the previous financial year.
AWS Solution Architect, Data Scientist, DevOps, Machine Learning, Certified Ethical Hacker, Artificial Intelligence Engineer, Big Data Hadoop and Spark Developer, Certified Scrum Master, Digital Marketing Certified Association and PMP/Prince2 are among areas where employees are expected to be up to date, says the study.
There are many other studies that underline the need to re-skill to stay relevant in the industry.
According to a FICCI-Nasscom and EY report, by 2022, 9 per cent of the country’s 600 million workforce will be redeployed in new jobs that don't exist today, while 37 per cent would be in jobs that have so radically changed that cannot be done without new skill sets.
“Careers are stagnating or are on the verge of losing relevance because people are not upgrading themselves with the latest skills. And, mid-career transitions are very tricky,” says Pinkesh Shah, founder, Institute of Product Leadership.
He says upskilling provides the easiest route to huge salary increases, especially where tech-based jobs are concerned.
“Many MNCs even seek professional expertise in assessing the talent pool with the objective of benchmarking employees and deciding on the forms of intervention and training that will help them,” says Shah.
Online players like Edureka, Simplilearn, Coursera and Udacity are seeing a massive opportunity in the reskilling space.
“About 60% of our audience are mid-level professionals. We offer support to our students 24x7, and our weekend programmes are extremely popular,” says Vineet Chaturvedi, co-founder, Edureka.
Top tech skills
Role: Data scientist
Areas of application: Social media, financial institutions, Information Technology, manufacturing and e-commerce
Reason for demand: Data Science and AI are not career prospects, but the future that we are walking into. According to Analytics India Magazine, there were 50,000 analytics positions that remained unfilled in 2017 and this number is set to soar to 100,000 in 2018.
Role: AI developers; machine learning researcher
Areas of application: Start-ups, finance, healthcare, technology companies
Reason for demand: According to the ‘2018 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends’, four out of 10 companies believe automation will have a major impact on jobs, and 61 percent are now actively redesigning jobs around AI and robotics.
Role: Block chain developer; block chain consultant
Areas of application: Banking and financial institutions, technology companies, telecommunications and government
Reason for demand: “Andhra Pradesh is one of the first states to pilot blockchain technology in two departments. The state launched pilot projects for land records and transport . Block chain helps prevent tampering of land records and in transport department, it streamlines titles of the vehicles,” says Chaturvedi, adding that Ethereum, hyperledger project and IOTA are some of the popular tools used in the technology.
Role: Software Developer/ Tester; DevOps Engineer
Areas of application: Technology companies, start-ups
Reason for demand: With almost every business turning to cloud and infrastructure as a service, DevOps engineers play a crucial role in managing back-end operations. Git, Selenium, Jenkins, Docker, Kubernetes, Ansible, Chef, Puppet and Nagios are some of the popular tools that are used by DevOps engineers.
Role: Cloud architects; Cloud developers
Areas of application: All major sectors
Reason for demand: Cloud-based application is not new; but what is new is companies moving to cloud-based application is ever on the increase. This technology helps eliminate repetitive tasks, improve efficiency and also save cost.
“Google Play Store is a great example of PaaS (Platform as a Service). Think of it as a place where people have freedom to create applications and use the same place to host them, so others can use their applications across the globe,” says Chaturvedi.