I have been thinking about this for some time now and the idea behind UpGrad in many ways was formulated from our combined thought processes on how new technologies are impacting Indian industries at large, and the Indian IT industry in particular – a topic that is being discussed everyday in our media in the form of job losses, firing, layoffs, disappointing IT sector earnings etc. In the past few months we have all read and seen many stories around this increasingly uncertain world of technology and automation.
One can look at this as glass half empty, or one can be optimistic about what is happening around us. I have always believed that the gloom surrounding the number of jobs being lost is not adequately compensated by the optimism on the types and magnitude of jobs being created in new-age areas of data, digital, products, cybersecurity etc.
With an acute shortage of 2 lakh professionals in Data Analytics by 2018, 1.5-2 lakh jobs in Digital Marketing and thousands of jobs in the Product Management space expected to come up, we are faced with a new challenge of matching this demand for new job roles in emerging areas, with adequate supply.
The conventional education model is letting us down in this regard.
Today, more than 80% of engineering graduates are unemployable.
Roughly 50-60% of employers are facing difficulty in filling jobs. The head of a leading technology consulting firm was recently quoted as saying that about 65% of IT employees are not even re-trainable. It does sound a bit scary…
I guess in this entire narrative what we have failed to see is that those employed in the IT sector are too comfortable – doing the same thing over and over again. The fact that a lot of what they do is getting obsolete, hasn’t sunk in.
Everyone is thinking that their company will help them get re-skilled. But the Indian IT services sector in India employs roughly 3.5 million and the challenge of upskilling the IT sector workforce puts the industry and young India at a crossroad. One where individuals must get up and take charge of their career – on their own.
If you were once a systems administrator you could now be a system and network architect. If you worked as a web designer, opportunities in UX are now knocking at your door. You could go from being a project manager to a product manager and much, much more!
This is why, at UpGrad, we have committed to the cause of preparing the driven, ambitious and motivated youth of India for the careers of tomorrow. We believe that instead of getting swept away by the wave of automation, one should ride it and take charge of their career. Our programs around Data Analytics, Product Management, Digital Marketing, etc, have been carefully created keeping this very objective in mind.
We have been fortunate enough to witness tangible change in the lives of our students. These are extremely motivated individuals who decided to upgrade their skills at the right time and successfully transition into newer fields. We have seen hundreds of career transitions with 30%+ salary hikes. About 80% of our batch of Data Analytics students belonged to an IT background and they were able to get jobs at companies like E&Y, KPMG, Fractal Analytics, Societe Generale, PayTM, Shopclues, Phillips, WNS and many more.
We have proven that just because a program is online does not mean that the education is less rigorous.
The programs that we have created push individuals to learn new concepts, equip themselves with new skills and be ready to face the future. One of our students, Thulasiram, made a remarkable shift from the Navy into Data Analytics. He says –
“I was ready to push myself, challenge myself to be able to learn Data Analytics. I knew that would be the game-changer in my career.”
Cities such as Bangalore had made a similar change possible many years ago and were largely responsible for the rise of the Indian middle class. In Karnataka itself, (given that it is home to Bangalore – the true Silicon Valley of India) in 2015-16, revenue from exports of electronics, IT software and BT fell by 65 percent from 2014-15, according to a newspaper report. In addition, in 2015-17, tens of thousands of IT employees were laid off by giants like Wipro, Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services, and even start-ups like Flipkart.
The rise of the Indian middle-class was made possible by the rise of IT in India; it is now time for a similar structural adjustment with respect to data and digital technologies – better known as the Fourth Industrial revolution. The only way it will happen is if individuals take charge of their career and not expect others to help them!