The Times of India: IT layoffs spur demand for big data cour...
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IT layoffs spur demand for big data courses

Amrutha Varshinii | TNN | Jun 9, 2017, 11.47 AM IST

CHENNAI: 'Automation' has taken the IT industry by storm and with a technology-shift threatening traditional jobs, there's an audible demand for `upskilling'. This year has seen the highest surge yet, in the number of IT professionals gravitating towards courses like machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI), data sciences, businessdata analy tics to upskill themselves. Corporates in the ITITES (ITenabled services) sector too are investing heavily to give their employees in-house skilling. Because, as a recent McKinsey &Company report puts it, "half the current IT workforce will be irrelevant over the next 3-4 years" if left upskilled.

Hari Krishnan Nair, co-founder & marketing head at Great Learning which helps re skill employees, there was a triple-fold rise in enrolment in these programmes. "Most participants from the IT sector have an experience of 5-15 years and 20% are senior professionals." These are employees from companies like Accenture, Capgemini, Mu Sigma, CTS and Well Fargo.

Calling it a `scale to skill' shift, Nair said the past few months had shown the sector was re-inventing itself. "While there are layoffs, it is also important to note that the same companies are also hiring in big numbers for big data, analytics, AI, IOT, etc.," he said.

The bar even for an entry-level IT employee is now much higher, said Ishan Gupta, managing director of education platform Udacity (India) which offers courses designed by companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook. "India is now our second biggest English-speaking market. People realise employers are hiring for the future, so we are witnessing enrolments from across various tier-1 and tier-2 cities," he said.

Even giants like Wipro, TCS, and Infosys are investing in such `nano degrees', specifically machine learning, creating need for engineers with the domain knowledge, he said.

"There is anxiety about layoffs and less intakes. But it's clear ITITES operations here are trying to catch up with global trends. Updating our IT knowledge becomes fundamental to be an asset to organisations since they're now trying to adapt to new technologies like AI and ML," said Sanjay Krishnan, a programmer pursuing a ML course. The change, said Global Hunt managing director Sunil Goel, would affect categories of IT ITES (ITenabled services) job. Existing information technology is becoming redundant and is being replaced with innovations like data sciences and AI.

"The change would have been seen even without the ITsector layoffs. Because there is a demand for these `high skill' jobs, there is correspondingly better pay ," he said. Upskilling, he added, could pay 25%-30% more. Companies too prefer to `upskill' existing employees than recruit fresh candidates with the qualification, mainly to cut costs. In the long-term, also helps integrate employees better in the organisation," said Goel.