Anushree Singh | Sep 7, 2017, 07.50 PM
As the automation era takes over, leaving several IT employees in India worried about their jobs amid the ongoing layoffs in big IT companies like Wipro and Infosys, it has almost become imperative for professionals to be where the growth is in order to survive.
Statistics by US firm HfS Research suggest India's IT services industry will lose 6.4 lakh 'low-skilled' jobs to automation in the next five years. This is alarming, given that the $160 billion industry is one of the biggest employment generators in the service sector in India. The question is which areas will have the high-skilled, high demand job roles in the near future and what skills would it take for one to qualify for these roles.
Before that, the roles that will soon be extinct - Software test engineers, System engineers, administrators, Tech Support Staff, Maintenance engineers, Customer Services executives - If you are still in these roles, consider yourself in danger. These are going to be easily managed by AI and robotics process automation based systems going forward. A report by an online professional skilling platform Simplilearn says, these jobs will most likely disappear in about 3-5 years' time.
Rituparna Chakraborty, Executive Vice-President and co-founder of staffing firm TeamLease Services, says "It's a situation where the available talent haven't kept up with the pace at which the industry was evolving and hence, many of them find themselves redundant." Executive search organisation GlobalHunt MD Sunil Goel, on the other hand, sees this as the perfect opportunity for Indian IT professionals to identify the areas that will be worst impacted by automation. "Upgrade and get into the new-age technologies where demand is going to be huge," he says.
The Simplilearn findings point to a rapid rise in jobs in the areas of cyber security, cloud, DevOps, machine learning and AI in the future. If you are not in the digital domain in the coming years, you are not really in the growth areas. There's, however, a little exception to this - Data analyst and project managers will continue to generate interest. Only the skills required to perform these roles will witness a shift.
Navigate through a detailed insight on the new IT jobs that will be in demand in the future, the salaries you can expect in these roles, and the companies that can hire you if you have the desired skill-set:
As the demand for these new roles rise in the coming years, companies across sectors will seek IT professionals who are skilled to work on new platforms and technologies. This is where res-skilling gains importance. If we go by industry statistics, IT body Nasscom found in May this year that at least 40% professionals of the estimated four-million workforce need re-skilling over the next five years to keep pace with the changing face and automation of the IT industry.
At the same time, NASSCOM also allayed fears of large-scale job losses in the $154 billion industry, equating layoffs to "workforce realignment common to any industry and a part of the yearly performance appraisal process." However, Raman Roy, the Chairman of NASSCOM, recently called for Skill upgradation on a massive scale to equip professionals with new-age technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence to remain relevant in the coming years.
How you can stay relevant in the Digital Economy
While industry specific certifications are critical for upgrading a professional's skills to keep them relevant, professionals must also consider the following ways to prepare for job roles of the future:
1. Upskilling and reskilling: The urgency to re-skill or perish is especially striking people with mid-level experience: Nearly 57% of the 7,000 IT professionals looking to level up on Simplilearn had four to 10 years of work experience. Meanwhile, only 11% of those with under four years of experience were seeking the online courses. Rishabh Kaul, co-founder of Indian recruitment firm Belong, says early-stage employees like fresh college graduates are often provided training by employers for the first six months. It's for the more experienced counterparts that the certification courses matter.
2. Moonlighting: This works well for professionals who are planning to build a secondary source of income. Moonlighting can generate an additional source of income by partnering with startups that cannot afford in-house tech teams, or freelancing through websites like Upwork.
3. Technical education: You can also focus on earning qualifications such as a Masters Degree in science in the emerging areas like robotics or AI. There are multiple e-learning providers like Coursera, Simplilearn that offer these trainings and courses that suit an individual learner's style and pace.