The IT Industry in India: Skills to Equip Yourself in 2019
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It is hard to imagine living one’s life without using some form of technology. Today, technology drives all industries, and innovations pertaining to it are piquing. However, these innovations can only be implemented effectively by professionals who have the right skills to match. Imagine going through a full training program or course and coming out not knowing where or how to use those skills! This has been a problem over a long period of time, but the focus is now shifting to preparing talent before they set foot into the professional realm. As a result, the demand for re-skilling and upskilling in new technology is on the rise, too. There are several qualified IT professionals in India, but the gap caused by a mismatched skill set has been a setback in the employability of many. Focus on talent is, thus, likely to be the most prominent theme for the coming year.
The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) reported that 80 per cent of a million engineering graduates and other technical courses are unemployed. Further, out of this million, only 45 per cent are unemployable – a problem that is especially prominent in Tier 2 cities. To tackle this issue of employability, the Indian Government, as well as the industry, are working towards bridging the gap in professional skills required by employers.
A consequence of the gap in skillsets and demand has led to a salary hike for both freshers and experienced professionals in the field. A recent report by Wipro revealed that a number of large companies are offering pay packages of 6 to 7 lakhs even to fresh talent, provided they have skills that fit the ask. The increase in salary is quite high, with a rise that is between 60 to 80 per cent more than earlier amounts. This further cements that there is more of a demand than there is a supply of employable talent.
However, unlike several other countries which have a significantly smaller percentage of required talent for available IT jobs, India has the largest number of engineering professionals and graduates in the field. To reach an impactful solution, there is a need to take a deeper look at the problem at hand. Several recent studies have suggested that only a small number of candidates could program and code correctly.
According to a report by PWC, only 25 per cent of technical graduates and 15 of other graduates are considered employable. Additionally, 67per cent of Indian employers are finding skill gaps among new recruits. As a result, even though the top choice of graduating engineers is likely to be a job in software or core engineering, a large number of these graduates end up opting for jobs in other, non-IT jobs. These are primarily in the BPO, hardware networking and KPO industries. Reversing this trend in employability will open up avenues for a least 2 to 4 lakh engineers who are currently deemed unemployable.
The top reason is the fact that most of these graduates do not come equipped with the relevant experience or the right skills when entering the professional realm. Companies spend huge amounts on training their employees after they’ve joined for this very same reason. An internal study revealed that out of over 1000 engineering freshers, the most prominent factor for not landing a job in the tech industry was their lack of coding experience and, consequently, their coding ability.
Today’s Industry Projects
The current industry projects which are included in engineering courses leave much to be desired. They lack hands-on exposure and experience – something that is required for them to be confident in the ever-evolving tech space. This also applies when the project doesn’t cover the various computational requirements as per the industry.
The needs of today’s tech environment are dynamic. With the constantly changing technology in the world today, they require new languages and processes to be implemented to deliver effective products. The current education system in India, along with the many training options, are missing the practical elements and exposure required before they start a job in the field.
There needs to be a shift in mind-sets for engineering, as other specialisations have their training spread out over a period of time as part of their official degrees, along with constant mentorship to supplement it. Students work while they learn, having the freedom to experiment, as well as learn what real-world actions yield and the actual consequences of their application. It is used in fields as varied as Medicine and Fashion. It is this experiential learning that gives students a holistic sense of exposure and application before they step out into the professional world on their own.
These models of learning employ a number of learning methods which aid the development of students. Students should be made independent in their work and thus be confident when putting into a number of different work scenarios, such as complex coding processes which they haven’t attempted before. Having mentors in the form of experts from the industry will ensure they are up-to-date with skills and demands from current jobs. The use of simulation is another example of how actual work-environments can be recreated. Using this approach of experiential learning, tech talent can emerge in a similar, qualified, way such as in these other specialised fields.
Programs based on this model, for specific specialisations within the IT space, will cover the aspects of the dynamic requirements and variables of the product or industry. It will solve the problem of unemployable graduates, and also the upskilling of existing professionals who require relevant skills. When each program includes a job-specific approach, it will mean more confidence for the graduates aiming to join the industry and more productive professionals in the existing realm.