The recent IT layoffs are a testament to the sharp shift that the technology sector is experiencing in terms of jobs and skills. Read on an article by Harish Subramaniam, Director – Business Development at Great Learning, on “How to fix your tech skills gap?”. In the article published by Financial Express, Harish talks about the urgent need for employees to reskill themselves with new age skill set such as analytics, big data, cloud computing, & machine learning. Harish also mentions the experiences of a few Great Learning students.
Most of us are inextricably tied to our identities as a ‘mainframes guy’ or a ‘Java Developer’. It’s what we know, we’re proud of it, and we’re very, very comfortable. Until we are not.
The tech skills gap seems to have snuck up on the IT industry as a whole, but it shouldn’t have. The writing’s been on the wall for a long time. Automation is the most commonly attributed cause, but it’s likely only the last straw. No doubt IT firms’ business model is changing fundamentally – with a larger proportion of business likely to come from advanced technology solutions rather than the bread-and-butter process outsourcing. At the same time, the wage arbitrage opportunity has been shrinking over the last decade, and a vast majority of our ‘client countries’, including the US and the UK, have been kicking up an anti-globalisation, protectionist storm. In light of such macroeconomic uncertainty, companies have unsurprisingly taken a ‘wait and see’ approach.
All this while, companies have maintained rather deep benches with hiring and training contingent on the pipeline of future projects and project extensions. And ‘bench strength’ is the first area of reduction, especially when this contingent talent isn’t trained areas that are increasingly most pertinent – analytics, big data, cloud computing, machine learning and the like. This seems patently unfair. You learned what you were told to learn by your firm, and you got really good at your job. Now that’s not enough?
Fear not, though. Competing for a shrinking number of jobs in your area of expertise isn’t your destiny. Nasscom believes that about 40% of the tech and BPO workforce in India need to reskill themselves over the next five years. In a sector that employs an estimated four million people, that’s 1.6 million who need to learn these skills. So, what exactly should you be learning?
So apart from getting skilled in the ‘coming wave’ of technologies, what else can one do? Reinventing yourself takes a lot more than just taking a course of two. For starters, build a ‘body of work’. Employers now need to be shown, not told, what your skills are. So, set up that GitHub account, post your projects there, develop an opinion, and create a portfolio rather than a resume. Even more importantly, learn to learn – so you’re not in this situation again. The cycle time of technology advancement is only getting shorter, and companies face less of a hurdle in the adoption of new technology solutions. So, you need to stay on top of every ‘coming wave’.
Ok, the learning part makes sense. But what do you do with all this new knowledge? How do you reinvent yourself when you’ve built a decade-long career in one area? Let’s take a look at some of our Great Lakes PGP-BABI alumni who have blazed a trail for us.
- Move within your organization
Kiran Jangeti (PGP-BABI ’14) spent over 15 years at Value Labs, when he felt the need to upskill himself. But with all this experience, the logical place to transition into a career as an analytics leader was at his existing organization – where he had a working history, a track record, and trust. He didn’t need to prove his ability to deliver. Instead, he only had to augment his repertoire with a set of analytical tools and techniques. Not only is Kiran now the AVP of Global Delivery, he also met some impressive students in his class who he ended up hiring.
- Build on what you are good at
With 18 years experience as an IT manager in the financial services domain, Vilas Wakale (PGP-BABI ’15) wanted a change. Having learned analytics, visualization, modeling and a host of new skills, Vikas seized the opportunity to set up his own consulting practice. In this capacity, he’s been able to combine his newly acquired skills with nearly 2 decades of experience in financial services and IT projects. This complementary combination has helped him work with the Ministry of Home Affairs in a multi-disciplinary data management role with an emphasis on banking.
- Start up
Having worked for a decade as an engineer and manager, Gayatri Sukumar (PGP-BABI ’15) looked to start a venture of her own. While it takes some convincing for a company to trust your newfound skills, you don’t need to convince yourself! Her tenacity in applying these new skills to an area of passion – education – led to the birth of her company, Latitude Analytics.
Reinvention isn’t an overnight process. Learning new skills needs to be reinforced by the humility to accept lateral or even lower-grade assignments. A beginner’s mindset certainly helps. And above all, you need to back yourself to succeed.
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