Information Technology: The way ahead for tech students
Last week a global report caused a stir in the Indian information technology (IT) industry; it noted that with automation taking place at a much faster pace across industries, especially in the tech space, Indian software firms that employee over 16 million people are set to slash headcounts by 3 million by 2022.
While industry body Nasscom was quick to refute that—and said the IT industry continues to be a net hirer of skilled talent, and that top-5 Indian IT companies are planning to add over 96,000 employees in 2021-22—it doesn’t take away the fact that, to stay relevant in their job, IT employees need to constantly upskill or reskill themselves.
Robotic process automation
The above report mentioned that a lot of job losses will be driven by the impact of robotic process automation (RPA)—software robots that emulate humans actions, interacting with digital systems and software.
Siddhartha Gupta, CEO, Mercer Mettl, the global talent assessment company, told FE that job replacement by RPA is a reality. However, he added that while current IT jobs with low-skill requirements might become redundant, these will be replaced by new job roles with high in-demand skill requirements. “Organisations need to start investing in upskilling, reskilling and capability-building programmes proactively and with immediate effect to get themselves and their workforce ready for the transformed world of work, accelerated by digital transformation and automation,” Gupta said. “Reskilling interventions are no more a good-to-have necessity, but a business imperative.”
Aditya Malik, CEO & MD, TalentEdge, an edtech major, added that there are numerous opportunities resting in the current industry trends. “The need of the hour is to pace ourselves with the age of digital automation—the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” he said. “During any revolution, economies undergo transition, and we should not narrow down our forward-moving approach to job loss. Change is inevitable, and the current change would benefit those who adapt to its evolving twists and turns.”
During the pandemic, segments such as edtech, fintech, healthtech, consulting, cybersecurity, gaming, analytics, cloud computing, AI, ML and data analytics have flourished. This, Malik said, has raised the demand for a tech-savvy workforce adept in digital transformation, process automation, technology integration, data analytics, AI and ML. “IT employees should upskill and reskill themselves irrespective of their job status to embrace personal growth,” he said.
Upgrading your skills
Analysts added that upgrading skills should be a lifelong process. Rahul Kapur, partner, Growth Advisory, Grant Thornton Bharat, said that the IT sector follows a cyclical trend where new talent takes over and the old talent upskills to get back in the headcount. “RPA, cost reduction and increase in efficiency have been the core for any large IT outfit and they manage to maintain balance by laying-off their bench regularly. Considering that mid-sized IT companies are witnessing traction as more traditional businesses become dependent on IT tools, the existing talent will find abundant work,” he said. “However, the existing talent will do well to upgrade their skills.”